The Northeast is the first region to step into the territorial post-season, and this Saturday marks the round of six for women's DI colleges.
This year’s playoffs begin with the round of six, and top seeds Army (NERFU 1) and Brown (Ivy League 1) receive byes through this weekend. Army has faced little competition this league season and outscored opponents 219-12. Brown used to be the cadets’ biggest rival of the fall season, but this year’s Ivy League removed half to New England’s DI teams, who were replaced by former DII teams.
Brown was luckier competition wise. Although teams like Columbia and Yale posed little threat, coach Kerri Heffernan’s squad played exciting matches against Radcliffe (29-8) and most recently Princeton (24-17) to prime themselves for regionals.
With Dartmouth thrown into the mix, the Ivy League was a fun competition to watch week to week. Radcliffe’s berth to NRUs came down to last weekend’s 27-12 win over the Big Green. The reigning DII champion will take on Buffalo, which won New York State with a 25-15 win over Cortland last Sunday, to keep its post-season alive another week.
Fighting for that other semifinal spot will be Boston University and Princeton. BU advanced to the knockouts on one bonus-point win, giving the team a one-point advantage over Boston College. The two teams had tied each other in regular season, and BC actually played Army to a more competitive scoreline (31-12, while BU lost 49-0). Princeton is favored in the match regardless, especially after its strong performance against Brown and the way the Tigers gutted out wins against Radcliffe and Dartmouth during the course of the season.
The Mid-Atlantic lacks any kind of drama when it comes to qualifying for territorial playoffs. Why? Because all of the teams advance. After Princeton left for the Ivy League and Delaware returned to DII, DI was left with only seven teams. The number one seed out of Eastern Pennsylvania, which will be decided this Saturday, will receive a bye into the quarterfinals.
Penn State and West Chester play this Saturday for their lone league game of the season. PSU has run through opponents as per usual and played a couple of telling games against Army (14-5) and Navy (30-5) to remain undefeated throughout the fall. West Chester has stayed busy as well, finishing its friendly season 4-0. The Golden Rams’ 39-7 win over James Madison was probably the most indicative as to where West Chester belongs in the MARFU scheme.
UVA takes on Virginia Tech for the final game in the VRU. Last year’s DI semifinalist played JMU to a 43-0 win last weekend and should post similar numbers against Tech, which lost 17-12 to James Madison in the first matrix game.
The Potomac played its one league game on Oct. 15 and Navy defeated Maryland 71-7. With the exception of one game (JMU v VT), MARFU will have a predictable finish:
EPRU: 1. Penn State, 2. West Chester; Potomac: 1. Navy, 2. Maryland; Virginia: 1. UVA, 2. James Madison, 3. Virginia Tech
The Midwest has produced some close games in the past weeks, but the only matchup we’re really watching this weekend is Michigan v Ohio State. Despite the rivalry, the match should be a good one as the two conference leaders butt heads.
Michigan is coming off a thrilling 29-24 win over Indiana last weekend. Heading into the break, Michigan with a three-try lead, IU evened up with consecutive five-pointers. The teams traded tries, and then in the last five minutes, Michigan dotted down the go-ahead points.
“IU has a nice team,” Michigan coach Herb Reich said. “They were fit and very athletic. It was a good test for us; we needed to be tested and they certainly did that.
OSU eked out a 10-5 win over Purdue last weekend, so although the team is 3-1, the edge goes to Michigan.
“We had 20 minutes in which we played like the team we want to be and that team can play with anyone in the country,” Reich continued. “This gave us the edge in our game against Indiana. During this time, we were clinical at the breakdown, passing and running at pace. We definitely have our work cut out to build a complete game. All the pieces are in place to be a title contender for the Midwest and it is up to the players to step up and coaches to mentor.”
In other games, we expect the following results:
Eastern Illinois defeats Iowa State
Northern Iowa defeats Milwaukee
Notre Dame defeats Michigan State
Indiana defeats Purdue
The Pacific Mountain Conference sees some more action this weekend as the Air Force and New Mexico look for their first win of the season. Stanford hosts its annual 10s tournament, and southern California teams will play some 15s the following weekend at Scrum By The Sea.