Men’s D1A 2012 Season Recap
As the 2012 regular season comes to an end, a look at the past 11 weeks brings all sorts of memories and emotions for players, coaches, and supporters. There were upsets, blowouts, and matches that went down to the wire; and there were tries, big hits, and missed tackles that may never be forgotten. Veteran players led many teams, while others relied on youth to guide them through the season. No matter the differences in style of play, club location, or overall record, all players and coaches participated in a grueling competition that they will always remember.
We interviewed the interim Director of College Rugby, Jim Snyder, about his thoughts on the 2012 regular season, where the successes were, and what needs to be done in the future.
Q: What are your overall thoughts on the 2012 Men’s D1A season?
A: The 2012 D1A season has been a good second season for the competition. There has been more effort and resources put into this competition than any College Rugby competition before and this is a major step forward. I think a lot of people involved realize that College Rugby has been operating in an amateurish and club sport fashion for years and that a move to raising the standard won’t happen overnight, but having a top level competition that is moving in this direction is a great start toward improving all of college Rugby in coming years.
Q: Was it an improvement from the 2011 CPD season?
A: This was by many measures an improvement over the 2011 season and by many measures we still have a lot of work to do. Like many new ventures with so many moving parts it is going to take a least a couple of years to find the right formula. But the efforts put forth by all the teams involved, not only competitively, but administratively has been unprecedented and I think being part of this competition has helped show those involved what it will take to continue to improve.
Q: What do you think about the overall level of play this season compared to 2011?
A: The level of play has been great. Based upon the results of the teams both within the competition and outside of it, it is clear that the best teams in the country this year are in Division 1A. As with every sporting competition there are some teams that are not as strong as others, but it is clear that the upper echelon of D1A is playing terrific Rugby.
Q: What would you say needs to be done to improve the competition in the future?
A: There are a couple of key areas that will improve the D1A competition. Continuing to improve the services and resources available to the competing teams will be crucial. This will allow teams to reach a level of stability and confidence in the competition so that administrative and organizational issues don’t threaten teams willingness and ability to remain involved. Additionally, there will need to be some efforts to continue to assist in the development of parity amongst the competitors. Both administrative parity and competitive parity so that the some of the lopsided score lines can be evened into more tightly contested games.
It’s important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. All the great sports leagues and competitions that exist were fledgling at one point as well and they had their struggles. The D1A competition is far from perfect as it currently sits, but by almost all measures it is a major improvement from the competition these teams competed in before D1A was formed and it will continue to improve, develop and grow.
For your enjoyment, and to put the craziness of the season in perspective, we have compiled some interesting stats:
Largest margin of victory: 137, Life 137 – 0 Oklahoma
Narrowest margin of victory: 1, Army 20 – 19 Penn State
Most tries scored in match: 5, Don Pati (Utah) v. Wyoming; Paul Bester (Life) v. Oklahoma; Shaun Davies (BYU) v. Colorado; Shaun Potgieter (Arkansas State) v. Oklahoma
Most conversions in match: 13, Joseph Cowley (Life) v. Oklahoma
Most penalty kicks in match: 5, Michael Mills (Texas A&M) v. Notre Dame
Leading Points Scorer: 185, Joseph Cowley (Life); scored more points alone than 13 of the teams in the competition did all season; granted Life played 8 matches while others played between 4-7, an impressive feat to say the least.
Most team points scored per game: 75.9 (BYU)
Least team points allowed per game: 6.9 (Life)
Highest player points per game: 23.4, Shaun Davies (BYU)
Leading yellow card earner: 3, Eric Walzer (Utah)
Most competitive conference: Rugby East, average margin of victory when the top 5 teams in the conference table played each other was 9.8 points. Would have been a lower number, but Delaware lost by 24 to Army and by 17 to Navy and Navy lost by 16 to Kutztown, the three largest margins of victory when the top 5 teams from the conference played each other.
Stay tuned to d1arugby.com for playoff scheduling, stats, and scores.