Week 5 Preview: Four undefeated teams face-off

D1A Rugby: Week 5 Preview: Four undefeated teams face-off
Photo Credit: Wisconsin RFC Instagram - @badger_rugby
  • Liberty’s bell ready to ring
  • Lt. Col Shea Cup (Air Force v Navy)
  • Rocky Mountain-Top-heavy
  • All matchups listed across the weekend

Three ranked matchups will commence this upcoming weekend within the D1A sphere of play. #21 Colorado State will host the streaking #10 BYU Cougars in Fort Collins, CO, while two East conference matchups clash as; #9 Army will travel to South Euclid, OH and take on the #14 Notre Dame College Falcons, and #12 St. Bonaventure hosts the #8 Penn State Nittany Lions. These top sides will undoubtedly battle for inter-conference bragging rights, along with a shot at climbing the rankings ladder.

Liberty

To begin this packed weekend of notable matchups, we find ourselves in the Liberty conference which includes 3 undefeated teams in: Syracuse (4-0), Boston College (3-0), and Northeastern (2-0), according to USA Rugby’s Liberty Conference CMS platform. So far, these teams remain unranked but after this weekend, they hope to find themselves On The Bubble. Boston College will travel close to face the other undefeated Boston-based club, Northeastern. Boston College has totaled an enormous 182 total points scored through only three matches. This high-powered attack will face a Northeastern side that has only let its opponents score an average of 5 points through two games. In this tale of Unstoppable Force meets Unmovable Object, the Liberty conference will be lucky that one of their titans will fall after this weekend, which will potentially leave room for another club to overtake their place in the standings.

Undefeated Syracuse will travel to face Colgate in a matchup that has gone the way of Colgate’s favor the past 3 of 4 years. Syracuse is 11-1 in their last 12 regular season games, and will be looking to improve on that record, but Colgate will be ready to meet them head on for the challenge. The next notable matchup in the Liberty conference, is Oswego State (2-1) traveling to Upper New York to take on Buffalo (2-1). Not only playing in the same conference, these two teams share another similarity; their only loss came to top-of-the-table, Syracuse. Both these clubs have shown the rest of the division that they are improving, strong teams that deserve a mention for their season’s efforts.

The remaining of the Liberty conference matchups goes as follows: Fordham at AIC, Fairfield at Tufts, UCONN on the road at Rhode Island, Brockport travels to Albany, Cortland at home vs Binghampton, and #17 ranked Iona will face Rutgers in New Jersey.

American International College Instagram – @aicrugby

East

The powerhouse East conference will boast two ranked matchups that will surely cause ripple effects throughout the rankings, especially if upsets take place. #14 Notre Dame College will host #9 Army Golden Knights in a clash in which the Falcons will be aiming to get back on the winning-track after their previous two defeats. Army is coming off their big 40 point deficit win against cross-conference foe, Iona, and are looking toward the Falcons to improve their record.

The other matchup will include the staunch #8 Penn State traveling to play #12 ranked St. Bonaventure. Penn State remains undefeated so far this Autumn season, and intend on keeping that title while facing a Bonnie club that will be facing three Top-10 clubs in the next four weeks. Aptly considered as the ‘Conference of Death”, with the most Top-20 clubs featured, St. Bonaventure will undoubtedly have a tough schedule ahead, but first they must survive and thrive against the Nittany Lions.

Mid-South

The sole matchup in this conference, will be a storied one with the Rocky Mountain Air Force taking flight to Annapolis to take on their inter-military rival #5 ranked Navy. The annual Lt. Col Shea Cup will include the best team thus far in the 2019 season, Navy, who will be honored in hosting Air Force in this historic clash of the Air vs Sea. While Air Force have their hopes high, Navy’s stellar defense will be on the lookout to ‘ground’ the Falcons attack. Expect a highly respectful, yet brutal contest between two of the nation’s armed forces.

Big Ten

Plenty of close and competitive games to be had as Illinois take on the up-trending Wisconsin club, who has been pecking away at one of The Bubble spots in the rankings. Wisconsin has been riding a two-game winning streak against Big Ten opponents, while the Illini are looking to bounce back from their inverse two-game losing streak.

Michigan State will travel to Purdue and will be taking on the Boilermakers with fresh legs due to their unfortunate postponed Battle for the Mitten game last week. The Spartans point differential this year so far has only been 4.5 average, which this matchup should render no big change in score. The Big Ten this year has been very competitive, and some games have been decided on the mere bounce of the ball.

The final game of this conference will include #20 ranked Ohio State to host the Minnesota Gophers. Ohio State is aiming to rebound from their previous week’s loss to #19 Indiana, while the Gophers will be attempting to reverse their two-game losing streak against a very keen opponent in the Buckeyes.

Rocky Mountain

Only a few inter-conference matchups will be commencing this weekend in the Rocky Mountains. The most notable match is #10 BYU on the road vs #21, On The Bubble, Colorado State. The Rams (2-0) and the Cougars (1-0) are both undefeated, respectively, in their overall records and Colorado State will have an advantage being on home-field turf with an incredibly rowdy CSU fan-base. Although BYU fandom travels well, it will tough to drown out the chants and cheers of the Ram student body. Expect a close, but very tough, matchup that will give the victor reassured confidence moving forward.

Utah State will travel to New Mexico, in lieu of their spirited contest vs Top-20 ranked Colorado State, last week. Unfortunately, New Mexico has yet to find a victory this year, but the Lobos had their closest contest against an improved Wyoming side the previous game.

On The Bubble #24 Utah Valley will take on Wyoming in Laramie this upcoming weekend. Utah Valley had taken on a fiery Air Force side last week, and came away with an impressive win. The same goes for Wyoming who found themselves in the win column for the first time this year, and have their sights set on victory two in an enthusiastic matchup between their conference rival.

ALL MATCHUPS ACROSS THE WEEKEND:

Friday 10/4/19#10 BYUat#21 Colorado State1:00 PM MDT
FordhamatAIC8:00 PM EDT
Boston CollegeatNortheastern1:00 PM EDT
FairfieldatTufts
Saturday 10/5/19#8 Penn Stateat#12 St Bonaventure1:00 PM EDT
#9 Armyat#14 Notre Dame College4:00 PM CDT
IllinoisatWisconsin1:00 PM CDT
Michigan StatPurdue1:00 PM CDT
Minnesotaat#20 Ohio State1:00 PM CDT
Air Force at#5 Navy1:00 PM EDT
Utah StateatNew Mexico1:00 PM MDT
#24 Utah ValleyatWyoming1:00 PM MDT
Rhode IslandatUCONN1:00 PM EDT
BrockportatAlbany1:00 PM EDT
BinghamtonatCortland1:00 PM EDT
Oswego StateatBuffalo1:00 PM EDT
SyracuseatColgate1:00 PM EDT
#17 IonaatRutgers1:00 PM EDT