Jarrod Beckstrom is a globally nomadic sports-addicted renewable energy advocate fisherman. He’s the former communications manager of USA Rugby and has been covering high school, college, and international rugby since 2004. His opinions and picks don’t necessarily reflect the views of USA Rugby or D1A Rugby. Follow him on Twitter (@willcrawlthere). He welcomes well-informed and civil rugby discourse.
BOULDER, Colo. — Allied Conference play gets going again and it looks like it will be a wild finish as Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma all have a shot at the ARC Championship Game on April 6. California teams are off (at least no D1A games), but the East kicks into gear with Army and Penn State playing their first conference games of the season. The West rolls along as CU travels to Ellensburg, Wa., to take on the playoff bound Central Washington Wildcats.
Here are my picks for this week:
Texas @ Sam Houston State
Pick: Texas. They need a bonus point win in order to be in the mix for the ARC championship game and I think they’ll be fired up for the occasion. The Longhorns could use some help from Texas Tech this weekend. Speaking of that…
Texas Tech @ Texas A&M
Pick: Texas A&M. Tech is going to have their hands full with A&M as the Aggies hit their stride this season. A&M has put a wobbly preseason well in the rear view mirror and have a chance to knock off Oklahoma from the top of the league table this weekend.
Army @ Kutztown
Pick: Army. Kutztown was very impressive against Delaware, but Army was in the postseason last year and West Point flyhalf Will Holder (who was capped for the USA in June 2012) is back and better than ever this year. Kutztown won’t go down easy though and I expect this one to be pretty tight.
Delaware @ Penn State
Pick: Penn State. They’ve been beaten down, but they keep getting up and coming back stronger than before. The preseason schedule that Penn State head coach Don Ferrell concocted for his side was grueling, but right now they are arguably the most battle-tested team East of the Mississippi and they’ll show that against Delaware this weekend.
WEST/ NON-CONFERENCE FRIENDLY
Colorado @ Central Washington
Pick: Central Wasington. The Wildcats cemented their place in the play-in game (effectively the postseason) and have been absolutely dominant. Their schedule started a little soft, but they’re going to be put to the test this weekend by the Buffs, then St. Mary’s and Cal Poly over the next two weeks.
Colorado State @ New Mexico
Pick: Colorado State. The Rams have two years of experience at the top level and that is going to help them past New Mexico (who have not played a D1A game yet this season).