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The first ever DIA playoff field of 16 has been announced and it should be the best field since the Varsity Cup emerged five years ago. Action will start this weekend with the better seeded teams hosting.
A couple of teams who were on the outside looking in are now included thanks to either a results or the omission of Notre Dame College. There are disputing reports on the situation, but NDC could not make the trip to Cal and as a result the Competition Committee elected to remove NDC rather than shift the bracket.
Central Washington played BYU tough and earned its way into the playoffs. The Wildcats come in at 15 thanks to NDC not participating. Central will have to make the cross country trip to Georgia to take on Life.
“We are excited to play in the D1A playoffs and are grateful to be considered one of the top 16 teams in the country. Our very competitive schedule has accelerated our development and we are starting to execute under pressure at a higher percentage which is very pleasing. Playing at Life is a tremendous challenge for our program but one we are not intimidated by, as the beauty of playoff rugby is anything can happen. We can’t wait for Saturday,” said CWU coach Todd Thornley.
The winner of Army and Colorado State will take on either Life or Central Washington.
Cal Poly defeated San Diego State 29-22 on Saturday and slip into the 16 spot. They will take on conference rivals, St. Mary’s in the first round.
The rest of the rankings remain relatively unchanged thanks to a St. Mary’s win over Cal this weekend. The Gaels edged the Bears 21-12 at home to retain the top spot thanks in large part to the euros caused by a tough St. Mary’s defense.
"Saint Mary's is far too good of a team to give them 20 turnovers," head coach Jack Clark said of Cal's miscues, many of which stymied the Bears close to SMC's try line. "In truth, our turnovers aren't just an issue today. Skill breakdowns have been an issue most of the season for us. Today, they resulted in us being second best."
Joining St. Mary’s is the eight/nine matchup of Texas A&M against Lindenwood. Even though the Lions are the lower seed and heading on the road, they are the overwhelming favorites to head to California.
Third seeded Cal will now host 14 seeded Grand Canyon as a result of the shakeup. GCU has had a very successful year in its first stint in DIA and will look to have a good showing in the Bay Area.
In the same foursome as Cal is Navy and Indiana. The number six Hoosiers will host the number 11 Midshipmen this weekend.
The final foursome includes fourth seeded BYU hosting Arkansas State and Arizona traveling to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.