Friday, 7 December 2012

BAFA Uni Week Six Predictions


Saltire

Edinburgh Napier Knights (0-3) at Edinburgh Predators (1-3)
Dancing on Ice might be a staple of Saturday night TV but with the Scottish pitches proving harder than nails in a water bed factory its touch and go if this game goes ahead. The mini-varsity game, the prequel to February’s spectacular Football festival between these teams, is played out like some sort of dirty secret. Last year’s fixture was a twice postponed, mid-week, under the lights, end of season affair that allowed the Predators to progress into the Playoffs.

This year’s fixture will be down to the groundstaff and pits two teams trying to find their mojo. The Predators feature a pass first but run well offense that is guaranteed to score.

The Knights run a fumble first option offense that has failed to defeat Edinburgh in the last two outings. Unless they have found a way to fix their failings even their tough Defense won’t keep them in it long enough.

Predators by 14

UWS Pyro’s (1-2) at Stirling Clansmen (4-0)
Stirling’s ground staff may be sleeping with a horse’s head if their 3G ‘All-weather’ field is called off again. The gnashing of Coach ‘Corleone’ Orr’s teeth could be heard all the way at DC Towers.

The first matchup of the season between these two teams could be a painful affair, whilst the Pyro’s have one win under their belt a mid-sized Defense will struggle to stop Stirlings speed. UWS do have some talent on offense however with a decent running game and in the electric Bud McFerrin they should notch up a score, maybe two, against the Clan. Stirling’s pass game and inside/outside run game are an offensive basketball quick break team and will score a barrow load. This will be Stirling’s final first semester game before they go into their enforced long winter shut down.

I could analyse this one in lots of clever yet unlikely ways but even the world’s cheeriest optimist tripping on Tramadol couldn’t envisage an upset here. This weekend UWS sleeps with the fishes….

Clansmen by 80


North Eastern

York Centurions vs. Leeds Met Carnegie
 Up by 14 to zip with around eight minutes left, it was all looking so rosy for the York Centurions. A 2-0 record would put them on a few radars, for sure, even though it’d take a victory of seismic proportions to nudge the spotlight away from Hull at the top.

Oops.

Sometimes life puts these little obstacles in your way, and this particular obstacle goes by the name of Leonard Birnie. The Northumbria Mustangs quarterback ran in two touchdowns to level matters before full-back Otega Diegbe crashed in for the winning score.

It’ll be interesting to see how York rebound in this home clash against Carnegie, who collected penalties last weekend like a crazed contestant on a supermarket sweep. Those errors (and the odd fumble) sabotaged Leeds Met’s real shot at getting momentum over Hull in the race for first place in the North East. They seriously need to kick this habit for the rest of the season, otherwise a talented team will find themselves running through treacle.

Carnegie win by two touchdowns

Leeds Celtics vs. Northumbria Mustangs
 After a sluggish start, the Mustangs woke up midway through the final quarter to record a confidence-boosting win against York. Could this be the first rallying spark of a season that hasn’t quite kicked into gear yet? Quarterback Leonard Birnie may well be the key against a Leeds team that doesn’t give up many points. It may require a bit more urgency than last week, however, as Leeds aren’t in the habit of leaking touchdowns late from winning positions.

Leeds Celtics themselves recorded their biggest points hall of the season last week a couple of weeks ago against Teesside (that’s 30). They’re often seen as a team that scores a couple of touchdowns and lets their defense do the rest of the work. They’ve also alternated between wins and losses like a metronome so far this season, and they’re in danger of getting wedged inside this marathon pack of teams drifting around .500. Leeds could do with establishing a winning streak here, if only as a shot to the arm ahead of the Christmas break. After all, Carnegie are waiting for them on the other side of Yuletide.

Celtics win a low-scoring battle

Sunderland Spartans vs. Teesside Cougars.
It's been a mixed season for Al Whitehead and his Sunderland team so far this season. Shutout losses to Carnegie and Bradford have dented confidence, but at least they have a chance here to go into the Christmas break with a winning record. 

Teesside will be disappointed with the Durham result, and will surely give it everything they have, although Sunderlands stingy offence may just prove to be too much for the Cougars.

Sunderland by 16

Newcastle Raiders vs. Bradford Bears
This could be an extremely important game in the conference; with both teams suffering early losses to leaders Hull, they will be looking to stake a claim for that 2nd place over the Yuletide break.

Whilst Newcastle certainly have taken a step backwards, we've seen glimpses of what their double wing offence can do. Bradford on the other hand keep performing well, and will be desperate to record a win here after a close loss to rivals York last weekend.  A high scoring game, with Bradford edging it.

Bradford by 3

Durham Saints vs. Hull Sharks
The late addition to the predictions this week (good job I checked our Twitter!) is the Durham Saints hosting the Hull Sharks.

Without the Unofficial Forum flying around, the Saints don’t seem to be as bad as the comments suggested. Currently sitting with a .500 record and a -4 points difference, Durham may be finally showing signs of improvement (that or they’ve had a less than impressive schedule).

This weekend’s game against Durham will be the fifth game of the semester for the leaders of the North Eastern Conference. After comfortably defeating Carnegie in our ‘GOTW’, the Sharks are all but guaranteed to claim the North Eastern crown. Before they can start celebrating, the Sharks need to overcome trap games such as the one’s they face this weekend.

Hull to dominate and win by 25

Big North Western

Sheffield Sabres (3-0) v Bangor Muddogs (0-2)
Since their inception in 2009, no Bangor side has won in the Steel City. Looking back over the last three results against the Sabres doesn’t make for good viewing if you are a Muddog – losing 84-0 in 09/10, 67-0 in 10/11 and 52-6 last season. That said the margin of victory has gradually fallen over that period, which could indicate a steadily improving Bangor side.

Both teams are coming off bye weeks, but the Sabres have been without a league fixture for two weeks as their game against the Stallions was postponed, so Head Coach Tim Mullinar and his men will be chomping at the bit to take to the field again. Sheffield are one of three teams in the region yet to lose this season, another win here would see them go into the New Year undefeated for the second consecutive year.

Meanwhile, Bangor sit one place off bottom in the conference and along with Lancaster are the only remaining side yet to record their first win of the season. After struggling with their waterlogged pitch during the opening two weeks of the season, the Muddogs finally got their 2012-13 campaign started against Huddersfield in Week 3 losing by 32-22 in an entertaining encounter, but came up the league leaders Derby the following week, losing by 33-0.

Although Bangor looks an improved side the Sabres will desperately want to keep their unbeaten run going into the Winter break. The margin of victory may be different, but expect the result to be the same – Sabres by four scores

Lancaster Bombers (0-3) v Derby Braves (4-0)
It’s been almost four seasons since these two well established sides last met back in November 2009. The teams currently sit at opposite ends of the conference with Derby leading the league and Lancaster dead last.

Derby are another of the region’s sides that remain undefeated. At the moment their offence, led by QB Joe Brammer are scoring almost at will, averaging just short of 40 points per game. While their shut-down defence has allowed just three touchdowns in four games. In this form the Braves are making a good case for their first ever Championship playoff berth.

In the form they are in, Derby are probably the last team Lancaster want to face this week. The Bombers come off the back of a 24-0 loss against the Hallam Warriors, but when you consider the score in that fixture last year was 97-0, they can take a lot of heart. Hallam are by no means the team they were last year, but Lancaster showed impressive signs of improvement, especially with RB David Messenger running the ball and quarterback Matthew King under centre.

The Bombers defence are going to need a big day to stop this potent Derby offence – Derby by a lot unfortunately

Staffordshire Stallions (1-1) v Manchester Tyrants (2-2)
The Stallions finished the 2011-2012 regular season with an 18-6 loss against the Manchester Tyrants, both sides come into this game having last recorded wins over the Liverpool Fury in their last league outing.
Staffordshire had last weekend’s fixture against UCLan Rams postponed and could consider themselves unfortunate to only be 1-1 at this stage of the season after their last two games have fallen foul of the weather. In both of their fixtures this season they have shown their scoring ability, losing 42-12 to a very good Derby side and beating Liverpool 28-13.

Last weekend, Manchester came from behind to defeat local rivals Liverpool Fury side by a single point in a nail bitter 14-13 and certainly lived up to the billing as my game of the conference.

With pitch conditions making it hard for both sides, Liverpool took the lead in the first, but the Tyrants scored two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, QB Chris Payne linking up with RB Anthony Eiliazadeh and WR Ed Smith. Liverpool scored with less than 30 seconds to go and tried to win the game with a 2 point conversion, but it failed.

Manchester will be hoping it’s not quite as close this week and their offence gets going early on, the Tyrants’ defence will need another big game this week against a Stallions side who seem capable of scoring almost at will – Stallions by two scores

Huddersfield Hawks (1-2) v Liverpool Fury (1-2)
One of the ties of the conference this weekend involves the Fury again. With both of these sides currently holding a 1-2 record, one of them has the chance to get back to .500 this weekend.
Liverpool went for broke last weekend to keep their winning streak alive, but failed with a two point conversion in the last minute of their match with the Manchester Tyrants, losing by a single point 14-13. Often a loss like that is hard to take, but it might just serve to fire up the Fury.

Huddersfield come into this fixture off the back of a hard earned 32-22 win over Bangor Muddogs, things seem to have finally clicked for Greg Boyland and his double wing offence after some nearly moments against the Sabres and Tyrants. Look for fourth year veteran RBs Rob Lafferty and Tom Foulds to set the tone from the backfield.

Coming off a bye week the Hawks need to start fast and put into practice this week’s work on the training field, while Liverpool just need more of the same. This game has huge significance for both teams and so early in the year could be the defining point of their respective seasons
Fury by a single score

Hallam Warriors (1-1) v MMU Eagles (1-3)
Despite their first victory of the season last weekend, Hallam Warriors’ run of postponed fixtures continues, with their match up against the Eagles becoming the latest casualty. This time the Warriors were unable to secure their home pitch at Spinkhill on Sunday due to the College requiring the facility. According to the management efforts were made to secure the field in mid-week, but this was unsuccessful.

Match postponed
MAC

Northampton Nemesis @ Loughborough Students
The Nemesis (2-1) travel to face undefeated Loughborough this weekend, and can’t be feeling all too confident about their chances. The home side are 3-0 and are yet to concede a point this season with blowouts of DMU, Leicester and Nottingham, and should except more of the same from this match-up.

As I’m sure by now everyone is aware, Northampton have abandoned the double wing this year for a more traditional offensive scheme, which has proved moderately successful, putting up 56 points vs Lincoln after being shut out at Warwick (only scoring on a safety in their 2-13 defeat). All signs point to another confident win here from the team previously known as the Aces.

Loughborough by 6 scores

Birmingham Lions @ Warwick Wolves
Can be found in our GOTW article...

Nottingham Outlaws vs. Leicester Longhorns
Oh boy, what an awful season the Outlaws are having. Granted, the team hasn’t had the easiest of schedules, but currently sitting at the bottom of the MAC isn’t a good sign for a team who are normally playoff contenders. If the Outlaws don’t win this game, their season is over.

Hold the phone...A double wing team wins a game by passing three touchdowns including a hail mary to win the game? Guess the world is coming to an end...From what I’ve been told, the Nemesis ran all over the Outlaws last weekend which should be music to the Longhorns OC’s ears.

Is it an upset alert for the Outlaws considering they’re winless? Meh, let’s say it is! Outlaws, you need to be on high alert this weekend!

Longhorns return to the Lincoln 3G to claim their second victory of the season. Longhorns by 6

DMU Falcons @ NTU Renegades
DMU (0-3) haven’t played a game, thanks to a PP, since their second loss to the Coventry Jets on the 18/11, and as such should have had plenty of time to prepare for this match-up with NTU. However, even with the vast quantity of scout NTU upload of themselves each week, it seems unlikely DMU will have the personnel to combat the Renegades effectively.

Nottingham Trent, meanwhile, are 2-1 and coming off a hard fought loss to the ever-imposing Lions. They will be confident that their playmakers including RB come QB Miller can put up numbers vs a struggling De Montfort team, but will be wary of underestimating their opposition after narrowly avoiding a shock defeat in Leicester earlier in the season. Their defence will be disappointed if they don’t shut out a thus-far impotent DMU offense.

NTU by 4 scores

Coventry Jets @ Wolverhampton Wildcats
The Wildcat has been a reclusive beast this season, only venturing out once to a 20-0 loss at Lincoln. As such, there is the strong possibility this game will be ‘postponed’ as well, but if it is played all signs indicate this will be another open and shut case.

Coventry have the makings of a relatively successful season under their belts, sitting at 2-2 following two confident wins over DMU mixed with an excepted loss to NTU and Birmingham. As such they should rack up decent points over the rookie Wildcats, who have yet to show they can even field a team consistently let alone play well enough to win.

Jets by 3 scores

SWAC

Exeter Demons v Worcester Royals
Exeter are having a decent season, with strong showings thus far. They will be rusty after three weeks off, but I don’t think their opponents will be able to take much advantage of this.
Hapless Worcester will almost certainly remain winless for yet another week.

Exeter by five scores

Tarannau Aberystwyth v Cardiff Cobras
Before we get onto the prediction, here’s a preview of the Welsh Bowl from Thomas Man, the media manager of Tarannau Aberystwyth.

Welsh Bowl Preview:
15 years ago, in 1997, Tarannau Aberystwyth had beaten the Cardiff Cobras to win the coveted Welsh Bowl. However the Welsh Bowl has been in Cardiff ever since, and this season, the Aber boys are looking to make sure that the Cobras do not leave this Sunday back to Cardiff with the trophy on the bus. This season, the Welsh Bowl Trophy will be staying in Aberystwyth.

After defeating the winless Worcester Royals 18-7 back in mid-November, Aber has had two weeks to prepare themselves for the Cobras and the big game. Defeating the Royals has boosted team confidence and with a bright new rookie class this year and plenty of returning veterans, Tarannau are definitely fired up to play this game. And there is no one more fired up than Aber’s very own Assistant Head Coach, Tim Macy. Coach Macy has been a part of both teams as both a player and a coach, and we can be sure he will not to hold back against the Cobras this Sunday.

Cardiff currently holds a 1-2 record after suffering their first home game loss in 5 years to the University of West England, they will surely be looking to try and get a win back after a tough loss.
Both teams have been working hard and preparing themselves for the game. Be sure to come down to Blaendolau Playing Fields in Aberystwyth to support the Aber boys. #astormiscoming”

Now, onto the prediction!

There has been some smack talk flying between these teams on Twitter in the run up to the “Welsh Bowl”. Unfortunately we can’t see why, as this is going to be an absolute marmalising of Tarannau by a Cobras side that are still smarting from their stomping at the hands of UWE.

#astormiscomingbutnotthewayintended (Ed: I hate hashtags...)

Cardiff by 25

UWE Bullets @ Bath Killer Bees
Truly being a clash of the titans within the SWAC this two teams sitting at the top of the division table duke it out to see who stays there. The Bullets are currently undefeated and so are the Killer Bees, as the cliche goes, something’s gotta give.

Even though the Bullets have played a game more than the Killer Bees the two teams are well matched statistically having posted similar averages in points scored and conceded. On offence Bath have the edge, scoring an average of 28.33 points per game as opposed to UWE’s 23.25, whilst on defence the teams are near identical with Bath averaging 6.77 and 6.5 for UWE.

UWE have also arguably had an easier schedule so far this season, only playing one team currently standing with a win, Cardiff, who can only boast a 0.333 winning %. On the other hand Bath’s schedule has included wins against teams at .500 or above such as the Plymouth Blitz and Tarranau.
Both teams will be putting everything on the line come today to stay top of the division, the winning team will be sending out a message to the league by knocking off what is at the moment the nearest challenger to the SWAC crown.

Bath Killer Bees by a score.

Bath Spa Bulldogs @ Swansea Titans
Two teams not too favoured by the fixture list so far this season, having both had to play the SWAC’s top 4 teams the Bath Spa Bulldogs and the Swansea Titans will both be raring to get their first win of the season.

The Bulldogs, having not played since week 3, will also be looking to knock off some of the rust that will have collected since their last game, a 42-6 drubbing at the hands of the Plymouth Blitz.
Swansea having played in week 5 will look to take advantage of this, expect to see the Titans come out fast as the Bulldogs will most likely take a bit of time to get into the game after their lengthy break.

The Titans will also looking to be looking to pile on the pressure early on a team that ranks last in the SWAC in points scored and conceded, though do not expect the Bulldogs to give up easily they will be raring to get out of the division’s winless club which is currently populated by four teams.

Swansea Titans by 14.

TVC

Portsmouth Destroyers v Surrey Stingers
Someone needs to do the right thing.  Someone needs to just quietly take Surrey by the shoulder pads lead them round the back of the BUCS Building, tell them everything will be ok and.... *BANG* I can't remember the last time Surrey won a game and quite frankly I can't be asked to look it up. 

They lost 14-8 to Brighton.  They scored.  It will go down in Stingers folklore.  I just had this image of a RB running past defenders and scooting into the endzone the same way Luke SKywalker destroys the Death Star in Star Wars.  Let’s hope Surrey can keep that momentum and only loose by 50 this week instead of 70.

DC was at the Portsmouth's last game.... undercover.  The Destroyers are not doing bad with Coach Hewitt.  Obviously they are using his mould but they knocked off a tough OBU side 20-19 with a last minute TD.  They have a solid middle run and a decent pass game.  But like all Destroyer sides the defence is pretty tasty.  They came up with a sack on the final Hail Mary play against OBU to finish the match.  I fully expect them to bleed in some more rookies and gain another shutout this week.

Destroyers by 50

Southampton Stags v OBU Panthers
This is GOTW whether people vote for it or not.  It features 2 great teams.  Ignore OBU and their 1-2 record. When you face BNU, Solent and Portsmouth as your first 3 games a 1-2 record is not that bad!  OBU were visibly upset last week losing their 2nd game of the season by a single point. 

Southampton on the other hand have sprinted to a 4-0 record and will be looking for a 2nd consecutive undefeated regular season.  They struggled against BNU despite the 27-0 scoreline, passing for only 55 yards but their run game has come on very well to supplement it.  The OBU DL is large but nowhere near as large as the Stags, with 4 of them accepting GB Trial invites. 

It will be a close game but the lack of passing attack from OBU will cause them problems.

Stags by 14

Solent Redhawks vs. Kingston Cougars (GOTW PT.2)
The Redhawks had an impressive 18-12 win over Brunel last weekend and the Cougars posted a shut out with a 20-0 over Reading. With both teams 3-1 a win hear could be vital for any play-off aspirations.

Solent's offence seems to have calmed down in the last couple of games, largely due to the better opposition they have faced of late and Sunday will see them take to the field against another strong defence. Kingston's defence has conceded 10 points on average per game so far this season. Hugely impressive for a rookie programme. Solent will pound the ball efficiently enough to trouble Kingston, but the prowess of their defence will make this game a low scoring affair for Solent.

On the other side of the ball it's another tightly fought contest as a solid Cougars Offence pitted against a stout Solent defence, proving that by shutting down Brunel's offence last week. Solent's defence is extremely well drilled. However, Kingston has some talented running backs who may very well tire Solent out.

Kingston have been impressive for a rookie programme. Their desire to impress in their first season will prevail here.

Kingston by 8

SEC

UEA Pirates vs. Imperial Immortals
So it’s no surprise that the SEC is basically Hertfordshire and the rest. However that aside, I think the mid table fight is actually quite interesting in the SEC. Of all those mid table teams someone has to take second place and proceed to the championship playoffs, and I would say that UEA are looking the most likely candidate at the moment. Their results against teams that other contenders such as Kent only narrowly won, have been far more impressive.

Imperial have found themselves in a new division, and are also looking good at 2-1. The added bonus is that they have that dreaded Hurricanes fixture out of the way and can focus on the rest of the year. UEA don’t have that luxury.

UEAs ground game has gone from strength to strength over the past two years with GB RBs Chris Carson and Joe van der Merwe (any relation to Vickers?). It’s simple for the Immortals, stop the ground game, stop UEA. I don’t see it happening, but it will be a close game.

Pirates to win by 2 scores

Kent Falcons vs. Essex Blades
The other obvious contender that has emerged from this side of the season are the Kent Falcons at 3-0. Again they are yet to face the hurricanes, however this situation is remarkably similar to last year where the Falcons were 4-0 into the break then got overturned in the second half, with the Pythons spoiling their fun.

Essex had their fun spoiled in week 4 by the Pythons, and will look to bounce back. Unfortunately the Blades are a bit too one dimensioned in their offence and defence, and a decent coaching staff will exploit these to their advantage.

It remains to be seen if Kent are the real deal or just a little way above the mid table teams, I don’t see them losing this fixture though.

Kent by 3 scores.

Hertfordshire Hurricanes vs. KCL Regents
Another week, another Hertfordshire prediction.

Hertfordshire will score:  Kylie Minoque’s age + (Tom Brady’s number of superbowl rings * 3)

KCL will score: = A.T4 .2π5k4/15h3c2 ok that’s the luminosity of a black body, and the answer isn’t 6, but that’s what it should be.

Hertfordshire by a lot

ARU Rhinos vs. Greenwich Mariners
Greenwich seems to be a shadow of their former self, and ARU seems to be a shadow of their other self, the Phantoms (I didn’t think about something being a shadow of a phantom before I wrote that, now #mindblown). ARU will hoping to win at least one this year, and given the Kent result against Greenwich this could be one of them, however I don’t see it happening with the coaching problems, as well as their starting QB breaking his ankle in their first ever drive.

Greenwich to win by 3

5 comments:

  1. Fantastic Welshbowl preview on www.cardiffcobras.co.uk written by current Aber coach Tim Macy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your coverage of the SEC is a shameful waste of words! You are biased and ignorant of teams trying to achieve something this season.

    "So it’s no surprise that the SEC is basically Hertfordshire and the rest."

    What a way to inspire everyone! Hertfordshire may be doing better than the rest but that may not play the hardest, train the hardest or want to win the hardest.....A little more professionalism please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What if I told you that the people who write the predictions actually play in their respective conferences...And no, none of them play for Hertfordshire!

      Delete
    2. I think you will find that Hertfordshire are where they are because they do train the hardest, play the hardest and want to win the most. It's not saying that Hertfordshire are the only ones doing things right but the gap is so wide, that i would imagine no one will come to a) keeping hertfordshire within 30 points b) stop them from scoring more than 30 points

      Delete
  3. no LSBU@Westminster?

    ReplyDelete

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