Tuesday, 20 December 2011

BUAFL: Breaking Down the SEC

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As we head into Christmas and the mid-point of the season for most teams we’re taking a look at how each division stacks up so far. This week the SEC falls under our magnifying glass of knowledge and analysis.

Widely touted to be the worst division in BUAFL there are some interesting teams in this division. Let’s start from the bottom:

ARU Phantoms
First season back after a year out and the Phantoms are not having a good season. Breaking away from the Cambridge campus and being solely involved at Chelmsford seemed to solve some logistical problems in terms of transport and training etc. but it seems to have reduced their player pool by a significant amount. I have heard rumours of the Cambridge campus wanting to start up its own team, and I guess at that point, if they are successful and want to train, who owns all of the equipment? Could get nasty! Perhaps a single institution/single team rule needs to be enforced considering the hysteresis of the situation. 

I must say, considering that Andy Fuller seems to have complete say in the schedule (cite. The Northampton Protocol) giving ARU the Stags was a bit mean. It is tough having a game scheduled after your term finishes too, most teams would lose 4 or 5 players. The difference is, on most teams this shouldn’t matter too much, but with ARUs low numbers, it cost them dear. I think ARU are a good shout for the worst team in BUAFL at the moment, but kudos to Coach Saint for his handling of the situation on the forums, although we would advise him just to not bother rising to Mr Anonymous in the future.

Kings College Regents
The first three games of the season have not been anything to write home about for KCL, in its second full year in BUAFL I’m sure they are still recruiting and learning. However, they will be going into the Christmas break on a high after handing out some punishment to the ‘floppy haired academics’ up at Cambridge. Luckily for the Regents they have two very winnable games in their remaining schedule, it’s not quite a .5 season, but things will progress.

Cambridge Pythons
The new boys in this division have entered the league without ever playing a competitive game. The half time scores from the Pythons games seem to show them performing well in the first half, but then being clouted in the second. Perhaps lack of numbers is causing this?
Many people wonder about whether so many new teams should be entered into the league, but growth is not necessarily a bad thing and Cambridge have won a game in their first season (ok, ok, it was against ARPU),  so the signs are there for development of the squad to allow a return to the former glory of the Beau Riffenburgh days. 

Westminster Dragons
Looking at their schedule, they seemed to hold their own against Essex (this is for a new team); got beat quite convincingly by RHUL, who have been underperforming for a programme of that age in the TVC; been beaten quite badly by Canterbury, and beat a truly terrible Surrey side who are trying to steal ARU’s crown of worst team. 

Again another new team in the league and have again won a game, this is encouraging in terms of growth, but something that ultimately no one really cares about. It will be nice to track the progress of teams entering this year in the following years though. The remaining schedule for the team is quite soft, Gloucester who are a bottom 10 team, Brighton who will be a challenge, King’s which will be a good game, and ARU who they will beat.  

Brighton Tsunami
For me, this team has always teetered on the brink of becoming somewhat of a contender. They have some of the right things in place, a big enough recruiting base, a senior league team who they can turn to (Thunder), a nice pitch in a prime location to get people watching the game and get noticed. 

They have never really taken off though. The result against the Redhawks may have looked impressive last year, or the year before, but this year wasn’t as impressive as the Redhawks have struggled in the first half of the season. It’s difficult to tell after only three games how the year may pan out for the Tsunami. The Herts result would be an indicator if Herts weren’t monumentally smashing everyone, although they did beat the Tsunami by the most.

Greenwich Mariners
There was always something fishy (excuse the pun) about the Mariners after the single institution split. They were the only team to take the option of allowing players from other institutions to play considering the new rules. They were a force to be reckoned with that year, beating everyone to go 8-0 and winning the Challenge Cup (Plate). 

Now, they seem to be distinctly average. How many institutions were they actually recruiting from? I have a feeling quite a few of the London universities were channelled through Greenwich and a lot of these now have new teams. Mike Callan (of London Blitz and now GB fame) used to be in charge down there, and although he has left I’m sure he has left somewhat of a legacy. Luckily for the Mariners they have a winnable remaining schedule, except that last game vs Herts which won’t be fun for any involved except the Herts WRs stat chasing!

LSBU Spartans
Founded by some members of the London Blitz who were probably bored from winning all the time, the Spartans seem to be a well drilled, hard hitting team. I personally think their kit looks pretty swish, if not a little Birminghamesque (I’m talking about the strange in between phase for Birmingham, when they decided they wanted yellow and red on the shirts, and before they started watching Friday Night Lights). 

Having ties to premiership teams can only be a good thing, especially when it is the Blitz, however I believe they also have a couple of players from the London Warriors, which can only be an added bonus (as long as the Blitz and the Warrior players don’t rip each other to pieces!).
Having faced the two divisional leaders, the rest of the schedule is there for the taking for the Spartans and I think they will end the year higher up the table than their current position. 

Canterbury Chargers
This team, I know nothing about. I know they are 107/119 on the Guardian University league tables, beating fellow dunces Southampton Solent and BNU, who knows about football comparisons for those three though! Their two wins come from a new team (Westminster) and our favourite whipping boys ARU. They got blown away by the Hurricanes, and washed up in a close affair with the Tsunami. Let’s see how Canterbury’s charge into the remaining half of the season goes. With three London teams on the schedule, I predict a riot.

UEA Pirates
If there’s one thing I like about the Pirates, it’s the big logo they have marked out on their field. Why don’t more teams do this, it looks so cool! So far I have been using BUAFL .net to provide me with results and standings, however, according to that website they should be 4-1! Who knows how many of the results I have got wrong in this summary now! Well

Looking ahead they have two likely wins against King’s and Cambridge, with a good game vs the Blades, UEA will be contending with Essex and LSBU for the plate playoffs in this division, it will all come down to the Blades game with the loser looking likely to miss out.

Essex Blades
I started at the bottom of the division in the hope that people will read about all of the teams instead of just the two top or their own team. Fear not people who are skipping everything to read about Herts, we are nearly there (Tangent: I wonder if Jim Messenger will read this). Essex may have had a change in coaching staff over the past years but they still run the same form of misdirection, with RBs, slots and WRs all over the place. 

It definitely works, and it can score on teams, but, like the Marmite flavoured DW, I don’t think it’s going to win much in terms of popularity or (and I hope Hallam don’t make me eat my words on this one) Championships. A close victory against Greenwich, conceding a score against Cambridge and not blowing away Westminster are working against them so far. They should win the first two games after the break, with a crucial game vs UEA and an interesting inter divisional game vs the Brunel ‘our HC has been sectioned’ Burners.

Kent Falcons
Who would have thought the Falcons would turn out to be this good! I hear rumours they have an American QB calling the shots. This can account for some of the scores they have put up on teams. I also hear rumours that he may have only been here for a term, and might not be returning to the Falcons.

 Regardless,  this a team is not built round only one guy and there must have been guys reeling in passes, and as it stands they do have the second best defence in the division. Post-Christmas looks pretty similar to pre-Christmas except one big green blotch against the Hurricanes. That will probably be the game of the season in this division, who knows, perhaps the Falcons can pull out the upset, I’m sure the coaches are already scheming.  

Hertfordshire Hurricanes
The  perennial power house of the division. This year is no exception; they have been putting up points for fun and are widely touted to be the champions elect. As I would expect from top teams who are serious we don’t hear much out of the camp in terms of showing off, and I am sure they remain classy on the field even after putting up big numbers. Hertfordshire are a team you kind of have to feel sorry for in the past 5 years, they have always been so close, yet so far. 

I personally think that games between Herts and Birmingham/Southampton were the best games to grace BCAFL/BUAFL. Last year’s shoot-out between Birmingham and Herts was no exception).

Herts lost Fred Boyle, who has gone on to Blitz and GB fame, but Joe Thompson has filled the gap (he had a good season at the Knights this past year) and brought along his Offensive MVP from the Knights, Dominic Husbands at WR. Add in Temi Oduyemi at RB (London Blitz MVP), and you have an offense capable of scoring big. The ‘Canes have always produced some good OL, with Jason "the Undertaker" Osei  going on to play in Germany, so I’m sure they have plenty of time to throw and lanes to run through as well.

The defence also seems strong (and has Dave Jennison, Bristol Aztecs MVP) and has only conceded 27 points over 5 games, most of which I would imagine went in against backups. I don’t see anyone beating the ‘Canes in the regular season, with Kent being their only test (if the QB stays, otherwise Kent won’t have a chance to outscore Herts). The ‘Canes remain a top tip to follow through the playoffs, and I’m sure if they come up against either Birmingham or Southampton, we will see another game for the history books.

4 comments:

  1. Kent's QB is here for the entire year, I believe he's done his entire degree at Kent and in his 3rd year now though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its all about Kents fantastic O play book and not just 1 player.

    A very talented team throughout all positions and certainly the biggest chance of an upset against Herts for quite a few years.

    ReplyDelete
  3. yeah a good qb like him is nothing without the goods wr kent have!

    ReplyDelete
  4. good work but for me you talk too much about the past years, you know each year a team can be totally different from the year before in buafl!

    ReplyDelete

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