LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The preseason D1A Top 20 includes several new faces to the weekly rankings. Most noticeably, Cal checks in at No. 2 after a win over BYU in the 2016 Varsity Cup Final. The Golden Bears, along with No. 9 UCLA, beef up the top 10 as members of the now-D1A-affiliated PAC Rugby Conference.
Life University, however, narrowly holds onto its No. 1 spot in the Top 20 after winning its first D1A National Championship since 2013. The Running Eagles’ opponent in the D1A National Championship, Saint Mary’s, opens the season ranked No. 3.
The always-tough Rugby East Conference sees three of its squads in the top 10, with Penn State leading the way at No. 4. Only the PAC has as many teams in the top 10 (3) and five teams in total.
Indiana hasn’t lost a Big Ten match the past two seasons and appears to be ahead of the class in the Midwest once again. The Hoosiers sit at No. 7 in the preseason poll.
The Mid-South flexes its muscles to open the year with each of its three full-time members within the top 15, while its affiliate members, Arkansas State and Clemson, are also in the Top 20.
The University of Utah is no longer a West Conference side with the PAC’s move to D1A. So, Air Force takes the conference’s top spot in the initial rankings at No. 12. The Zoomies are eight places ahead of West rival Colorado State.
The 2016 Red River Champion, LSU, is the conference’s only side in this week’s Top 20. The Tigers begin the 2016-17 season at No. 19
Sitting just outside of the Top 20 are Clemson, Colorado, Delaware, Iona and Wisconsin.
Preseason D1A Top 201) Life
3) Saint Mary’s
4) Penn State
5) Arkansas State
12) Air Force
15) Arizona State
16) San Diego State
17) Cal Poly
18) Ohio State
20) Colorado State