Big North East
Big North Western Predictions
Glasgow Tigers vs Stirling
Although a clash of the top two in the Saltire, these two teams could not be further apart. Stirling have absolutely torn the Scottish division apart leaving behind them battered and bruised teams with nothing to hold onto more than the relief of not giving up triple digits to the rampant clansmen.
Glasgow sitting in second are not one of those teams in releif. In the last game against the green machine Stirlings offence put up exactly one hundred points and conceded only a single score of their own. Not even a contest.
Stirling to win by a cricket score
UWS vs EN Knights
Battle for the prestigious wooden spoon the last meeting between these two was an instant classic with UWS winning 14-13 for their only victory of the season. The Knights have the added impetus of avoiding a goose egg in the win column and will be hoping for one last push to pull something (ANYTHING) positive out of this season.
Knights by a point, just one!
Sunderland vs York
A meaningless clash at the end of the season with Sunderland hoping to achieve 4-4 this season and York just wanting a win, any win, from anywhere, please?
Sunderland have more than enough to cope with the grand old dukes (see what I did there) and I don't see any upsets.
Sunderland by 21
Leeds vs Durham
Leeds are desperately fighting for a playoff spot and currently hold the head to head versus Newcastle. Anything but a win and the Celtics will not be making a trip to the post season.
Durham have improved a little this year with a couple of wins and stating close in their losses. Maybe they're finally shedding their infamous moniker?
Leeds by 14
Northumbria vs Teesside
A clash of the bottom feeders in the BNE and a game that will go into the record books, but no one will take any notice of.
All either team is really playing for is pride and maybe a little recognition, but it is still hardly a game that stirs excitement.
Northumbria by 7
Big North Western Predictions
UCLan Rams (4-3) vs Bangor Muddogs (1-4)
After their good start the UCLan Rams are beginning to fall away from the pack in the second half of the season. They’ve now slipped to 5th in the conference and travel to a Bangor side looking for their second win of the season.
UCLan have found the second half of the season more challenging than the first, at the end of January the Rams held an undefeated 3-0 record after wins over MMU, Staffordshire and an awarded game against the Tyrants. But in the month of February the Rams have only won once in their last three games. After a 34-0 loss to the league leaders Derby they’ll be hoping to get back to winning ways on Sunday.
Standing in their way are a Bangor side who have almost had as many postponements as games completed. Hopefully their frustrations are now behind them and they can get on with the football at hand. They come into this fixture off the back of a single score loss against Manchester Tyrants last weekend (14-6). They will need another solid defensive performance to give their offence a chance against what is a powerful Rams offence.
Rams by two scores
Lancaster Bombers (2-5) vs Liverpool Fury (2-4)
Both of these sides are chasing their third win of the season. At the moment the teams are separated by just one loss, Lancaster having played one more game than Liverpool after the Fury’s mid-week game against Hallam was postponed.
The Fury are another team which have failed to live up to their performances in the first half of the season, at the Winter Break they held a 2-2 record. Now the best they can hope for is a 4-4 record after losing 54-0 to Sheffield Sabres last weekend and Bangor before that. Victory here is vital to keep them within a shot of that .500 season, then there’s the small task of Hallam Warriors to overcome – if indeed that fixture can be rearranged.
In contrast, Lancaster will be keen to forget the first half of their season. It took them until February to win their first game of the season, a shock 6-0 win over previously undefeated UCLan Rams. The Bombers backed up this win with victory over the Hawks next weekend, but have lost to Derby and the Sabres in February as well.
It will be close – Lancaster have been improving throughout the year, so I’ll go with the team in relative form – Bombers by a single score
Staffordshire Stallions (1-5) vs MMU Eagles (1-5)
This week’s game to watch in the North Conference is the basement battle between the Stallions and Eagles, both teams have identical records and are separated by just 3 points in the points difference column. A win for either team could take them into 9th position in the conference!
If the Eagles can’t sort out rearranging their fixture against Hallam, this could be team’s last fixture of the regular season. It is still not known whether that fixture will be rearranged or more likely awarded to MMU. Hallam have lodged a formal appeal with BUCS – I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of that. But on the field the Eagles haven’t won since November and their last outing was 3 weeks ago against local rivals Manchester Tyrants where they lost 30-14.
Staffordshire dropped another game last week against Hallam 58-14, a possible indication of why MMU aren’t so keen to play them? The Stallions too haven’t won since November when they recorded a 29-13 win over Liverpool Fury. A second win of the season would be very welcome for Staffordshire, considering the team haven’t won at the Stables all year. Victory would also go a long way to ensuring they avoid the conference wooden spoon!
Stallions by a single score
NTU Renegades vs Wolverhampton Wildcats
NTU's cross city rivals didn't really do them any favours in losing to Warwick last weekend, meaning another tilt at the Challenge Trophy seems likely for the Renegades. That - of course - takes for granted that they'll beat Wolverhampton.
The Renegades' variety of offensive weapons and solid defence puts them streets ahead of the inexperienced Wildcats, but the real problem for WHAMpton (new nickname) will be Danny Miller - if they can't keep him in the pocket, he'll run all day. And that isn't going to end well...
At least one of these teams will be riding the fun bus to Touchdown City (cringe), and it'll probably be the boys in magenta (sound more manly than pink).
NTU by 40 points
Coventry Jets vs Northampton Nemesis
Both teams have made a big step up in 2012/13, being competitive in the vast majority of games and earning themselves decent cred in what is still a tough conference.
After breezing through a pitful schedule last year, Northampton finally managed to get some love from the Britball community with entertaining showings against Notingham, Lincoln and Leicester. They've once again struggled against the bigger teams - last week's loss to NTU was pretty heavy - but have made good progress and should finish the season 4-4
Coventry sit at .500 for the season with one more game - against Wolverhampton - to follow, leaving them with a reasonable chance of a winning record, but we'd put the Nemesis as strong favourites for this one.
Northampton by two scores
Two winless teams look to avoid the bottom of the conference in this battle of the minnows - if it even gets played. Worcester have been forfeiting games in suspicious circumstances recently, but hopefully they will manage to take the field this weekend.
Bath Spa have looked the stronger of the two, and we take them to win.
Bath Spa by two scores
Gloucester vs Bristol
This is an intriguing matchup, with a LOT on the line. Gloucester need this one to improve their playoff standing, and Bristol will be playing for pride. Both teams have performed similarly against common opponents, but we feel that Gloucester's greater momentum will lead them to a tight victory.
Gloucester by one score.
UWE vs Aberystwyth
Oh Aberystwyth... why did you have to call us out on our predictions? They have suffered a similar fate to fellow naysayers Brighton, and have now lost two in a row to all but knock them out of playoff contention. Their trouncing at the hands of a resurgent Swansea side will have hurt a lot, and I don't see it getting any better against UWE.
UWE lost their SWAC title on Wednesday, as Bath own the H2H tiebreaker. They are playing for a place in the championship playoffs, and will get the job done ruthlessly this weekend.
UWE by 40
Exeter Demons vs Bath Killer Bees
The freshly crowned SWAC champion Bath Killer Bees will be going for an undefeated season this Sunday.
Playing at home against the Exeter Demons, the Killer Bees will be looking to repeat the success of their mid-week 33-00 victory over the Cardiff Cobras which clinched the conference title.
The Exeter Demons will be celebrating their mid-week 34-20 win over Bristol Barracuda, which gives them an opportunity to play for an equal ‘winning’ record.
Don’t expect the Killer Bees to let up though, the team will be looking to build momentum going into the playoffs where they will be set to face off against the BUAFL’s elite teams.
Bath by 14.
Plymouth Blitz vs Cardiff Cobras
Coming off a cancelled match and two consecutive losses which has seen their playoff chances all but slip away, the Plymouth Blitz will be raring to go this weekend.
Playing away to the Cardiff Cobras, who have also had a disappointing season, the Blitz will want to come out hot to avenge their recent fall.
The Cardiff Cobras, having the benefit of being at the home side of the 2 ½ hour journey between the two team’s cities, will look to make the most of their home-field advantage.
Though Plymouth as of recently have been in a slump so have Cardiff, the Cobras lost their last match 33-0 to the SWAC champion Killer Bees. Expect the Cardiff outfit to come up short against what is likely to be a fired up Blitz team.
Plymouth by 14.
Oxford Lancers vs BNU Buccaneers
If there's one team that Oxford do not want to see on their schedule this weak, its #19 BNU. Their intensely physical double-wing combined with the low numbers of Oxford equates to a long Sunday for the visitors.
Having grown as the season goes on, BNU have an outside shot at the playoffs and certainly a shot at the plate. The drubbing of Solent by BNU last week should only put fear into the hearts of Oxford.
BNU by a stupid amount.
Reading Knights vs OBU Panthers
Both this teams are coming off a week where the final scores in their games were 6-0. Reading were on the winning side of that scoreline, OBU the losing side. It's hard what to make of OBU this season. They were beyond awful against Stags just before Christmas, but came out in 2013 playing dignified football, holding the current TVC leaders the #10 Kingston Cougars to only 6 points.
Reading, on the other hand, won a defensive tussle that was destined for 0-0 until a late pick-six won them the game, silencing the Brighton tweets forever. Or at least until next Sunday.
Tough game to call. Look for another lowscoring encounter, something that the TVC has become excellent in producing the last couple of weeks.
Reading by 1 score
Brunel Burners vs Surrey Stingers
Surrey should take this one easily. My main concern is that all the recruiting by the SEC teams might affect their concentration. I’ve heard Alabama are after their QB, and LSU are basically throwing money at the Surrey DL. Jokes aside, honeymoon’s over lads.
Brunel will tear Surrey apart. I’ve seen both teams play and the Brunel defence will slice through the Surrey offence like a chainsaw through marshmallow. The Brunel offence has been stop start recently but I doubt the Surrey defence will be able to stop it the same way Portsmouth did.
Brunel by 30
Portsmouth vs Holloway
Hell Week part 4. This is probably going to be the toughest of all the games for the now broken Portsmouth, although the opponent is the easiest. Holloway have been at the end of a train for most of the season but Thursday night’s game against Solent proved that 4 games in 8 days is not a feat that should be tried.
Turnovers galore, injuries to star players, and a nail-biting 7-0 win means that this tie should be harder than normal. The defence has played outstanding this week and will need a final performance for a shutout on Sunday. I reckon the O will pull together a few scores just to calm the nerves but after that expect to see a skeleton team finish the game. Holloway pull out another chump season.
Portsmouth by 20
Kingston vs Brighton
The whole TVC playoff picture is based around this fixture.
These 2 teams decide who goes through and who stays. Brighton’s role for now is more of a spoiler. They need Portsmouth to lose to have a chance at a tiebreaker.
Kingston however also need Portsmouth to lose but for other reasons. A win here places them firmly in the national championship playoffs. Whether or not they win the TVC title is out of their hands.
Kingston had a flying start but have slowed down recently. Phil De Monte has done a fantastic job at Kingston and whether or not they win the TVC title he should be a nominee for BUAFL coach of the year. This time last year they were still playing associate games (Ed: and beating BNU).
Kingston by 10
Canterbury vs Greenwich
In this writers opinion Canterbury are the best/worst team in the SEC, perhaps even the whole conference. Their record does not do them justice at all, as can be seen by some of the close games they have been in.
Greenwich are probably the worst/ex-good team in the SEC, with this year being a struggle, however there is always room in uni football for a rebuilding year and I’m confident that Greenwich will come back better for it next year. On the up side they have fulfilled more fixtures than many other teams in the league, so kudos.
Canterbury to win by 4 scores.
Westminster have been posting some impressive scores over the past couple of weeks, putting up over 40 in each of their games for the past three weeks. Cambridge have been less productive on their offence, but have ground out some wins against strong teams.
With the playoffs firmly on the line Cambridge still need this to be in their W column, and I’m sure Westminster may love nothing more than ruining #TeamPhD’s party.
A closer game than on paper. Cambridge by a score.
With the Cambridge vs Kent game officially given as a 0-0 tie, this is the crucial deciding matchup in the SEC for either Championship football or plate playoffs. As it stands, UEA can only get into the plate if Cambridge lose and they win. If Kent win, they most likely go to the Championships (even with a Cambridge win, they need to conceded 30+ points and still win to be put into third).
Kent’s game vs KCL was called off on Wednesday of this week, so Kent will go in a little fresher than they were expecting. UEA need to salvage something from a season that started out so positively.
UEA to grind out the win in a battle of high scoring attrition, UEA by a score.