Women’s DI colleges have started league play in the western and southern portions of the country, so it’s time to update our rankings.
Of all the significant games that have already occurred, none are more interesting than DI’s first-year Texas. With the restructure in the West, Texas teams were excluded from the Pacific Mountain East Conference, and the DI representative was determined through a Cup Match series between Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. The winner moves onto the South play-ins against the second-place teams in each South conference, and the winner will assume the fourth seed to the South championships.
Texas turned some heads in the fall when they exited the first round of Cup matches 2-0, but last weekend’s 54-12 over Texas Tech proved they were more than just lucky.
“We've been working hard this year and have a very talented squad,” Texas coach Anna Kunkel said. “This is a season for a lot of firsts: First time competing as a division one team; first time beating Tech and A&M; and we hope to continue the firsts by making it to nationals.”
Texas is now 3-0 and has guaranteed its berth to South play-ins and will see the Wren Conference winner in the first round. It’s a fortunate position for Texas, as the two most dominating teams in the South – North Carolina and Central Florida – play in the other two conferences.
North Carolina returns to the rankings after a hasty removal during the fall. The Tar Heels had lost friendlies to North Carolina State and East Carolina, but it’s now clear that those competitions were used to vet their rookies. They’ve returned to the matrix season winning games convincingly, and even last weekend’s 36-24 victory against North Carolina State was more one-sided than the score suggests.
UCF jumps onto the rankings after some big wins in the Sunshine Conference, and they still mark the class of the Florida teams. The closest match they’ve played was against Florida last week – 20-12 – and UF looks like they’ll take the second-place seed to play-ins.
The Pacific Mountain conferences are producing some interesting bouts as well. In the South Conference, UCLA has emerged as the forerunner at 3-0, while UC San Diego has fallen off a bit since last year’s nationals. The latter is immersed in a three-way battle with Arizona State and UC Santa Barbara, with all three trading victories and losses to keep league play exciting.
In the North, the addition of the Oregon teams has spiced up an always contentious Northern California region, but Stanford is still the team to beat. The Cardinal played their closest match of their undefeated season against Cal last weekend, winning 32-10. However, the Golden Bears impressed in the second half of the match, playing Stanford to a 12-10 deficit, and putting in an early chit as the second-best team in the region.
There’s still a lot of league play left, and we expect to see more tight scores like Davis’ 21-17 victory over Chico, and Oregon State’s 12-7 win over Oregon. Stay tuned.
College Top 25
1 (1) Penn
State (1-0) (7-0). EPRU champ; first games on tour in Wales
2 (2) Brown
(7-0), (7-2). Northeast champions; friendly season starts March 10
Women's Cougar Rugby (BYU) (4-0). Won Pacific Mountain East; B side defeated
Chico State at Las Vegas Invitational
4 (4) Army
(6-1). Lost 36-17 to Brown in NRU Final
Virginia (2-0), (4-0). Won the Virginia conference; defeated James Madison 43-5
and Virginia Tech 63-0 the last two weeks
Stanford (3-0), (9-0). Won the Stanford Invitational; 3-0 in Pacific Mountain
North; defeated Cal 32-10 Feb. 18
7 (5) Navy
(1-0), (6-1-1). Won Potomac; tied West Chester 15-15 Feb. 18
Eastern Illinois (5-0), (10-0). Won Midwest West Conference
North Carolina (4-0). Leads South's Cardinal Conference; defeated NC State
36-24 Feb. 18
10 (13) UCLA
(3-0). Undefeated in Pacific Mountain South; defeated UCSB 25-5 Feb. 18
Northern Iowa (7-1). Won the Midwest championship 152-20 over 3 playoff games
Colorado (3-1), (10-6). Finished second in Pacific Mountain East; went 3-2 at
13 (14) Ohio
State (7-2), (7-3). Finalist at Midwest Championship; lost to Michigan 17-7
Texas (3-0). Defeated Texas Tech and Texas A&M to clinch Texas
15 (24) Cal
(1-1). Defeated Davis 31-10; lost to Stanford 32-10
Michigan (6-2), (7-4). Finished 3rd at Midwest Championship; defeated Ohio
State 17-7 Feb. 18
Princeton (6-2) (7-2). Finished 3rd in Northeast; friendlies start March 10
Arizona State (1-2). Split games with UCSD; lost to UCLA 37-19
Colorado State (2-2), (3-2). Finished 3rd in Pacific Mountain East
20 (21) UC
Davis (2-1). Defeated Chico State 21-17 Feb. 18; defeated Oregon State and lost
to Cal 31-10.
21 (10) UC
San Diego (1-2). Split games with Arizona State; lost to UCSB 17-5
Central Florida (4-0). Leading South's Sunshine conference 150-12
23 (25) West
Chester (0-1), (5-1-1). Tied Navy 15-15 on February 18
24 (9) NC
State (2-2). Lost to North Carolina 36-24 and split games with East Carolina in
Chico State (0-1). Lost to Davis 21-17
Radcliffe. 4th in Northeast: Lost 30-7 to Army then 23-10 to Princeton