British University Midseason Power Rankings

British University (BUCS) football has seen an exciting first half of the season, from near three-digit blowouts to low-scoring defensive standoffs.

With the second half of the reason rapidly approaching, let’s take a look at how each team is getting on.

1. UWE Bullets

Is anyone surprised to see the Bullets here?

A star-studded roster packed from top to the bottom with international and local talent has led the reigning champions to a 5-0 record.

The Jadrian Clark (Rhein Fire) led offensive unit has bulldozed every opponent, including a 98-0 away win against the Birmingham Lions, helping accumulate a league-leading 356 points at an average of 72.1 points per-game.

Clark has racked up a mind-boggling 34 touchdowns, with 10 of these coming in the blowout over the Lions, while ex-Hawaii (NCAA DI) wideout Jason Matthew-Sharsh (Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns) has accounted for 22 touchdowns – 20 coming to him through the air.

Defensively, nobody has threatened the Bullets. Standout performers such as CJ Wall, who has recorded four interceptions, and Rashaun Hinds, who leads the team with five sacks, have assisted UWE in keeping teams out of the endzone. The Bullets have not conceded a single point in the first half of their potential ‘three-peat’ season.

2. University of Nottingham Gold

The top two teams in the Premier Division have remained unchanged for the last two years as the Gold find their way to the top of the North yet again with a 5-0 record.

After dominating the North for two consecutive years, coming just shy of a National Championship both times, the stacked recruiting classes of other teams in the division such as Leeds Beckett and Loughborough have made the competition in the North a much more fierce one.

While the Gold have dominated teams on the lower end of the table, including two wins of over 50 points over Newcastle, they have faced more regular season struggles against competitors like Leeds Beckett, winning by a narrow margin with a scoreline 30-20.

Their 35.4 points per-game place them third in the country, while their 5.2 average points against is good enough for second.

Nottingham will face Carnegie in a pivotal rematch on February 4th.

3. Leeds Beckett Carnegie

Carnegie remain one of the top teams in the country yet again as they sit at 3-1, their one loss being a 30-20 defeat to the Northern division leaders in Nottingham.

Similarly to Nottingham, Carnegie’s international recruitment has been a defining factor in their success over recent years. Ex-Missouri Tigers running back Dawson Downing has led the offense from the quarterback position, accounting for 10 of the teams scores.

Their last game saw them run through a strong Loughborough side 26-0. Perhaps the most notable upcoming fixture for Carnegie is their regular season finale against Nottingham, as an undefeated second half of the season could potentially see Leeds Beckett take the crown of the North.

4. South Gloucestershire and Stroud PRiDE

With the top of the South division being as uncompetitive as ever, a 5-1 SGS team remain in second place in their division with no real threat of that changing.

SGS have steamrolled through every opponent not named the UWE Bullets thus far, with a 60-0 loss coming to their local rivals towards the beginning of the season.

Aside from this loss, the PRiDE have not shown weakness, with blowout after blowout. Running back Jeremie Kwanzambi Beni has yet again been a key part of the SGS offense, racking up 465 yards and seven scores on the ground, both good for top two in the league. Back-turned-wideout Ovie Bazunu has been another crucial offensive weapon, taking 18 receptions for 342 yards and three scores, while quarterback Anthony Wilson sits second in the league in both major passing stats with 704 yards and 11 touchdowns. This offense of young talent has taken PRiDE to second in the country with an average of just north of 36 points per-game.

5. Durham Saints

A long-established top-tier side in the UK, the Saints yet again find themselves in the middle of the pack in a new era where imported athletes are paramount.

Despite the 2-1 Durham side having a very low probability of challenging the top of the table, they are certainly still a strong side, holding Nottingham to just 16 points in their matchup. This along with a 10-6 win over Loughborough is very telling of the Saints’ drive, as every matchup has been a competitive one.

While their offense has put up a lackluster 18.7 points per-game, their defense has been one of the strongest as they have conceded a per-game average of just 11.3 points.

Standout players include wide receiver Christian Teague, who has found the endzone three times, as well as Will Heath and Boris Gavin leading the defense with six sacks and three forced fumbles respectively.

This weekend sees a key matchup against Leeds Beckett, which will be a pivotal one if Durham can get the upset.

6. Loughborough University

Despite their 1-4 record, Loughborough have established that they belong in the Premier Division after winning Division 1 last season.

The top teams in the North have certainly asserted their dominance on the newly promoted side, including a 46-0 blowout in Leeds, but Loughborough have managed to go toe-to-toe with other mid-table sides, taking a narrow 10-6 loss to Durham as well as taking their lone win in a 46-11 win over Newcastle.

7. Cardiff Cobras

The bottom half of the South is where things start to get interesting, as the 1-5 Cobras sit in the middle of the division.

In spite of two narrow losses to Birmingham (21-14 and 27-17 respectively), Cardiff’s performances elsewhere edge them above the other two teams in the bottom half of the South, with the Lions perhaps being their kryptonite. A 43-26 win in Portsmouth, with the Destroyers having previously taken a win over the Lions, put Cardiff in the seventh place spot. On top of this, the Cobras have lost to both the PRiDE and Bullets by some of the smallest margins.

Although they average just 13.3 points per-game, running back Kieran Hodson has racked up nine touchdowns on the ground, good for first in the league.

Cardiff’s most significant upcoming fixture will take place on February 11th, as they close the season by hosting the Portsmouth Destroyers in what will likely be a relegation battle.

8. Birmingham Lions

Other than two wins against Cardiff, the 2-4 Lions have looked worse than they have over the last decade. Their season opener saw a 17-14 loss in Portsmouth as they welcomed the Destroyers to the Prem, and their wins over Cardiff were far from impressive.

Over their six games, the Lions have the worst ranked defense in the South and the second worst in the country, conceding a shocking 47 points per-game with just north of 10 on offense.

Their biggest game will come on January 28th, as a loss to Portsmouth could be detrimental to their season.

9. Portsmouth Destroyers

The 1-4 Destroyers sit in fourth place in the South after the first half of their debut season in the top tier.

Aside from an opening week upset as they handed Birmingham a 17-14 loss at home, Portsmouth are yet to show why they belong in the top tier after their Division 1 South championship season.

Their 43-26 loss to Cardiff alongside their single-digit points-per game average solidify them as the bottom team in the South going into the second half of the season.

Return fixtures against Cardiff and Birmingham will be pivotal to their hopes of remaining in the Premier Division.

10. Newcastle Raiders

Not much can be said about Newcastle’s second year in the top tier. Their five points for/against record of 25/233 unsurprisingly ranks them bottom of their division as of the Christmas break.

The 2021/22 Division 1 North champions are 0-5 on the season and have yet to be competitive in a single fixture, punching their ticket to relegation unless a significant change is made.

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.