How 2016-17 Looks for DIAA Conferences
How 2016-17 Looks for DIAA Conferences
Some changes and one major realignment mark the 2016-17 season for DIAA Men's College rugby - here's a look at the conferences and what changes we're expecting.
Some of the teams listed below will not move on to a DIAA playoff, and really are listed here because they're Division 1-level of some sort. Several of the teams in DIAA-level conferences or competition end their fall 15s season at the ACRC Bowl Series. We list them also.
The South Independent has added one team, with North Florida joining the SIRC South so now both sides of the conference have the same number of teams - five. The league will also split the 15s season between the fall and the spring. Last year the top two teams in the SIRC played a rematch as part of the 1st round of DIAA playoffs. The top two in the SIRC may well be in the playoffs again in 2017.
Teams expected to play: Middle Tennessee State; Georgia Southern; Kennesaw State; Memphis; Georgia Tech, Florida International; Central Florida; South Florida; Florida State; North Florida
No changes expected. Last season's champions moved on to the DIAA playoffs in the spring. That could well happen again this coming season. AIC, BC, and UMass played in, and won, ACRC Bowls.
Teams expected to play: AIC; Boston College; New England College; UMASS; Northeastern; UCONN; Fairfield; Albany
No changes expected. In past years the Empire Conference has sent a team to the DIAA playoffs, but didn't last year, as many of the teams in the conference concentrate on 7s in the spring. Syracuse played in an exciting ACRC Bowl game last year, losing to eventual DIAA runners-up Notre Dame College 33-28.
Teams expected to play: Stony Brook; Syracuse; Colgate; USMMA; Binghamton; Brockport; Fordham
No changes expected. Dartmouth is expected to opt for the Varsity Cup as their post-season. The Ivy League holds a playoff without Dartmouth to determine which team enters the DIAA playoffs in the spring.
Teams expected to play: Dartmouth; Harvard; Cornell; Brown; Yale; Columbia; Penn; Princeton
This is a brand-new conference (as reported initially here). The Chesapeake was formed out of some DII teams that wanted to move up, and the dissolving of the ACRL. Of the teams in the ACRL, three are in this new conference. (Wake Forest and UNC moved down to DII, and NC State did also because they didn't have anyone else to play.)
Teams expected to play: Mount Saint Mary's; Towson; Maryland; Georgetown; Salisbury; James Madison; Mary Washington; Virginia; Virginia Tech
The Keystone retains its East and West division, but with a couple of changes. JMU is now in the Chesapeake, and Shippensburg is under suspension. So the East is Rutgers, Temple, Villanova, and West Chester. The West is St. Joseph's, which moves from the East, Pitt, Millersville, and Lock Haven.
It's a short season for Keystone, but there's a likely Bowl Game at the end of it if they want it. Last year Rutgers played in a bowl game and lost to North Texas.
The Mid America Conference has made one team swap, with Ball State dropping out and Northern Illinois coming in. There was talk of some other high-profile additions, but they never really caught on. Bowling Green went on to the DIAA playoffs, where they lost to Notre Dame College. Two teams went on to play in the ACRC Bowl Series, with Cincinnati losing to Stony Brook and Western Michigan being edged by St. Bonaventure.
Teams expected to play: Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent State, North Illinois, Ohio, Dayton, Cincinnati, Miami, Louisville
There are no changes in the SCRC other than the conference is looking to field a select side in the spring. The SCRC held their final at the ACRC Bowl Series.
Teams expected to play: Tennessee; South Carolina; Georgia; Kentucky; Vanderbilt; Alabama; Florida; Auburn; Mississippi State; Ole Miss
Rice and Texas Tech have moved on, and the latest word is that Houston will be joining the Red River DIA Conference. So this is a two-team conference, which is course is not viable. The SWC teams target the ACRC Bowl Games, and North Texas logged a nice win last year, but right now these improving teams, North Texas and Texas State, are in limbo. They want to join the Red River, but there seems to be some speed bump there, and they might need some help from Lafayette.
Heart of America
Arkansas has moved to the Red River and DIA.
Teams expected to play: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Truman State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska
The NCRC likely will undergo some changes, but it's not clear what at the moment, since they were looking for a new commissioner and July 15 was the deadline to apply. There's a move afoot to expand the PAC Rugby Conference, and Washington and Oregon have been considering that move. However, Oregon State has pulled out of the PAC Rugby Conference, and it's likely that everyone, including the Beavers, are back in the NCRC.
Teams expected to play: Western Washington, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Boise State, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Western Oregon, Oregon State
The initial talk is that Stanford will move up to the PAC Rugby Conference, which will possibly operate as a DIA conference for 2016-17 (with some teams opting for the Varsity Cup postseason instead). In addition, Sacramento State will be joining the California Conference in DIA.
Teams expected to play: UC Davis, Chico State, Nevada, Fresno State, UCSC, SJSU, SFSU
Word is that USC is also expected to join the PAC Rugby Conference.
Teams expected to play: Long Beach State, Grand Canyon, San Diego, Fullerton, SBCC, UC Irvine
Notre Dame College wanted to be in a conference, but that didn't happen for them and they are running a very competitive independent DIAA schedule once again to follow up on a season where they won an ACRC Bowl Game, and made the Final of DIAA.
Lindenwood-Belleville has moved up from DII and will play an independent DIAA schedule culminating in the ACRC Bowl Series.