BUCS Division One North Playoff Predictions

Playoffs are upon us, and with the postseason getting underway we shift the format of our predictions to consult our entire Uniball team on who they think will be progressing to the second round!

No points party in the middle tier – these are fully-fledged where teams are battling for a prestigious place in the premiership! (Oh, and points too.)

University of Nottingham (#1) vs LJMU Fury (#8)

 

Buoyed by a much-improved relationship with their students union that’s allowed the team to bring in some sports scholarship talents, the former-outlaws have reached new heights this season. They went unbeaten, and until the final fixture of the season (or the first half of it at least) largely unchallenged.

This includes dispatching the newly promoted LJMU Fury handily twice already this year. Can the Fury, who seemed sat in a limbo between the top two teams in the conference (Notts/Warwick) and the bottom pair (Staffs/Worcester) really hope for it to be third time lucky this weekend?

Spoiler

Notts Fury

 

Umm… No. Unsurprisingly with Notts taking two 30+ point victories away from each of the regular season meetings between these two teams, and the Fury not finding the end zone even once? The team unanimously opted for the top seed in the north.

Verdict: Can Fury cause an upset? Computer says no.

Sheffield Hallam Warriors (#2) vs UCLan Rams (#7)

Talk about a grudge match! These two conference rivals split their games during the regular season with each likely feeling a little bit robbed by the results!

For Hallam, the Week Ten loss tarnished a perfect season, whereas the Rams felt robbed of win back in Week Three when Hallam’s game-clinching touchdown looked decidedly un-catch-like from the Ram’s sideline (as well as in photos and footage).

The Rams seemed to have found the key to shutting down a Warriors offence that otherwise ran roughshod over the rest of the conference… Sadly the same couldn’t be said for UCLan when they took on Carnegie to close out the regular season and potentially seal up the #2 spot in the conference.

The Leeds side bullied the Lancastrians and it’ll be interesting to see if they managed to bounce back from a grim end to their season.

Spoiler

Warriors Rams

We think if this poll had been taken ahead of Week Twelve and the Rams being run all over by Carnegie? It would have looked very different to the 12-3 result we ended up with.

Not only have Carnegie appeared the more consistent side through the regular season, but the Rams appeared to slump at precisely the wrong moment, with our team’s estimations of them also seemingly plummeting.

Verdict: Hallam head to the semis in a more convincing fashion than their regular season win.

 

Hull Sharks (#3) vs Glasgow Tigers (#6)

It’s one of the idiosyncrasies of our scheduling systems that, due to a lack of inter-conference fixtures during the regular season, teams will often find themselves squared up against conference rivals come the postseason. It stands to reason that if you’ve had a particularly strong season and earned a top seed, it’s at the cost of others within your conference, who’ll be left with lower seedings.

As such, we’ve got a third straight match up of conference rivals, and while it can lead to some nice grudge matches – for example Hallam and UCLan going head to head after splitting wins in the regular season –  so too can it lead to some rather predictable fixtures – such as, we suspect, the Notts/LJMU match up above.

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So which will this third in-conference match-up be?

Spoiler

Sharks Glasgow

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the team have opted overwhelmingly for the Hull Sharks to make it three straight over Glasgow.

Charlie and Rose clearly believe the Tigers will cross the border with revenge on the mind, following Hull snapping their unbeaten regular season streak, whereas the rest of the team will have noticed that the Tigers ended their eight-game schedule with a whimper – a 6-2 defeat to an already locked in to relegation Newcastle side that hadn’t beaten the Scottish side in many-a-year.

Verdict: Sharks swim into the semis. 

 

Warwick Wolves (#4) vs Leeds Carnegie (#5)

Oooh! Finally! A pair of teams who aren’t already overly familiar with one another!

This game holds a special place in the spot where DC’s heart isn’t, owing to two of our writers having direct involvement in the fixture!

Both teams had good seasons, with their only losses coming against the eventual champs of their respective conferences.

For Carnegie in particular, they appear to be getting hot at just the right moment as they rounded off their regular season with a huge win over UCLan, that secured second place in the 1A North Western. This is despite their small roster size, and carrying a fair number of walking wounded.

It’ll be Carnegie’s ground and pound against Warwick’s more balanced attack, with the battle won and lost in the trenches – can Carnegie’s lineman stay healthy through the full fixture?

Spoiler

Wolves Carnegie

 

 

Despite the two teams appearing to head in opposite directions on the final weekend of the regular season – a big win for Carnegie, while the Wolves took a heavy loss against Nottingham – the team voted 11-4 in favour of the Midlands side.

Certainly the Wolves have shown a greater ability to rack up points than the Leeds side so far this year, and even gave the Power Rankings-topping Notts something of a scare this past weekend, though they wilted in the face of Notts’ scholar dollars’ stamina in the second half.

Easily the most interesting match up in the Northern playoffs, worth a watch if you’re able to make it across to the game!

Verdict: Wolves remain hot on the tail of Notts as they head to semis…

 

 

There we have it ‘Nation – but who are YOUR picks to make it through the first round of playoffs in the northern half of Division One?

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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