Week 2 Preview: Ten ranked teams clash head-to-head

D1A Rugby: Week 2 Preview: Ten ranked teams clash head-to-head
  • Top 20 shakeups & new On The Bubble teams
  • Week 2 preview with notable game mentions
  • Oklahoma gains new head coach in former international and Super Rugby coach, Blikkies Groenewald
  • All matchups listed across the weekend

After the Week 1 dust has settled, there has been some movement within the Top 20 and Bubble Teams. The most notable upward trends were Kutztown moving from #12 to #10 after their formidable win against D1A newcomers club Mary Washington.  Kutztown will surely need their current momentum moving forward, for their Week 2 battle with #7 Army, at home, for our Game of the Week. This prominent Eastern Conference rivalry is ready to blast off, with its consequential ripple effects taking aim across the division’s landscape. #15 St. Bonaventure had moved up three spots even after their close loss against #5 Navy. St. Bonaventure had been up majority of the match suppressing the Midshipmen counterattack, and finding gaps in their defensive line. Although climbing the rankings after a loss may seem a bit odd to some, St. Bonaventure has proven themselves as a team not be reckoned for the remainder of the year, and could be a dark horse within the future playoff picture.

As the first team in 2019 to find themselves out of The Bubble and into the Top 20 is #19 Ohio State.  The Columbus natives will surely be thrilled to find themselves amongst the chosen few after their hard fought win against a valiant #24 Notre Dame side.  Both of these two teams will be talked about a lot in the collegiate rugby circles for the Fall season, and moving forward into next calendar year. Other notable mentions that have climbed the rankings ladder are: #21 Clemson after their inter-conference victory against Texas A&M, #22 Colorado State with a dominant victory over the Air Force Academy side, and #23 Utah Valley shuffles upward swapping with Notre Dame at #24, succeeding their loss to Ohio State.

Credit: Mary Washington

All matchups, except one, are set to take place within their respective conference play. The only one taking place outside on their conference is #17 Iona traveling to Annapolis, MD and taking on a staunch #5 Navy side. Navy should have their hands full with the Upstate New York side, as Iona shows great potential moving forward with some stellar athletes. The Midshipmen are geared to patch up a few holes in their defensive schemes, after an aggressive St. Bonaventure side almost sunk their hopes of a victory.  The remaining matchups all take place within conference play, which will be Liberty, East, Big 10, and Rocky Mountain.

Michigan State are traveling to Champaign, IL for their clash with Illinois, and both teams will be looking to set the standard of play at a very high level. There is no love lost between these two schools, spreading across all sports, and expect some grueling play to endure before the final whistle.  Another massive matchup will be #22 Colorado State hosting the ever-dangerous #9 BYU side. With a talented roster surging through the rankings, BYU will be looking to pop the Rams Rankings Bubble before gaining any other momentum to climb the polls. Although BYU has always had a strong side, beware of this feisty Colorado State side who will channeling the energy of the Rocky Mountain winds to soar over the Cougars.

Powerhouse #8 Penn State will traveling to the South Euclid, OH for their Week 2 match vs #18 Notre Dame College.  Another wonderful game that will be full of enthusiastic and determined play. This East Conference rivalry will bring out the best of both club sides in their preparation for a grinding Fall campaign against immensely tough opposition.  Shoutout to the Liberty Conference who will be hosting a slew of games, six to be exact, across the weekend. The most interesting matchup of this conference will be Boston College traveling into Connecticut to play Fairfield University. Both of these teams have the potential to make some noise throughout the division, within a Liberty Conference that has been more even in competition, within recent years.  This sneaky matchup will be sure to have one of the teams leaving the pitch with a side effect of increased confidence moving forward.

The Oklahoma Sooners make a big splash with their New Head Coach. After winning the 2018-2019 Red River Rugby Collegiate Conference XVs Championship, Coach Doug Neubauer decided to step down as head coach. The entire conference extends their gratitude to Nueby and wish him well. Oklahoma University Rugby is excited to announce the appointment of its new Head Coach, Blikkies Groenewald of Pretoria, South Africa. Groenewald is a former international and Super Rugby coach for the Springboks, Russia, Botswana, South Africa “A”, and the Blue Bulls.

All Matchups Across The Weekend:

Friday, September 13th

Saturday, September 14th