Friday, 23 November 2012

Willy Tee's Week Four Predictions




The nights are closing in, and for the editorial elves up at DC towers this means working their way through my weekly multitude of errors, by candlelight. 

Apparently, due to my wafflage being so… well, waffly, this is apparently leading to some of the elder elves going rather blind! 

Only a few weeks prior to their secondment to the north pole? This is obviously rather something of a problem! 

As such, I’ve been asked to keep things short, sharp and to the point this week… let’s see if I can manage it! 
 Saltire 

Stirling Clansmen @ Edinburgh Predators 

Short, sharp and pointy? Yeah, that’s probably a rather apt description of what this game will be like… with most of the pointies being put up by the Clansmen. 

The Clan don’t look like they’re going to see a real challenge this side of the postseason having outscored their opposition 224-19 so far this season. Predators might make playoffs… but that’s not saying much coming out of the Saltire. 

Clansmen 56 – 12 Predators 


UWS Pyros @ Glasgow Tigers 

Tigers may have been blown out in their season opener 100-7, but in their two games since they’ve managed to keep Predators to two scores, and shutout the Knights entirely. Slowly, we’re seeing glimmers of the tough D Glasgow were able to make use of last year and against a Pyros team that only managed a single score on the Predators last week? The Tigers should be able to keep their opposition to another low scoreline before they begin their Christmas break. 

How many teams would expect to be 3-1 going halfway through the season after being utterly demolished in week 1?? 

Pyros can at least take pride in the fact that it looks like they’re not going to be the worst team in Scotland for the first time in a few years.  

Tigers 20 - 6 Pyros 


North Eastern 

Sunderland Spartans @ Bradford Bears 

Tough loss for the Bears last week as they missed out in overtime against what looks to be a highly competitive Centurions team. What I expected to a tough defensive grindfest, actually turned out to be something of a shootout, and so the Spartans will have to be wary as they’ve had some offensive output problems of their own of late: shutout by a stout Carnegie defensive unit last Sunday. 

Will they be able to recover in time to attempt to outpace a crazy lobster that went clawed its way into the end zone time after time last week (Bradford’s Steven Szoidberg breached the plane 4 times against York)?  I’m doubting it. 

Bears 24 - 14 Spartans 


Northumbria Mustangs @ Leeds Met Carnegie 

Shutouts are no new thing for this Carnegie team, and while it took them until week 3 to get their season underway, they did so in style as they shutout what looked to be a much improved Sunderland. With 3 shutouts in 2011/12, they’ll be hard pushed to match that number in 12/13 with a tough schedule ahead of them – this match up against a shaky looking Mustangs side may be one of their best opportunities hand an opponent another donut. 

Mustangs were barely able to hold off the Saints last week, despite crushing them 42-0 only a year ago, so they look like they’re in for a tough old year in this new and highly competitive conference. 

Carnegie 18 – 6 Mustangs 


Newcastle Raiders @ York Centurions 

Did we finally get a glimmer of the old Newcastle last week? The Raiders racked up 47 over an obviously overwhelmed Teeside team – and it was about time, having only scored 6 points total in the two games prior. 

Still, this is a Centurions side that’s showing early promise in their overtime nailbiter against the Bears, and it’s tough to believe that Newcastle have really improved THAT much in a week, and rather Teeside were actually just that bad. 

If York pull this off they’re on course to be contender this year… 

Centurions 24 - 20 Raiders 


UH Sharks @ Durham Saints 

As stated, my explanation for the Saints close contest against Northumbria? Northumbria are looking a bit pants. 

Should Durham even manage to hold their own against a Sharks side that now looks like hot favourites for the conference title, then and only then might I start to believe the old slogan actually isn’t holding true yet again this season…  

Until then, sorry Saints fans, but Durham are still sh*t. 

Sharks 30 – 6 Saints 


Leeds Celtics @ Teesside Cougars 

As I noted above: I’m giving credit for the apparent Raiders resurgence to a Teeside team in turmoil. 

The Cougars may’ve snagged themselves a single win last year, but that took a matchup against the 64th (out of 68) ranked defence of the UWS Pyros to bag a ‘W’, whereas this Celtics side is looking like it’s actually worthy of the two 7-0 victories they snagged to end the 2011 season as despite currently possessing a losing record? They’ve performed admirably against 3 of the strongest sides in the conference. 

With a similarly strong second half of their schedule, Celtics should be able to use this week to boost up their points differential – a stat the BUCs site seems to love, even if it has no influence on postseason decisions that I’m aware of… 

Celtics 30 – 0 Cougars  


Big North Western 

Sheffield Sabres @ Staffordshire Stallions 

Is it just me or are the Sabres not looking quite as sharp on offence this year as last? This time last year they had outscored opposition 146-6 and while they’re still sitting pretty at 3-0, 102 points scored represents nearly a 50% reduction in offensive output and it’s not like they’ve been facing quality opposition.  

Still, an average scoreline of 34-5 is nothing to smirk at, even if it is probably the softest division in the nation? And, hells, they’re certainly looking like the #1 team in the Steel city right now? 

Stallions may not be looking quite as poor as they were last year – they put more points on Derby than Hallam managed (!!!) but they’ve only taken down a lackadaisical Liverpool so far so I’m not expected them to stampede across the conference just yet. 

Sabres 28 – 6 Stallions 

Bangor Muddogs @ Derby Braves 

Seems the Muddogs have returned to old habits… i.e. being a bit pants.  

Cancellation, cancellation, loss… and not just any loss: the Bouche-less Bangor let Huddersfield run up almost as many points in a single game as they managed in their entire 2011/12 season (32 vs 33). Even in a squishy looking conference, it looks like the Muddogs team that missed out on postseason football by the skin of their teeth might have been something of a one-hit wonder. 

Meanwhile, a new powerhouse appears to have emerged in the north! 

Late last Sunday Derby handed Hallam their first divisional loss in a good few seasons, and kept the #1 regular season offence of 2011/12 to a single score. Boom. 

As such? Only one way I can see this going. After years of being stomped down in the MAC, the Braves may have finally found the secret to a conference title: a different conference!! 

Braves 50 – 0 Muddogs 

Liverpool Fury @ MMU Eagles 

Difficult to get a clear judgement of the strength of these two off the back of the schedules they’ve played out so far… The Eagles win over Lancaster is of note perhaps, but this was followed by being utterly destroyed by Derby. 

Fury meanwhile have only managed the one match up so far (though at least this is through no fault of their own for once!) and I’m not sure what sort of squad the Stallions are really fielding this year. 

If only because of how convincingly the Eagles soothed Liverpool’s wrath in their end-of-season match up last year (36-8), I’m backing the Eagles to get back to winning ways… if only briefly, what with Warriors incoming next weekend…  

Eagles 12 – 6 Fury 


UCLan Rams @ Hallam Warriors 

How does the #1 offence in the league comeback from a summer and only manage a single score, having been shut out for 3 full quarters?? I mean, fair enough, in the Warriors last outing before the offseason they similarly only managed the one touchdown – but that was against the irrepressible might of the Lions, rather than a team who didn’t even see postseason ball last year!  Still, surely you can’t go from conference champs to losing to rookies over one offseason? Even if these incoming Yoo-Clan Rams are a rather impressive rookie outfit, headed up by DC’s one 2 watch, Sam Bloomfield, you’ve got to believe the Warriors are too strong as a program to have fallen so far. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Warriors get a scare here, but it’s surely beyond belief that they’re capable of losing to a first year team… 

Warriors 20 – 12 Rams 


MAC 

NTU Renegades @ Birmingham Lions 

NTU looked surprisingly pedestrian last week actually. Two scores in the first quarter, and then shutout for the rest of the game, scraping through against a Longhorns side we pretty much all expected to get blown out of the water. Even with the soggy-bottom tier of teams the MAC fields, NTU can’t afford to let games like that nearly slip past them if they want to be considered trophy contenders… 

But let’s be fair, they could have won last week one-hundred to zip and we’d still be looking for a blowout loss here. 

Roll on the FAUK Bowl. 

Lions 45 – 6 Renegades 


Nottingham Outlaws @ Loughborough PPEs 

Even without their gold trimmings, Lugbug are still not likely to meet much in the way of opposition in the MAC until their season ending matchup with the Lions. 

Outlaws haven’t taken the field since being lit up at XpLosION, but perhaps the score margin shouldn’t be quite so wide this week and hell: their season can only get easier from here on out! 

Purple People Eaters 40 – 0 Outlaws 


Lincoln Colonials @ Wolverhampton Wildcats 

Colonials have looked rather sloppy this year, as while letting the Lions put 83 up on you is one thing, allowing a Nemesis team that didn’t manage a single point on offence in its first outing to rack up 56 on quite another! Fair enough, the Colonials offence got into something of a groove of its own, but with currently the worst defence in the MAC going into this third outing? Even against rookies the Colonials will have concerns. 

But hey, at least they’ve played some games. Two straight cancellations in a row from the incoming Wildcats who are obviously having some teething problems with the fundamentals of Uni ball… such as having a pitch, and the like. 

DC Towers have heard good things about Wolverhampton so far, but they be starting from cold against a Colonials team that at least got to get somewhat familiar with finding the endzone last week… Edge to Lincoln. 

Colonial30 – 28 Wildcats 

Leicester Longhorns @ Warwick Wolves 

How bout dem Longhorns, eh? 

Impressive performance from the double-wing wielding Leicester last week, as while you’d expect a well run double-wing to be able to eventually grind out a score against even the most resolute of defences, it was in fact the Longhorn’s own defence that impressed last week, shutting down Miller and co at the Renegades for 3 full quarters, including two redzone picks! Some ballhawks hidden amongst these Longhorns. 

However, facing off against them this week is a Wolves team that has already shut down the double-wing once this season, keeping the Nemesis to ZERO offensive points in their season opener… Warwick’s main concern will be whether they can get their own offence going, putting up only 13 points of their own. 

Expect defences to dictate the course of the game, but I’m backing the Longhorns due to the fact they’ve faced off against better quality opposition so far. 

Longhorns 18 – 12 Wolves 



South Western Atlantic 

The SWAC is looking as competitive as ever this year, possibly even more so with the rise of Gloucester and Swansea… though I’m prone to wondering whether this is down to a general fall in performance… I guess we’ll see with a number of interesting match ups this week that could have BIG potential playoff implications! 

Bristol Barracuda @ Tarannau Aberystwyth 

Cuda impressed and surprised last week, bouncing back from a 46-6 crushing at the hands of the Cobras in 11/12, to edge themselves a 14-7 victory and make a statement to the conference that Bristol Uni football is back on the map after a rather soft outing last year. Their season opening performance against Worcester however seemed to leave much to be desired, and their next match up pits them against a team that handed the Royals a similar 3-scores-to-1 defeat: Tarrannau Aberystwyth. 

‘The Storm’ talked themselves up in the preseason, but are clearly yet to deliver as while they’ve grabbed the one win they weren’t able to acquire last year, we’re yet to meet a team that has found a way to the Royals in league competition.   

If Cuda win big here, I’ll start to believe the hype… but I’m suspicious of the SWAC’s strength so far in 2012… 

Barracuda 20 – 14 Aberystwyth 


Exeter Demons @ Bath Killer Bees 

By my money, the Bees might actually be the team to beat in the SWAC this year… And no, I’m not just saying that cos they beat my Blitz boys.  Their long postseason allowed to them bring last year’s rookies up to form, and they’re simple but effective offence is capable of pushing through regular scores, spearheaded by the hard running of London Blitz RB Deji Alli. 

Demons will always be a dangerous team, due the sheer athleticism of the roster they’re capable of bringing back year after year, but they disappointed last week as they let a 14-0 lead at the half slip away from them, and the Bullets avenged the final seconds loss from last season with a second half, 21-unanswered points comeback. 

Still, Bath dominated Exeter at the end of last season, giving them the momentum boost they required to push deep into the postseason… Maybe miracle-maker Sancto can pull the Demons through, but otherwise this should be the Bees game to lose. 

Killer Bees 24 – 14 Demons 


Swansea Titans @ UWE Bullets 

My theory is that the Titans are one of the few teams in the SWAC that DIDN’T get worse in the offseason… and so this could be more of even match up that many might expect at first glance. 

Certainly, when these two teams last year UWE found themselves stuck in the mud and were barely able to sneak through with a 6-0 victory. With home field advantage this year, they can’t blame the welsh weather for dragging them down, and their offence found a groove in the second half last week to push through for a comeback victory. 

For a team that managed 5 shutouts last year, UWE seem to be struggling to get their D returned to form, so expect Swansea to slip some scores in… But it would be a BIG shocker if the Bullets weren’t able to bag their third straight win here. 

Bullets 20 – 12 Titans 

Worcester Royals @ Cardiff Cobras 

When I predicted this matchup in week 1 (before the welsh weather killed it) I was all prepped for the Cobras to roll right over the Royals. 

However, since then I’ve had reason to temper my expectations. Cardiff’s offence, behind its majority rookie line, is looking shaky, held to only a single score last week in Bristol. Further, the Royals themselves aren’t looking as shabby as expected now they’ve made a new home in the SWAC and don’t have an annual mauling at the claws of the Lions to look forward to. 

One team declining, the other rising…. But yeah, they’re still leagues apart in quality. 

Cobras 28 – 6 Royals 



Thames Valley 

Brighton Tsunami @ RHUL Bears 

The RH Bears showed some good resilience last week to only allow 18 past them (even if they were facing a rookie squad, mostly playings its backups) and they’re yet to be shutout so far this season. 

Tsunami meanwhile roll into this game off the back of a comfy season-opening win over the struggling newcomer Lancers. This momentum should carry to Brighton boys right over the Bears, and through to another soft match up against Surrey next week. 

If only their second half schedule was as soft as their first…  

Tsunami 25 – 6 Bears 


Southampton Stags @ BNU Buccaneers 

See the GOTW Article for my… insights? Meh, WAFFLAGE!!! about this crucial TVC matchup. 

Stags 38 – 21 BNU Buccaneers 

OBU Panthers @ Solent Redhawks 

OBU missed out by a gnats whisker last week as their 2point conversion that would have won them the game fell short. This week they square up against a red-hot Redhawks team who are coming into the game off the back of two convincing shut out victories… even if they were only against the likes of Surrey and the freshman Lancers. 

Stout as the Panthers defence can be, it’s going to tough for them to entirely shut down an offence that’s clearly gotten into its rhythm as smoothly as Solent’s has, and I think this game could come down to first to 3 scores seals the deal. 

Redhawks 21 – 14 Panthers 


Portsmouth Destroyers @ Brunel Burners 

Predicted this match up last week, but it wasn’t able to go ahead… Still, see no reason to change what I said, so that’s an easy one: 

Portsmouth scraped through against the rather impressive rookie Cougars last week, while Brunel were fairly effective themselves against a strong Southampton Stags team. 

It’s clear the Burners have taken big steps forwards, but is that going to be enough when they come up against a recovering Destroyers team that even at its low point last season, made it trophy football.  

DC founder and Brunel HC Jon Goddard certainly has high hopes for this young program and a win here could make them legitimate contenders in what is shaping up to be probably the most competitive and deep-in-strength conference in the league… 

But Pompey surely have too much left-over championship pride to let themselves be burnt by Brunel just yet…” 

Destroyers 18 – 12 Burners 



SEC 

Hertfordshire Hurricanes @ Imperial Immortals 

There isn’t a single team in the conference capable of calming the ‘Canes… so at least this makes the predictions rather easy. 

There are times in life when you simply have to close your eyes and think of England. 

For the Immortals, this is one of those times. 

Hurricanes 61 - 6 Immortals 


UEA Pirates @ Canterbury Chargers 

So close! No, not the Chargers scorelines so far, but ME almost having an awesomely accurate prediction!! 
Well, ok, the Chargers scorelines have been pretty damn ridiculous too: 3 games in a row decided by a single point… wow. Just wow. 

Let’s go for a fourth, as the Chargers square off against a similarly built Pirates outfit that’s very capable of piling in the points through an effective running game, but struggles to shut down their opposition in return. 

Even if it’s not a one-pointer, this should be a highly competitive game, and my gut’s telling me the Pirates might have the edge… Which when it comes to Canterbury games, seems to mean I should go the OTHER way! Therefore: Canterbury to scrape it as closely as a Lineman scrapes the gravy off his plate. 

Chargers 28 – 27 Pirates 


LSBU Spartans @ Westminster Dragons 

Two teams unhappily sat at the bottom of the SEC… at least from this matchup we can guarantee the losing streak is over for one of them! 

Spartans seems to be struggling so far this season… Their offensive output is distinctly sparse, and two scores per game is simply not going to cut it in a conference with so many points-happy teams. With an incoming Hurricane fast approaching, the Spartans need to steal a win while they can, before they batten down the hatches and attempt to weather through their games with the National Champions next weekend. 

And this Dragons squad looks capable of forcing the Spartans to fight for it! They came oh-so close to sinking the Mariners last weekend, but lost their concentration in the fourth and allowed the Mariners to sail on by it what looked like a scorcher of a game to watch (highlight tapes anyone???). Still, it’s always going to tough for second year teams as their sophomore schedule steps it up a notch, so I think the Spartans should be able to spear themselves their first victory of 2012/13 here. 

Spartans 20  18 Dragons 

Cambridge Pythons @ Essex Blades 

Hmm. 

I want to pick those plucky Pythons… I really do… 

But I just don’t think they’ve got the firepower capable of pushing through this matchup against a Blades team that recovered from its bruising season-opener being shutout against Herts, to win a nail-biting shoot-out against the Chargers where they racked up the 35points necessary to scrape through as 1-point victors. 

Until the Pythons get their Christmas presents (Cambridge’s new-year influx of cross-Atlantic imports) I just can’t see them capable of the 4+ scores they’d need to take on a pass-happy team like the Blades just yet. 
 Blades 24 – 14 Pythons 


Should be a great week!  Can you believe for some teams, nearly half their season will be over?  

Let me know which teams you think will be heading into fast approaching the Christmas break 4-0: @WIllyTee1

2 comments:

  1. "This time last year they had outscored opposition 146-6 and while they’re still sitting pretty at 3-0, 102 points scored represents nearly a 50% reduction in offensive output and it’s not like they’ve been facing quality opposition."

    No. Sort your maths out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What happened to the unofficial forum?

    ReplyDelete

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