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.
With some of the biggest upsets of the year notched up last week, we see some significant shifts in the middle tier Power Rankings as not one, but two, outfits are dropped out of the top ten following disappointing performances!
NTU Renegades – Something’s gone rather awry in the Renegades camp this side of the midseason break! If the scale of their Week Nine loss to the Jets was the first warning sign, their Week Ten defeat to the previously winless Longhorns makes it clear that unless they can get back on track, and fast, far from contesting a return to the premiership… The Renegades might yet miss out on postseason action entirely!
Sheffield Sabres – Back to back losses sees the Sabres slip out of the rankings, with their narrow loss to the unranked Liverpool Fury spelling an end to their time in the top ten. They head to a bye, before wrapping up their campaign against the UCLan Rams – a crucial game that could well decide who advances to the postseason from the #2 berth in the 1A North.
Two comfortable wins over local rivals, the Plymouth Blitz, have the Exeter Demons hot on the heels of the Stags in the 1A South West. However, to truly emerge as contenders in this conference and justify a spot in these rankings the Demons are going to have to rise to victory against at least one of the two outfits that have already bested them once this season – they face the Cardiff Cobras this Sunday, and then travel to the Stags for a midweek matchup the following Thursday.
Having fallen out of favour back in Week Eight, the Edinburgh Napier Knights are starting to crop up in the polls again – though they’ve got a helluva task ahead of them if they’re planning to defend their 1A North title – they’re scheduled up for two games in Week Twelve, but currently no sign of their other missing Newcastle fixture.
10. QMBL Vipers (4-2) – Down Two
The Vipers fell behind early against the Falcons in Week Ten, and though they made a great game of it in the second half it wasn’t quite enough for the newcomers to the conference to completely displace the defending champs from their top spot in the South East.
The Vipers are on a bye this week, but don’t be surprised if they briefly become avid UEA Pirates fans for one weekend, and one weekend only – a Pirates win against Kent, and then a QMBL win over the Pirates in Week Twelve is the Vipers’ one-and-only route to back-to-back crowns.
9. UEA Pirates (5-1) – Re-Entry
The Pirates sail back into the rankings having double-dipped in the ‘W’s prize draw’ in Week Ten – comfortable wins over Imperial and Canterbury return the East Anglian side to their familiar #2 position in the South East, with this weekend’s fixture versus the Falcons the Pirates’ opportunity to really rock the boat if they can steal a win on Sunday.
UEA can consider their next two fixtures as essentially playoff games come early.
8. Southampton Stags (4-1) – Up One
The Stags found themselves in the rather unique position of both winning AND losing in Week Ten – taking a good-looking victory over the Bees on Friday evening, before narrowly missing out in Bath on Sunday.
They remain narrowly ahead of the pack in the 1A South West, but with their first loss of the season they’re no longer looking quite as invulnerable as before – the other contenders in the conference will be hungrily circling as the Stags take on the mammoth task of completing their schedule – three fixtures in just eight days lie ahead of them, kicking off with a trip to Plymouth this Sunday.
7. Newcastle Raiders (4-0) – Re-Entry
Newcastle made short work of Hull for a second time this season in Week Ten, extending their unbeaten streak to four.
However, this still leaves them four fixtures to somehow squeeze into two weeks of football, which just doesn’t seem very realistic.
Though they’re currently sat in first in the 1A North, this weekend is the first time we’ll see them face a team with a winning record – as such we should know a lot more about the Raiders come Monday morning, including whether their return to the rankings was warranted – perhaps they should never have been cut?
6. Kent Falcons (6-1) – Up Two
The Falcons rise back up the ranks having avenged their loss to the Vipers with their narrow win last Sunday.
They’ve opened up a two-game lead over the rest of the conference, but crucially the Vipers do still hold the head-to-head over Kent, so there IS potential to yet see another three-way tie with overlapping h2hs atop the 2A South East a la the BUCS 16/17 season!
A win this weekend versus the Pirates locks up a second-straight title.
5. Coventry Jets (4-2) – Hold
Coventry stay put in the #5 spot despite no action at the weekend.
Still, even without taking to the field they were surely one of the big winners of Week Ten, as the NTU Renegades’ loss to the Longhorns clears a path for the Jets to comfortably snag the #2 spot in the conference, so long as they can play to form through their final two fixtures.
The Jets travel to Warwick this weekend.
4. Northumbria Mustangs (4-1) – Hold
The Mustangs hold their fourth spot in the rankings, just barely – the margins in the polls are getting awfully small in the middle of the middle tier rankings, and a number of teams are knocking on the door of a top five position!
Having seen no action this side of Christmas, they’re essentially holding this ranking based on record alone, but can prove they’re worthy of it when they take on local rivals the undefeated Newcastle Raiders this Sunday!
With two weeks to play three fixtures, might this Week Eleven game be the first ‘double-header’ of the season? If you’re in the know, get in touch.
3. Sheffield Hallam Warriors (6-0) – Down One
For the second week in a row the Warriors win their fixture, but find themselves dropping a spot in the rankings!
It’s apparent that the narrow scorelines of their victories these past two weeks have done them few favours with our pollsters, as they followed their 3pt win in Week Nine with a 1 pt victory in Week Ten!
They’re champs of the Yorkshire/Lancashire conference and currently sat in the #1 seed in the North, but it’ll be interesting to see how they play out the remainder of their schedule – nominally ‘cushy’ matchups against two teams they’ve already beaten comfortably earlier in the season, the Fury and the Tyrants.
Could this weekend’s game against a suddenly feisty Fury be something of a trap game if the Warriors come in complacent knowing their Conference title is already secure?
2. Loughborough Students (5-1) – Up One
Loughborough rise back up into the #2 spot, despite their scoreline against the Wolves being more modest than expected.
While theri offence perhaps wasn’t firing on all cylinder in their first fixture back from the break, the fact remains that Loughborough have only allowed five touchdowns through their six fixtures so far this season.
They take on the Longhorns this weekend, notably the only team this year to find the endzone on multiple occasions – way back in Week one!
1. Brunel Burners (6-0) – Hold
We’ve seen no signs that the Burners’ Reading fixture that was cancelled with the team only minutes away from the ground will be able to be rescheduled, but whether it’ll result in a walkover for Brunel? We’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, it looks like the Burners will wrap up their campaign hosting the Cougars in Week Twelve.