Wednesday, 11 January 2012

BUAFL Conference re alignment analysis

It has to be said that the announcement of a divisional re-alignment for 2012/13 has taken us a little by surprise.  Although there had been rumours of changes to the format, for them to be released at this stage of the season seems to be an odd move.

With several new teams still in the process of completing the associate process, there is still no certainty as to how many teams will be in BUAFL in 2012/13, and fans of a possible two-tier system will be disappointed that the idea doesn't appear to have been considered.

A handful of teams switch between the SEC and the Thames Valley Conference, but the main changes come in the north, where a whole new conference - the Saltire - has been created specifically for Scottish teams (including any associates from north of the border), while the current Borders conference teams from England move into an as yet unnamed North Eastern Conference.  They will be joined by both Leeds teams, Hull, York and Bradford, who are to be split from varsity rivals Huddersfield after just one season.

The Hawks will play in the Big North Western, which contains all the teams from the other side of the Pennines, both Sheffield clubs and (perhaps surprisingly) Staffordshire and Derby, who could lose their traditional rivalry with the Nottingham teams.

Early observations tend to suggest that Derby's move north is less to do with geography and more to do with spreading the wealth of post-season quality teams in the MAC, which - despite the removal of two teams - is still bloated, particularly with the possibility of a Birmingham team in the pipeline.

The playoff structure will also be interesting with seven division now in place. We could be looking at a similar system as the NFL where Divisional winners go through to the playoffs with a couple of wild card teams as well, or a completely new structure.

The news seems to have met with a largely positive reaction on the league's Facebook page, but - as always - expect changes before the 2012/13 season kicks off.

Be sure to check out the resst of todays releases:

BUAFL Top five: Stories to watch in the second half of the season 


The Clinic: Double Wing Offence


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