The Week Ahead: D1-AA Men’s College

Article written by Pat Clifton and published on Friday, 07 October 2011.  Check out the The Week Ahead: D1-AA Men’s College article on RUGBYMag.com or read below.

There are two matches pitting ranked opponents against one another Saturday, and they both happen in the old Midwest.

No. 11 Indiana travels to No. 7 Miami and No. 15 Wisconsin to No. 16 Minnesota, for swing matches in the Mideast and Midwest conferences, respectively.

Wisconsin and Minnesota are expected to be playing in front of 2,000-6,000 fans inside TCF Stadium, where the football Gophers ply their trade. The winner, barring a major upset later this season, will win the Midwest and advance to the Sweet 16.

Miami is 1-0 in the Mideast and Indiana 0-1, having lost to Bowling Green by three points Saturday. There are no Mideast playoffs this year and four true contenders: Indiana, Miami, Bowling Green and Davenport.

If Indiana loses to a second one of those teams, the postseason will be all but lost. Conversely, if Miami wants a conference title, they probably can’t afford a loss here.

Though Binghamton sits just outside the top 25, they’re 2-0 in league play and host No. 23 St. Bonaventure for an encounter with massive implications. The Bonnies are 2-1, but lead the Empire’s West Division with a bonus-point advantage over Binghamton.

If anything can be learned by examining scores against common opponents, this game should be closely contested. Both smashed Syracuse, Binghamton by 34 and St. Bonaventure by 41. Binghamton beat Brockport by 23 and St. Bonaventure did so by 48.

The Empire schedule calls for division opponents to play each other twice this fall, so Saturday’s game isn’t a win-or-go-home situation, the winner will take a decisive lead in the divisional standings.

Buffalo, who started its Empire West campaign with a disappointing 30-5 loss to Syracuse, bounced back last week to beat St. Bonaventure 5-0, giving the Bonnies their only loss of the season. If UB wants to send a message to the rest of the division that the loss to the Cuse was a fluke, they need to hang a big score on Brockport, like the league leaders already have.

In the Ivy League, 19th ranked Princeton looks to continue its Cinderella run against Penn. The Tigers are an unexpected 3-0 and Penn sits at 2-1. Princeton has been pounding teams so far this season, winning by Dartmouth-like numbers. The Tigers are slated to meet the Big Green next weekend, and if they bag a win here, they’ll set up a huge clash between ranked unbeatens in Hanover.

No. 25 Kansas State opens its league season in Manhattan against Oklahoma State this weekend. The Cowboys are coming off a loss to Truman State, who lost 90-8 to DII Lindenwood in the preseason. How the Wildcats do here could determine whether or not they’re ranked come Monday.

Texas and Oklahoma, traditional rivals in every sports, play the rugby version of the Red River Rivalry Saturday in Dallas. It’s just a friendly, but pride and a traveling trophy are on the line.

Midwest/Mideast
Ohio State @ #1 Davenport
Stout @ Iowa State
#11 Indiana @ #7 Miami #15 Wisconsin @ # 16 Minnesota
Iowa @ UNI
Michigan State @ Purdue

Ivy League
Columbia @ Cornell
Harvard @ Yale
#19 Princeton @ Penn
#2 Dartmouth @ Brown

ECRC 
Albany vs. Middlebury
#18 Northeastern vs. Boston College SCSU vs. UConn

Empire – Pat
#23 St. Bonaventure @ Binghamton
Buffalo @ Brockport
Kings Point vs. Stony Brook
Fordham @ Iona

Heart of America – Pat
Oklahoma State @ #25 Kansas State

D1-A or D1-AA Friendlies
Arkansas State @ Arkansas
Colorado vs. Colorado State
Air Force vs. Notre Dame
St. Joe’s vs. Delaware
Temple @ Penn State
Maryland vs. Salisbury
Bowling Green vs. Vanderbilt
Georgia vs. Georgia Southern
Florida State vs. UCF
Clemson vs. Kennesaw (Friday)