The Playoffs are here, my friends, and Our BYU Cougars are set to spring big in a first-round bout against the University of Delaware TOMORROW!
Tune in to BYU Rugby Forever for USA Rugby's live video coverage of the BYU-Delaware game at 8 PM (MST)!!!
And while you're at it, you might as well fill out a tournament bracket to get a full dose of National College Rugby Championship spirit: Get Your Tournament Bracket Now!
And now, a few thoughts in anticipation of another crazy round of playoffs ...
Great expectations, as always, of Our Boys this time of year. The last few weeks saw them lose to Utah and then rebound against San Diego State ... To be perfectly honest, I'm still burned by the loss to the Utes: shoddy refereeing, sluggish second-half play by the Cougars, and a generally demoralizing defeat. Utah didn't even play that well at all; BYU dominated most facets of the game yet somehow surrendered it all to the U in the second half. What was with Our Boys anyway? In many instances, I felt like I was giving more than they were just by my frantic cheering ... talk about sadness and even a bit of betrayal.
Thankfully though, only days later, Our Boys met the SDSU Aztecs with more energy and creativity than they've shown all season. And I'm all for giving credit where credit's due: good leadership from Lock TJ Allred, the usual work-horse performance from eight-man Ryan Roundy, great work by the Deep Three, and a standout job by Captain and Flyhalf Dylan Lubbe. Let's not forget the beauty of a try delivered by Senior Center Sean Howard, a diving grab off a nicely-placed grubber by Lubbe ... awesome stuff! And what a way to close out your BYU Rugby home season. Nice work, fellas; way to come back and stick it to the then #3 team in the nation!
Now, looking ahead to the playoffs, it's time to talk turkey ... the 2010 tournament is not the 2009 tournament revisited, not at all in fact. Instead, it's a whole different animal. This year presents a noticeably softer road to the Big Four than last year. Not to knock Delaware, Syracuse, and Arizona, but they're not yet at BYU's level ... and I think they recognize the fact. So, to really have a chance to beat BYU, they're going to have to bring it full-time. BYU are not the same team as they were last year, but I would similarly wager that none of the three opposing teams in question are of the caliber as last year's Dartmouth and Arkansas State sides.
Of course, this situation poses a potentially crippling scenario for BYU: a padded road to the semi-finals only to be followed by meetings with not-so-soft teams, such as, Cal Berkeley, SDSU, Utah, Army, and Arkansas State. If last year's Cougar crew needed as tough a preliminary-round schedule as they had to prepare them for Cal, then this year's obviously different BYU squad will need to dig even deeper to get ready. It seems a recipe for disaster ... because, folks, regardless of what anyone thinks about any of the teams along the way, we all know that the formidable Cal will be ready. No question about it.
In conclusion, there is one great advantage, however, that the BYU Rugby team has always enjoyed throughout the years: the majority of people always discounts them when compared to the likes of Cal. Even last year's very dominant BYU side wasn't quoted to be Cal's match by any means ... and yet they prevailed against all odds.
And so it is, my beloved BYU Rugby fans, that Our Boys still have a great opportunity before them. If they can harness a collective desire to rise to the occasion and shatter the warped perspectives of their foes, then they will be victorious. And all along the way, if we BYU Rugby fans can collectively cheer Our BYU Cougars on to that victory (with a prayer in our hearts), then, believe it or not, we just might bring home that coveted National Title!
Pick it up, Boys, pick ... it ... up. Now's your chance, not tomorrow, not yesterday. Now ... today ... be the great team that we know you are! BYU Rugby Forever!!!
For us BYU Rugby fans at home, here's a veritable feast of BYU Rugby media to bridge the gap until tomorrow. Enjoy!
USA Rugby Broadcast Details Set for Playoffs (BYURugby.com)
BYU-TV: “The Rugby Game Day Experience” (BYURugby.com)
Top 25: All Set (AmericanRugbyNews.com)
Final Playoff Spots Filled for Collegiate Championships (BYURugby.com)
BYU’s Playoff Path is Set (BYURugby.com)
Men DI College Top 25 April 7, 2010 (RugbyMag.com)
College Sevens Invitational (AmericanRugbyNews.com)
Top 25: Playoff Rankings (AmericanRugbyNews.com)
CougarCast: Sam Wolthius (BYURugby.com)
CougarCast: Konner Wiscombe (BYURugby.com)
CougarCast: Lelann Latu (BYURugby.com)
Cougar Corner: Apenisa Malani (BYURugby.com)
Men DI College Top 25, March 30, 2010 (RugbyMag.com)
Top 25: Ton of Movement (AmericanRugbyNews.com)
BYU Bounces Back to Beat SDSU (BYURugby.com)
College: Non-Playoff Wrap (AmericanRugbyNews.com)
Utes Comeback to Beat Cougars (BYURugby.com)
Slight Revenge - Utah Beats BYU (RugbyMag.com)
Utah Upsets BYU (AmericanRugbyNews.com)
BYU vs. Utah (Rio Tinto Video) KSTU Raw Video (BYURugby.com)
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