The BUCS season is upon us, and so our Power Rankings return along with your opportunity to have your say on how things stack up across the three tiers of the University game!
We’re collating this year’s rankings via the highly successful format used this past summer – polling not only our own team of BUCS correspondents but also giving all of our passionate Patreon supporters the opportunity to determine how these rankings stack up!
Each contributor submitted their own picks of who’s top dogs in each tier, and then we tallied it all up to create these amalgamated rankings!
If you want your say on who’s top dog in each tier? You can join our Patreon for just $1 a month and directly contribute to the growth of the game, and DC’s survival!
Head to https://www.patreon.com/dblcoverage to learn more.
But without further ado, let’s see how our contributors see the top tier’s teams relative strengths coming into Week One…
10. Portsmouth Destroyers
Coming in off a disrupted 17/18 campaign where the Destroyers were only able to play seven fixtures (and only six scores being counted) there were a number of changes at the South Coast side over the offseason, including the significant changeups in the coaching staff.
Still, they successfully displaced the Killer Bees to keep their spot in the top tier so a bottom-rung placement coming into the season should probably be considered a rather harsh appraisal by our pollsters.
9. Swansea Titans
They showed flashes of brilliance last season, but ultimately a combination of a lost fixture and the voided scores debacle at the end of last season saw the Titans finish the year 3-3, well off the playoff pace.
With a preseason that included a tilt against the Filton Pride, honestly we would have expected to see them placed a bit higher in the rankings – but it looks like there’s a fair amount of hype boosting the two newcomers to the top tier up the rankings!
8. UWE Bullets
They’ve caused quite a stir with the announcement of a number of international Scholarship players coming into the season, but we’ll need to wait until Week Two to see if they’re worthy of the hype – they kick off their top-tier campaign against the 2017/18 Prem South Champs, the Birmingham Lions.
7. Leeds Beckett Carnegie
The underdog surprise of 2017/18, the Carnegie crew became the first team promoted to the Prem North to actually hold on to their top-tier status – and with some gusto! Finishing the year 4-4, including a surprise win over the Clansmen. Playoffs in the first season saw them knock off the Hurricanes… and yet they’ve not been rewarded with a particularly strong preseason ranking?
We’re pretty sure the Leeds side will revel in their underdog status once more!
6. University of Nottingham
UoNAF steamrolled their way into the Premiership North following an undefeated, and in truth largely unchallenged, 2017/18 campaign – emphasised by a 43-0 trouncing of the Bullets in the D1 National Final game.
Though the departure of star quarterback Patrick Daley has to hurt, expectations are Nottingham will still be stacked with talent coming into their top tier debut – Week Two versus Leeds Carnegie… notably the last team to actually defeat the green and gold.
5. Hertfordshire Hurricanes
Considering the relative strength between the two conferences in recent seasons, a top-five placement could be considered a little flattering for the ‘Canes, but the most successful side in Uniball history always has the capacity to emerge as a title contender.
4. Birmingham Lions
Despite never seeming to find their full roar last season, the Lions clawed their way to the top of the pile in the Prem South and looked ready to hit the postseason hard… only to come up a score short against a gotten-hot Derby Braves side.
They’ve lost some key players during the offseason, and perhaps most significantly of all saw a shift at Head Coach – Wayne Hill stepping away to focus on his role as BAFCA chair, and protege Greg Freeman stepping up into the vacancy.
3. Derby Braves
Red zone mistakes ultimately cost them against a Saints side that displayed strength in all phases of the game.
They open their campaign with a rematch of the championship final which should tell us an awful lot about the shape of the Prem North moving forwards!
2. Stirling Clansmen
They missed out on a Championship appearance for the first time in years in 2017/18, so expect aspirations to be high… But the roster was not without key departures during the offseason.
1. Durham Saints
And rightfully so, the reigning National Champions, the Durham Saints, open the Power Rankings in pole position.
A quality coaching staff, strong links with the up-and-coming Northumberland Vikings, and boosted by the international appeal of their parent institution have all made the Saints the team to beat in the top tier over the last couple of seasons – don’t expect Durham to relinquish their spot atop the Power Rankings easily this season!