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DIAA Playoff Brackets Set

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DIAA Playoff Brackets Set

Bowling Green and Cincinnati (in red) both get into the playoffs. Photo courtesy BGSU Rugby.

USA Rugby has released the Men's College DIAA fall playoff bracket, after some time negotiating and working with various issues within the conferences.

Eight teams will participate, and seeds are as follows:

1. Notre Dame College - Notre Dame College Over Lindenwood-Belleville

2. Bowling Green - Bowling Green Superb in MAC Win

3. James Madison - James Madison Clinches Chesapeake

4. St. Joseph's

5. Cincinnati

6. Lindenwood-Belleville - Notre Dame College Over Lindenwood-Belleville

7. Mount St. Mary's

8. Syracuse

Among the issues USA Rugby had to deal with was the fact that neither of the top two teams in the ECRC were going to participate. AIC was looking to play a bowl game and then concentrate on 7s in the spring (thus, if they won this fall playoff, the Yellow Jackets wouldn't advance), and Boston College is in the middle of a key academic part of the fall, and won't play playoffs or a bowl game.

The Empire Conference crowned Binghamton champions on Saturday after Binghamton beat Syracuse 21-20 in the championship game (Binghamton Wins Empire Conference). However, before the game, both teams knew Binghamton would not participate in the playoffs because, if they won their quarterfinal, they would not have been available to play in the final four weekend. So Binghamton is going to play a Bowl Series game, and Syracuse took the Empire seed.

Meanwhile, in the two-team Southwest Conference, Texas State won the two-game series with North Texas, but communication from the SWC has been poor, and the league and teams did not communicate with USA Rugby about their intention of being in the fall playoffs. USA Rugby Collegiate head Rich Cortez has apparently told Texas State they can shoot for an at-large spot in the spring. 

Meanwhile, the SCRC could have had a team in these playoffs, but set their schedule in the summer, with the conference finals on the same weekend as the DIAA quarterfinals.

So all of those discussions had to be settled before the brackets were released. In the end, two independent teams made the cut - Notre Dame College, which is 7-0 after beating Lindenwood-Belleville this past weekend - and Lindenwood-Belleville, which is 6-4 this fall, but those four losses have all been against really high-profile teams. 

Three conference champs are in the brackets - Bowling Green, St. Joseph's, and James Madison - while three conference runners-up - Cincinnati, Mount St. Mary's, and Syracuse - are also in the playoffs.

The quarterfinals will be held at Eastern Kentucky University, and at Pittsburgh Rugby Club's Founders Field on the weekend of November 19. The semis and final will be held December 3 and 4 at Furman University in Greenville, SC. The winner of this playoff will be expected to play the winner of the spring playoff for the full DIAA championship in May.

See the brackets below (click on image to see larger image):

USA Rugby DIAA Fall playoff bracket 2016