Thursday, September 10, 2015

Texas College Cup kicks off this weekend!

The Texas College Cup kicks off this weekend with six (6) matches all starting at 2pm across the State. The Texas College Cup is an inter-divisional competition open to all men's college clubs in Texas. The competition features three weekends of knockout rugby leading to a championship for the trophy and bragging rights in Texas.

The Texas College Cup is in it's third year of existence after being a suggested competition for almost a decade. Texas State is the reigning champion after defeating Texas A&M last year. St Edward's won the inaugural TCC.

Here is our preview of the match-ups.

Texas Tech at UDallas - A middle-of-the-road D1A side against a middle-of-the-road NSCRO side that is always a great host with a nice pitch. Texas Tech is a talented and experienced side in desperate need of coaches. So many Rugby Texas alumni attend Tech and are so underutilized because of a lack of rugby coaching in Lubbock. UDallas has been lackluster in the past few years, but is always unpredictable early on (I learned this the hard way in my FIRST match as a college coach in Texas in '96). I think the Red Raiders will travel home with the W, though.

Baylor at Texas A&M-Central Texas - Another D1A v NSCRO match-up, but it is essentially a home game for both clubs as they are only 60 miles apart. Baylor comes in with a ton of experience and six freshman with HS rugby experience (one of who should be on the NT radar). For the TAMU-CT Warriors, this is their first hit out ever as a team. Big things are expected of the Warriors down the road, but this match should be decided by experience. Baylor has that in spades. Nod to the Bears for the W.

Stephen F. Austin at UT- Dallas - Both of these clubs played with very young teams last season. If they can bring those players back this season, they should experience better runs this season. UT-Dallas is a very well-coached side with a disciplined gameplan. SFA was fast last year, really fast. But UT-D's defense plays to deny ball to the wing. If they play that way this Saturday, the Comets should distance themselves from the Lumberjacks to advance to Austin.

UHouston at UT-San Antonio - UH is a rather mercurial program, but that is to be expected of a traditional 'commuter college' (an image the university is trying to shed). UTSA has been solid and steady the last few years. that has much to do with maintaining familiar faces in the coaching staff (something UH has struggled with). More importantly, UH has never really traveled well as a team. This early in the season, the home field advantage will be important and decisive for UTSA.

Texas A&M at Sam Houston - Cancelled!  A&M did not submit all the necessary paperwork in time to the University for permission to travel. Sam Houston will move forward to take on the winner of Rice v St Ed's. A&M will play in the consolation round.

Texas A&M is the monkey on Sam Houston's back. Sure, Sam has had a few victories over the years, but A&M has the upper hand in that department. Both sides have new coaches this year. Sam welcomes alumni Chico Serrano to lead the way, while Texas A&M brings in former Austin Black James Lowrey as the Head Coach. I don't think the coaching will make a difference this early on in the season, though. The experience of returning players will be the decider in this match. In that department, Texas A&M possesses several trump cards and those should be more than enough to send the Aggies to Austin the following week.

St Edward's at Rice - Both are well-coached teams, but St Edward's returning squad - almost all of who played in the Cowboy Cup Challenge last Spring and still maintain that bad taste in their mouth (they KNOW they should have won on Saturday) - has returned with higher levels of fitness than they finished last season. Rice has had difficulty early in the Fall in the last few years.  St Edward's has not. given the number of returning players AND the number of HS rugby alumni at St Edward's, it would be difficult NOT to pick them as the favorites to win this match.

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