Rugby America

Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective

CPD Delivers Blowout Heavy Day

by Ted Hardy

Down to two games left on the slate for the College Premier Division, the competition needs barnburners out of Delaware/Ohio State and Utah/Arizona State to avoid having blowouts in every one of the games this weekend.

Touted as the best college competition in the nation, no one can deny that the CPD boasts the best collection of top level teams. Except there is a big difference between having the best teams and those same teams playing competitive games. In the case of this weekend, the CPD has produced one-way traffic with the top half of the team beating their opponents handily.

In the seven CPD games played thus far this weekend, the winning teams have outscored their opponents by a score of 378-79. That is an average of 54-11. The closest margin of victory was 21 points, which happened in two games.

The action started Friday night with Colorado‘s previously covered 29-3 victory over Colorado State.

The bell curve for the weekend was shattered by… guess who? Cal. Cal (2-0) thumped UC Davis (0-1) 106-0. Not much of a surprise as Cal nearly cracked 100 points last week against San Diego State. Cal’s 16 tries, came out to an average of one try scored every five minutes.

The next highest margin came when Arkansas State (1-0)smashed LSU (0-1) 58-0 in a game that was expected to be closer. Arkansas State’s David Caswell (So) scored a whopping 28 points (3 tries, 5 conv, 1 penalty kick) for the Red Wolves. Could this be Arkansas State’s year to reach the finals?

Arizona (1-0) roughed up visiting Wyoming (0-1) 56-15 in the Western Conference debut for both teams.

Central Washington (2-0) posted a solid 43-17 win over visiting Cal Poly (1-1). Another game that was expected to be a bit closer, Central Washington took care of business.

San Diego State (1-1) bounced back from their lopsided loss last weekend to outpace UCLA (0-1). UCLA had upset in mind, but the Aztecs proved to be ready. Duncan Kelm scored two tries to pace the Aztec attack.

The long road to Texas wasn’t enough to deter Life (2-0) as they defeated Texas A&M (1-1) 43-22 in one of the closer games of the weekend… that is, if you can say a 21-point win is close.  

What does it all mean?

That the good teams in the CPD are alot better than the rest. It is not that the rest of the teams are really bad, they just aren’t on the level of the Top 10 or so CPD teams. If you’re looking at the silver lining, then these teams are still learning valuable lessons through defeat. Sometimes the best learning experiences come when a team is tested well beyond their limits and in the process see their weakness.

That all said, what does the CPD remind us of?

Ahhh… that’s right. International rugby. The Top 5 teams in the world are head and shoulders above the next 4-5, those 4-5 teams are head and shoulders better than the next 10 teams.

Next weekend’s schedule has a few better matchups, but this story should be prevalent as the season continues.

15 comments on “CPD Delivers Blowout Heavy Day

  1. Andy Richards
    March 12, 2011

    You have the knack of asking all the right questions!

    I’ll think it’ll all sort itself for next year – it’ll be a very much smaller league with many great teams and school brands going back to their conferences where they are better fitted.

    No reflection on them, but there are a bunch of schools that have better facilities, circumstances, recruiting, support, varsity status, whatever… But right now, its not a level playing field, not even close.

    So what’s needed is the best teams like Cal, BYU, ASU, Life, St, Mary’s, Utah, Army, Navy etc etc in a truly premier league with everyone else in traditional conferences.

  2. CPDisappointed
    March 13, 2011

    I thought the major selling point of creating the CPD was to create an elite competition that had a good commercial value for sponsors and broadcasters. That the added costs teams would incur for travel would be warranted because the best would be playing the best thus a good product to sell to the eager sponsors and broadcasters. That was at least the way that Jack Clark laid things out when he sold the concept on the ARN podcasts.

    What it looks like we have is teams travelling a long way to either blow out a team, or get blown out. In two weeks of CPD play not one game was lost by a margin equal or less than a converted try. So there as not been 1 game out of 20 that would have been a tie or a win if the losing team had scored a converted try. Sounds like a lot of money is being spent to travel within each region with the result being a very average product for sponsors and broadcasters.

    This is worrisome.

  3. Working Class Rugger
    March 13, 2011

    This season may just do as suggested and sought out the future participants of a true Premier Division. With the move toward conference’s below the CPD effectively provides those that may drop out ready made competition to fall back on.

    Also a couple of other things. One, anybody attend the Denver BaaBaas vs Warriors game. A 38-21 first up win seems quite impressive for the new boys. Two, in an article on Rugbymag the CWU first home game was described as having a capacity home crowd. What is their capacity?

  4. Chip
    March 13, 2011

    The blowouts certainly aren’t good, but I think this league is still a step in the right direction for the sport. Reality is Cal, BYU, Arkansas State, and Life are in a league of their own. On a good year, Utah, Army, or St. Mary’s can challenge one of them, but very few others have come close in recent years. And no one should be surprised by this.

    You have Cal whose varsity, BYU who is treated on campus like a varsity team and benefits from having older mormon players who are able to go on missions and keep their eligibility, Life that is a very unique school, and Ark State that has a pipeline to recruiting South Africans using in-state tuition. Nothing wrong with any of that, but in a club sports environment where teams have limitations, they have an advantage and others are still fighting uphill battles to match them.

    But every conference has a mix of elite, average, and bottom-feeding teams. SEC football is the same way. Yes, you have 3-5 teams each year that are competitive with each other, and teams take turns being in that group, but there are blowouts too. If we want a competitive league week in and week out then a few things need to happen…

    1. Teams need to continue to rise to the challenge (easier said than done)
    2. Put roster restrictions in place, which limit the better teams and force players to go somewhere else besides Cal. That spreads the wealth so to speak.
    3. Get the better teams out of their comfort zones and put them on the road for tougher games. Cal v BYU at Rio Tinto would be very interesting.
    4. The league needs to find sponsors to offset travel costs, which will benefit the non-elite teams by taking that burden off their plates.

    Those are just some ideas. Either way, congrats to the teams that are trying to make this work. Regardless of what happens, I’m much more interested in the higher level of college rugby this year than last year.

    • Johnny Smith
      March 14, 2011

      Why would you “limit” the better teams? How about improving the other teams up instead a bringing the better teams down? I know… crazy. The problem with American rugby is we have too many people that complain about how unfair life is for their club and how easy it is for Cal, BYU, ASU and Life. Those teams work hard and have earned whatever percieved advantage many think they have.

      I know for Texas A&M, we would rather lose to a full on class program like Life than beat a “limited” Life team. We came into this league knowing we had an uphill battle, that’s why we joined because it would be difficult. In the end, we will produce better rugby players and better men for the trials and tribulations of this league. That will make us better. Texas A&M has been on the cusp of beating some of the teams you mentioned for quite a few years and it has not happen as of yet. But, that doesn’t mean we are going to ask for those teams to be dragged down…it means we are going to work hard to find a way to beat those teams. We absolutely can and will find a way through hard work and determination. Cheers.

      • Rob
        March 14, 2011

        He is talking about limiting incoming freshmen, not the current squad. Its the same reason that every NCAA sport has scholarship restrictions, so that every 5 star recruit doesn’t go to the same school

        • Craig Coates
          March 14, 2011

          Except that no-one is giving out full-ride scholarships so you don’t get to tell someone where they can and can’t go to school to get their degree. Even if scholarships were available and limited in number, the 5 star recruits could still decide to go to their school of choice and walk-on.
          More to the point, even if you could limit the number of players going to certain schools, that doesn’t do the other schools any good if the players in question don’t qualify for admission based on the academic requirements/standards, and very few teams have any influence over admissions.
          If you don’t like how good certain teams are then get better or play in a lower division. If you don’t like the advantages they have then work to get the same advantages at your school. I must be living in a different country all of a sudden.

        • Rob
          March 14, 2011

          Thats right you are living in a different country, one where the NFL, NHL and NBA don’t have salary caps to promote parity, where there aren’t scholarship restrictions to promote parity, one where there isn’t a luxury tax in the MLB to promote parity. The fact of the matter is, parity is marketable and you are much more likely to get a neutral fan at a 34-33 match than a match that is 106-0. It happens in literally every American sport.

          Interestingly enough, there aren’t any restrictions on spending and salaries in European leagues, which makes it extremely ironic that you would suggest its unamerican

  5. Pingback: Rugby America » Weekly College Insider: UCSB/Stanford Inch Closer to Round of 16

  6. Craig Coates
    March 14, 2011

    I meant a country in which there is no money for rugby, no scholarships, no academies, no pro clubs, no sponsorship. In other words there is no mechanism to allow such rules to be put in place to limit the number of players that each school can recruit.

    • Chip
      March 14, 2011

      Craig & Johnny – My comment wasn’t meant as a knock or complaint. As the other posters mention, I’m looking at it purely from marketing. I like the league as a rugby fan, but I know it can be more marketable to new and non rugby fans. And as I mention, #1 on my list is for teams to improve.

      I do disagree however, that while teams don’t give scholarships, my understanding is that players at Cal and Life, maybe others, don’t have to pay out of pocket, which is in a way, a scholarship. Texas A&M students I’m sure pay $100’s, possibly $1,000’s to play this spring. Again, not a knock on Cal or Life, but it’s an advantage, whether earned or not. Again, assuming that’s even correct. (Notice in rugby we have to put multiple disclaimers and advanced apologies).

      We all want to see A&M and others get to the same level, but right now there’s too few at the top year in and year out, and that’s just not marketable. That’s all I’m saying.

      • Craig Coates
        March 14, 2011


        I agree with your #1 for sure, teams have to improve.

        However, I can’t support limiting teams to bring them back to the field and there is no mechanism to do it anyway. If for example Cal or Life or BYU were restricted and let’s say 3 of their freshman players were available from each school, it would not necessarily help other schools because there is no guarantee that they would have the academic requirements for admission.

        Then they might end up at a school without a rugby team, or an under-performing rugby team that they don’t want to play for. Then we could end up in a worse situation whereby talented high school rugby players are not playing in college. It is already happening all over the country; high school rugby players are coming from highly managed, high performing youth programs to college programs that are on the border of not functioning, so the kids just stop playing which is a tragedy made worse by the fact that it then also makes them less likely to transform into spectators, or coaches, or referees; their high school rugby career is the end of the road in all aspects.

        I am personally glad that the most talented high school players have an increasingly broad range of schools to choose from for their college rugby career. We just need to develop more highly performing college teams so that there is the right academic fit for all of these players so they do keep playing in college.

        Cal can’t support all the best players in the country, BYU is a unique institution that is not going to be for everyone, Life can’t satisfy everyone’s academic goals, the service academies require a very special commitment over and above the norm. There are things that are unique about each college campus that are a better or worse fit for each student. We need the next tier of rugby playing schools to raise up, not bring the top down.

        For better or worse, academic choices and students academic credentials are still playing a heavy role in the choice of college for the vast majority of high school rugby players. The only other viable alternative is for more colleges to gain admissions assistance so the top high school players have more choices of colleges to enter. Not much chance of that happening at most schools without varsity status which is also not likely to happen anytime soon, if ever unless a program is self-funding.

        • Chip
          March 14, 2011

          All good points. Fair argument.

          Perhaps the best solution is just what’s happening. The CPD and conferences forming. Next year we’ll see some teams drop back down to Div I, but whether it’s the SEC and ACC, or the Mid-South, Rugby East, etc, both are much more interesting than MARFU, NERFU, USARS, etc, and teams are playing more games against either better teams, or better known teams. A step in the right direction.

        • Craig Coates
          March 15, 2011

          Definitely, and this is not a critique of any university or program but I am all for developing and selling rugby at both ends – performance and marketability, hopefully both can meet in the middle in the not too distant future.

  7. benito
    March 23, 2011

    which companies are sponsors of the CPD? And does the CPD have a website with at a minimum the standings, schedule and list of sponsors?

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2011 by in College Rugby, Collegiate Men, Rugby News.

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