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NCR D1 Fall 2023 Rankings Week 9

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NCR D1 Fall 2023 Rankings Week 9

Aaron Juma makes a tackle for Wheeling. Alex Goff photo.

For us the biggest questions on what teams to include in the NCR D1 Top 20 would be Notre Dame and Drury.

Both have done some things to warrant inclusion—Notre Dame was in there for a while—but there are questions still. For Drury, they played mostly a D2 schedule and lost to Southern Nazarene fairly convincingly. And while you don't hear us talk about this sort of thing much, Drury's squad is very small—currently about 16 players. They likely would be very hard-pressed to navigate a playoff scenario. So we're going to keep them unranked for the moment. Notre Dame does have the final two weekends of Big 10 action in which to consolidate their clear improvement. Beat Wisconsin or Michigan or Purdue and the NCR D1 Top 20 opens its doors.

Why Gateway Champs Drury Won't Progress Further

The other Notre Dame, Notre Dame College, could well be the top team in the division. If we had stopped their game with Navy at halftime then the Falcons would probably be ranked #1. Of course, they had to play 80 minutes. St Bonaventure could have reclaimed the #1 spot with a strong win over Mary Washington. It was 12-8, which is a victory, but not a huge one.

This coming weekend, Brown plays Siena and St. Bonaventure plays Notre Dame College. OK then. A winner of one of those games will be #1 next week. Even Siena? Quite possibly. There'd have to be some circumstances happen (NDC and SBU tie?) but it could happen.

We got to see Wheeling in person and we have to say we're quite impressed with them. Now that they have established health and depth in their forwards they will cause teams problems. We move up Southern Nazarene despite a loss because the loss was a close one to a pretty good Oklahoma team. But not past Belmont Abbey because of Belmont Abbey's early-season solid showings vs Rugby East teams. 

Kutztown moved ahead of Queens because now we have two common opponents—yes KU had beaten Army and Queens had not, but Army has been really inconsistent this fall and we wanted one more frame of reference. That came this week with Mount St. Mary's. Queens lost 17-14 to MSM ... Kutztown had lost 16-15. Not much in it, so the tiebreaker goes back to being the Army game.

Upcoming? The Big Rivers final (Wheeling vs Principia) and a 3rd-4th match (Marian vs Thomas More); the Big 10 semis and consolation semis followed by the Finals Day a week later. Queens hosts UMW, and, as we mentioned, Brown plays Siena and St. Bonaventure is at NDC. 

The rankings could look very different after all of that.

Rk. Prev. College Team Conference Notes
1 1 Brown Liberty Beat AIC (15)
2 2 St. Bonaventure Rugby East Beat Mary Washington
3 3 Notre Dame College Rugby East Lost to Navy
4 6 Kutztown Rugby East Beat Penn State
5 4 Indiana Big 10 Beat Purdue
6 5 Queens Rugby East Lost to Mount St. Mary's
7 7 Siena Liberty Beat Iona (8)
8 8 Iona Liberty Lost to Siena (7)
9 16 Wheeling Big Rivers Beat Marian (11)
10 9 Belmont Abbey Southern Beat NC State
11 12 Southern Nazarene Gateway Lost to Oklahoma
12 10 Principia Big Rivers Beat Thomas More (17)
13 11 Marian Big Rivers Lost to Wheeling (16)
14 13 Fairfield Liberty  
15 17 Thomas More Big Rivers Close loss to Principia (10)
16 14 Dartmouth Liberty  
17 15 AIC Liberty Lost to Brown (1)
18 18 Fordham Liberty  
19 19 Iowa Central Big Rivers  
20 20 Michigan Big 10 Beat Trine