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The University of California, Berkeley pulled out of D1A on December 23, which puts them out of our rankings. We would have ranked them #1, by the way. Now we have to figure out what to do. You will certainly see a cross-divisional ranking at some point on But not today. Preseason Top 20 for D1A 2012 season.

  1. BYU. Because they have the most impressive lineup, and are proven winners. Will they be made complacent by their relatively weak conference?

  2. Arkansas State. Possibly the most physical team in the league.

  3. Life University. Yes we know they finished behind Arkansas State last year. But they had in no way maxed out on their experience.

  4. St. Mary’s. The pieces have all be clinking in to place, and this year they could really, really come together.

  5. Army. Another team that finished out of the Top 4, but could easily be there next time.

  6. Utah. The mistake you can make about Utah is to dismiss the occasional moments of magic that create tries out of nowhere. We checked, and tries out of nowhere count the same as tries from 12 phases of methodical rugby. Utah made the semifinals this year, and could again; and remember, they have All American Mike Shepherd back now.

  7. Navy. Possibly the other most physical team in the league.

  8. Central Washington. The team that stands to gain the most from Cal pulling out of the league. They were 3rd in their conference in 2011. Teams #1 and #4 aren’t there anymore.

  9. Arizona State. Inching their way up the ladder.

  10. Penn State. Still an outstanding program. Very well-rounded game.

  11. Arizona. Will miss Peter Tiberio, but  he wasn’t with them much of 2011.

  12. Kutztown. Lost three games by a try or less. Can score tries. In a tough conference they could still move up.

  13. Air Force. Like Kutztown, three of their four losses were very close against very good teams. A little bit of luck they could be top ten.

  14. Delaware. Well-poised to make a move in the East.

  15. UCLA. Very much a team on the rise, but losing Dave Martini won’t help.
    The rest of the teams are all question-marks. They could be great, they could fall off.

  16. UC Davis

  17. Notre Dame

  18. Colorado

  19. Texas A&M

  20. Oklahoma

Others (we aren't ranking all 25, because we have decided it's just too much to say that one single team is the worst. So we leave the final five in a group): Wyoming, Colorado State, Rutgers, Ohio State, Cal Poly