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Final Men D2 College Rankings of Fall 2021

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Final Men D2 College Rankings of Fall 2021

Thomas More leads everyone else, even a dogged Northern Iowa. Photo Ollie Mide.

With the finals this past weekend, it's pretty clear that Thomas More is the #1 team and Adrian is #2.

Norwich finished ranked #3 and the only other changes are that we tie Northern Iowa and Illinois State—yes ISU beat UNI in the Great Midwest final, but UNI beat ISU earlier in the season and went further in the playoffs. Illinois State lost fairly convincingly against Adrian in the quarterfinals; Northern Iowa lost convincingly to Thomas More in the semis. Northern Iowa also lost a close game to NEWCRC champs Norwich. ISU had already won a close game to NEWCRC #2 UMass-Lowell. There's not much between them so we decided to have them tie at #4.

Also moving up are Marquette and Auburn—basically this is a result of how Marquette and UM-Duluth did against Thomas More, and how UM-Duluth beat Principia. In the end we get a feeling that Auburn probably also deserves to move up a bit.

This, overall, has been a remarkably successful fall. We were worried about forfeits and teams not being able to take the field due to COVID shutdown issues. All of that happened, but not so much that we couldn't have conference seasons, rankings, and championships.

What we also noted, by the way, was that our habit of ranking teams partly based on how tough a conference is didn't hold water this time. The Great Lakes and MCRC were not deep conferences, not like the NEWCRC or Great Midwest. And while that difference allows us to rank, say, the #3 or #4 team from those deeper conferences, and that's logical, what it doesn't do is say "hey, NEWCRC has the most high-quality teams so obviously their best team is THE best team." Actually, we don't usually think that. What we do think is that a weak conference makes it much tougher to judge whether the top team in that conference deserves to be ranked the best.

Conventional wisdom, and our experience at GRR, is that teams that win tough games through their season (or something like the Rugby World Cup) usually translates into a championship. Winning in rollovers does not. Usually. But this time it didn't pan out. Thomas More and Adrian won by massive margins, they won via forfeits, and they were rarely tested. Didn't matter. It's a testament to their coaching, their discipline, and the support from their school that they made the final. It will be a lesson going forward.


Rank Prev Team Conference Notes
1 3 Thomas More (KY) MCRC Beat UNI (5), Adrian (1)
2 1 Adrian (MI) Great Lakes Beat Norwich (2), lost to Thomas More (3)
3 2 Norwich (VT) New England-Wide Lost to Adrian (1), beat UNI (5)
4 4 Illinois State (IL) Great MW  
4 5 Northern Iowa (IA) Great MW Lost to Thomas More (3), Norwich (2)
6 6 UMass-Lowell (MA) New England-Wide  
7 7 Marian (IN) MCRC  
8 8 Georgetown (DC) MARC  
9 9 IUP (PA) Allegheny  
10 10 UNC-Wilmington (NC) Southern  
11 13 Auburn (AL) SCRC  
12 14 Marquette (WI) Great MW  
13 11 UM-Duluth Northern Lights  
14 12 Principia (IL) Gateway  
15 15 Montana State (MT) Rocky Mountain  
16 17 Marist (NY) Tri-State  
17 18 Vermont (VT) New England-Wide  
18 19 Memphis (TN) SCRC  
19 20 Georgia Tech (GA) SCRC  
20 25 Central Michigan (MI) Great Lakes  
21 21 Bucknell (PA) MARC  
22 27 UNC-Charlotte (NC) Southern  
23 22 Drexel (PA) MARC  
24 23 Villanova (PA) MARC  
25 24 UW-Whitewater (WI) Great MW  
26 26 Providence (RI) New England-Wide  
27 28 UNC (NC) Southern  
28 29 Citadel (SC) Southern  
29 30 Virginia (VA) Cardinals  
30 16 Furman (SC) Southern  
31 31 SLU (MO) Gateway  
32 32 Pitt State (KS) Gateway  
33 33 East Carolina Southern  
34 34 Boston University (MA) New England-Wide  
35 35 Coast Guard (CT) New England-Wide  
36 36 USMMA (NY) Tri-State  
37 37 RPI (NY) Tri-State  
38 38 Belmont Abbey (NC) Southern  
39 39 UMS&T (MO) Gateway  
40 40 UW-Platteville (WI) Great MW xyz