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NCR D1 and D1AA Playoff Games and Picks

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NCR D1 and D1AA Playoff Games and Picks

Notre Dame College and St. Bonaventure both are in action this weekend. Jack Nice photo.

In case you're coming to this topic late, we offer a little explanation for new-ish fans of college rugby as to why we're seeing what we're seeing in this coming group of playoff games.


NCR D1 Playoffs. National Collegiate Rugby's highest level, this includes school-supported teams (varsity, non-varsity intercollegiate, stuff like that) plus any teams that want to be in this level. So Principia has to be in NCR D1, while Indiana chooses to be in it. The teams in this playoff come from four conferences. Two of them are NCR D1-only—Liberty Conference and Big Rivers. Two are conferences that started up before NCR entered the D1 fray, and we formed as part of College Rugby Association of America's D1A.

So some of those conference teams play within the NCR playoff umbrella, while others have stayed with or opted for D1A. Those conferences are Big 10 and Rugby East. So why don't you see the likes of Navy, Mount St. Mary's, Michigan State, or Ohio State in the NCR D1 playoffs? Because they're not NCR members and have been chasing a playoff spot in D1A.


These teams are all club teams, usually in large colleges. Some teams that used to be in D2 have been bumped up to D1AA because of their male undergraduate. If you're above 10,500 you have to be in D1AA or D1. Some of the conferences involved in NCR's D1AA used to be split, but they are now wholly NCR. However, there are some non-NCR conferences still in action. Heart of America is not in NCR D1AA and so you won't see those teams in the playoffs below. The Lonestar Conference is not in NCR, either, although you might see a Lonestar team in a bowl game in December.

But you won't see Rice, Sam Houston State, Iowa State, or Kansas in the NCR D1AA playoffs because they have different playoffs in the spring.


We've stayed away from predictions this fall but it might be fun to play around with them this year. So, using in large part our own rankings, but maybe some other factors, we've got the NCR playoff games listed below ... and a thought of who might win.

Check back for scores:

NCR D1 Quarterfinals
Date Away at Home Our Pick
11/18 Siena 0-50 Notre Dame College NDC
11/18 Principia 26-32 Indiana Indiana
11/18 St. Bonaventure 26-13 Wheeling Pick 'em
11/18 Kutztown 12-31 Brown Brown
NCR D1AA Quarterfinals
Date Away at Home Our Pick
11/18 NC State 12-32 Kentucky Kentucky
11/18 UMass 22-25 Virginia Tech VT
11/18 West Chester 5-22 Boston College BC
11/18 Louisville 28-24 Tennessee Louisville


Some notes on these games and the picks.

Louisville vs Tennessee will be at a neutral site—at the University of Kentucky.

While we did do a video on the D2 brackets, we didn't do one on the D1AA brackets, even though there's a weird game here. Going with the GRR rankings you have #18 at #1, #14 at #2, #4 vs #11, and ... #26 at #12. West Chester at Boston College is a bit of an outlier because surely BC should be playing someone like Tennessee, right? Well, remember there are geographical factors at play and BC can't play UMass (same conference), so they have to be matched up with the closest team after that. So while it is true that NCR seems to love the Liberty Conference, this is more about travel times.

We are just not sure about St. Bonaventure at Wheeling but right now, with Wheeling being at home and if they are healthy, then we are inclined to pick the Cardinals. 

We think NDC's forward strength will see them past Siena. Indiana has physical strength up front and the pace on defense to corral Principia's speed. As we said, we think Wheeling might have it over St. Bonaventure. SBU is physically bigger, but this Wheeling attack and overall team speed is something we can't ignore. Brown, we think, are very tight up front and their scrum and maul is excellent.