Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Mid-Season Big Board Power Rankings Part 7, Rankings 1-10


We didn't know how to celebrate the end of the big board articles, so we called the perfect man for the job...

Finally, we have reached the end of our big board rankings! Our writer can go back to doing different articles (until next week when the regular season returns...) and can finally go to bed at a decent time.

At the end of 2012, we introduced our new Power Rankings that were decided by 12 voters from around the league. In 2013, we will continue to use these rankings as the official rankings for BUAFL (similar to the BCS), whilst Rich will continue to release his own rankings which will be similar to the AP rankings in the States.

All that means is double the rankings, double the controversy, double the procrastination. What’s not to love?


1. Birmingham Lions (5-0)
As expected, the Lions ended 2012 undefeated and sharing the top spot in the MAC with the Loughborough Aces. With Tristan Varney back at the QB spot, the Lions continue their impressive form of having never lost a game when he has been at QB and uninjured. This record will be put to the test when the Lions travel to Loughborough to defend their FAUK Bowl crown.

Mid-season ranking – A – With the highest scoring O and third best scoring D in the country (we’re not counting the Rams, and one of those scores was a pick six) it would be an understatement to claim that the Lions have been anything less than dominating this season. We’re not betting men, but we shall predict that if the Lions continue to play at this high standard, they’ll be heading to their fifth straight National Championship game...

2. Hertfordshire Hurricanes (5-0)
Last year’s champions ended up being voted into the number two spot thanks to their relatively poor strength of schedule so far. However, with Kent and UEA left, Hertfordshire could end up earning the top spot back in 2013.

So far it’s been business as usual for the ‘Canes as they remain undefeated after 2012, and have posted 50+ points in four of their five games. To make things better for the team, it’s not just the offence that are posting the points as the ‘Canes defence have found themselves celebrating in their oppositions end zone in every game!

Mid-season grade – A – And the beat goes on for the latest bunch of players to represent the team. With an unbeaten run of 16 games (regular and post season), it’s starting to look like the ‘Canes will be sporting their new purple uniforms at the National Finals.

3. Loughborough (5-0)
Just like the Lions, it’s the same of story for the Aces as they have comfortably defeated all the opponents in the MAC so far, and won’t face a true challenge until they take on the Lions in the FAUK Bowl. With a high scoring offence and a D that is ranked number one statistically in the league (remember, we’re not including the one game Rams), it’s no surprise that the Wolverhampton Wildcats postponed their game against the Loughborough Aces. 

Mid-season grade – A – Not much to say really. Aces are winning in the regular season as per usual, and will end the season with either an 8-0 or 7-1 record. It will continue to happen for a number of years until the league start providing these top teams with tougher schedules or we move to a multi tier league...

4. Southampton Stags (5-0)
Last year’s semi finalists end 2012 atop of the ultra competitive TVC and looking good to make the Championship Playoffs. But, the Stags may be facing a battle for their TVC title as the Portsmouth Destroyers seem to be playing with the same form as their 2010/11 season. On the pitch, the Stags have comfortably dispatched all that have stood in their way, winning by at least 20 in each game. Now, depending on how the remaining fixtures go, February 17th could end up being a big day in the TVC.

Mid-season grade – A – Dominating victories look to have the Stags on course for post season football once again. It should be noted that the Stags lost their number one Wide Receiver and Running Back to graduation, so the fact that the team can continue to dominate with ease is a true testament to the coaching staff at Southampton. Now all they need to do is overcome one of the three teams above them and they should head to their first final since 2008.

5. Stirling Clansmen (4-0)
Considering their margin of victories (+270 points difference), some may argue that the Clansmen are the most dominating team in BUAFL at the moment, but when you take at look at their schedule, it’s hard to place the Clansmen higher than their current position. However, if the team can carry their regular season form into the post season and play at the same standard against a playoff calibre team, then the Clansmen may become a team to be scared of, especially if they put in a repeat performance of their 100-7 victory over the Glasgow Tigers.

Mid-season grade – A – The most dominating team north of the border by quite some distance. It’s a shame that the league doesn’t make the champions of each conference play each other because we’d like to see how Stirling do against the likes of Birmingham, Herts and Southampton (Ed: that last one would be a loooong road trip).

6. Derby Braves (5-0)
The highest climbers in our new power rankings are the Derby Braves, who rise up to the number six spot following their 5-0 start to the season. With victories over Bangor, Hallam, Lancaster, MMU and Staffordshire this season, the move to the BNWC seems to have paid off for the Braves as they look set to make the Championship Playoffs for the first time in the team’s history. Victories over the UCLan Rams and Sheffield Sabres will guarantee that the Braves take home the inaugural BNWC crown.

Mid-season grade – A – It’s amazing how good the Braves can be when they don’t have to face the likes of Loughborough and Birmingham during the regular season. Things will get even better for the team if the Braves can win two of their final three games, as the 2012/13 team will set a new record for the number of regular season victories.

7. Hull Sharks (4-0)
With victories over Leeds Carnegie, Bradford Bears and the Newcastle Raiders, Hull are firmly on course to win the first NEC title following the re-alignment. However, despite their dominating form in their conference, the Sharks may face some difficulty in the post season due to their offensive production. Currently only averaging 19.5 points per game, the Sharks have posted 78 points so far. That’s 28 fewer points than any other team in the top 10!

Mid-season grade – B – We want to give the Sharks an A due to their undefeated record and the quality of opposition that they’ve defeated, but the team have only managed to score more than 12 points on two occasions...That’s not what you’d expect from a team who are supposed to be one of the best teams in the league. Who knows, maybe they’ll light it up in the second half of the season?

8. Sheffield Sabres (4-0)
The first half of the 2012 season couldn’t have gone much better for the Sheffield Sabres. Undefeated after their first round of fixtures and their city rivals are currently sitting with a 1-1 record. It also looks as if the Warriors won’t be challenging for the BNWC title this season. On the field, the Sabres look to be playing at the high standard that won the team the plate trophy last season. With two shutout performance under their belt, the Sabres D could end up being the difference makers when they take on the Derby Braves in their battle for the top spot.

Mid-season grade – A – Their O is scoring at will and their D conceding an average of 3.5 points per game, there’s not much more you could ask for from the Sabres. The only way the team’s season could get any better is if they comfortably beat Hallam in the Steel Bowl on Feb 2nd.

9. Bath Killer Bees (4-0)
The Killer Bees find themselves one spot below the team who defeated them in the plate trophy last season. And just like their final opponents, the Killer Bees ended their first half to the season with a 4-0 record and look to be on course to challenge for their respective conference title. Whilst other teams on this rankings board have played considerably worse opponents, it should be noted that the Killer Bees have already defeated Tarannau, Plymouth and UWE (all one lost teams) this season and still have the 2-1 Bristol Barracuda left to play.

Mid-season grade – A – The Killer Bees have earned the highest ranking of all the 72 teams on our big board due to their victories over three teams who were all undefeated before they faced them. And with a relatively easier schedule in 2013 compared to 2012, the Killer Bees should be the favourites to claim their first SWAC crown in team history.

10. UWE Bullets (4-1)
So close yet so far for the UWE Bullets who ended their 2012 with a one point loss to the Bath Killer Bees. Instead of a 5-0 record and their third consecutive SWAC title all but guaranteed, the Bullets find themselves battling with four other one loss teams for the post season spots in the SWAC. Considering that the team have Bristol, Plymouth and Tarannau remaining on their schedule, it could be a difficult 2013 for the team who have gotten used to playing in the Championship Playoffs.

Mid-season grade – B – If it wasn’t for their loss to BKB, UWE would have earned an A at the end of 2012. With a tough schedule ahead of them, the Bullets will need to be on top of their game if they’re going to make the post season this year.

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