Top 20 Rankings – Round 8

D1A Rugby: Top 20 Rankings – Round 8

Following last week’s outcomes, this week marks the most movements within the rankings yet. A total of 16 teams have been shaken-up, including those On The Bubble. There are no new Top-20 teams, but we have yet another Red River club finding its way onto the cusp of cracking it.

TOP 20 MOVEMENT

Welcome to the Top-10, Davenport Panthers. After a thrilling upset against a very strong and highly ranked Penn State side, 49-17, Davenport has climbed the rankings a whopping (+6) spots to now, #8. Unfortunately after the lopsided loss, the Nittany Lions have fallen (-1) spot to #10, still below #9 BYU. Penn State have lost two consecutive matches which have also been to Top-15 clubs, keeping them afloat in the higher tier of the standings. As of now, the Nittany Lions have an extremely tough remaining schedule facing off against: #5 Navy, #13 Army, #19 Ohio State, #13 Army again, and then #1 Life. The Lions must make it through this devastatingly tough gauntlet of powerhouse clubs, in order to maintain their position heading into the potential playoff picture.

Davenport Instagram: @dupanthersrugby

#7 Kutztown will remain unmoved after their convincing win over, now, #12 Notre Dame College, who has dropped (-1) spot since. The 4-1 Golden Bears have claimed their Top-7 spot for now, but will face-off against #18 St. Bonaventure next round, and then finish their Fall season against the unranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish who have been relevant as of late. The 2-3 NDC Falcons have only lost to top ranked clubs this year thus far, but will finish their Fall campaign with three strong teams in: #8 Davenport, Mary Washington, and then #5 Navy for their regular season finale.

Even after securing a win against the, now, #18 St. Bonaventure Bonnies, the #13 Army Golden Knights unfortunately dropped (-1) spot, most likely due to the ripple affect of Davenport leap frogging their way up (+6) spots. Army fought tough this past weekend, earning a much-needed victory following their previous two-game losing streak. Army’s schedule will be increasingly expansive into next year’s springtime, but much like Penn State, they have a murderer’s row of top ranked clubs yet to be played. St. Bonaventure had dropped (-2) spots after their defeat to East conference foe, Army. The Bonnies have found themselves in a three-game skid, and currently (1-4) on the Fall season. St. Bonaventure’s final three games include: #7 Kutztown, Mary Washington, and #14 Iona. It will be a difficult journey to stay afloat in the rankings, but also one in the discussion for potentially finishing bottom of the table in the East conference.

#14 Iona has risen (+1) spot in the Top-20 after their convincing ‘Bubble Popping’ victory over, then #21 and now unranked, Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have had an inconsistently fun year when it comes to being in and out of the conversation, week-after-week, of being within the country’s best. This matchup’s outcome had proven that Iona is for real, and a force to be reckoned with. The 5-2 Gaels have only lost to military academies so far this season, but will have to finish their Fall campaign strong with AIC and #18 St. Bonaventure in their sights.

In a very turbulent and fairly even-matched Big Ten conference, the #17 Indiana Hoosiers have found themselves climbing the ladder (+3) spots after their impressive 58-5 win against Michigan State. Indiana’s only loss this season was to #14 Iona in their opening matchup. Since, they have been undefeated within conference play, while topping #19 ranked Ohio State two weeks ago. The Hoosiers will have high hopes leading into their conference playoffs later this Fall, currently up 7 standings points to the #3 Big Ten team, Michigan State.

Other notable movements within the Top-20 that were forced due to either inactivity or lack of strength matchup were a number of teams. #9 BYU dropped (-1) spot due to Davenport’s wild upset succeeding them in the rankings, along with facing a weaker Utah State side and beating them 167-0. #11 Arizona, #15 Central Washington, & #20 Grand Canyon were all victims to the tsunami tidal effects of the Davenport victory, along with the Iona and Indiana convincing wins. #16 UCLA seemed to rise (+1) spot due to St. Bonaventure’s fall from grace.

ON THE BUBBLE

Due to Notre Dame’s defeat to a strong Iona side, 15-45, the Fighting Irish have been popped from this round’s Bubble. #21 Colorado State, #22 UC Davis, and #23 Texas A&M all climbed the Bubble ladder because of this loss, which brings in a new OTB squad. #25 Oklahoma have officially joined the conversation as one of the nation’s top clubs. Their new coach, who has an incredibly impressive resume coaching in some of South Africa’s top clubs and international sides, must be excited in his team’s hopes of cracking the Top-20 in future opportunities to come. The Sooners will not play until November 2nd, but are excited in finally putting their name in the proverbial hat of the upper echelon D1A division.

Rebecca Ross Ramsey Photo