Thursday, 29 November 2012

BAFA Uni Week Five Predictions



Saltire
Edinburgh Napier Knights at Stirling Clansmen
Talk about your polar opposites. Whilst the Clansmen are squashing the rest of their division like a one armed gorilla reaching for a mushy banana, the Knights have barely troubled the Down marker let alone the score sheet.
Stirling come off a 71-7 over the posher Edinburgh team and must be relishing taking on Napier on their flashy turf at Gannochy in Stirling. Rumours reached DC towers that Stirling were disappointed in this result and felt they took their foot of the gas!
On the plus side for the Knights their Defense has been their one bright spot in an otherwise disappointing year. Harsh field position and turnover ball has really cost Napier dear and their Offense ranks #5 in the division.
Prediction: Clansmen by 40 (ED: should we open up the 2 division debate again?)
Edinburgh Predators at UWS Pyro’s
The Pyro’s lost last weekend to the Glasgow Tigers 27-7 but by all accounts put up a good fight. Two costly interceptions and a score chopped off mean that UWS are no longer a softer touch than a baby in a mitten factory. They will want to mix it up in this fixture set to be fought out in Scotland’s December mud.
The Pred’s come of their bye-week still fizzing over their OT loss to Glasgow two weeks ago. Their deep threat and quick run game should make them favourites for this one as they hope to catch Glasgow in 2nd place. Edinburgh has proven adept at coping with a huddle in the puddle and should be too sharp on the day.
Prediction: Predators by 20

North Eastern
UH Sharks vs Leeds Met Carnegie
See our upcoming Game of the Week article
Northumbria Mustangs vs York Centurions
We’ll launch into our prediction on this one in second, but first things first. Football is a game loved by millions. It’s brutal at times, but we’d like to think that everyone who straps on a helmet on a Sunday has respect for those who do the same.
So we’d like to take this opportunity to wish Mustangs centre Paul Lowe a speedy recovery. Paul broke his back during the game against Carnegie last week. While coaches say he won’t play the game again, they’ve confirmed he can walk and has full use of his extremities. We wish you well, Paul.
As far as this game goes, Northumbria went toe to toe with Carnegie last Sunday, and led for a short time before going down 26-16. This bodes well for the rest of the season, and should see them pick up some hard-fought wins along the way.
It’ll be interesting to see if they can maintain that energy against York, who won their only game of the season so far in a shootout against Bradford. The high score surprised many who were expecting a game of hard yards, and a waterlogged pitch last week meant that we didn’t get to see if it was a fluke. A little voice in the back of our head says York have enough in the locker to take this one, but could the Mustangs spring a surprise?
York by a touchdown
Teesside Cougars vs Durham Saints
Here’s a daunting statistic: Both teams finished last season at 1-7, with Durham’s only win coming against Teesside. Even at this early stage, it’s evident this will not be a tie with playoff implications.
That said, it’s interesting to note how each team has responded in their losses to date. Teesside have leaked touchdowns over the last two games, and they’re sitting at the bottom of a deep “points difference” well with minus-65. While widely tipped to fill the league’s blooper videos this year, the Saints gave the Mustangs the shock of their lives by chasing them down to the wire in week two. Has this team got a few more scares in them? It’s a tight one to call, largely because both teams have been tipped to lose so often that it’s hard to kick the habit.
Durham wins again by a score
Big North Western
UCLAN Rams (2-0) v Staffordshire Stallions (1-1)
The UCLan Rams currently occupy third spot in the Big North Western Conference, after they were awarded a 1-0 win on Tuesday, for the previously postponed game against Manchester Tyrants. That result gives the conference new-boys a 2-0 record, as their fixture with Hallam last Sunday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Staffordshire meanwhile stand at .500 after a win over the Fury and a loss against league leaders Derby.
UCLan are one of only three teams in the region yet to lose, after Tuesday’s announcement effectively gave them two victories in Manchester, but it’s still hard to judge the Rams after only one game. Expect GB Youth TE Sam Bloomfield and Chris Anderson to be the impact performers, with Joe Nicolson and Stuart Robinson controlling the game, with strong running from the backfield.
Staffordshire’s showdown with the Sabres was another of Sunday’s games to fall foul of the weather. The Stallions have shown, in both of their opening two games, that they are capable of scoring, losing 42-12 to a very good Derby side and beating Liverpool 28-13.
The key to this game will be the Stallions defence, led by linebacker Richard Bodinar and Steve Higgins, they were dominant against Liverpool and need a similar performance this week. UCLan haven’t been prolific scorers so far this season and this will be a good test for the rookie outfit.
Staffordshire by two scores
Hallam Warriors (0-1) v Lancaster Bombers (0-2)
In this fixture last year, the Bombers had a disastrous trip to South Yorkshire as Hallam scored 97 unanswered points against the visitors at Bawtry Road, a defeat which formed part of a six game losing streak for Lancaster and effectively put pay to their season. Meanwhile, Hallam went onto clinch the Northern Conference, but were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the playoffs by Birmingham.
Hallam currently sit one place above the Bombers in the conference, after games against Bangor and UCLan Rams were postponed due to waterlogged pitches. The Warriors welcome their first visitor of the season to Spinkhill on Sunday, while Bawtry Road is being developed.
The time off might not have been a bad thing for Coach Batty and his side, as rumours of off-the-pitch problems with the new training venue and differences with the Athletic Union come to light. It’s a new look Warriors side with QB Chris Webber under centre, while last season’s impressive rookie combination of Sam Adekanmbi and James Musonda return to the backfield. But Hallam’s real strength lies in their defence led by Linebacker Matthew Marsden and Safety Aden Flanagan.
Lancaster return to action on Sunday, after three weeks without a game. Their last outing was also in Sheffield against the Sabres, where they lost 35-6, but Head Coach Darren Carr will be glad of the extra preparation time, as the Bombers had only had a month of training to prepare for their opening game against the Eagles, due to the late start of the University’s term.
Hallam aren’t the team they were last season, but should have enough to beat the Bombers. Their relatively small O-line could struggle to move the ball, but their strong defence will keep them in the game – Hallam by at least two scores
Liverpool Fury (1-1) v Manchester Tyrants (1-2)
This game will be the first meeting between these two sides for three years, almost exactly to the day – 29 November 2009, when the Tyrants beat the Fury 14-0 on a muddy day in Manchester, thanks to a rushing touchdown from Ari Brosowsky and a second half touchdown from a fumble, scored by lineman Jeremy Walker.
That was the same season, when Liverpool Fury recorded their last victory in this conference against York Centurions (Feb 2010 if anyone’s interested)… that was until they shocked all onlookers and beat MMU Eagles 36-9 last Sunday. Could this be the start of a good run of results on Merseyside? Not if the Tyrants and QB Chris Payne have their say!
The Tyrants announced on Sunday that they had parted ways with their Head Coach Hugh English after a year in charge, citing a need for the team to move in a different direction after a disappointing start to this year’s campaign. Manchester now stands at 1-2 after the Rams were awarded their win on Tuesday and it will be interesting to see how the team performs without Coach English at the helm.
After their ‘shock’ win last Sunday and the departure of Tyrant’s Head Coach this could be a great time for Liverpool to play Manchester and is my pick of the games in the conference this week – Fury by a single score!
#keepthestreakalive
MAC
Northampton Nemesis @ Nottingham Outlaws
With poor conditions at their home field at Grove Farm week 4 will see the Nottingham Outlaws welcome the Northampton Nemesis to their new temporary home at the Lincoln Colonial’s 3G pitch.
The match will also be a breath of fresh air for the Outlaws, who for the first time this season will not have to play one of the MAC conference’s premier teams. Their previous two game being heavy defeats at the hands of the Birmingham Lions and Loughborough ‘Aces’.
The Nemesis however will be no pushover, having last week scored big in their 56-32 away win over the Lincoln Colonials under the floodlights.
This big score though was preceded by a 2 point effort in defeat to the Warwick Wolves, so do not expect another blowout for the Northampton Nemesis for whom the Outlaws should provide a stiff resistance.
Nottingham Outlaws by 14
Birmingham Lions vs. Coventry Jets
Birmingham just saw off a spirited challenge from NTU 38-7, and whilst the game was one sided it showed the Lions are by no means impregnable.
The Jets meanwhile suffered a loss to the Renegades (20-0) in week 1, followed by consecutive beat downs on lowly DMU. A 50 point swing from theirs and Birmingham’s common game with NTU seems about right for this one!
Birmingham by 60+
Wolverhampton Wildcats vs. DMU Falcons
The Wildcats played a game (yay)! They lost 20-0 to Lincoln (not so yay). This week though they travel to play struggling DMU who have had an equally torrid start to their 2012 campaign.
An expected beat down by Loughborough followed by back to back losses to Coventry has not been ideal for the young Falcons team, and this should be a fairly even encounter between two youthful outfits.
I’m not expecting either offense to set the scoreboard on fire, but I think the edge has to go to DMU who if nothing else have more game experience than the Wildcats – and look to be improving with narrower losses each week.
DMU by one score
Lincoln Colonials vs. Leicester Longhorns
Two teams who have featured on our Powerless Rankings go head to head this weekend as the Colonials host the Leicester Longhorns.
Fresh off their 20-0 victory over the Wolverhampton Wildcats, the Colonials now play host to the 0-3 Longhorns who are currently struggling to find the endzone. If the Lincoln defence can continue their form from last week, and shut down the Longhorns DW offence, the Colonial should be sitting with a 0.500 record after the weekend.
After difficult games against Loughborough, NTU and Warwick (three teams on our Power Rankings), the Longhorns are finally facing an opponent who are of equal ability. As mentioned earlier, the Longhorns are struggling to find any rhythm on offence, but Leicester should take heart from the fact that the Colonials have conceded 83 and 56 points respectively whilst playing at home.
Tough one...Lincoln to edge it by a score
SWAC
UWE Bullets @ Cardiff Cobras
Scraping a 20-15 win against the Exeter Demons in week 2 and being defeated 14-7 by the Bristol Barracuda in week 3; the Cardiff Cobras will this week be looking to kick their season into gear when the UWE Bullets bring their SWAC topping 3-0 record to Fortress Llanrumney.
The Bullets, having been the only SWAC team to play in week 3, will be looking to build on their 24-0 shutout win over the Swansea Titans.
Though the Bullets remain undefeated, previous to week three’s big win the team was not blowing opponents away with an average winning margin of only 9.5 points. This is something Cardiff will take into the game against an opponent that by the league table looks far superior.
With both teams, be it in the league or at Fortress Llanrumney, looking to defend an undefeated record, and the two outfits having previously this season beat the Exeter Demons by near identical scorelines, expect a hard fought and close game.
UWE Bullets by a score or less
Bristol Barracuda v Plymouth Blitz
Bristol are enjoying something of a comeback this year, shocking Cardiff after a mediocre 2011 campaign ending in no postseason action.
Plymouth have had a shaky start, with a loss to the Killer Bees making this match absolutely pivotal in their hunt for the playoffs. We think they will have enough in the tank to do it, though.
Plymouth by two scores
Swansea Titans vs. Bath Killer Bees
It’s not been the best of starts for the Titans who are currently sitting with a 0-2 record and now take on the undefeated Bath Killer Bees.
Following a 30-32 loss against Gloucester, the Titans featured in the only SWAC game last weekend, and judging by the 24-0 scoreline, we imagine that most of their players had wished the game got called off.
It’s been over two weeks since the Killer Bees have played a game, so there could be a slight sign of rust within the team, but we doubt they’ll be too affected in this game. With the highest scoring offence in the SWAC (32.5 compared to Gloucester’s 32), the Bees will be looking for another blow out victory to keep their title challenge up.
Despite playing their first home game of the season, Titans still lose. Killer Bees by 25
TVC
OBU Panthers vs. Portsmouth Destroyers
This game certainly looks like a tough one and I, for one, am disappointed it didn’t win our Game of the Week feature. Not too long ago this would be a no-brainer. Of course Portsmouth would win and win comfortably. But with their decline last year, along with OBU’s rise to the playoffs, it makes predicting this game quite challenging.

OBU are coming off a 21-14 win against the Solent Redhawks, who were previously 2-0. However, those two victories came against Surrey and Oxford, both dismal programmes. Portsmouth, on the other hand, have only played one game and showed that there defensive prowess from their championship winning campaign might be back, beating an impressive Kingston team 12-6.
If OBU hadn’t lost to BNU in previous weeks, I would be backing them to beat Portsmouth. The Destroyers may be really good, challenging the Stags for the top spot of the TVC or their victory against Kingston could have been a one off. I am going to back the historically more prudent team in a game where defence will undoubtedly dominate proceedings.
Destroyers by 8
Solent Redhawks vs. Brunel Burners
It’s been a long time since the Burners have played a game, losing to the Stags 46-20 in week 2. Frustrated by weather and postponements, it’ll be interesting to see how Brunel come out this week. Solent, as previously mentioned, were 2-0 racking up a massive amount of points in the process. However, against a solid OBU defence, they lost 21-14. 


Having watched both these teams this year, I would strongly argue that Brunel are the much more talented side. With their RB Modebe, along with the decent arm and scrambling abilities of their QB #10 Carlos Calles, their offence provide a much more reliable and potent threat than Solent’s.
Brunel not having played in a while will have helped Solent, but it won’t provide all the help they need.
Brunel by 16
Kingston Cougars v Reading Knights
Kingston HC Phil DeMonte is the Marmite of Uni ball.  But whether you love spreading him on your toast or not he has done an outstanding job at Kingston so far.  Their only loss to the 2011 national champions in a tight game.  They should be well on track Sunday after a bye week.  Their wishbone offence is not high scoring, but with the athletes they have in the squad they should outright beast Reading up and down the field. 
Reading are struggling this year.  Andy Hollands is at the helm and it looked as though Reading would be propelled into a top scoring team.  However Ed Hopkins is no longer there after leaving the team to focus on his degree and Reading are struggling to move the ball.  A 39-0 win against Surrey is very unimpressive for a team that has been a force in the TVC in recent years.  This was compounded by a heavy loss to Southampton.

Kingston by two scores

Brighton v Surrey
The switch to the TVC has been favourite to Brighton so far.  Maybe that has something to do with their schedule.  Their first 3 games are against the whipping boys of the TVC.  HC James Ormrod will be fighting hard to stop complacency throughout the ranks.  They will use this week’s game to get valuable reps for their rookies before they hit an awful run of games facing Portsmouth, Southampton and BNU in a row.
I do not know how Surrey are so poor.  They have fantastic facilities.  The sports park in Guildford is outstanding and the pitch is great.  They have 15,000 students and a long history in Uni ball.  Yet year after year they get beat to the bottom of the table.  The only thing that stings about Surrey is the sun shining off the 7 different coloured helmets their team wears.

Brighton by 40+

Holloway v Southampton
Holloway are not a bad team. They are a dirty team. Just ask any team they have faced but they aren't horrific. Their QB is a big lad with a decent arm it’s a shame he is throwing to players with have struggled to grasp the wide receiver position. Their defence is ok as 0-3 teams go. Their only bad game was against the DW but that is kind of expected. If they can hold Southampton to a handful of scores they can bounce back after xmas and aim for a .500 record.
There is no reason now why Southampton can't go 8-0.  They were outyardaged by an unusual BNU side but won 27-0 due to executing on both sides of the ball.  The passing game was neutralised last week but going against a weak Holloway pass defence should allow them to get back to their deep ball ways.  This would be a good game to bleed more rookies in after going a few scores up.  I don't expect a massive scoreline as Southampton will look to rotate out starters.

Stags by 35

SEC
Hertfordshire Hurricanes vs. LSBU Spartans
This prediction should just read ‘Herts’. I’m sorry that you have to keep reading on when you and I both know the final score will be somewhere in the region of 60-6 in favour of Herts. This is of no disrespect to LSBU either, I might add. Any prediction for Herts in the regular season should not be more than 10 words long.

Having scored 177 points in 3 games and only conceding three, LSBU will provide the BUAFL upset of decade if they even get the result to be within two scores. 

Herts by way too much
Canterbury Chargers vs Imperial Immortals

Our sources tell us that this game is very much in doubt - with an alternative venue being sought - which would be a shame for a potentially intriguing early season match-up.

OK, the Immortals were torn apart by Hertfordshire (who isn't these days), but have the potential to make a few waves this season. Canterbury meanwhile have been one of the most entertaining teams to watch in all of the league, averaging three touchdowns a game but only picking up a single win.

If the game does get played, expect a lot of points and a small margin of victory.

Imperial by three

Kent Falcons vs Westminster Dragons

You know what, call me crazy but I think the Falcons could be the real deal this season. They appear to be maturing nicely as a unit, and should be notching up a third straight win when they welcome Westminster this weekend.

The Dragons aren't exactly pulling up trees so far in 2012/13. UEA made light work of them in their opening game, and they came up short despite a much better effort against Greenwich.

Kent are hard favourites for this game, and will be expecting a big win.

Kent by four scores

KCL Regents vs ARU Rhinos

Two of the SEC's four winless outfits step onto the field against each other battling for pride and that elusive first W.

In fairness to ARU, they've only had one bite of the cherry so far this season, but it was a mere nibble in a 40-6 hammering by middle-of-the-road Imperial. On the other hand, KCL's defeats have come by a combined margin of five points, including a one point loss the aforementioned Immortals.

We can't see it getting much better for ARU in all honesty, particularly against the Regents. KCL are a lock for a first win of the season.

KCL by three scores

2 comments:

  1. So you're saying if OBU made the 2 point conversion against BNU you'd back them to win?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Referring to Saltire conference. Edinburgh Predators have had two matches since OT loss to Glasgow. The mentioned 71-7 defeat to Clansmen and a win against the pyros in-between the two.

    ReplyDelete

Popular Posts

Fantasy Football News