Week 25 Preview: Huge Showdowns Set the Stage for the Penultimate Round

D1A Rugby: Week 25 Preview: Huge Showdowns Set the Stage for the Penultimate Round
Photo Credit: Navy Rugby Facebook Page

Only six games are being played this weekend, but it’s all about quality not quantity. Four of the top five teams in the country are facing off against each other- and in total eight of the top 11 programs will face off.

Kicking off the mammoth weekend are #11 Central Washington and #8 BYU, on Thursday evening in Provo, Utah. These two programs have been enjoying colossal seasons. Central Washington have gone 4-1 in the Spring, with their only blemish coming against #1 Saint Mary’s, at the beginning of the season. BYU, similarly, has been in tremendous form. Their only losses, have also come from Saint Mary’s. Outside of those two matches, they’ve shown a propensity to dominate their opponents and grind out hard fought victories when faced with stiff challenges. This promises to be an excellent game and one that could have a large impact on the playoffs. Central Washington will then play Utah Valley on Saturday.

Three mid-south teams will take the pitch this weekend, as #2 Life travels to #5 Lindenwood; and #4 Navy welcomes, newly crowned, #1 Saint Mary’s to Annapolis. Life agaisnt Lindenwood is always a massive match, but this game will have added intensity to it; with both teams eager to push their case for higher rankings. Life, after losing their number one ranking earlier this week, will have a chip on their shoulder and will be eager to prove why they deserve to back on top. Lindenwood, similarly will be hungry to show they should be back in the Top 4, after falling out of it earlier in the Spring. This could very easily be a preview for the East Regional Final.

Saint Mary’s will face their stiffest opposition so far, this year, when they take on Navy. Traveling across the country, to play a squad brimming with confidence and self belief, is never easy; but they will be eager to prove exactly why they were voted as the best team in the country. Navy has been on the rise this year, but together a solid Fall season, but they have been storming home in the Spring. This game will be a perfect tuneup for each team’s rivalry match next weekend; with Saint Mary’s playing Cal, and Navy making the journey out to Army.

In another Top 10 match-up, #3 Cal will host #10 Arizona, for the PAC conference title. Cal’s form all season has been impeccable, never letting the opposition within sight. This will undoubtedly be their biggest test so far this season. While Cal, at home, will be favored, Arizona has shown throughout the year, they can match it with the best in the country. The Golden Bears will need to be sure they are at the top of their game, or else they could find themselves in very unfamiliar territory.

Rounding out the weekend Texas will travel across to Tempe and take on Arizona State in a Red River/PAC cross over game.