With just a couple of weeks until the end of the regular season, the playoff picture across all three BUCS divisions is getting exponentially clearer with every result. Check out our lovingly-made article detailing all the scenarios across the divisions following Week 11 to find out more. With the rise of Simon Love as the human calculator of Uniball records, this article will attempt to assess the changing relative qualities of the teams that played in the week gone by. So here’s the who’s who and the what’s what of the movers and shakers from the eleventh week…
1. Derby vs Herts is the pick of the bunch for the Premier quarter-finals
With the other three match-ups in the first round of the playoffs set to be comfortable wins for the home team – with Birmingham and Lugbug looking the most likely to be a home walkover for the Lions – the Braves and the Hurricanes could be the lone competitive game. Herts are seemingly dominating everything that comes their way since their opening week loss, while the Braves are capable of playing outstanding defense – a prowess to which Loughborough and Hallam can attest.
2. The promotion system lower down the pyramid is a little bit of a joke
With 5-1 Brunel practically out of playoff contention with Portsmouth’s win over Chichester, many – including DC head honcho and Burners’ head coach, Jon Goddard – were crying bloody murder. As Greenwich limped towards the playoffs on the back of a shoddy division and some very narrow, low scoring victories, one time tier champion-favourite Brunel are heading for yet another year in the BUCSball basement. If third tier Bristol Barracuda beats struggling second tier rivals UWE in their varsity matchup, the injustice of the new promotion system will be confirmed.
Time for BUCS to ring the changes once again?
3. Rise of the option offense will continue into the Division One postseason
With the Warwick Wolves and Royal Holloway both claiming playoff berths this weekend, it seems like the BUCS leagues, much like the NFL, are witnessing the emergence of dynamic backfields which keep defensive ends in limbo and defensive coordinators scratching their heads. Both of these team run a great deal of read option, combining athletic quarterbacks with speedy halfbacks. Holloway may face Surrey, who they will play twice in the next week, in the opening playoff game – while the Wolves will almost certainly play Leeds Beckett in a match-up between the two most competitive divisions in the tier.
4. And finally, three cheers for a bad teams playing not so badly
Bournemouth held newly crowned Western 2A champions Plymouth to a 12-0 victory, while Buckinghamshire New University Buccaneers held the Southampton Stags to a one possession game. These are two teams which on average concede over 30 points a game. With the newbies playing well, and the former doormats seemingly on the rise, it may not be long until the entire uniball pyramid resembles the mediocre quagmire that is the 2015 NFC East…