Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

ACRC Uses Conference-Bowl Model

irish rugby tours

ACRC Uses Conference-Bowl Model

The fall college season is underway and league games are coming soon.

It’s a tough time for many programs as they try to fit in setting up a team for league player, installing the game plan, and also introducing the game to new players.

In DI men’s college rugby, all eyes, for the most part, are on the ACRC - a loose affiliation of conferences that play their league season in the fall, and finish off with bowl games in November.

After that, ACRC teams go their separate ways. Some will concentrate on playing developmental 15s, some will play 7s, some will look to play in the DIA playoffs or the Varsity Cup, or perhaps combination of all of those.

Because the ACRC runs only in the fall, there’s no conflict between what the ACRC conferences do and USA Rugby’s post-season, or even the Varsity Cup invitational post-season.

On November 22 in Charlotte, NC, ACRC teams will meet up for a series of bowl games. The matchups have not all been confirmed, but it appears that the Rugby East winner will face off with Life University, and reportedly the Southeast Collegiate Rugby Conference (SCRC) has agreed with the Atlantic Coast Rugby League (ACRL) to play in a bowl matchup. The Big Ten and Southwest Rugby Conference have similar plans.

League organizers have told Goff Rugby Report that they don’t like the basketball playoff model that American collegiate rugby has used for so long. And that, in fact, may be the crux of all the conflict in the collegiate game. Everyone agrees that playing two games on consecutive days is a bad idea, and yet the tight window in the spring makes it almost inevitable. To avoid it, the Varsity Cup went to an all-invitational model, meaning that what you did in league play had no bearing on whether your team gets in or not - that way the Varsity Cup can hold four weekends of knockout rugby, which is what the VC is.

USA Rugby has handled DIA in a similar way. They reduced the playoffs to a manageable number, so that the playoffs could be one-game-a-week. But in DIAA and DII the two-game weekends remain, in part because they require a Round of 16 based on earlier league games and playoffs.

One other solution would only work if there was more money in the game to pay for it - play two games in a week, but do it on a Wednesday and a Saturday. Rugby is not like football, and two games in a week are certainly doable for most athletes. Two games in two days is a bad idea, but with a couple of games to recover teams can play Saturday (Round of 16), Wednesday (Round of 8), Saturday (Semis), and Saturday (final).

However, such a plan requires money that doesn’t exist in the game.

The ACRC has bowed out of any playoff scenario, instead leaving it up to conferences to decide their champions, and then holding bowl games. While the Rugby East v. Life matchup might be thought of as a de-facto fall national championship, it’s really nothing of the sort. But top teams all have something to shoot for with the Bowl Weekend in November.

To see the ACRC Conference Schedules, see the links below: