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That’s what we do here, in our special 2012-2013 Preseason All-Division Men’s College Rankings, we mix up DI-A, DI-AA, DII, and Small College.
As it is, only one program that was DII last year makes the top 25. The rest are D1-A and D1-AA. But we thought about them all.
Now it comes as no surprise that these college programs have lost players – somebody has to graduate sometime. But some programs have lost more than others. That’s what helps fuel our rankings. The defending D1-A champs from 2011-2012, BYU, lost a ton of players. Now, we under no illusions. The Cougars can still reload with some serious talent, and Hoseki Kofe and Ryan Roundy can still play a little rugby. But when you lose almost you entire tight five, and most of the All Americans, and you All Americans halfback combo, too, plus a loose forward invited to Eagle camp, then you’ve got some holes to fill.
That’s why we drop BYU down. The question is, how far? Well Cal, while in a down year last year, is going to be very good. They return virtually every starter. And some of those are guys who started as freshmen. Watch out for this maturing Cal team (which still has less than one-third of their roster entering their senior year).
We get the feeling, just a feeling, that Cal is on the up and BYU slipping a little. We then look at the fact that Arkansas State almost beat BYU in the D1-A final (remember that?). And ASU lost twice to Life, and the Running Eagles are bringing back the lion’s share of their starting 15 from last spring.
It’s a tough call, but in the end Life is our preseason #1, with ASU a close second. Cal or BYU could certainly jump ahead of those two. Don’t be surprised if they do.
After that, there’s a bit of a gap, and a bunch of really strong programs with question marks. How badly hurt is Utah’s Don Pati? Can St. Mary’s reload for another run? Is Air Force’s improvement long-term?
Where is Penn State? Can Davenport really beat some of these bigger programs? Can Dartmouth return to prominence after losing some special players?
We throw in Lindenwood because they were so especially dominant in DII, and
looked like they had the athletic and coaching pieces to compete with any
of these other teams.
But it’s just the start of it all. Here is our All-Divisions Top 25. We will return to it periodically through the season, but watch also for our division-specific rankings throughout the season.
|RUGBYMag.com All Divisions Preseason Top 25 2012-2013|
|13||San Diego State|
|17||UC Santa Barbara|