Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ERugbyNews College Rugby Preseason Rankings: BYU at #2

About a week ago, the other heavyweight in US rugby news reporting, ERugbyNews, weighed in with their own "Top 25" college rugby picks.

In a slightly more generous move than that offered by American Rugby News, ERugbyNews slotted BYU at #2.

ERN College Rugby Top 25

2009-2010 Preseason
ERugbyNews Men's DI College Top 25

1 California
3 San Diego State
4 Army
5 Penn State
6 St. Mary's
7 Arkansas State
9 Cal Poly
10 Utah
11 Navy
12 Central Washington
13 Wyoming
14 Colorado State
15 Kutztown
16 Air Force
17 Dartmouth
18 Minnesota
19 Notre Dame
20 Texas A&M
21 Arizona
22 Rutgers
23 UC Davis
24 Syracuse
25 UC Santa Barbara

While ERN's Alex Goff was quick to take credit for ranking BYU at #1 last season, nevertheless his rationale reveals a continuing hesitancy to get off the Cal cloud:

"Last season ERugbyNews had BYU at #1 for a large portion of the season, and saw the Cougars eke out a national championship. So they start at #1 this time around right? Well, no. Our take on the Top 25 for 2009-2010 is simply this: last year’s performance matters, but you also have to give us some feeling that you have the staying power to repeat this coming season.

"Cal has always had the consistency, and that’s the chief reason (along with an outstanding group of youngsters coming up) they are #1. BYU sits at #2 and San Diego State is #3. The Aztecs, we believe, will weather the loss of their head coach and continue to improve."

Well folks, at least Alex Goff had the guts to give BYU the #1 spot during last season... even if he retracted it during the National Championships. One point awarded to ERN.

That being said, however, I still question the reasoning behind placing BYU at #2 prior to the start of the season... Why wouldn't you put the reigning national champion at #1, even if only out of respect for their accomplishment? After all, speculation only goes so far before any games have been played... so why run and hide behind Cal's coattails at the start of every season regardless?

I know what the response is... believe me, I do. Cal's "consistency" earns them the favored spot every year, whether they have a plethora of returning starters or not. (And what of other teams' players?) Maybe it's just too easy to discount other teams in the face of Cal's obviously successful track record...

Now, enter BYU into the mix... have Our Boys at least been consistent in their tournament appearances? Have they been improving at all? Has the program progressively grown over the years? OF COURSE!!! And not only BYU, but look at up and coming programs just a step down, such as Arkansas State, San Diego State, Dartmouth, St. Mary's, and others. They're only growing hungrier each year...

Sure, BYU got to take their first bite (certainly not the last!) out of Cal this past time around, but in the near future, I'd rather wager that they won't be the lone dog in the pack for long... after all, it's college rugby we're talking about here!!!

Before I get too worked up, I want to switch tones by saying that, however questionable ERN's or ARN's rankings might seem, I'm secretly glad that BYU isn't at #1...

We really don't need it and actually don't want it. Cal can take the spotlight; they can have the "throne" all they want during the season. Why? Fuel for the fire, my friends, more fuel! We want to win! We want to be #1!!! And honestly, if BYU is already on top the whole season, then inevitably some of the feeling and perspective going into tournament time becomes more defensive in nature rather than offensive... bottom line, that's not BYU's style. We don't want an adrenaline drop anytime soon!

So, in the end, I suppose I should extend my thanks to Alex Goff and ERN. Second is the best anyway, right? Well, actually, that just might be true for Our Boys... Say what you will, but I'd much rather the BYU Rugby team be underestimated (e.g. BYU last season) than overestimated (e.g. Utah last season)!

Enough talk... it's time to get back to work. We need to show the nation that the BYU Rugby team is much more than consistent: they are actually expanding in depth, scope, and self expectation with every passing day. And that's an uphill road I prefer to stay on...

In the words of Winston Churchill, "Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

And so shall the BYU Rugby team survive and thrive on!


  1. I love your blog...you do SUCH a good job! AMAZING!

  2. Sounds like a potential BYU Rugby Superfan! ;)

    Thanks; I appreciate your comments.

  3. As you say, it's just as well that we're not ranked #1, though it's a bit much to be ranked #3, since we've not finished out of the top 2 for the last 4 years. Along with you, I was at the final last year and, relatively often, I still don't believe that we pulled it out at the end. So, I'd have to say that, at least last year, there was very little difference between our team and Cal's. We have many good players this year, as do they. We are deep at many (but not all) positions, as are they. We will be fit and so will they.

    It will be wonderful if we get to the final again. If we manage to win the Wasatch Cup, we will, for the first time ever, have the number 1 seed, and thus (theoretically, at least) the easiest path through the tournament. But, as we learned last year, there are no easy tournament games anymore. Everybody is better, including ourselves.

    I, for one, expect us to be ranked among the top few all season, and, along with you, I really hope we're not ranked number 1 going into the semi/final (assuming that we make it, of course).

    The boys started strength and conditioning sessions this morning. For the new players, it will be a real test of their resolve to face the iron at 8AM after studying late for that midterm. It will be interesting to see how many make it through the grueling fall to the Winter pre-season camp come January. Only then do they become real BYU Rugby players. Here's hoping that all of them make it.

  4. I would love for someone to do a little bit of research and see how all of our teams that were unable to participate in the tournament would have stacked up against the champs over the last 30 years. I'm guessing we would have been in the final game over 80% of the time.


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