Monday Notebook: MCLA Division I
- This is it. This weekend is the last, best hope for the MCLA to show itself that Denver '11 isn't just a formality. Colorado State and Arizona State don't have to win when they travel to Ann Arbor this weekend, necessarily; they have just to show a reasonable level of competitiveness with Michigan. That's where we are at now after the Wolverines improved to 9-0 with a disturbing, 21-0 victory over (former) No. 10 UC Santa Barbara.
The win over the Gauchos was in stark contrast to the Boston College game the night before when the Eagles slugged it out with the Wolverines for a half before running out of steam in a14-7 loss. Michigan clearly had UCSB beat before Gauchos got off the bus. One would hope that won't happen with two 'contenders' like ASU and CSU, but every possibility is in play. If you're not a fan of Michigan, you probably should be rooting for the Rams and Sun Devils to make it interesting in Ann Arbor. Otherwise, the 15 other trips to Denver will be a colossal waste of money.
- After this weekend, look for Colorado State and Arizona State to flip in the polls with the Rams moving up to No. 2 and the Sun Devils dropping just the one spot to No. 3. Beyond that, the pollsters will be challenged. With Chapman, Colorado, Michigan State, UCSB, Utah, BC and Virginia Tech all losing this week, there should be plenty of shuffling between the No. 4 and No. 15 slots.
- I'm sure it was a budget-saving move, but Utah's scheduling of Westminster and Utah Valley means the Utes will likely finish with a 6-6 record against D-I opponents with no signature wins (Simon Fraser and Duluth would be a stretch at this point). How will the committee look at that? Any conference tournament upsets may pop Utah's bubble first.
- On the strength of its 15-12 victory over Florida, Central Florida and the nation's leading scorer, David Drehoff, will play in the SELC tournament if the Knights can beat Miami in two weeks (a formality). Taking into consideration Virginia Tech's loss to Georgia, UCF might have the best chance to beat Florida State in the tournament. Regardless, a nice accomplishment for a program on the rise.
- It was an interesting round robin tournament down at the University School in Memphis with no one team establishing itself as the de facto champion. UConn, Tennessee and Texas A&M all finished with a 2-1 mark while Indiana went 0-3, including an overtime loss to the Aggies on Sunday morning. All four of these teams are building for next year and beyond, so this was a productive test for all of them against non-conference opponents.
- New Hampshire is clearly a shell of last year's team. The loss to Rhodey pretty much proves that...really a huge opportunity missed for Michigan State against Boston College on Sunday. That could cost Sparty a Top 5 seed...on the other hand, BC will have no issues in the PCLL and should get a 10 seed or better. No one will want to see the Eagles...likewise, Texas should coast in the LSA. Texas State is missing something...great schedule for Arizona, but the Wildcats might be a year or two away.