DIA Playoff Picture
DIA Playoff Picture
It's not too early to look at the DIA playoff scenarios, and in fact we're almost at a point where the playoff teams could be mostly confirmed.
Here's the rundown:
Rugby East. Penn State won the Rugby East and will go to the Varsity Cup instead. The rest of the teams in Rugby East are playing 7s or the Varsity Cup, so we won't see a Rugby East team in the playoffs at all.
Big Ten. Indiana won the Big Ten and is working through warmup games to prepare for the playoffs. IU should get a bye to the second round.
West DIA. Air Force won the conference, (for some reason we had them down as going to Varsity Cup, but they're not). There may still be a place for Colorado State if they want it.
California Conference. Saint Mary’s basically sewed this all up this past weekend with a win over San Diego State. At 4-0 they can really only be caught by Cal Poly, and that a big outside chance. Cal Poly v San Diego State April 8 will basically decide who can play any further.
Mid-South Life is 3-0, and while they don’t have it all wrapped up … actually they kind of do. Certainly Lindenwood or Arkansas State or Clemson could catch them, but they won’t. True Life has three games left, all on the road, but one win among those three (and it looks like it will be three our of three) will put anyone else's hopes to rest.
PAC Rugby Conference. This is a special case. Basically, DIA has accepted that the #2 team in the PAC will get an automatic bid to the playoffs if a) the 1st-place team is Cal, and b) the 2nd-place team is actually going to play in DIA. That is basically the Arizona rule. With the Wildcats being really the only non-Varsity Cup team there, Arizona needs to finish 2nd in order to get that automatic spot. Guess what? They are nicely-placed to do that. With a March 25 game could sew up 2nd and an automatic place.
Red River. it’s down to LSU and Baylor. LSU beat A&M 33-10 behind two tries from Alec Miller, and two from Hunter Breit (who also kicked four conversions), plus one from Michael Lloyd. That put the Tigers at 6-0 and untouchable.
So Baylor and LSU will battle it out for the conference victory, but unless there’s a major blowout, it’s hard to imagine the losing team won’t get a wild card spot (it’s probably already sorted out, in fact, and we're guessing we'll see the clash between those two as a DIA playoff game, as well).
BYU. Oh yeah, did you forget about these guys? They might have lost to Saint Mary’s (they get a chance at revenge this weekend), but the Cougars also have beaten Cal Poly, San Diego State, Colorado, and Air Force (average score 75-8). So, sure, the Cougars have done enough already, even if they lose to Saint Mary’s and Central Washington in coming weeks.
Lindenwood and Davenport. The consensus, especially if you look at the D1A rankings (and who doesn’t), is that these teams could do well in the playoffs.
Colorado State. CSU had the same record as Air Force in the D1A West - 4-1. But Air Force had more bonus points. Still, it would seem logical that the Rams would be in line for a wild card spot. Interestingly, CSU is slated to play BYU on April 8 as part of what looks like a nice warmup for the playoffs.
And then there's probably one spot and a bunch of teams who might still be inclined to compete for it.
So that gives us a list. With USA Rugby's history of sometimes using the expediency of a late-season winner-moves-on league game as a playoff game too, here's what the DIA playoffs look like to us (note this is complete speculation - and arlier we screwed up about Air Force so we've amended):
Game 1. BYU v the loser of Baylor and LSU (or maybe someone like Arkansas or Texas A&M?)
Game 2. Lindenwood v the winner of Baylor and LSU
Game 3. Colorado State v Arizona
Game 4. Davenport v winner of Cal Poly v San Diego State
Teams Getting a Bye to Round 2: