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So we know the eight teams in the D1-A playoffs. We just don't know who will be playing at home and who will play on the road.
UCLA, Utah (twice), and Penn State all won games that assured them a place in the top college quarterfinals.
But we get to wait one more week to find out who gets on an airplane. All of these teams have to be happy that they, at least, don't have to wait longer. Making travel plans this late is difficult enough.
Here's how it shakes out:
Rugby East. Army and Penn State are both undefeated, and they make it very easy on us. Next week the two teams play in Happy Valley for 1st. Whoever wins takes 1st. If there's a tie, Army will take 1st.
Mid-South. Life and Arkansas State are the quarterfinalists, but who is first still has to be decided. The teams in the Mid-South play each other twice. Life won the first match 30-14, and so leads the series by 16 points. That game was played in Marietta, Ga. The return is at Arkansas State, and that's significant.
This season in the Mid-South, home teams have outscored away teams 827-545.
Ignoring the ASU at Life game, ASU is 3-0 with a +239 point differential.
On the road they are 3-0 and a +192.
Life, similarly, is 3-0 at home with a +279, and on the road 3-0 and a +194.
Those numbers suggest a 22-point swing in the score. That's not a
guarantee, but it certainly implies that Arkansas State could win the game,
and the series, at home.
If Life wins or ties, Life takes 1st. If Life earns two bonus points in a loss (close and four tries), Life takes 1st.
If Arkansas State wins with a bonus point, and denies Life a bonus point, ASU takes 1st.
If ASU gets no bonus point and Life gets non, or if both get one in an ASU victory, then it will come down to the head-to-head series. In that case, ASU will want to win by 17 or more to get 1st.
Finally: if ASU wins by 16, and ASU and Life have the same number of bonus points from that match (either zero or 1), then (we have to check) we are pretty sure it comes down to total point differential. If that's the case, Life takes 1st.
BYU and Utah are your top dogs. Utah can still take 1st. They need to beat Wyoming with a bonus point, and need BYU to lose to Colorado and not earn a bonus point.
The first half of that scenario is likely. The second half is highly,
highly unlikely. Even if Colorado could upset BYU, given that CU defense is
giving up 33 points a game, BYU will score four tries, regardless.
This one is all sewn up. St. Mary's is first, even though they haven't played all their games yet, and UCLA is second.
St. Mary's still has to play UC Davis, but even if they lose, they have the head-to-head tiebreaker over UCLA.
So, given all this info, here's how the playoffs look:
Mid-South Runner Up (Life or Arkansas State) at East Champions (Army or Penn State)
Life plays at ASU and Army plays at PSU this coming weekend.
East Runner Up at Mid-South Champions
UCLA at West Champions (most likely BYU)
West Runner Up (most likely Utah) at St. Mary's
If all the top seeds or all the #2 seeds win, then the South will host the East in the semis, and the Pacific will host the West.
If the semi is a #1 seed against a #2 seed, then the #1 seed hosts.