BUCS 18/19 Predictions | Division Two Week Two

In line with feedback, we’re changing things up a bit this year in how we do our Uniball predictions. One thing we continue to receive feedback on is the inconsistency of the depth and quality of predictions between one conference and the next, due to the available time and ability of the writers that cover each group of teams, and how much information is made available to them.

To that end we’re going to shake things up this year and rather than attempting to cover all games with as much detail as possible with the resources available, we’re instead going to focus on particular stand out ‘Games of the Week’ – looking more closely at anywhere between one to three games, spread across the tiers, focusing on those games that perhaps looks particularly tasty and we can go into greater detail in the coverage of.

It’s a stacked slate of fixtures in the largest tier of the University game, but the Leeds Gryphons vs Liverpool Raptors matchup caught our eye, as two teams more familiar with one another than many might realise meet to open their campaigns!

Meanwhile, we’ll take a quick glance at the other fixtures, with picks from each of the members of our BUCS Office.

The only thing in football that might be less predictable than who the Cleveland Browns’ Head Coach is from one year to the next… is a Uniball roster following an offseason of graduations, particularly in Division Two!


2A Borders

UWS Pyros vs HWU Wolverines

The Pyros return for 2018/19 campaign, and you can’t fault these guys for their commitment to the game. While they seem to struggle with roster numbers each season, to their credit they’ve stuck it out through some miserable campaigns and kept coming back for more every November.

Last year was particularly troubled as the Pyros were unable to field a team for any of their post-Christmas fixtures, but they’ve worked hard with local senior programmes during the offseason and reportedly recruited some players with National Leagues experience.

Heriot-Watt meanwhile were also plagued by a frustratingly succinct season last year, only taking the field for four games due to either withdrawals from other outfits, or pitch problems on their end.

Interesting rumbling we’ve heard – Heriot Watt, or the Wolverines per their unofficial/unsanctioned moniker, have a female QB on the roster this season – count down to the first BUCS TD thrown by a female baller?

Spoiler

HWU will in the nod, 5-3, but a minority of our staffers did indeed pluck for the Pyros. We hope they don’t get burned.

 

Edinburgh Predators vs YSJ Jaguars

Postponed.

 

2A North

Bangor MudDogs vs Edge Hill Vikings

Amongst the preseason favourites to shine this year, Bangor found themselves stuck in the mud in Week One, unable to post up a single score against the realigned Lancaster Bombers.

They’ll look to improve on Sunday against an Edge Hill side they bested 22-6 last year, but the Vikings will be hoping they can cause an upset – look out for the addition of former LJMU Fury Running Back Gary Plunkett to provide some more grunt in the ground attack.

Spoiler

The Vikings did pick up a pair of votes… but given Stewart and Yotam’s links to the programme, we weren’t able to count them! :p

Bangor get a shot at redemption after their disappointing season opener.

 

2A Midlands

Keele Crusaders vs Chester Legion

If they’ve managed to maintain momentum Keele may be a team to watch out for this season – they finished their 17/18 campaign with a four-game win streak.

Chester meanwhile did at least manage to pick up their first competitive victory as a team with an actually fairly hefty 40-6 win over the Bradford Bears. Frustratingly that was a rare bright spot in their second season, and we’ve heard little out of them building up to their 2018/19 opener.

Spoiler

Lydon and Samuel have rolled the dice and gambled on the underdog Legion, but the Crusaders still come out as clear favourites.

Keele took the game 20-0 the last time these two met – we might be looking at something similar this time around, too.

 

Huddersfield Hawks vs DMU Falcons

Huddersfield quietly put together a rather strong season in 17/18, culminating in a first-ever playoff appearance.

They took a 6-16 win last time they faced the Falcons in a bird-off, as DMU’s strong opening to their season stagnated – playing just a single game ahead of the Christmas break, a 0-46 win over the Colonials, the Falcons wouldn’t play another fixture until late January and by then they seemed to struggle to get off the ground.

Spoiler

Though the Hawks are favourite on paper coming into this one, the team ended up with a split decision!

I’ll play tie breaker on this occasion, but which way should I pick?

The Hawks appeared in the Power Rankings this week – they’ll earn that spot this week with a win over the Falcons.

 

2A South West

OBU Panthers vs Bath Spa Bulldogs

The Panthers found themselves in pole position in our Power Rankings this week following a nice win over the Gladiators to open their campaign.

It’s worth noting that the scoreline however certainly represents a team effort, as the Glads actually did a fairly good job of shutting down the OBU offence, a big breakaway play and a punt return given the Panthers the edge in a game that was otherwise very closely contested.

Still, they’re almost certainly hot favourites this weekend as they face a Bath Spa Bulldogs team that failed to score a single point in 2017/18.

New committee, new Head Coach, but will it be enough for the Bulldogs to turn a new leaf as start stacking up some wins?

Spoiler

Don’t ask me to explain their reasoning, but our pair of Vikings did opt for the Bulldogs to pull off a massive upset in this one.

Hey, if it comes through they’ll look like Uniball savants.

Still, it’s not enough to swing the vote – OBU to move to 2-0.

 

Worcester Royals vs Oxford Lancers

The Worcester Royals made the offseason hop from the midlands to the South West – but will they fare better in their new home after only managing the two wins last year, their first back in Division Two?

Well they certainly headed to the offseason carrying good momentum after rounding out their regular season with a 70-0 win.

Still, the South West is historically a hotly contested conference and they’ll face a Lancers side eager to improve its consistency after an up-and-down 17/18 campaign that saw a blend of convincing wins, but also hefty losses against true title contenders.

Spoiler

The team’s split on this one as neither side has shown anything to make them stand out in the preseason.

Still, we’ve got to make a pick, so I’ll throw a vote at the Lancers to open their season on the road with a win!

 

2A South

Royal Holloway Bears vs City Wolfpack

The Bears kicked off their year with a modest win over the Saxons – but the scoreline looks a lot more meaningful when you consider the Sussex side were playing D1 football only a few months ago.

They host a Wolfpack who are looking to improve after their promising 2-1 start to their 17/18 campaign went awry post-Christmas with three straight losses to close out the year.

Last time these two met it was a nail-biter that the Bears edged 9-7… can we expect a similarly tense affair this weekend?

Spoiler

A few of them ummed and arred over it, but ultimately they all ended up opting for the Bears – a rare unanimous decision on the Division Two picks!

 

Sussex Saxons vs Chichester Spitfires

Chichester were an interesting one last year. Sure, they didn’t make a lot of noise on their way to equalling their team-best record of two wins, but in truth they were more competitive than perhaps they were given credit for – three of their four losses coming by a score or less.

They’ll travel to a Sussex outfit who are clearly still finding their feet after relegation at the end of last season.

Graduations have left them with a large rookie class, but a couple of experienced international additions could yet boost the Saxons to success this season.

Spoiler

Rosemary and Samuel believe the Spitfires have what it takes to cause an upset here, but it’s a 6-2 majority in favour of the Saxons getting their season back on the right track with a Week Two win.

 

BNU Buccaneers vs Greenwich Mariners

BNU bowed out of their 2017/18 season after two games, and though we’ve heard nothing out of them in the preseason best we can tell they’ve been recruiting and in an expanded conference they’ll get an opportunity to test themselves against some new faces this winter.

Among those fresh additions to the conference are the Mariners, shifted out of the South East during the offseason and given a rude welcome to the 2A South with a 0-24 loss to the KCL Regents in Week One.

A long-tenured programme with a proud history, Greenwich were frustrated to only pick up two wins in 2017/18. As such, expect both outfits to look at this game as one of their better shots to get a notch in the W column.

Spoiler

Dean and Stewart go against the grain, but the majority of the team don’t believe BNU can bounce back from dropping out of their 17/18 campaign with a win in their return fixture.

Greenwich go to 1-1.

 

2A South East

Cambridge Pythons vs Essex Blades

Cambridge are coming into 18/19 off the back of a troubled campaign that saw them drop from Division One football.

They take on an Essex Blades side that’s been getting some attention in the early Power Rankings despite being yet to step onto the field.

Whichever way things go, at least in this undersized four-team conference, whichever team comes off worse will get a shot at revenge later in the year – a rare occurrence in the normally one-shot lowest tier.

Spoiler

Close but no cigar for the Pythons, as the team backs the Blades to open their year with a win!

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Nick

Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1