The Week Ahead: DI-AA

Article written by Pat Clifton and published on Friday, 21 October 2011.  Check out the The Week Ahead: DI-AA article on RUGBYMag.com or read below.

Action west of the Mississippi and south of Iowa gets started in earnest this weekend, as the new Southwest Conference begins play and the Heart of America finally has a weekend in which more than one game is played.

The Southwest Conference, molded in part after the former SWC football conference, is an amalgamation of former Texas Rugby Union DI and DII schools. With that mix, it’s awful hard to predict any of this weekend’s games.

The 2010/2011 Texas DII champ, Rice, plays the 2010/2011 Texas DI champ, Texas State, Saturday in a game that could be a marker for the rest of the league. TXST is coming off of a big non-conference win over LSU.

A pair of games in the Heart of America could foretell the rest of the season, as Kansas State travels to Truman State and Kansas hosts Arkansas. It’s K-State’s first league game of the season, and Truman’s third. Still, if the Wildcats don’t win big, it’ll be hard to conclude they’re not still reeling from the loss of a couple of important departed seniors.

Arkansas vs. Kansas is interesting because this season is both team’s first year back in DI. Arkansas has won the DII Heart of America LAU championship the last couple years, but the Razorbacks aren’t used to tough competition on a weekly basis. Kansas also spent the last couple seasons in DII, but opened up league play with a huge victory, 62-8, over Truman State. If the Jayhawks improve to 2-0, they become a serious threat to win the league.

The biggest game of the week, not only in DIAA, but in American rugby, is Miami at Davenport. It’ll be webcast live and available 24-48 hours after completion on demand at the same link. This game will tell us if Davenport is still human or if their varsity setup has already propelled them to unbeatable-by-mere-mortals status.

Another compelling clash sees Buffalo travel to Binghamton in the Empire West. St. Bonaventure is leading this division, but there’s still a lot of rugby to be played, and a win here would put either team the best possible position to catch the Bonnies. Buffalo and Binghamton meet again in two weeks.

DI Men’s College
Mideast/Midwest
Michigan State @ Bowling Green
Miami @ Davenport
Purdue @ Indiana
Minnesota @ Nebraska
Stout @ UNI
Iowa State @ Wisconsin

Heart of America
Kansas State @ Truman State
Arkansas @ Kansas

Southwest Conference
TCU vs. Texas
Sam Houston vs. Houston
Baylor vs. North Texas
Texas State vs. Rice

ECRC
Albany @ UMass
Boston College @ SCSU
UConn @ Middlebury
Albany @ UConn (Sunday)

Empire
Buffalo @ Binghamton
St. Bonaventure @ Syracuse
Fordham @ Stony Brook (Friday)
Kings Point @ Iona

Ivy League
Cornell vs. Penn
Yale vs. Brown
Columbia vs. Princeton
Harvard vs. Dartmouth

EPRU
Millersville @ Temple

Florida Cup (Non Conference Competition)
FSU @ FIU
UCF @ USF

Friendlies
Life @ Tennessee
West Chester @ Delaware
Kutztown @ St. Joe’s