It’s time for your weekly 7s Nationals update. Three of 16 qualifiers were played Oct. 26-27, with St. Mary’s, Arkansas State and BYU winning their respective tournaments.
Arkansas State won the South Independent in Atlanta, creaming everyone in the two-day event prior to beating Life 24-19 in the final. The Red Wolves have now beaten the likes of Life, Texas, Oklahoma and Lindenwood this season, all of whom have either clinched bids to Nationals or are likely to receive at-large nods.
BYU won the Rocky Mountain West tournament in Fort Collins, Colo. The Cougars were dominant Saturday, playing just one relatively close game – a 10-point win over Colorado in one semifinal. Colorado State knocked off Air Force in the other semi. BYU will not take the automatic bid to Nationals, bumping the number of at-large bids on offer to nine.
St. Mary’s won their tournament, the Battle in the Bay, on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. The Gaels beat some pretty good teams in the process, including Cal and Central Washington. Central Washington has already won its way to Nationals via the NCRC 7s. Cal would be a likely at-large selection, but the Bears have chosen not to participate in Nationals this year.
There are still six qualifiers left. Only one is this weekend – PAC 7s at UCLA. The at-large count goes up if either the Bruins or Cal Bears win, as UCLA has already won a qualifier.
Five automatic bids will be decided Nov. 9 – the Ivy, Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Pacific Western and California 7s.
The total number of teams qualified for Nationals who haven’t declined their bids is now nine – Air Force, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Cal Poly, Central Washington, Oklahoma, St. Mary’s, Texas and UCLA.
Of the half dozen qualifiers yet to be played, two are likely to be won by teams who’ve either already qualified or won’t accept a bid. If that’s how it plays out, there will be 11 at-large bids up for grabs.
Here are some of the teams we think might get an at-large big. Keep in mind, every season there is a number of teams who are either offered an at-large bid, or would be, but they turn down the expensive proposition that is getting to Nationals. There are also a number of teams who will emerge from the remaining qualifiers.
At Large hopefuls
Lindenwood – won Notre Dame Invitational. Only losses this fall have come against Arkansas State.
Davenport – Not played a ton of 7s, but finished second at Notre Dame to Lindenwood.
Oregon State – With Pono Haitsuka, the Beavers finished 2nd at the NCRC.
Colorado State – Finished 3rd at BYU’s tournament and 2nd at Rocky Mountain West.
North Texas – Finished 2nd in Southwest qualifier and crushed Baylor at the ARC event in Norman
Texas Tech – Finished 2nd in the ARC 7s Series