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This is a ranking based on the overall performance from the 2011 calendar year.

We set this criterion, because it’s the only sure way of evaluating teams – we can’t speculate on how they will be tomorrow; we can only look at what they accomplished this year.

The top two teams we couldn’t separate. Dartmouth won the CRC in impressive fashion, and also swept the Ivy League 7s this fall. They didn’t participate in the USA Rugby national championship, but we feel they would have done very well.

Life University was not at the CRC, but won the South 7s and the USA Rugby championship. Unlike Dartmouth, they struggled in some games, notably at 19-19 tie against Wisconsin. In their big events, Dartmouth was 11-0, Life 10-0-1.

Dartmouth played four matches against really strong opponents, while Life played five.

You see how it’s tough, and while you could argue Dartmouth’s team today, minus the Downer brothers and Tanner Scott, isn’t as strong as it was in June, they have added players, also. We have Dartmouth and Life tied, and we really don’t see any way to separate them.

The third-place team in our ranking is difficult to pick. Army, runners up in the CRC, could be there. Central Washington finished second in the USA Rugby Championship. We will talk about Central Washington in a moment, but their big fault is they were beaten convincingly by Arkansas State in pool play. Army, for their pains, weren’t that much better than CWU, beating them in June by two points.

So that leaves us with Arkansas State. And it’s a fair pick. The Red Wolves lost two games in 7s this past fall, both to Life, and both by a try. Seems fair to say they are close to Life, and perhaps more clearly close to Life than anyone was to Life or Dartmouth.

Army, as the #2 team in the CRC, takes #4. Ranked right behind them has to be Central Washington. No college team has been as active in 7s, and successfully so. In 2011 they played in, and won, the CRC Qualifier (5-0). They finished 4th in the CRC, losing 12-10 to Utah, 14-12 to Army, and 24-12 to Dartmouth.

Then they swept (easily) the Northeast Collegiate 7s, and follow that up with a trip to the final of USA Rugby event, which they lose in overtime.

So in the entire season, the Wildcats played an astounding 21 major tournament 7s games, and won 16, many against top-notch opponents. Of their five losses, one was overtime, and two were by two points.

After that it’s a guess. We pick St. Mary’s because they lost just once in the USA Rugby Championships, to CWU, and went on to take the Plate. 

BYU won a weak West tournament, but still looked good.

At #9 we pick Utah, Miami (Oh) at #10, both over Colorado. This is a difficult decision because Colorado won the Pacific 7s (beating Utah in the process) and beat Miami at nationals. But overall both Utah and Miami played better. Colorado was a little fortunate to beat Miami, and taking into account the totality of results (including Utah taking 3rd at the CRC), we have picked this sequence. If you’re a Buffalo fan and are ticked off at this, we have to say, you may be right.

After that it’s a list of good to very good teams that likely recorded one or two impressive victories, and one or two unfortunate losses. 2011 End-of-Year College 7s Rankings

1. Life

2. Dartmouth

3. Arkansas State

4. Army

5. Central Washington

6. St. Mary's

7. BYU

8. Kutztown

9. Utah

10. Miami

11. Colorado

12. Arizona

13. Tennessee

14. UC Davis

15. Cal Poly

16. Cal

17. Navy

18. LSU

19. UCLA

20. Texas A&M

21. Wisconsin  

22. Oklahoma

23. San Diego State

24. Penn State

25. NC State