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GRR Men Small-College Challenge Cup Rankings Fall 2021

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GRR Men Small-College Challenge Cup Rankings Fall 2021

Siena, no surprise, is #1. Photo Ally Laseinde.

The Challenge Division of NCR's Men's Small College competition is a strange one if you think of Small College as one division, but if you instead think of the Cohen Cup as DIII and the Challenge Cup as DIV it makes a bit more sense.

With all of that in mind, we decided to take a stab at rankings the Challenge Cup teams. We looked at results, asked some experts (who also asked some experts), and used our own observations of games played at the NCR Championships as elsewhere.

This is what we have. Note that Babson, despite not being in the Round of 16, gets ranked #3. No team other than #2 Wayne State came anywhere near as close as Babson to ultimate champs and #1 team Siena. The Siena team told us, also, that Babson is a very strong team, and the video of the game, which is available here>>, bears that out.

After that we generally follow the national playoff finishes, with a few notable shifts. 

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1. Chicago made the national playoffs and UW Stevens Point didn't, but that was due to a one-point game in the GMW conference final, which we saw. UofC did very well to win, but Stevens Point could easily have won that game. Those two teams are essentially even.

2. William & Mary lost a close game to Widener, and Widener was very close to College of Charleston in the next round of playoffs. Meanwhile, Emory and Henry lost big to CofC. This would lead us to rank Widener pretty high (which we do), and also list E&H behind W&M because of comparable results. Except ... Emory & Henry beat William & Mary late in the regular season. So we go with that.

3. Gonzaga lost 12-10 to WOU, and while Gonzaga also lost to OIT overall we feel they are the second-best team out of the Northwest and, thanks to WOU's solid showing in Houston, a pretty good team.

4. Wake Forest's only loss was 17-8 to College of Charleston. They deserve to be up there despite not making the Round of 16.

5. Keene State was competitive (ish) with Babson (twice), so is in at #21. Now, yes University of New England did indeed beat Keene State, but way back in September. After that game Keene State won three in a row and then lost to Babson 103-0, lost to Nichols. So really a close win over Keene State has to be backed up. Keene backed themselves late, UNE didn't quite. So UNE is ranked #30. (We'd love to rank Merrimack. They had five league games, won only one, by forfeit, but the other four were lost by a total of 45 points, with 25 of those against Babson—a 37-12 scoreline that Keene and UNE would have loved to have had. In the end, we needed a win, but they are our #31.)

Goff Rugby Report Men Small-College Challenge Cup Rankings 2021
Rank Team Notes
1 Siena Swept through entire competition
2 Wayne State Neb. Played Siena closer than anyone by a wide margin (#1-ranked all-club team? Siena is run by their athletic department so ... sure)
3 Babson Played Siena closer than all but Wayne State by a wide margin
4 Western Oregon 3rd in playoffs
5 College of Charleston 4th in playoffs
6 Gonzaga Lost to WOU by 2 points
7 Widener Close loss to CofC
8 Slippery Rock Competitive vs Wayne State
9 Chicago Competitive vs Wayne State
10 UW-Stevens Point Lost to Chicago by 1 point
11 Wake Forest Very close loss to CofC
12 Emory and Henry Beat W&M in regular season
13 William and Mary Close loss to Widener
14 Case Western Close loss to Slippery Rock
15 Geneva Beat Grove City, St. Vincent

Goff Rugby Report Men Small-College Challenge Cup Rankings 2021
16 St. Vincent Top in Three Rivers
17 Nebraska-Omaha Best team behind Wayne State in West
18 Grove City Close loss to St. Vincent
19 Mass Maritime Beat Buffalo State
20 St. Scholastica Top challenge team in Minn.
21 Keene State Second best in NERFU East behind Babson
22 Buffalo State Lost to Mass Maritime
23 Elon Competitive with CofC and Wake Forest
24 Nichols Just behind Kenne State in NERFU East
25 Trinity Lost big to Siena, but who didn't? Beat Wesleyan
26 Macalester Just behind St. Scholastica and St. John's in Minn.
27 OIT 1-1 in NCRC
28 Drew Won Conference
29 Pitt-Johnstown Close won v Geneva but lost to Grove City, St. Vincent
30 U. New England Beat Keene State, close loss to Nichols

Goff Rugby Report Men Small-College Challenge Cup Rankings 2021