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The Collegiate Rugby Championshp bookends the college 7s season, and with Cal having the Pete Dawkins Trophy in hand, its time for our final rankings of the year. Even more so than 15s, it's very difficult to rank college 7s. We usually have to weigh the results three major tournaments - the CRC, the Las Vegas Invitational and USA Rugby's College 7s National Championships - which span across several months.
This year's a little different, as the college bracket at the LVI is now dominated by Canadian colleges, and it's not quite the spectacle it was when qualification to the CRC was up for grabs. And we have the ACRC Cup, or Surfside 7s, or whatever the heck you want to call the massive tournament that debuted in Virginia Beach, Va. this spring.
So, at the end of the day, you're left deciding who is better between teams who not only haven't played each other, but haven't even competed in the same tournament or toward the same championship. We run into our first example right at the top of the rankings with Arkansas State, USA Rugby champs, and Cal, CRC champs. In the runs to their respective titles, both Arkansas State and Cal cruised past easy competition early. ASU was plus-115 in point differential and Cal plus-93 at the end of pool play.
But in the knockout rounds, Cal was pushed to the brink twice, while Arkansas State won by at least two tries over everyone, including in the final, where the Red Wolves beat St. Mary's 32-12. The Gaels beat Cal in the fall, and Arkansas State won comfortably over St. Mary's when it counted most. For that reason, ASU is No. 1.
American International College very quietly had a great 7s season. Like several eastern programs, AIC committed to spring 7s, but without a berth in the CRC, flew under the radar. They had a good showing at the LVI, beating everyone they played except for British Columbia, and they won the inaugural ACRC Cup, beating Kutztown in the process. That's all you need to know to justify their ranking - they beat Kutztown when it mattered.
Notre Dame College is another spring-only team that didn't play in one of the more exposed events. The Falcons finished third in the ACRC Cup, and they beat up on teams thorughout the fall, so they have to be ranked high.
|10||Notre Dame College||▲|
|22||San Diego State|