New York, New York – USA Rugby has restructured the rugby divisions again. For some it feels like a back to the future approach… There are some dissenters but overall it appears the new 4 division system will go forward. There will only be national playoffs for the first 3 divisions with the 4th division being strictly a regional and social division. We’ll tackle the future of the 4th division later this week, but today we have the top 3 divisions and see what is likely to happen this year!
Elite Cup – The main goal of the Elite Cup is to somewhat replace the Super League. It will take the top eigtht D1 teams from the fall of 2013. It will be an East-West conference structure with the conference having a round robin system before playoffs. There are rumors it may not continue beyond this season, but we can discuss that on another day. It has not been made clear what will happen to the Elite Cup teams from last season that didn’t have D1 teams.
1 Life University
2 New Orleans
1 San Fransisco – Golden Gate
It is likely that NYAC will replace Boston and SF-GG will replace Glendale from last year’s elite 8. NYAC will be parachuted in on their history and the fact that they made the semi-finals of the cup last season. Glendale and their row with USA Rugby will make it easier for them to be replaced by last year’s champions. The 2014 Elite cup will be a rematch of last season but this time with Life winning the final.
Division 1 – With the teams likely to make this year’s quarter-finals in the Elite Cup, it gives an opportunity to the teams that made the sweet 16 last year, or just lost out in the round of 32, a chance. I think the likely winners will come from one of the following teams:
1 Old Blue NY
3 Life University
4 Potomac AC
5 Austin Huns
6 Palmer College (IA)
7 Dallas Harlequins
Life won it last year so they are definitely in the running. However I believe it will come down to two sides that were in last year’s Elite Cup to lead the pack, Old Blue and Glendale.
Division 2 – This division gets tricky because there are teams with the talent to play in D1 but due to location they often stay in D2. It occasionally also happens in D3. Combine that with the restructuring and it will be a few of the usual suspects from last year in the mix this year. It will be one of the following teams:
2 Snake River (ID)
3 Rocky Gorge (MD)
4 South Bay (CA)
5 Worcester (MA)
7 Red Mountain (AZ)
It will come down to the two teams that faced off in last year’s semi-final going one step further and facing each other in the final. It just seems like those two are on a collision course.
Division 3 – The Chain effect of the D2 teams not moving up means that some quality sides with no real opposition in their area will stay in this division. The possibility of promotion and non-promotion make this the most difficult division to gauge. The most likely candidates to take it all are:
1 Kalamazoo Dogs (MI)
2 Hilton Head Island
3 New Mexico Highlanders
4 Wichita Barbarisns
5 South Bay
6 Northern State (SD)
7 Budd Bay (WA)
7 Montgomery Yellowhammers
The confidence level is low for the picks in this division but since some had to be made, they were made. We will see how things shape up towards the end of the season.
As we all know, the game is played on the field and not on paper. So it will take until the spring of 2014 for it to shape up and see how many of these 8 teams in each division actually make the quater-finals.
That’s it for now, feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann and Declan Yeats, respectively.And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.