Who's Up, Who's Down For The Week
Who's UpFordham: After beating James Madison last week, Fordham hosted Columbia in another preseason friendly Sunday and smacked the Lions the tune of the 49-7. As much as we might be wary of the competitiveness of the Liberty Conference -- and we should be -- Fordham has, so far, competed well.
Ohio State: A shutout of Bowling Green and then a 46-10 home win over Oklahoma in back-to-back weeks is a sign that the Buckeyes might be on the rise.
Notre Dame College: Unable to make USA Rugby's D1A rankings, the Falcons felt they needed to make a statement against top 20 team Davenport. Notre Dame College did, beating the Panthers 27-14 on Sunday.
Newcastle Falcons: After edging Sale 13-12, Newcastle is 2-0 and coming to the USA to play Saracens this Saturday. Falcons and USA lock Nick Civetta isn't confirmed to play -- he hasn't so far this season -- but he's bullish on the game at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA, regardless.
"I think this match represents a great opportunity for American rugby to grow the game at home," Civetta said. "It gives American fans access to top level rugby entertainment and young American rugby players something to aspire to. It's also an opportunity for Newcastle to grow their international fan base and also to get an idea for how well equipped and organized the U.S. rugby community is."
Connor Wallace-Sims and Luke Hume: The two combined for 39 points in one game against NYAC in the ARP.
Samu Manoa: Still playing rugby at Toulon, still awesome, still helping produce tries. See here (he's No. 8).
Who's DownCompetitive Balance: We continued to see too many big blowouts over the weekend. Army's 60-0 win over Buffalo wasn't too bad, although we'd like to see UB score some more. But Air Force 94-0 over Texas Tech isn't good. Penn State's 113-0 defeat of Harvard was a B-side match, so it doesn't count right? Well, it's a humbling commentary on where some of these programs are with their younger players.
NYAC: Losing to its hated rival Old Blue isn't something this longtime club power accepts but losing 74-35? Put aside that such a score is a little weird -- rarely can you score 35 and still give the other team enough ball to score twice as much -- NYAC gave up tries to eight different Old Blue players. OBNY as a team probably should be in the "Who's Up" section for that result.
Ivy League Rugby: It wasn't the easiest preseason time for Ivy League rugby, with Harvard's B team getting smacked by Penn State's Bs, Dartmouth losing to Penn State, Columbia getting hit by Fordham, and Brown losing to Norwich. The league has got to be better. Dartmouth at least scored 23 against Penn State.
South African Additions: The Pro 14 has gone cross hemisphere and has three South African teams competing (remember when this was the Celtic League? Now it's the Irish-Scottish-Welsh-Italian-South African league -- how cool is that?) But the new South African teams, which you might expect to do pretty well, have struggled. Amid not a little hype Cheetahs, Dragons, and Kings are a combined 0-6 so far.
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