With the inaugural American Collegiate Rugby Championship playoffs just over two weeks away (quarterfinals Nov. 16, semifinals Nov. 24), three of the quarterfinal spots are decided, with the other five left to be determined. Kutztown (Rugby East), Clemson (Atlantic Coast) and Middlebury (East Coast) have won their conferences and clinched bids.
Saturday, rivals Bowling Green and Miami meet to decide the MAC. Both are 5-0, though the Falcons have a much more impressive point differential. They're beating opponents by an average of 38 points a game. The Reds are winning by about 20 less points a game.
The Empire could be determined this weekend, too. Stony Brook is playing Iona and Kings Point. If the Seawolves win both and earn bonus points in both, they win the league. If they don't, it could take until the Nov. 9 game between them and Brockport for the race to be over. The government shutdown saw Kings Point have to reschedule several games, causing a number of make ups on the back end.
St. Joe's and Shippensburg play Saturday, with the winner taking the Keystone Championship. The Hawks are undefeated, while Shippensburg has suffered one loss. Ship trails by just two in the points column, though, so a win of any kind will see them through. The game's in Shippensburg.
The Big Ten is a three-team race. Indiana has already secured a spot in the conference championship game Nov. 9, where the Hoosiers will face either Wisconsin or Michigan. If the Wolverines beat rival Michigan State and score a bonus point in doing so next week, they’ll play Indiana in the title game. If Wisconsin bonus points in a win over Iowa next Saturday and Michigan does anything but the same against the Spartans, the Badgers move on.
The one at-large bid isn't 100-percent decided, but it appears Penn State will take it. They want it, the ACRC originally planned to give it to the Rugby East runner-up before Delaware was suspended, and the Nittany Lions certainly have the reputation of being quite competitive, moreso than the runner-up of any other ACRC conference.
The quarterfinal match-ups and seeds have already been determined, as displayed on our bracket below. As far as the second round is concerned, if Kutztown and Clemson advance to the semis, they'll host. Penn State, or whoever takes the second at-large bid, cannot host a semifinal, so if the Nittany Lions win, the victor between the Empire champ and Middlebury will host.
(If Clemson wins, it's going to be quite the haul for their semifinal opponent. And with the final slated for Greenville, SC, Clemson won't leave South Carolina during the postseason.)
On the other side of the bracket, we're told the Keystone won't host a quarterfinal. So, if St. Joe's or Shippensburg knocks off Kutztown, it will be the Big Ten or MAC winner hosting them.