There are a few DI games to keep your eye on Saturday, as three teams can shore up a conference title and Sweet 16 berth with a win, and playoff implications are pretty thick around the country.
In the West-Central, first-place and 11th-ranked Kansas State hosts Truman State, and if the Wildcats prevail, they punch their ticket to Blaine, Minn. for a Sweet 16 bout with Texas State. The Wildcats are undefeated in conference, and they beat Truman State 20-8 in Kirksville, Mo. in the fall, but the Bulls are a talented young squad that was even younger then. Just last week, they pounded Nebraska 43-12, so this one could be closer than originally expected.
In Northern California, #9 Stanford travels to Santa Clara, who the Cardinal walloped 48-17 last month. With a win, Stanford reaches the Sweet 16. The Cardinal, boasting a two-bonus-point advantage over #12 Sacramento State, can also advance with a tie or loss if the Chico vs. Sac. State game falls in their favor. Whoever advances from NorCal draws #8 Northern Colorado in the Santa Barbara regional.
Undefeated in DI and third-ranked UC Santa Barbara clinches the Southern California title with a single point against winless USC this weekend. If they win, tie, score four tries or lose by seven or less, the Gauchos will be dancing. Luckily for them, the dance floor’s in their living room, as UCSB is hosting a regional. If they advance, the Gauchos draw the Northwest champ.
Speaking of the Great Northwest, undefeated and 16th-ranked Oregon State and one-loss Eastern Washington clash in a big NCRC matchup Saturday. If Eastern wants to stay within striking distance of the Beavers, they need a win in Corvallis.
In the South, #4 Florida State need a bonus-point win to keep their playoff hopes alive. After forfeiting a win to Kennesaw State for the use of an ineligible player, the Seminoles can’t afford to slip up the rest of the way. If they emerge from Saturday’s tussle with five points, next weekend’s match with Florida will have huge consequences. A tie or loss to the Bulldogs would prove fatal.
There is a pair of possible swing games in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League this weekend, as #10 North Carolina, 4-0, and #15 Virginia, 3-0, go on the road to face one-loss opponents.
If UNC beats #19 Virginia Tech, they’re all but assured a slot in the April 23 ACRL title match, as they only have one more regular-season match, against bottomfeeder Georgia Tech. If VT picks up a second loss, their title hopes become bleek.
Likewise, Virginia strengthens its title-match bid with a win at #20 Maryland, and the Terps would keep themselves in the thick of the race with a win over UVA, but fall drastically behind with a loss.