Week 7 Preview

D1A Rugby: Week 7 Preview
Photo Credit: BYU Rugby Facebook Page

This weekend is jam packed with exciting games in D1A, with half of the nationally ranked teams in the country taking the pitch. This weekend’s highlights include #1 Saint Mary’s going head to head with #3 BYU, #2 Life taking on #5 Lindenwood,  and #4 Cal squaring off against #10 Arizona for what will likely be the PAC title. These are just a few of the massive matchups that will be taking place this weekend.

The biggest game of the weekend will take place in Moraga California, when BYU will visit reigning National Champion Saint Mary’s. Both teams come into this weekend having compiled brilliant starts to their respective seasons. Saint Mary’s is undefeated in the California Conference, and have won all of their games by a margin of 50 or more. BYU is coming in having beaten Colorado last weekend by a whopping scoreline of 111-9. This will be the first real challenge either team has faced this year, and will give an early indication of who could be lifting silverware in May.

Another massive Top 5 matchup that takes place this weekend will be between two Mid-South Conference foes, Life and Lindenwood. Life and Lindenwood are both undefeated through their conference, and out of conference schedules, this week that will change. This will be the first of two match ups between these two teams this year. This weekend Life will be playing host and will be favored to win, however, Lindenwood has been successful on the road this year already when they were able to put away Central Washington. If the Lions are able to pull off the upset they will be in the driver’s seat to win the Mid-South Conference.

The only Top 5 team this weekend that doesn’t have another Top 5 opponent is Cal, they get #10 Arizona. Arizona has been going through their Spring Schedule like a hot knife through butter. Arizona enters this weekend after a statement victory over PAC rival Utah. Going into the match Utah was ranked in 12th and Arizona 11th all the everyone was expecting a close game, that wasn’t to be. Arizona won by a margin of 51 points, and showed their caliber. If Arizona wins this weekend they will, in all likelihood, have sealed both the PAC 7s and 15s crown for the year, Cal is in no hurry to let that happen.

Elsewhere in the Top 20 #16 Utah will be looking for penance as they come up against #18 Grand Canyon. In what should be an intreging matchup it will be interesting to see whether Utah’s performance last weekend was a bad 80 minutes, or if it is a sign of things to come. Grand Canyon, meanwhile, has been going about their business quietly this season and have been slowly inching forward in the rankings since they burst onto the scene against San Diego State. This has the potential to be another statement victory in the Lopes’ first season in D1A.

#9 Arkansas State matches up against Clemson this weekend. Clemson is yet to win a game in the Mid-South this season and Arkansas State has only won once. Arkansas State was successful last week in stifling the strong attack of Lindenwood, but could not generate any offense as they were shut out by the Lions, expect some fireworks this weekend.

North East rugby picks up again this weekend as #7 Navy takes on Dartmouth in Annapolis. This will be the midshipmen’s first game of 2018 and will serve as a strong challenge as they head into a ferocious spring schedule which will include games against Army and the Fall D1A champion, Mary Washington.    

Red River has eight of their nine teams in action this weekend. In what will be Red River’s biggest game of the weekend undefeated LSU and undefeated Texas A&M will attempt to put a dent in the other’s record. LSU is yet to be tested in conference play as they have only faced the teams in 9th and 7th place. Texas A&M on the other hand have had a stiffer schedule having played 3rd placed Texas, and in doing so handed the longhorns their only loss of the season. This game will have major ramifications for the final standings.

Baylor will be hoping that they can continue their quest for perfection this weekend as they square off against Oklahoma. The two teams have met before this season, Baylor winning 31-10, but Oklahoma is riding an impressive two game winning streak, and will be confident in their chances to spoil Baylor’s season.

The longhorns will look to solidify their spot in the top three, and hope to move into second place, with a win over Houston this weekend. Houston has had a less than ideal season as they are currently in possession of the wooden spoon with a record of 0-5. With a big win here, Texas could put themselves back in contention for the conference title.

Arkansas and Texas Tech will be the two teams in the final match for Red River this weekend. Texas Tech, a team that many felt could pull off an upset and win the conference this year has had a disappointing season and broke a four-game losing skid last weekend. Arkansas’s only victory this year came against the Red Raiders, look for there to be an element of revenge in this game.

Utah Valley continues its Spring schedule with a matchup against Colorado. Last weekend was one to forget for both teams as Utah Valley lost to Cal 106-7 and Colorado didn’t fair any better against BYU losing 111-9. Needless to say neither team will be looking for a repeat of last weekend. 

In California Conference play Santa Clara will take on Santa Barbara. Both teams are on the hunt for their first win of the season.