Seeing as this is the final RP Poll, I’ll leave you with a special present that has provided plenty of laughs in the DC towers.
1. Birmingham Lions (8-0)
The Birmingham Lions end the regular season sitting on top of the RP Poll following their 28-19 victory over the Loughborough Aces last weekend. With the MAC title locked up, the Lions will now begin their pursuit of the National Championship trophy with a home game against Leeds Carnegie this coming weekend.
2. Hertfordshire Hurricanes (8-0)
With a bye week before their playoff campaign begins, Hertfordshire should/will be one of the favorites to claim the ‘Neil Reynolds Trophy’, but there are sure to be some twists and turns for this powerhouse.
3. Derby Braves (8-0)
Derby moved up to the number three spot following the Aces loss to Birmingham and their own 34-0 win over the UCLan Rams to complete their first 8-0 season in team history. Now it’s time for the Braves to show that they can carry on this form into the post season and challenge for the National Championship!
4. Stirling Clansmen (8-0)
Stirling end the season with the inaugural Saltire title in their trophy cabinet following their 54-0 win over the Glasgow Tigers at the weekend. Now, the question is posed, can the Clansmen be a threat in the post season? I’m thinking the fact the team have technically only played seven quarters (the games against UWS were six minute quarters, so it was basically one whole twelve minute quarters game) in 2013 could come back to haunt the team in just over a week’s time.
5. Hull Sharks (8-0)
After a few tense days, the Sharks finally got the news they were hoping for as they were awarded the 1-0 victory over the Durham Saints to end the season 8-0. I’m glad the Sharks got the W that they would’ve earned had the teams played the actual game. I mean, it would be a travesty if a playoff team were forced to lose their seeding because a different team refused to play their schedule game...
6. Loughborough (7-1)
It’s a drop of three places for the Aces following their narrow lost to the Lions to end their regular season. With this loss, Loughborough enter the playoffs with the eleven seed meaning they’ll be on their travels throughout the post season which could include a trip to Hertfordshire in the Quarter Finals. I have a feeling this season’s playoffs are going to be quite exciting!
7. Bath Killer Bees (8-0)
The Bees ended their season 8-0 following their 29-0 victory over the Exeter Demons. Thanks to that 8-0 record, the Bees took home their first SWAC crown since the leagues re-alignment and can now look forward to a home tie in the playoffs! Wait, what’s that? Their first game is against Loughborough...Oh, well, at least they had a good regular season!
8. Sheffield Sabres (7-1)
The Sabres ended their season with a comprehensive 54-0 victory over LJM Fury to finish with a 7-1 record, confirming their place in the national championship playoffs. If the playoffs pan out like many suggest, the Sabres should end up playing the Braves in the Quarter Finals. Should this indeed happen, the Sabres will be provided with a chance to gain some revenge over their BNWC rivals (Derby beat Sheffield earlier in the season for all those who did not know.)
9. Portsmouth Destroyers (7-1)
After their incredible, amazing, un-fricking-believable performance to win four games in eight days, the Destroyers end the regular season with the number nine ranking in the RP Poll. While this feat is truly amazing, someone needs to raise the question, how in the world did this team lose to Brighton to not go 8-0?!
10. UWE Bullets (7-1)
The Bullets ended the season with an impressive 33-8 victory over Tarannau to secure their playoff spot for another season while claiming a home tie to kick start their playoff run. Interesting point, had the Bullets beaten BKB 21-20 and finished 8-0, they’d be facing the Loughborough Aces this weekend instead of the Sheffield Sabres. I guess the Bullets players aren’t regretting that loss quite so much now they’ve learnt that news!
11. Kingston Cougars (7-1)
With an 18-3 victory over Brighton Tsunami, the Cougars ended the regular season with a 7-1 record and a spot in the national championship playoffs. Thanks to these feats, the Cougars can now stake a claim at being one of, if not, the best rookie team in BUAFL history. Wonder what the playoff record is for rookie teams?
12. Southampton Stags (6-2)
The first challenge trophy team to make an appearance on the RP Poll are the Southampton Stags who finished the season 6-2 after going undefeated last season. Last season, the Stags made it to the NC Semi Finals, this season the team will be taking part in the challenge trophy, so the early odds suggest that the Stags may be the favorites to claim the silverware in just under a month’s time.
13. Warwick Wolves (6-1-1)
Thanks to teams above them losing, plus an impressive season, the Wolves end the regular season with the number thirteen (unlucky, maybe?) seed in this year’s RP Poll. There’s been a lot of scrutiny on this year’s Warwick team and their schedule, so they’ll need to do well in the post season to prove to everyone that they’re not a team who were able to making the playoffs due to a relatively easy schedule (no NTU or Loughborough).
14. Manchester Tyrants (6-2)
Hand on heart, how many would’ve predicted that the Tyrants would be ranked this high following their first game forfeit against the UCLan Rams? I know I didn’t! But, the Tyrants shocked a number of people as they went on to finish the season 6-2 and can now look forward to hosting the Kent Falcons this weekend. I’m impressed with the turnaround of this team after last’s season’s drama.
15. BNU Buccaneers (6-2)
In games played after Christmas, the Buccaneers are 11-1! That’s ridiculous! Yet, the team still haven’t won a playoff game, ever. That may change this weekend though as the Bucs travel to Gloucester to take on the Gladiators. Don’t bet on BNU to win a trophy though, Double Wing doesn't win championships, remember?
16. NTU Renegades (6-2)
The Millergades ended the season with a huge blowout against the Wolverhampton Wildcats to guarantee their spot in this year’s playoffs. If I’m honest, I did a playoff bracket in the DC towers and I had the Millergades down to win the challenge trophy this year. If they win now, I shall be claiming some credit...
17. Swansea Titans (5-3)
Surely I’m not the only person who is a tad bit disappointed that the Titans didn’t make the post season? I wanted to see how the team on one of the hottest streaks this season would do against a load of playoff teams, especially after all of their fifty burgers of late. Ah well, some things just aren't meant to be.
18. Cambridge Pythons (5-2-1)
After a lot of back and forth debates, #TeamPHD were the winners of the ‘will awarded games count in the head to head tiebreakers?’ debate of the year. None of this would've happened if they had just beaten Westminster just like our SEC writer predicted...I think the team just wanted to stir up some drama as the SEC conference has been pretty quiet this year.
19. UEA Pirates (5-2-1)
The Pirates secured their spot in the playoffs following a 32-8 victory over the Kent Falcons. While this victory for the Pirates is impressive, you can’t wonder if the Falcons didn't put as much effort in. I mean, they went from playing Birmingham in the NC playoffs, to playing Manchester, Glasgow, etc in the CT playoffs...suspicious. Anyway, we’re talking about the Pirates and their playoff run. Last year it was the semis, this year, it’ll be...
20. Gloucester Gladiators (6-2)
I would like to present the Gloucester Gladiators with the newly formed ‘Nemesis Award’. This award is presented to teams who made the playoffs despite playing weaker opponents throughout the season, like Worcester, twice...Last year, the Nemesis were one and done in the playoffs, the Gladiators will be hoping that’s not the case for them as they play host to the BNU Buccaneers this weekend.
21. Leeds Celtics (5-3)
With a comprehensive 33-8 victory over the Durham Saints, the Celtics secured the number three seed in the North Eastern Conference to return to the playoffs for another season. In the first round of the playoffs, the Celtics will play host to the 2-4-2 Edinburgh Predators. Many are expecting the Celtics to walk this one, but I’ve seen crazier things. Like Willy Tee correctly predict that a team with two wins will make the playoffs from the Saltire conference!
22. Glasgow Tigers (6-2)
The Tigers regular season ended in disappointment as they team lost 54-0 to the Stirling Clansmen to drop out of the NC playoffs to the CT playoffs. If the Tigers are going to do well in the post season, they’ll need to play a lot better than they have against Stirling. This season, the Tigers conceded 154 to the Clansmen in just seven quarters (game was called at the end of the third, last weekend), that’s 84 minutes of football...
23. Hallam Warriors (4-3-1)
The Warriors are the first casualty of the mixed up rules, as they lost to MMU (a team they wouldn normally be confident in beating) on a ridiculous BUCS technicality. While that’s bad, what’s worse is the fact that had Hallam played the two games that were awarded as a loss and a tie, Hallam would’ve finished 6-2 and would be sitting in the playoff lounge. Instead, they’re left to rue what could have been.
24. Westminster Dragons (5-3)
If you want to talk about a team on form, here are your guys. After starting the season 0-3 (including a loss to Greenwich...), the Dragons have gone on to win their four remaining games, as well as their awarded victory against LSBU, to end the season 5-3 and just outside the playoff spots. If the team can repeat this form throughout the entire of next season, they could be a team to watch.
25. Leeds Carnegie (6-2)
Despite being the twelfth seed in the NC playoffs, Carnegie end the regular season bottom of the RP Poll. Why they’re ranked this low, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because of their two score defeat to the Raiders or their narrow victory over the Bears, but either way, Carnegie find themselves below their local rivals the Celtics, meaning the team will now have a point to prove when they take on the Lions this coming weekend...