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DIAA Quarterfinals - Our Picks

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DIAA Quarterfinals - Our Picks

Notre Dame College and JMU played 7s in Vegas, and both will be in action this weekend in the DIAA playoffs. David Barpal photo.

And so we’re down to eight teams in DIAA, and it’s time to make some picks.


AIC v James Madison

You know we’re been high on AIC for some time now, and we had the Yellow Jackets ranked #1 in the fall for a while, and they remain the top-ranked DIAA team in the GRR rankings. However … it’s not going to be a blowout for AIC. James Madison has a very good forward pack. They can move in the backs, and in fact in some ways are not unlike AIC. What the Yellow Jackets have over JMU is more depth in athleticism. JMU could key on one or two players, and still there’d be a game-changer out there. In these types of games before we’ve seen a team hang with AIC for 20, 30, even 60 minutes. But chasing after those backs for 80 minutes is very, very difficult. We don’t have the stats, but we’d be willing to bet the Yellow Jackets score about 40% of their points in the final quarter of games. We expect the same this time around.


Notre Dame College v Middle Tennessee State

This matchup is very tough to call because these two teams don’t really cross paths much. MTSU has done well within their conference, and NDC has played a whole bunch of teams from all over, but nothing that helps us compare to MTSU.

So here’s the deal. Middle Tennessee wins through defense. They hit hard, and they play tough, and they’re smart. With the ball in hand they can cause problems and usually score through, not around.

NDC, however, has a pretty solid tight five, and a varied attack out wide. The Falcons took it to a very good Bowling Green team, and like AIC, they can score tries in quick succession. For MTSU to win, their defense has to hold all the way, for 80 minutes, with barely a mistake. We think NDC goes through.


UC Davis v Sacramento State

Davis beat Sac State 53-7 early this season. Then they met again and it was 40-29. If you’re following that trend, maybe then Sac State wins 51-27, but that’s unlikely. Davis has been very consistent all season. The Aggies can defend well and they can vary their attack. Their kicking game is effective and they can play the type of game that takes advantage of a wide, dry track when they get it. Davis has to be favored here.


Arkansas v Utah State

Utah State provided some surprise by basically coming out of a fairly obscure at-large season and beating Washington. But Arkansas is a different kettle or razorbacks. The Heart of America champions are peaking. Their tight five could well take control of the game here, and their have an excellent and smart halfback combination. Arkansas can score. They averaged 66 points per game. But it’s probably their defense and their ability to control, set piece, and their ability to control the game through their halfbacks that will do the job. Arkansas wins this.

So that sets up the semifinals on Sunday. We’re thinking AIC v Notre Dame College and UC Davis v Arkansas. AIC v NDC is kind of a clash of similar styles. AIC looks to have the edge here. Arkansas and UC Davis we think is tougher to call; Davis has been there before, but we think the Razorbacks might be in a position to shake things up. It’s not a definite things (if we’re wrong, we’ll deny it!), but maybe, just maybe, Arkansas books a place at the final May 7.