by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – I’ve watched Southern Methodist play in the first round of the last two MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour.
Two years ago, SMU lost 11-3 to a Cal Poly squad that played for a national championship five days later. Last year, the Mustangs fell, 14-11, to a Georgia Tech outfit that advanced to the national semifinals.
The better team won both times, but SMU was in each of those games. They were competitive. There was always a flicker of chance.
I watched the Mustangs lose today to No. 2 Utah and it was a completely different vibe. The competition was at a different level. There never appeared to be a chance. Watch for yourself:
One could argue that maybe this SMU team isn’t the same as those two that won the last two LSA titles. OK, I’ll concede that might be true.
But SMU beat USC comfortably a couple of weeks ago – the same USC that just upset No. 14 US Santa Barbara. They were also in a dogfight with No. 11 South Carolina before losing, 8-3. They lost by two to No. 23 Clemson.
I actually think the Mustangs are pretty good.
But in the blink of an eye on Saturday, SMU was down 6-1 to Utah. At half it was 10-1. Then 17-1 after three before the 24-2 final.
The Mustangs join a growing list of teams left in the Utes’ wake.
Texas was brutalized, 19-5, on Thursday night. It was No. 12 Cal before that, 18-6. Arizona’s 16-5 loss actually looks pretty good.
Cal Poly lost 9-3 in the season opener – a loss that almost seems like a blueprint for success right now.
The MCLA is no stranger to dominant teams. Colorado State, Michigan, UC Santa Barbara and BYU have had runs where they looked unbeatable.
Is Utah’s grand finale in the association going to mirror some of those great runs?
Not to be disrespectful to its upcoming opponents, but the Utah body count could pile up well into April until the traditional Big Three stand as the lone obstacles between the Utes and an undefeated regular season mark.
Is it too soon to start anointing anyone? Could we take a deep dive into the Utes schedule and maybe nuance away their domination right now?
Maybe. There’s probably a lot of MCLA players and teams who'd like to paraphrase Denny Green right now.
Utah may not get crowned, but they certainly could get a ring.
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ICYMI: Davenport Completes Utah Sweep, Beats BYU 19-16 https://t.co/C8hPBv7hyt
— Utah Lacrosse News (@utahlaxnews) March 4, 2018
One of Utah’s presumptive obstacles – BYU – didn’t survive Saturday unscathed as the Cougars got pushed around by Davenport, 19-16. You don’t have to look very deep to find BYU’s issue.
In year’s past, 16 goals would have been plenty for a comfortable Cougar win, but the big Canadians who operate up front for Davenport were too much to handle one-on-one.
It’s certainly not panic time in Provo, especially with a schedule that could allow the Cougars to go on a run over the next three weeks. But certainly it’s time for some defensive introspection.
Southern Cal went up to Isla Vista and upended No. 14 UC Santa Barbara. It’s a big win for the Trojans, who have been trying to establish a solid program foundation.
At first blush, this looks like trouble for the Gauchos in the SLC playoff picture, but USC is ineligible for the SLC tournament this spring. That means unless Claremont jumps up and bites the Gauchos, UCSB will be in the postseason.
If there is some small amount of solace for the Trojans, they are still eligible for the MCLA tournament. The way this early season is shaping up, they might just be in the hunt.
Wut is happening in the @MCLA DI?
— Dustin Rich (@MSUCoach_Rich) March 4, 2018
The loss by No. 6 Arizona State to unranked Georgia is going to sting a little, especially in the polls. Oddly enough, this is the second quadruple overtime loss of the season for the Sun Devils. They fell to UC Santa Barbara last week in the same fashion.
Northern Colorado just put itself on the map with a 7-6 overtime upset victory over No. 16 MSU Denver on Saturday morning. UNC always has talent, and it appears it is being harnessed this season so far.
On the flip side, the Roadrunners aren’t not playing their best ball right now and they have a brutal four-game stretch coming up from March 16-21.
Congrats to the Liberty in-house production crew that put on a quality show for their ESPN3 debut. Unfortunately, the game didn’t bring much drama as the Flames rolled over West Virginia, 18-5.
No. 23 UC Davis is going to make a jump in the polls this week after taking down No. 17 San Diego, 12-7. Realistically, there are two at-large slots in D-II up for grabs, and the Aggies are still in the mix.
North Florida opted to schedule a doubleheader against a pair of ranked teams on Saturday and managed to grab one win. The Ospreys took down No. 19 Louisiana in the opener, 14-4, before falling to No. 11 Florida Gulf Coast, 11-9 in the nightcap.
ODDS & ENDS: Central Washington knocked off Western Oregon, 15-11. That’s a great program win for the Wildcats…Dominican’s 11-4 win over Stanford is an important early-season leg-up in the WCLL playoff race. Still a lot of work to do, but a great start…No. 7 Michigan State visits No. 12 Cal tomorrow (Sunday) at 1 p.m. PST. It will be streamed HERE…Boston College will bring its 2-0 record on the West Coast swing to Grand Canyon on Monday after coasting past Arizona...the contest between No. 3 Chapman and No. 13 Cal Poly will be streamed HERE.