What We Learned: BUCS 15/16 – Week 13

In our final installment of ‘What We Learned’, for the regular season at least (look out for a souped up postseason WWL in the coming weeks), there’s certainly a great deal to parse out not only from week 13, but the year so far as a whole. For all the playoff matchups and postseason discussion, check out Simon Love’s lovingly made article and our postseason-special predictions article later in the week – but here we’re going to try to shine a light on all those teams across the uniball world for many of whom the 2015 BUCS season was more of a struggle than a success.

1. The BUCS promotion system still has remnants of unfairness, even if its moved beyond the chronic inequality of previous years

Don’t get us wrong – the increased stratification of the 2015 BUCS realignment is only a good thing for competition, giving the best of the rest the chance to shine and inexperienced teams a chance to find their footing against evenly-matched competition. Having said that, the powers-that-be at BUCS’ London HQ still have a lot of rejigging to do if they truly want to create a fair and even league structure. With Brunel going 7-1 and still missing out on the postseason, and the Lincoln Colonials recording the same record (Eds: pending decision on their final fixture) while also missing out on a shot at the win-and-in game, a more expansive postseason in the third tier is probably the most pressing need right now.  Being the best of the rest, especially in the case of the Midlands Athletic Conference of the pre-2014 years, didn’t cut it then – and it still isn’t really cutting it now. Yet another busy off-season for the top brass at BUCS/BAFA must surely await…

2. Speaking of BUCS, why cant they even schedule their own playoff brackets properly?

With over 70 university teams playing football at a BUCS level now, you would think that BUCS themselves – the people who actually run the show – would be able to make sense of who is playing who in the postseason. After all, its just a matter of matching 1 versus 8, 2 versus 7, and sorting through a couple of tiebreakers if necessary, right? Apparently that was too much for the regulatory body, who initially sent Leeds Beckett to the west midlands to play Warwick when they should have been billeted to the eastern midlands match-up with Nottingham Trent. Admitted, we get it wrong sometimes here at DC, but you expect more from a significant and experienced institution like BUCS. WIth some more than gentle prodding from BAFA, BUCS corrected its error – but its just another gaff from the uniball overseers not too far removed from their almighty kerfuffle with BAFA over failing to send a GB students team abroad this year.

3. The Birmingham Lions answered our ribbing of their week 12 performance in week 13, sort of…

‘Maybe it WAS just the field…’ is what we might be saying right now if we were the sort of organisation that was willing to back down on an opinion. As it is, we’re gonna stand by our call that the Lions poor performance against the Kingston Cougars in week 12 was not simply a result of poor field conditions. Despite their exhortations on social media to the contrary and a strong return to their normal thrashing ways against Herts in week 13 that would suggest that the only thing that can stop Brum is a moshpit of a field in south-west London, we’re not convinced that the Lions are as sitting as pretty as they think they are. Their chance to prove us all wrong will not truly arrive until the Prem semi-finals are played in March.