Across the country, regular season schedules are wrapping up over the next week or two and the lucky ones are going to battle in the conference playoffs. A handful of teams are still duking it out for the respective top seed.
We’re ready to go full steam ahead down the final stretch and there’s plenty to cover. Dig in, shall we?
I’ve been ranking the Longhorns for weeks, but the Coaches Poll hasn’t given them the time of day. Their trip to the Rockies probably changed all that. Texas took down #7 Utah, then took #6 BYU to overtime. This is the team most likely to ride the LSA ticket to Nationals, and they just proved they deserve it.
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The LSA champ has been a first round punching bag in recent years, but the Longhorns could change that if they play in Orange County (and the LSA tournament, of course) like they played in Utah.
Cal Poly Rules the State
California survived weeks as the #1 team. They went undefeated for longer than anybody else. They are not anymore, thanks to Cal Poly. The Mustangs look terrifying right now. A once-dormant offense has exploded in their last five games, and the Mustangs might just be the best team in the country right now.
That win over Cal gets them into the conversation once again. It will also give Cal Poly the top seed in the WCLL, giving them a better chance to snag the auto-bid. That said, both these teams are going to nationals, regardless of who wins the WCLL.
The Great White North
Well, hello again, Simon Fraser. The Clan, who used to be a perennial contender for the PNCLL title, have been quiet in recent years. They aren’t quiet anymore. Simon Fraser beat Boise State two weeks ago to snag their spot in the conference tournament. They followed that up by beating #13 Oregon State to take away the inside track to the PNCLL’s #1 seed.
This creates a bit of chaos in the conference. If the Beavers win out and Fraser wins out, they’ll finish at 5-1 in conference apiece. However, should Oregon beat OSU in this week’s Civil War, the Ducks will take the conference’s top seed. Fraser, Oregon, and OSU all have a chance at the top seed, but the Clan are now likely the favorites.
The Case for a Multi-bid SELC
The SELC Tournament is coming up. It’s the largest conference tournament, with four total 1 seeds. Three of those (Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia Tech) are currently in the top fifteen in the polls. Only one of them can secure the auto-bid to nationals. Most years, that would be it for the SELC, but I think they deserve a longer look this season.
Georgia Tech and Florida State are both top ten teams right now. They should both be at Nationals, assuming they perform decently in the conference tournament. That leaves Virginia Tech. The Hokies are 13-3 and have won 10 games straight. They’ve got the hot hand, and they’re shooting up the rankings. Could the SELC get three teams to the dance? It’s unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out yet. The SELC just keeps getting better.
MCLA Games of the Week
Utah @ BYU
The Cougars might be a top ten team, but they actually are still at risk of missing the RMLC Tournament. Utah, meanwhile, is holding on to the top seed right now. A win for the Cougars is much-needed. A win for the Utes would keep them on top.
Prediction: BYU 15, Utah 13
Liberty vs Florida State
This is a very important first round game in the SELC Tournament. The ‘Noles are still in contention for an at-large bid to nationals, and a win over Liberty would boost their case. Liberty, meanwhile, looks to beat FSU for a second time this year to keep their hopes of an auto-bid alive.
Prediction: FSU 10, Liberty 9
UConn @ Northeastern
This game is between two teams undefeated in PCLL play. The winner will be the top team in the PCLL. How do things get more important than that?
Prediction: UConn 12, Northeastern 7
Oregon @ Oregon State
The Civil War has lost some luster, but it’s still a top 25 matchup. More importantly, a conference title could be on the line. A win for the Ducks would give them the top seed in the PNCLL Tournament. A win for the Beavers keeps their 1 seed hopes alive.
The loser will draw a difficult matchup next weekend. The winner will draw Washington, whom both teams beat. Rivalries don’t get much better than this.
Prediction: OSU 12, Oregon 11 (OT)
Ryder’s MCLA Top 25
- Grand Canyon
- Cal Poly
- Georgia Tech
- Florida State
- Arizona State
- Colorado State
- Virginia Tech
- Oregon State
- Michigan State
- Sonoma State
- Simon Fraser