Another season of college rugby is reaching the closing stages, and BYU and Utah once again start the USA Rugby Division I playoffs with hopes of dethroning perennial champs Cal.
The round of 16 and the quarterfinals today and Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M., present a different sort of challenges than the Cougars or Utes usually expect.
First off, BYU doesn't face Wyoming in the first round as it has in the past two years. Instead, the No. 2-seeded Cougars play Dartmouth a squad coached by former Salt Lake native and Highland rugger Alex Magleby at 1:30 p.m. A BYU win has it taking on either San Diego State or Arkansas State on Saturday.
An additional challenge is that the Cougars come in having uncharacteristically lost four matches this spring.
The Utes face Colorado, a team that beat BYU 28-22 in February, in a 3 p.m. kickoff. While Utah is not generally considered to be at the same level talent-wise to BYU this season, its tough schedule, which included losses to Cal and Navy,the type of playoff-caliber teams that bodes well for back-to-back games< either moving on to the quarters or a consolation game that determines regional seeding for next year's playoffs.
If Utah can get by the Buffaloes, it will play either Penn State or Minnesota Saturday.