As we descend into the final two weeks of regular season play, the playoff picture is as uncertain as it was weeks ago. With teams making last gasp efforts to break into the playoff picture pandemonium continues to ensue. Comparing the picture to a week ago there have been no new teams introduced to the bracket, but the matchups have been altered with only three of the eight matchups unchanged.
The two matchups that have not changed are #1 Saint Mary’s hosting San Diego State, Cal hosting Arkansas State, and the Red River Conference Champion, who we now know will either be Baylor or Texas A&M hosting Lindenwood. The Gaels are currently touring Italy, but will return next week to face their Bay Area rivals Cal. San Diego State, will also resume action next weekend when they face the newly ranked Cal Poly. The Red River Title will be determined next weekend, but Lindenwood will be playing their final regular season game this weekend against Davenport. A loss here seems to be the only thing that could knock them off their perch as the 9th seed.
Army caused major waves in the bracket when they beat Navy over the weekend. As a result of their upset, Army and Navy swap opponents. If the playoffs started tomorrow Army would now take on Colorado State and Navy would be taking on Indiana. However, this could change again after this weekend, as Army goes against Rugby East’s Conference Champion, Penn State. Penn State has beaten Army once before this season, in the fall, and with another win here could send Army back down in the rankings.
The other upset that caused mayhem in the bracket was Notre Dame College(NDC) knocking off Indiana. With this win NDC has moved themselves up in the bracket and are lined up to face BYU. BYU still has two games to go in the regular season and a slip up against Utah or Central Washington could send the Cougars into a lower seeding than they currently enjoy.
As a result of the NDC result Grand Canyon (GCU) has lost a step in the seedings, which now means a different match up. For GCU they currently find themselves up against Life.
Earlier this week, Utah Valley was found to have been in violation of USA Rugby Eligibility Regulation 4.3(a) by fielding non-full time students and was ruled ineligible to participate in the 2017-2018 post-season. The regulation states that players must be “a full-time student as an undergraduate in their first degree or certificate seeking program and in good standing, as defined by the university or college registrar, to be eligible to participate in their respective rugby program.” This review of Utah Valley had been in place for several months. As with all decisions, Utah Valley had the right to appeal the decision. They did not pursue this right.
NOTE: These matchups are hypothetical, and are not final. The official fixtures will be released after the conclusion of the D1A regular season on April 7th.