What’s on Tap in DI-AA, Sept. 21, 2012

Article written by Pat Clifton and published on Friday, 21 September 2012. Check out the What’s on Tap in DI-AA, Sept. 21, 2012 article on RUGBYMag.com or read below.

We go around the country to tell you which games are worth paying attention to in each of the DI-AA conferences

It’s a big week in the Empire, with 1-0 St. Bonaventure hosting 1-0-1 Brockport. Brockport’s tie came last week against Army, who is always a tough out, so it was a result to be proud of. The Bonnies sat the weekend out. These teams both figure to be in the conference title race, and a win or loss here to could make a world of difference down the stretch.

The other games are sort of vanilla. Army hosts Binghamton Friday night, but the Black Knights are expected to bank a victory. Elsewhere, Stony Brook should roll Rutgers and 0-2 Fordham plays 0-2 USMMA.

Like the Empire, the MAC Schools Conference has one marquee match-up, with Central Michigan trying to prove their 2-0 start is more than just the product of a weak early schedule. The Chippewas could do just that by knocking off 1-1 Ohio. The Bobcats have shared only one opponent with Central so far, Ball State. Ohio beat Ball State by 37, while Central eked out a three-point win the week prior.

This, the third week of MAC Schools play, is Dayton’s first. They take on 1-1 Miami. The Reds are rebuilding but coming off of a 30-point win over Cincinnati. We’ll know if the Flyers are contenders after Saturday.

For more on the MAC Schools, click here.

The East Coast’s second week has three games that could tell us something. AIC is expected to beat UConn with relative ease, but Boston College visiting Albany, Southern Connecticut traveling to UMass and Northeastern going to Middlebury could all provide drama.

Middlebury, in just its second season in DI, is always tough. The Panthers escaped UMass last week by two points, and now they’ve got the reigning champion. If Middlebury keeps it close or wins, this league could be tighter than it has been in the past. If the Huskies win in a walk, they might be waltzing to their third-straight Sweet 16.

Boston College, like Northeastern, won big in week one. Albany lost a close game to varsity AIC. So both schools seem to be in a position to compete. If Albany wins by multiple scores, then it makes AIC look a little better. If Boston College wins, then the Eagles have to be considered title contenders.

What do we know after the first week of Ivy play? That Dartmouth is still, undoubtedly, the team to beat. Is there a realistic challenger? We’ll get a long way towards finding out this weekend. Brown won big in week one, but if they don’t put Harvard (who lost to the Big Green by 60) down with ease in week two, then we know they aren’t really in the hunt.

Columbia, Cornell, Princeton and Penn all make their season debuts this weekend.

The Heart of America takes a weekend off of 15s action for its 7s tournament. For more on it, click here.