If there’s a pool of death in the upcoming College 7s Nationals, it’s Pool F, which houses Miami (OH), Texas A&M, Colorado and Virginia.
It may not have a flashy frontrunner like Life, St. Mary’s or Kutztown, but it boasts three qualifier champions and a second-place team, which no other pool can.
Pool A has one champion and three runners up. Pool B has two champions, a third-place team and a fourth-place team. Pool C has two champions and two runners up. Pool D has one champ and three runners up. And Pool E has a champ, a second-place team, a third-place team and Florida State, which finished third in two qualifiers.
Only eight teams will remain in the national title hunt after day one: each pool champ and two runners up. It’s likely the two runners up will have 2-1 records, which are pretty common for any second-place team in a pool of four. So, point differential will likely decide which second-place teams advance.
And with Texas A&M, Colorado and Miami all projecting to be highly competitive with one another, they could all end up 2-1, but, because of the assumed tightness of those matches, it’s improbable Pool F will produce two quarterfinalists. That makes every game a must-win game in Pool F.
“I think it’s going to be a challenge for us, because what happened to us in the Pacific Coast tournament, we came out somewhat flat against Utah in our first pool game, and they really took it to us,” said Colorado coach Jim Snyder.
“Fortunately, in that tournament style, we were able to make up for it and come back and win out and we were OK, but it seems like with only the top eight advancing, you pretty much have to win your pool to make it to the knockout round, so you can’t afford a slip up against either one of those guys.”
Colorado’s first game Friday is against the host Aggies.
“We’re hoping their fans are all still asleep at that point,” Snyder said.
Pool F schedule *indicates games tentatively planned to be webcast live by USA Rugby via UStream
11am Miami vs. Virginia
11:20am Texas A&M vs. Colorado
*2pm Miami vs. Texas A&M
*2:20 Colorado vs. Virginia
5pm Miami vs. Colorado
5:20 Texas A&M vs. Virginia