Thursday, 14 February 2013

The RP Poll - Valentines Day Edition

Talk about a crazy week! Everything happened! We had postponements, conference champions crowned (Ed: technically not crowned...), people sipping on haterade, numerous teams on last week’s poll losing quite convincingly, two of the oddest postponements that I’ve ever heard of, basically, everything happened! The best part of all of this is that we’ve still got a couple of weeks left in the regular season! I don’t think I can take this much excitement...I’m going for a nap while you enjoy (or loath) the list.

1. Birmingham Lions (7-0)
The Lions remain at the top spot by the tightest of margins despite not playing a game last weekend. Birmingham will return to action this weekend when they take on the Loughborough  this weekend. Not only will their number one spot in this poll be on the line, but the victor of this game will also take home the MAC title and will most likely earn a bye week in the post season. Big game indeed!

Next game – @ Loughborough – 17th February

2. Hertfordshire Hurricanes (7-0)
It say’s the Hurricanes are number two, but if I’m honest, I could’ve easily put them at the number one spot after their 38-0 victory over the Pirates last weekend to lock up a playoff spot (Ed: or from day one). Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the ‘Canes posting a 50 burger that I was actually shocked when they didn’t reach the half century last weekend. With Kent next up on the board, and the SEC title on the line, I won’t be surprised if Herts have an extra incentive to post more than 50 this weekend.

Next game – vs. Kent Falcons – 17th February

3. Loughborough (7-0)
Loughborough remain in the number three spot following their 24-7 victory over the NTU Renegades. Still undefeated, the Aces now play host to the Birmingham Lions in their biggest game of the regular season. Not only is a playoff bye and the MAC title on the line, but momentum for the post season and the possibility of avoiding a long trip up to Scotland are also at stake in this huge game.

Next game – vs. Birmingham Lions – 17th February

4. Derby Braves (7-0)
Life must be good for the Braves. The number four seed in the writers’ poll, the number four seed in this poll, and a conference title to go in the trophy cabinet. Not bad, not bad at all. Things can get even better this weekend should they overcome the UCLan Rams and finish with their first unbeaten record in team history!

Next game – vs. UCLan Rams – 17th February

5. Hull Sharks (6-0)
Talking about conference champions...Ladies and gentlemen, your new NEC champions are now the number five team on the RP Poll for a number of reasons, mainly the fact that Sheffield lost and Stirling haven’t been in action for quite some time. With a place in the post season locked up, and the conference title in the bag, the new aim for the Sharks is to end the regular season undefeated!

Next game – vs. Sunderland Spartans – 17th February

6. Stirling Clansmen (4-0)
I’m starting to feel sorry for the Clansmen now. After playing four games in the first five weeks of the season, the Clansmen have been well and truly mugged off by the weather as all of their games since week four have ended up being postponed. With the season supposedly ending in 10 days (24th Feb), Stirling may find that a number of their fixtures end up being awarded as a tie which isn’t a good thing when the playoff seedings are being finalised.

Next game – vs. UWS Pyros – 17th February

7. Bath Killer Bees (5-0)
Another team to fall victim to the weather was the Killer Bees who had to postpone their game against the Cardiff Cobras. With ten days until the end of the season and three games to play, it’s looking like the Killer Bees may face a tough battle to win their first SWAC title in team history. Should the team manage to end the season undefeated, they’ll be safe in the knowledge that they’ll earn a first round bye in the southern half of the post season due to all of the TVC teams having at least one loss to their name.

Next game – @ Bristol Barracuda – 17th February

8. Southampton Stags (6-1)
Southampton move back to the top spot in the TVC following their victory over local rivals Solent and Brighton’s defeat against BNU. With four teams in the TVC currently sitting with one loss to their record, the Stags will be hoping they can overcome the Destroyers this weekend before the Tsunami defeat Kingston next weekend to give the Stags their second consecutive TVC title.

Next game – vs. Portsmouth Destroyers – 17th February

9. UWE Bullets (5-1)
A 26-6 Varsity victory over Bristol Barracuda means the Bullets remain hot on the heels of the Killer Bees in the race for the SWAC title. Unfortunately for the Bullets, with minimal games remaining on both teams’ schedules, the odds of the team retaining the SWAC title for another season are starting to look slim. All the Bullets can do now is win their remaining games and hope that one of their conference rivals can do them a huge favour by handing Bath a couple of losses.

Next game –@ Plymouth Blitz – 17th February

10. Sheffield Sabres (6-1)
A one score loss to Derby in the BNWC title game sees the Sabres drop down to the number ten spot this week. Whilst their title hopes may be over, all isn’t lost for the Sabres as they can still finish the season 7-1 which would most likely see the team competing in the championship playoffs. All they need to do is beat the Fury this weekend and then hope other results go their way!

Next game – @ LJM Fury – 17th February

11. Kent Falcons (4-0)
Another team who are yet to play a game in 2013, but still remain in our top 15 is the Kent Falcons. Hopefully, that stat will change this weekend when the team are scheduled to take on the formidable force that is the Hertfordshire Hurricanes in what is basically the conference championship game. This time last year, the Falcons forfeited on the ‘Canes, let’s hope they don’t do it again.

Next game – @ Kent Falcons – 17th February

12. Kingston Cougars (5-1)
I decided to look over the Cougars schedule and to my amazement the combined record for all the teams on the Cougars schedule is currently 20-24 (45.45 win percentage). For now, I’m going to go with my original opinion that the Cougars are indeed a good team with plenty of potential for the future, but I will be watching their next two games over tougher opposition to see if they’re as good as their record suggests. I believe they are.

Next game – @ OBU Panthers – 17th February

13. Glasgow Tigers (5-1)
Are the Tigers really the number 13 team in the country? In my However, while the team have risen due to teams above and around them losing last weekend, the Tigers also see themselves rising up the poll after their 39-7 victory over Edinburgh extended their win streak to five games and guaranteed the number two spot in the Saltire Conference this season (Glasgow have the head to head over the Predators and Pyros).

Next game – vs. Napier Knights – 17th February

14. Warwick Wolves (4-1)
Like it was mentioned on the Powerless Rankings, the whole referee/pitch fiasco between Warwick and Wolverhampton won’t be discussed as there are two different sides to the story. We’ll all just have to wait and see what the league say. Personally, I’d go with an 11 vs. 11 rock, paper, scissors battle or a delightful game of murderball.

Next game – @ Nottingham Outlaws – 17th February

15. Portsmouth Destroyers (3-1)
I think it’s safe to say that it’s unlikely that the Destroyers will complete all of their remaining fixtures before the 24th of February. If that is the case, the Destroyers may end up missing out on playoff football after numerous trips to the post season in the past few years.

Next game – @ Southampton Stags – 17th February

16. UEA Pirates (4-1)
The unbeaten run is finally over for the Pirates as they fell to conference rivals Hertfordshire. Despite this loss, the season isn’t over for the Pirates who still have Cambridge and Kent left on their schedule. Victories over these two teams and a victory in their re-arranged game against Essex would give the Pirates a 7-1 record and most likely a spot in the championship playoffs.

Next game – vs. Cambridge Pythons – 17th February

17. Manchester Tyrants (5-2)
‘Just keep winning, just keep winning.’ That must be the motto for the Tyrants as they continue their onward march towards post season football. This weekend, the Tyrants will travel to Bangor to take on the MudDogs in their final game of the regular season. I doubt many involved in last year’s 2-6 team thought they’d be in this position when the season began.

Next game – @ Bangor MudDogs – 17th February

18. Cambridge Pythons (4-1)
#TeamPHD continued their surprising march to the playoffs with an 18-7 victory over the Canterbury Chargers over the weekend. While this run is somewhat surprising and provides a nice change from the usual teams making the post season year in and year out, it may also be coming to an end this weekend when #TeamPHD travel to take on the UEA Pirates.

Next game – @ UEA Pirates – 17th February

19. BNU Buccaneers (4-2)
It’s a climb of six places for the Bucs following their two point victory over the previously undefeated Brighton Tsunami. It was another close one for the "kings of the wing" and for the second time this season, it was the D who saved the day when they prevented the opposition converting a last minute two point attempt after their punter went all shanksville from their own red zone. With seven teams still in the playoff race in the TVC, this weekend’s game versus Solent is a must win game for BNU. It’s not like they have an added incentive after the whole playbook scandal from last season.

Next game – vs. Solent Redhawks – 17th February

20. NTU Renegades (4-2)
You know what must suck? Possibly going 6-2 losing to only Birmingham and Loughborough, finishing with the number four seed in your conference and then not making the post season while a .500 or less team from the Saltire Conference get to partake in the post season activities. Well, unfortunately for NTU that may become a reality following their 24-7 loss against Lugbug last weekend. I wonder if they’ll be hoping that the Outlaws beat Warwick?

Next game – @ Northampton Nemesis – 17th February

21. Brighton Tsunami (5-1)
It was a tough decision on where to place Brighton this week following their two point loss to BNU. On one hand, they did lose by a matter of inches, but on the other hand, after all the boasting on Twitter, Facebook, etc, they went on to lose to a team that played the Double Wing...Ultimately, I dropped them twelve places to the number 21 spot. Now, with two games remaining before a possible trip to the post season, Brighton will need to stop relying on their D to win the games for them. In the past two games vs. Southampton and BNU, the O has managed 53 and 99 total yards respectively. Considering they’re on course for the playoffs, that’s not the type of stats we’re expecting to see from a 5-1 team.

Next game – @ Reading Knights – 17th February

22. UCLan Rams (4-2)
Had it not been for the Fury – Hallam game getting postponed, the Rams may not have made this week’s poll following their mid-week loss to the Warriors (Hallam that is, not South Wales, Woodham or London). Fortunately for the Rams, the game was postponed meaning that the Rams 28-14 victory over Huddersfield just snuck them into this week’s rankings. Their time on the rankings may be short lived though as UCLan travel to take on the newly crowned conference champions (Derby) this weekend.

Next game – @ Derby Braves – 17th February

23. Swansea Titans (3-3)
When discussing the ranking of Swansea with a fellow DC member, they said that the 50 burgers over Worcester and Bath Spa shouldn’t be considered, but the one over Plymouth is impressive. I find it funny that if a power house team posts a 50 burger, they’re a team who are on fire this season. However, when a not so power house team posts a 50 burger, it’s because they’re playing weak opponents...I think that’s nonsense and Swansea have entered this week’s poll due to their impressive run of form of late! It’ll be interesting to see how they do against the Exeter Demons this weekend though...

Next game – vs. Exeter Demons – 17th February

24. Aberystwyth Tarannau (3-1)
This time last year, everyone was moaning that Northampton may make the post season due to their ridiculously easy schedule. Well, this season, Aber have beaten Worcester, Bath Spa and Cardiff (combined 1-14 record) and have an outside shot of making the post season, yet, I don’t hear/see anyone moaning about their schedule. Maybe it’s because they still have to play Gloucester, UWE, Bristol and Swansea who have a combined schedule of 15-6.

Next game vs. Gloucester Gladiators – 17th February

25. Plymouth Blitz (4-2)
You know it’s a bad week of results for the teams who were on last week’s poll when a team who lost by four scores can survive the cut for another week! Following their 28 point loss to the Swansea Titans, the Blitz now face the UWE Bullets in a must win game this weekend. Should the Blitz end up losing, their playoff dreams are done and dusted until the 2013/14 season.

Next game – vs. UWE Bullets – 17th February

Oh, I've just realised it's Valentines Day! Here's a picture you lovable rogues.

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