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Cal celebrating CRC title. Jack Megaw photo

Body of work. That's the key component to figuring the final rankings in a fractured college 7s landscape. Doing well at one tournament is good, winning a tournament is better, and winning multiple tournaments is great. Of course, the quality of competition at a tournament is important, but the last tournaments of the season, the championships, are not necessarily the end-all, be-all. 

Take the World Rugby 7s Series for example. The United States finished first in the last event, but that doesn't mean the Eagles were the best in the world. It means they were on that particular weekend. For a more relevant example all you have to do is look to the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Championship series. South Carolina won three of the four tournaments, but Alabama won the last one to take the hardware. That doesn't make 'Bama better than South Carolina, and the point of rankings is to put the best in order. 

Cal won the best tournament of the fall, the Battle in the Bay, and the best of the spring, the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship. The Bears lost just one 7s game in 2014-2015, to UCLA in the final of the West Coast 7s back in October. Cal is the unequivocal champ and undisputed top-ranked 7s team in the country. 

No. 2 is Kutztown. Talk about body of work – KU finished the spring 7s season 46-4, winning eight tournament titles along the way. They fell a player, a try and a few minutes short of winning a ninth at the CRC, with a controversial call leading to an overtime loss. Their four losses were to Cal, Navy, Air Force and Utah, all ranked. A winning percentage of 92 is nothing to scoff at. 

Arkansas State is ranked third. The Red Wolves don't have a large body of work, but there's only one blemish on it. In the one tournament in which Arkansas State shared the field with AIC and Lindenwood, the Red Wolves won. That tournament, the Las Vegas Invitational, was arguably the second best of the season, and in it ASU did better than Utah, Kutztown, St. Joe's and Air Force, too. Altogether, Arkansas State went 9-1, with the only loss coming by a conversion in a match where the Red Wolves played down two men thanks to some questionable yellow cards. ASU went 6-1 against ranked opponents.  

Ranked fourth is American International College. This is a possibly contentious choice, but the Yellow Jackets finished second at the LVl. They finished second at probably the season's fourth best tournament in the ACRC. And, with their best player knocked out by a concussion a game prior, they were narrowly defeated by eventual champion Lindenwood in the quarterfinals of the second-or-third best tournament in USA Rugby's National Championships in Denver, Colo. Throw in two tournament wins and another runner-up performance at Kutztown 7s, and you have an impressive body of work. 

Lindenwood comes in at No. 5. The Lions' issue isn't the quality of results, but the quantity. They played two 7s tournaments all season, winning USA Rugby Nationals and tying for fifth at the Las Vegas Invitational. The Lions went head-to-head with third-ranked AIC twice this season, splitting the series, and both games were won by less than a try. Ultimately, it's AIC's body of work that stretches the Yellowjackets ahead of Lindenwood. Lindenwood has a similar body of work to Arkansas State, but the Lions' winning percentage is slightly worse and they played only three teams in our final rankings all season. Arkansas State played seven.  

The only tournament Indiana participated in and didn't win was the CRC. The Hoosiers won three others, all with notable teams in the mix, and were very good in Philadelphia, beating Life in pool play. That impressive body of work sees the Hoosiers to the top 10. 

Despite finishing ninth at the CRC, UCLA holds onto a high ranking, because the Bruins were the only team to beat No. 1 Cal all season. They were dominant in the Plate playoffs at the CRC, and they reached the semifinals of two really quality tournaments in the fall. Arizona State also had a great body of work, finishing second to Cal twice in the fall. The Sun Devils faltered a little at USA Rugby Nationals, but in 7s you can't overvalue one tournament or match. Utah also had an impressive body of work, but the only time the Utes and Bruins went head to head, UCLA won, so we give the Bruins the nod. 

Arizona fans won't be happy to see the Wildcats, which went on a Cinderella run at the CRC and tied for third, ranked 13th. Arizona doesn't have a large body of work. The Wildcats played in three major tournaments. In both of the ones that included Arizona State, the Sun Devils finished higher. All three also included UCLA, and the Bruins finished higher in two of them. 

Perhaps coming in as a surprise at No. 25 is New Mexico Highlands, an NSCRO program. For the second-straight year, the Vatos played in the NSCRO final in conjunction with the CRC, and this time they edged New England College by a try at the death. If New England won, or we ranked the top 26, NEC would be listed, too. The Vatos are extremely athletic, and to justify them getting in, we admittedly went with the eye test.  

RankPrev6/3/2015Results
12CalWon CRC
23Kutztown2nd CRC
31Arkansas StateTied for 5th CRC
44AICTied for 7th USA Rugby
512LindenwoodWon USA Rugby
6Unr.DavenportUnranked
715Central Washington3rd USA Rugby
813LifeTied for 3rd CRC
98IndianaTied for 5th CRC
105Arizona State6th USA Rugby
116UCLA9th CRC
1211Utah4th USA Rugby
13Unr.ArizonaTied for 3rd CRC
1419NavyTied for 5th CRC
15Unr.St. Mary's5th USA Rugby
16Unr.MichiganTied for 5th CRC
177Dartmouth10th CRC
18Unr.San Diego StateTied 7th USA Rugby
1916Virginia TechTied for 11th CRC
2010Air ForceTied for 11th CRC
2118Notre Dame13th CRC
229St. Joe's14th CRC
2317South Carolina
2420James MadisonWon DII USA Rugby
25Unr.New Mexico HighlandsWon NSCRO
Dropped Out
14Cal Poly
21Texas A&M
22Miami
23Bowling Green
24Alabama
25Arkansas
TournamentLocation1st2nd
Cal State 7sSacramento, CASan Diego StateSacramento State
Viking 7sBellingham, WAU. VictoriaUBC
Oregon State 7sCorvallis, WAW. WashingtonOregon State
Boise State 7sBoise, IDUtahUtah B
West Coast 7sSan Luis Obispo, CAUCLACal
NCRCEllensburg, WAC. WashingtonW. Washington
Battle in the BaySan Francisco, CACalArizona State
Ivy 7sPrinceton, NJDartmouthYale
PAC ChampionshipLos Angeles, CACalArizona State
PacWest ChampionshipReno, NVNevadaSacramento State
LVILas Vegas, NVArkansas StateAIC
SIRC ChampionshipSavannah, GAUCFGeorgia Tech
College ClashBrighton, MIBowling GreenMichigan
ACRL SeriesClemson, SCNotre DameVirginia Tech
Stony BrookLong Island, NYDartmouthKutztown
Big XIINorman, OKWest VirginiaKansas State
St. Joe's 7sPhiladelphia, PAKutztownSt. Joe's
Dayton 7sDayton, OHMichiganNotre Dame College
SCRC SeriesGainesville, FLSouth CarolinaTennessee
ACRL SeriesRaleigh, NCKutztownVirginia Tech
Philadelphia Collegiate CupPhiladelphia, PAKutztownMaryland
Empire SeriesLong Island, NYAICStony Brook
SCRC SeriesTuscaloosa, ALSouth CarolinaTennessee
Keystone SeriesMorgantown, WVSt. Joe'sWest Virginia
ACRL SeriesSouth Bend, INIndianaMichigan
Big Ten SeriesAnn Arbor, MIIndianaIllinois
Keystone SeriesShippensburg, PASt. Joe'sTemple
Kutztown 7sKutztown, PAKutztownAIC
ACRL SeriesCollege Park, MDJames MadisonMaryland
Big Ten SeriesIowa City, IANotre DameIowa
NDC Falcon 7sSouth Euclid, OHBowling GreenSt. Bonaventure
Rocky Mountain 7sFort Colilns, COAir ForceColorado State
SCRC SeriesTupelo, MSSouth CarolinaFlorida
ACRL SeriesBlacksburg, VAVirginia TechMaryland
URugby Challenge CupPhiladelphia, PAKutztownTemple
Armory 7sSpringfield, MAAICBoston College
Big Ten ChampionshipChampaign, ILIndianaWisconsin
Empire SeriesBinghamton, NYKutztownStony Brook
SCRC ChampionshipKnoxville, TNAlabamaMississippi State
Heart of AmericaLawrence, KSArkansasMissouri
MAC ChampionshipBowling Green, OHMiamiBowling Green
Keystone SeriesRutgers, NJSt. Joe'sTemple
ACRL ChampionshipCharlotte, NCVirginia TechClemson
Red River ChampionshipAustin, TXTexas A&MTexas
ACRC 7sVirginia Beach, VAKutztownAIC
Subaru 7sWilmington, DEKutztownNavy
USA Rugby NationalsDenver, COLindenwoodDavenport
CRCPhiladelphia, PACalKutztown

Comments

WOW! I know you are sponsored by the CRC and Penn Mutual, but just can not figure out how you can justify to yourself with placing Lindenwood at 5. For one, after watching the rugby played in both events, the rugby i saw Lindenwood play to the crc champions was on par or even more emphatic in general. This is why we shouldnt let organizations split up our best teams.
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I agree in principal but in this case it was USA Rugby that caused the problem. Before this year the USA 7's was in the Fall. Moving it to within one week of the CRC was dumb. Now you have prior USA Champions and participants Life, Ark State and others going to the CRC and not participating in the USA 7's. Before that it was possible to question why a top team did not play in the USA 7's now you can't.
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