Week 4 Preview: Busiest Week Yet Promises Exciting Games

D1A Rugby: Week 4 Preview: Busiest Week Yet Promises Exciting Games
Photo Credit: Army West Point Rugby Facebook
Week 4 is a busy week in D1A with a total of 18 games being played, the Fall season is well and truly upon us. Red River kicks off its regular season schedule, while Liberty, the Independents, Big Ten, Rocky Mountain and Rugby East all see their regular seasons continue to roll along. 

The marquee match of the weekend is #6 Army taking on #19 Iona. This game isn’t a conference game but that does’t mean that it won’t be any less competitive. Iona and Army have a intimate knowledge of each other from Iona’s time in the Rugby East conference. After a competitive start to their Fall season Iona will be hoping this be the game to knock them off. However, this won’t be an easy task as Army is in red hot form having started their conference schedule with a hard fought victory against St. Bonaventure and a demolition of Buffalo last weekend. If Iona can beat Army this weekend it will go a long way to enhancing their chances of a post season birth. 

In Iona’s conference, the biggest match of the weekend will be played on Thursday night when Fordham plays newcomer American International College. AIC may be a newcomer but they are already looking like a favorite to take the divisional crown from Iona. Fordham, on the other hand, won the last encounter between these two teams, and will also fancy their chances this year. The winner of this game could easily find themselves playing for the conference championship in November. In the other Liberty divisions, Boston College will be playing their first match at the D1A level against University of Rhode Island ; and fellow newcomer Oswego, will hope third time is the charm against Cortland after dropping their first two games of the year. 

Red River kicks off this weekend with two massive games, Texas Tech against Arkansas and Texas against Texas A&M. Both of these games feature teams that could walk away with the Red River title at the end of the year. Arkansas is a mystery but with key returning players, they could prove to be one of the biggest turn arounds in the 2018-19 season. Texas A&M was last year’s champion, but they have seen seniors leave and their opponent, Texas, looks to be a team on the rise. Many pundits see them as being one of the biggest contenders for the Red River title this year. 

In the Big Ten, Purdue after playing Ohio State, closer than many expected last weekend, will take on Michigan, who had their alumni weekend soured by a loss to Minnesota. Wisconsin and Michigan State will both get their seasons underway when they play each other this weekend. #18 Ohio State will host traditional rival University of Notre Dame. 

#11 Notre Dame College will try and rebound from a disheartening loss to #5 Penn State last weekend, against Wheeling Jesuit. WJU experienced a slight dip last year but after strong recruiting and retention there are more and more people expecting big things this year. Saturday will prove to be a good test first up. St. Bonaventure will host Buffalo, after both teams lost to Army last weekend. 

Week 2 of the Rocky Mountain Conference is going to be tightly fought. Highlighting the weekend’s match up will be the battle of the I-25 when Colorado State travels to Boulder. Wyoming gets underway against Utah State and New Mexico will try to rebound from an opening round loss when they play Air Force. 

Full fixtures are below:
AICatFordham
ArkansasatTexas Tech
TexasatTexas A&M
PurdueatMichigan
WisconsinatMichigan State
BrockportatSyracuse
OswegoatCortland
AlbanyatColgate
IonaatArmy
Boston CollegeatRhode Island
UCONNatFairfield
UMASSatNortheastern
BuffaloatSt. Bonaventure
Wheeling JesuitatNotre Dame College
WyomingatUtah State
New MexicoatAir Force
Colorado StateatColorado
Notre DameatOhio State