By RUGBYMag.com staff
While perusing our preseason DII Men’s Top 25 Rankings, please keep a few things in mind. For starters, it’s still not entirely clear which teams will be in DII. With the DI Premier League claiming 32 of the nation’s best, including some DII teams from a year ago like Arizona State, North Carolina State and national champs Claremont Colleges, and a complete restructure in DI, the state of DII is still rather fluid.
Multiple DI conferences are chocked full of former DII teams, others are scrambling to add some top DII teams before league play begins, and there’s still room for at least one more DI conference to formulate out of thin air, which could soak up another couple DII contenders.
Also, ranking DII will no longer be as easy as identifying the best team in a traditionally strong region, as several of those regions have seen their top DII teams raided by DI, such as the Eastern Rockies, which lost The Colorado School of Mines and Northern Colorado, both perennial contenders.
Of 2009/2010’s final eight DII teams, only two actually remain in DII. One of those clubs, Appalachian State, will open the season as our number one. Appalachian lost the closest 2010 Elite Eight game, 25-10, to eventual runners up Temple, and also blanked another Elite Eight participant, N.C. State, 17-0 in the South Championship.
Our number two, UW-Whitewater, is the top team returning from the Midwest, which was a rather tough territory last season, with Miami (OH) giving Claremont all they could handle in the national semis, losing 36-34. Well, that same Miami team lost to Whitewater, 13-12, in the Midwest title match. You may also notice Dayton, which didn’t reach the national round of 32 last season, in the top 10, but the Flyers too pushed Miami, losing by a single point in the Midwest semis.
DII should be a wide-open race this coming season, and some relatively early test matches between some of the hopefuls we have listed and DI and Premier League teams could drastically shake up our poll. Here are some of those matches:
Sept. 10 – Florida vs. USF
Sept. 11 – Middlebury vs. Harvard
Oct. 8 – Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
(A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Miami beat Whitewater in the Midwest Championship mistakenly referred to the Elite Eight as the Sweet 16.)
1. Appalachian State
5. Cal Maritime
6. Saint Louis
11. W. Oregon
12. East Carolina
13. St. Joseph’s
15. Santa Rosa JC
16. Central Missouri
18. Humboldt State
19. St. John’s
21. Texas State
22. Snow College
23. South Florida
24. Utah Valley
25. Kennesaw State