The conference schedule kicks off tonight for the Southeastern Rugby Conference with Auburn taking on Alabama. A tough conference that is always growing, check out our preseason preview for this conference.
Southeastern Rugby Conference Preview
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State has had a big offseason. They have been in most of the major nationally spotlighted events such as the ACRC Bowl Series, The USA Rugby College 7s Championships and the Penn Mutual College 7s Rugby Championships. The praise for Mississippi State this summer, has been the amount of speed and athleticism that the team has been packed with. In addition, with 2014 SCRC Coach of the year, Evan Kaplan, in his second year with the team, expect Mississippi State to bring more experience and fire power than they did last year.
(5-1) [Losses: South Carolina]
- University of Alabama, are the defending Southeastern Rugby Conference XV’s Champions. This team has been a huge shock this past year as they came out as the Dark Horse team last year. Lead by a strong group of seniors, Alabama was able to power their way into the national spotlight. This year, Alabama will be looking to follow-up that lead. They have revised their depth this year and will look to re-up that powerful Forwards pack they had last year. Alabama will be breaking in new group of starters, and expected to be a contender for the conference championships again.
(4-2) [Losses: Mississippi State, Kentucky]
- University of Florida will be playing in the West division since LSU moved over to the Red River Conference. University of Florida lost a lot of seniors. Despite the loss of seniors, including 7 seniors from the starting side, UF has had a huge insurgence of players for this upcoming season that will give them plenty of depth. Florida’s only losses last year were to University of Tennessee and University of South Carolina. Both those teams are perennial powerhouses in the East. The move to the West should offer Florida with far more parity than they had previously. With LSU gone, the West is wide open.
(3-3) [Losses: Mississippi State, Alabama, Tennessee]
- Auburn University finished 3-3 last year with one of the wins coming against a forfeit by LSU. Auburn will have 15 returning starters from last year, but they will still be playing within a model that forces the players to be self-sufficient. While the concept of a player run team is impressive and dependent on the maturity of its leaders, it may provide some tough roads for the players. Maintaining the rigors of running a team, training, and traveling with a team, among a group of young players that have classes and studying to maintain, might provide too many plates to spin. These would be things that having a coach would help alleviate, but a problem that is not necessarily the fault of the rugby team itself. Add that with the fact that Auburn will be training a new class of young athletes to the rugby team, will most likely be overwhelming for a team that will be playing a tough conference division schedule. One highlight from last year for Auburn was that they were able to defeat Alabama last year, so there is still plenty of potential for this Auburn side.
(2-4) [Losses: Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina]
- University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”) is coming off a tough year last year. They had to forfeit numerous amount of matches last year due to lack of players and inability to travel. This year they are hoping to rebuild. They have a new coach, and hope to revitalize the program.
(0-6) [Losses: Vanderbilt, Alabama, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Florida, Auburn]
- South Carolina
- University of South Carolina is returning as the SCRC East Champions. Though South Carolina didn’t win their third consecutive SCRC 15s Conference championship or the SCRC 7s Championship last season, they are still easily the most dominate team in the entire conference. They will be returning 45 players from last year, with 20 of 23 being starters, including SCRC Player of the Year, Dana Corcoran. South Carolina will have incredible depth this year, as they are carrying 40 walk on’s and freshman. South Carolina is looking to make up for the championship fall off they had last year. Expect South Carolina to take the SCRC East this year.
(6-0) [Losses: None]
- University of Tennessee has been the other powerhouse in the SCRC East. South Carolina and Tennessee have been back and forth on the division champs. Last year, University of Tennessee was able to get the division championship, and would go on to be the SCRC Runner ups. This year, University of Tennessee will have 21 returning players from last year, with 9 of them being starters. Look for Tennessee to see a lot power coming from their Forwards this year.
(5-1) [Losses: South Carolina]
- University of Kentucky went 3-3 last year. Kentucky only lost 6 players from their team last year. Kentucky has the chance to be a major competitor in the SCRC East, but they will have the most trouble with the top heavy team of South Carolina and Tennessee. It will probably lead to Kentucky being overshadowed this year.
(3-3) [Losses: South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama]
- University of Georgia has been a team that always shown flashes of potential, but haven’t quite turned it around. This year they will find themselves with a change at coaching. Long-time coach, Doug Porter stepped down this year and will be replaced by Jesse Posnansky. I don’t expect Georgia to make marketable improvements this year, but expect to see a new look to the way the team plays.
(1-5) [Losses: South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Kentucky]
- Vanderbilt has been a team that has shown flashes of athleticism, but haven’t put it all together yet. They still are trying to trying to find their identity. They went 1-5 last year, I don’t expect too much different for this year.
(1-5) [Losses: Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky]
*Correction (9/12/2015): University of South Carolina Rugby won the 2014 15’s Southeastern Rugby Conference title, to make their third appearance and second conference championship. University of Alabama was runner up for the Southeastern Rugby Conference Championship