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Final D1AA-Only Rankings For Fall 2022

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Final D1AA-Only Rankings For Fall 2022

Photo Olly Laseinde.

This ranking was very, very tough to do.

OK, not the whole thing. Most of it was pretty straightforward. Sam Houston State gets a bump after a really impressive showing against Southern Nazarene. St. Joe's and Binghamton also move up after close losses in the NCR playoffs.

Louisville, which just got by Binghamton in the NCR semis and then just barely lost the NCR final, moves down.

But what about #1? OK, the initial move was to put Virginia Tech at #1. Easy right? They beat Tennessee, St. Joe's, and Louisville (two of those teams were ranked #1 at the time). So obvious. Even if we worry about the fact that the total winning margin of those games was eight points (38-34, 17-15, 24-22), we have to recognize that Virginia Tech beat every D1AA team they faced.

But ... and it's an important but ... there's also Kentucky. Now, Kentucky didn't play in NCR's playoff. They remained a CRAA team and so their path and that of Virginia Tech didn't cross. In fact, because of the CRAA / NCR split, Kentucky didn't even play in the SCRC playoffs, leaving Tennessee and South Carolina to face off. Kentucky never played Tennessee, which has us shaking our heads.

Kentucky also lost to Thomas More by a score of 24-15. Here's where it gets complex, and if you are a fan of either team, I urge you to keep reading—there is a lot to understand.

Thomas More lost to Queens 37-19. That result was essentially repeated in Queens vs Notre Dame College (40-23) and Queens vs Penn State (27-10). So we could say Thomas More, NDC, and Penn State roughly equal (emphasis on roughly).

Despite being in the Rugby East with Virginia Tech, Penn State didn't play the Hokies. But we can look at plenty of comparable results:

VT lost to Mount St. Mary's while Penn State beat them.
VT lost to St. Bonaventure by 70, Penn State lost by 27.
VT lost to Mary Washington while Penn State beat them.
VT lost to Navy by 40 and Penn State lost to Navy by 17.
VT lost to Queens by 33 and Penn State lost by 17.
VT lost to Southern Virginia, while Penn State beat them.

So Penn State wins those common-opponent comparisons. Why do we care? Because Penn State lost a close game to Ohio State on December 3. Ohio State also beat Tennessee by two points early in the fall. Ohio State tied Kentucky.

So the comparison through Thomas More sees Kentucky at around the level just below that of Penn State or Notre Dame College. Virginia Tech lost to NDC, and loses out to Penn State via common-opponent comparisons. This implies that maybe Kentucky is better than Virginia Tech ... maybe.

But looking at it another way we've got Virginia Tech beating Tennessee by four, Ohio State beating Tennessee by two, and Ohio State tying Kentucky as well as beating Penn State by two. 

Or, using Thomas More and Queens, we can against see that there's not much difference at all. Kentucky lost to TMU by nine, and they lost to Queens by 18, a total margin of 27—Virginia Tech lost to Queens by 33. There's scarcely any difference there. 

The conclusion we come up with through all of this is that there is no clear evidence that Virginia Tech is substantially stronger than Kentucky, not that Kentucky is substantially stronger than Virginia Tech. If you're a fan of one, you can point to some evidence, but almost all of it is splitting hairs.

What we can definitively say is that the evidence points to these teams being very close, and possibly equal. Kentucky's tie with Ohio State and their defeat of a very good Colorado State team show the Wildcats can win against very strong opposition. Virginia Tech's playoff run shows the same. 

So we have these two teams tied for #1 this fall among D1AA programs. We went over it back and forth and couldn't find enough daylight between the two.

The Goff Rugby Report Rankings are brought to you by Next Phase Rugby. This app, downloadable at NextPhaseRugby.Com, is useful even for club college teams. These teams can download the app and set up a team profile—you may not have money or admission tags, but you can talk about your school's academics, your team culture, and your coaching. those are all things high school rugby players want to know about.

Rank Prev Team Div/Conf Notes


3 Virginia Tech Rugby East Beat St. Joseph's (6), Louisville (1)
5 Kentucky SCRC Beat Colorado State
3 1 Louisville MAC Beat Binghamton (9), lost to Virginia Tech (3)
4 4 Tennessee SCRC  
5 6 St. Joseph's MARC Close loss to Virginia Tech (3)
6 2 Bowling Green MAC  
7 7 Boston College Liberty  
8 9 Binghamton Liberty Close loss to Louisville (9)
9 8 Iowa State HOA  
10 11 South Carolina SCRC  
11 12 Clemson SCRC  
12 16 Texas State Lonestar  
13 21 Sam Houston State Lonestar Beat Southern Nazarene
14 13 Western Michigan MAC  
15 14 Western Washington NCRC  
16 15 Minnesota HOA  
17 17 James Madison MARC  
19 18 Oregon NCRC  
20 19 UMass Liberty  
21 20 West Chester MARC  
21 10 Boise State NCRC Lost to Notre Dame
22 22 Kansas HOA  
23 23 Arkansas Heart of America  
24 24 Alabama SCRC  
25 25 UNC Chapel Hill Southern  
26 26 IUPUI Heart of America  
27 27 Missouri HOA  
28 28 Salisbury MARC  
29 29 Stony Brook Liberty  
30 30 Columbia Liberty