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Friday, April 15, 2016

Varsity Cup Quarterfinal Preview & Predictions


And then their were eight. The Varsity Cup moves into the quarterfinal stage this weekend with four matches. Similar to the first round there are favorites in most of the match-ups but with each team proving themselves throughout the season there could be a couple of tight matches.

BYU at Dartmouth

The Cougars will make the long trip to New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth. After being written off a week ago, including by ourselves, Dartmouth beat Penn State by a try and showed a lot of grit in doing so. They got some great contribution from a couple of football crossovers. That will help with the physicality against BYU but they are still up against it. The Cougars are the best team in college rugby at the moment. They have size, speed, and talent. While Dartmouth may challenge them early on in the end it will be BYU by a large margin.

Take the jump to read more.
Arkansas State at Navy

This is expected to be the closest match of the round. Both the Red Wolves and the Midshipmen easily got by their round of 16 opponents. Arkansas State beat Clemson 50-0 and Navy beat Notre Dame 57-3. It's truly a toss-up as to who is going to win this match. Arkansas State arguably have the more well-rounded players, especially the likes of Zinzan Elan-Puttick. However, Navy have really good fitness and chemistry. The fact that Navy is hosting the match might give them the edge. We think it does and that they narrowly eek out a win.

Cal at Army

Cal ran up a huge score against Texas last week on a weekend in which they also split their squad to play Santa Clara. Army had little trouble defeating Oklahoma 55-10. While Army are disciplined and have played some great rugby this year they are not going to be a match for a Cal team that is rounding into form at the right time. Cal's only losses this year have come to UBC, who could challenge BYU for the best college team in North America.

Central Washington vs. Utah

This is another match that could be close. UCLA made Central Washington work last weekend in Ellensburg but at the same time that was really the first time the Wildcats had played in weeks. With Aladdin Schirmer, Seth Halliman, and Josh Bower rounding into good form they are still the dark horse of college rugby to make it into one of the major finals. Head coach Tony Pacheco always has his teams ready to play and this weekend will be no different. Plus, they have already made a trip to Utah to play BYU, which is only going to help with acclimatizing.

Utah are no slouches and have faced a lot of tough competition this year. They have faced all the big schools and haven't fared too badly. They pushed St. Mary's and they have beaten some very good schools. However, even though they are playing at home they probably don't have the depth to stay with Central Washington.

Overall, we have BYU, Navy, Cal, and Central Washington all advancing to the semi-finals. It's a position that will look very familiar to the last couple of season.  That would make it a Cal-Central Washington and and BYU-Navy race for the final.

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