Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy, Editor, Rugby America
It’s that time of the week again College rugby fans. If important games were gold, then we’d all be rich, because college rugby is chock full of vital games this weekend. Playoff and conference title hopes can, and most likely will, be dashed this weekend for some unfortunate teams.
Without further ado, let us take a look at what is on tap for this weekend.
Atlantic Coast Rugby League
North Carolina State (1-3) at Wake Forest (1-3) – In a matchup of two teams with identical records, the Demon Deacons play host to an NC State squad that was expected to do much better this season. Pride is on the line in Winston-Salem as both teams are building towards the future.
Clemson (4-1) at University of Virginia (3-1) – One of two big-time games on the ACRL schedule, Clemson visits Charlottesville to take on the Cavaliers with the ACRL Championship game on the minds of both teams. The formula is simple… the winner keeps their hopes alive and the loser gets to think about next year.
Virginia Tech (2-2) at Maryland (3-1) – Another important game has Virginia Tech on the road to face Maryland. The Terps are very confident having reeled off three straight wins including a convincing defeat of Virginia last weekend. The Hokies still have a narrow shot at reaching the ACRL championship, but needs a major effort against Maryland and some help.
Florida State (3-1-2) at Florida (5-0-2) – The game that has been circled on both teams calendar since the beginning of the year. While the drama from a national perspective may have lost some luster, the Gators and Seminoles are geared up and ready for battle. Florida State still has an outside shot at winning the conference, but will need a bonus point win over Florida and to deny Florida any bonus points.
South Carolina (3-2-1) at University of Georgia (1-4-1) – South Carolina visits the Bulldogs with a strong finish to their season on their checklist. With two games left, the Gamecocks can start building a bit of momentum with their switch to the SERC coming next season.
Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference
University of Oregon (1-4) at Washington State (4-1) – The Ducks took a big step in rebuilding dispatching rival Washington 33-10 but have a long drive and a tough opponent in the Cougars. The Ducks got 5 tries from 5 different players against Washington and the league’s first drop goal from Greg Folk. Washington State is led by 8-man Jarred Riffe.
Oregon State (5-0) at Central Washington (2-4) – The Beavers got a signature win last week dispatching playoff hopeful Eastern Washington 59-24 after trailing at the half. Mitch Farghar has six tries on the season for the Beavers. Central Washington’s second side has been in games but unable to seal the deal, having recently dropped games to Washington State and Simon Fraser.
Eastern Washington (3-2) at Western Washington (2-3) – Eastern dropped a heart breaker to Oregon State, losing after holding the lead at halftime. The Eagles boast the NCRC’s leading scorer Eric Populus who has scored eight tries so far this year. Western Washington is looking to bounce back after being man handled by University of British Columbia 114-0 last week.
University of Washington (0-6) at Simon Fraser (1-4) – The Huskies cross the border in search of their first win of the season. Simon Fraser had to forfeit their last game due to travel complications but will have home field advantage in Burnaby.
Rugby East Conference
Army (3-0) at Delaware (2-1) – Conference co-leaders Army hit the road to take on Delaware in what could turn out to be one of the better CPD games of the week. Delaware has rebounded from their close opening loss to Dartmouth and needs a win over Army to stay in the playoff hunt. Army is led by William Holder who is 6th in the CPD with 48 points scored.
Dartmouth (1-2) at Rutgers (0-3) – Dartmouth travels to face Rutgers in a game that shouldn’t be close. Dartmouth’s Chris Downer is amongst the CPD leaders with six tries.
Kutztown (1-2) at Navy (3-0) – Another very good game in the Rugby East Conference, Kutztown has their first win of the season under their belts and take aim at undefeated Navy. Could an upset be in the cards? Navy has a string of tough games coming up and can’t afford to take a step back in the conference race.
Penn State (2-1) at Ohio State (0-3) – Two Big 10 foes square off for the Oban Cup. The Buckeyes and Rugby Ohio personnel have teamed up for Rugby Week in Ohio that culminates in the clash between the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes. Penn State comes off their first loss of the season and should rebound against Ohio State.
Arkansas State (3-0) at Tennessee (2-1) – Both teams are coming off important victories last weekend. The Red Wolves have taken the lead in the Mid-South Conference. The Volunteers need a big effort is they are going to upset Arkansas State who are led by Pat Sullivan who has scored four tries this season.
Notre Dame (1-1) at Life (3-1) – Notre Dame faces the tough task of playing on the road against a Life team coming off their first loss of the season. The Running Eagles’ back row combination of Garrett Lambert (7) and Cam Dolan (6) has combined to score thirteen tries this season.
Oklahoma (0-3) at LSU (0-3) – Two surprisingly winless teams face off in Baton Rouge. One of them gets to drop the moniker this weekend.
Arizona State (3-1) at Wyoming (0-3) – The Sun Devils are on the road, but should have little trouble getting by the Cowboys of Wyoming. Arizona State’s Travis Hughes, who has five tries already this season, may add to that total against a Wyoming squad that is giving up an average of 71 points per game.
BYU (5-0) at Arizona (1-2) – BYU’s Ryan Roundy has 15 tries and has been a force all over the field for the Cougars. Even if Arizona keeps him in check, BYU has plenty of other weapons in which to turn.
Colorado (1-3) at Utah (2-1) – Utah continues their push towards the CPD playoffs by hosting Colorado. While Utah has been far from dominating this season, the Buffaloes have a tall order ahead of them if they want to pull off an upset.
Colorado State (0-3) at Air Force (2-1) – The Air Force Academy should have little trouble staying in the playoff hunt as they take on Colorado State at home.
California (5-0) at St. Mary’s (4-0) – One of the big games on the CPD docket this weekend, the two unbeaten teams in the Pacific Conference take up their old rivalry. Both teams boast players in the Top 10 try scorers in the CPD. Sean Gallinger of Cal have seven tries and Michael Haley of St. Mary’s has six tries this season. This one should be good for a little while, but Cal is just too powerful.
Claremont (0-3) at UCLA (1-3) – UCLA hosts Claremont with little on the line other than pride. The Bruins are looking to finish in the middle of the Pacific Conference standings and need to take care of business at home against Claremont.
UC Davis (0-4) at San Diego State (2-2) – The final Pacific Conference matchup has the winless UC Davis on the road to face San Diego State. The Aztecs have been a bit of a disappointment this season, but have recovered from their rough start. UC Davis won’t roll over and this could be a better game than most expect.
Other Collegiate Action
Bentley at Brown – The DII playoff contender, Bentley, hit the road to face off against the Ivy League’s Brown University. The game is Bentley’s final warm-up match before heading to Florida for the DII Nationals.
Bowling Green vs. University of Minnesota – The two Midwest DI playoff teams face off in Chicago. Bowling Green is the top dog in Division I, but should get a stern test from Minnesota
University of Wisconsin at Indiana – Penn State and Ohio State aren’t the only Big 10 foes playing rugby this weekend. The two solid Midwest programs should produce a very good game.