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The Ivy League is still Dartmouth and the rest but things begin to get interesting when one looks at the playoff picture. Although DIAA is having a fall playoff, the late start for the Ivy prevents the conference from playing in it as the final regular season game that is held on November 19th conflicts with the first round of the USA Rugby playoffs.
Since a number of the Ivy League teams start classes later than the rest of the country, the conference runs deeper into the fall than most. As a result, the Ivy is planning on participating in the spring DIAA playoff. Right now nothing is official but the conference will have either have a pair of teams or four teams play for the playoff berth.
“We are going to have a conference call to determine what we are going to do come the spring. Historically, we have a four team wild card playoff but now that there is sort of another layer of playoffs that USA Rugby has thrown into the mix, we have to choose are our representative by April 1st which does not really give us a lot of time to figure that out,” Brown coach David LaFlamme said of the current playoff picture.
Dartmouth is still the class of the conference, winning 61-0 over Cornell this weekend. After blasting Princeton and Columbia the two weekends prior, the Ivy champs now have a record of 5-0.
Since the Big Green opted out of the USA Rugby championship to play in the Penn Mutual Varsity cup, the spot will be up for grabs.
Currently, Brown holds the second spot. The Bears have been a bit of revelation this year, even surprising their coach with the level of success.
“I suspected to do ok but I think we are doing better than I anticipated. We are not going to make very much in terms of changes. We have been lucky that we have not been hit with injury bug….Overall we have had a fairly consistent team and for us it is about maintaining that consistency and just trying to build on each performance with the hope of getting that qualifying spot,” LaFlamme told Rugby Today.
The Bears took their lumps against Dartmouth, but beat Harvard convincingly, overcame adversity to top Columbia and won another two games to sit at 4-1.
Princeton got off to a hot start this year but has run into some stiff competition of late. After beginning 2-0, the Tigers have lost three in a row, including a close loss to Penn this weekend.
Slotting into third place is Harvard, who has won three in a row. The Crimson is 4-2 and is on course to square off with Brown for that coveted playoff spot come spring time.
There are still a couple of weeks of action left in the Ivy and a lot could happen.