Great Britain – BUCS Playoffs: Who’s in?

With the British University league’s regular season having drawn to a close, the first round of playoff matchups are set for this weekend.

The Structure

Unlike most playoff brackets around the sport, including the lower divisions of BUCS football, smaller divisions mean the first round is an inter-divisional one; this means a ‘North/South’ final is all but guaranteed.

Four teams from each division have made the playoffs – the top seeded team in the South will face the fourth seed in the North and vice versa, with the twos playing the opposite threes.

Let’s take a look at who will be representing both divisions in this year’s BUCS playoffs.


UWE Bullets – Record: 8-0

UWE Bullets WR Jason-Matthew Sharsh from Hawaii Photo: Andy Watts


Unsurprisingly, the Bullets find themselves in the top seed. UWE have put on what is almost undeniably the most dominant regular season in British American football history.

At the start of the season, the defending champions announced multiple signings from overseas, from ELF MVP Jadrian Clark to Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (NCAA DI) standout Jason-Matthew Sharsh. A total of 486 unanswered points later, coach Dan Maher’s Bullets enter the postseason with their sights set on a three-peat.

The Bullets will host freshly promoted Loughborough in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College PRiDE – Record: 6-2

Photo: Charlotte Murden

SGS have had yet another season of obliterating every opponent except UWE, a story that looks unlikely to change any time soon.

PRiDE’s roster stacked with some of the best young talent from around the country has helped them achieve the third best offense in the league, putting up just shy of 30 points per game while conceding just 8.3 per game. It is important to note that PRiDE withdrew from their final game against UWE due to unforeseen circumstances and events within the SGS coaching staff, resulting in a 1-0 defeat against the top scoring team in the Prem.

Our thoughts go out to the SGS team during this time – view their statement here.

SGS will return to action as they play host to the Durham Saints this weekend.

Birmingham University Lions – Record: 2-6

The Birmingham Lions have had yet another season of scraping mediocrity in the top tier of football, only ranking over Portsmouth and Cardiff due to tie-breakers after finishing with the same record.

Birmingham’s two wins came in close wins over the now-relegated Cardiff Cobras, earning them, with two of their losses coming to the newly-promoted Portsmouth Destroyers. Their points differential of -251 places them only above Newcastle’s -303, with an average score of 8.5-39.9.

The Lions will travel to face Leeds Beckett to open their playoff campaign.

Portsmouth Destroyers – Record: 2-6

The Destroyers scraped survival in their first season in the Prem, with their two victories over Birmingham proving crucial. Their two losses to bottom-ranked Cardiff, however, are what keep them in the fourth seed.

Portsmouth will visit Nottingham in the opening round as they look for the upset.


University of Nottingham Gold – Record: 8-0

Once again, the University of Nottingham Gold have found themselves atop the Premier North table, this time blitzing through the regular season with an undefeated record.

After placing second in our midseason power rankings, the latter half of their season saw them come close to slipping down a spot; they barely escaped a loss against Leeds Beckett in their penultimate matchup, beating Carnegie by a score of 9-8.

Last season’s runners-up will kick off their postseason campaign this weekend as they play host to the newly promoted Portsmouth Destroyers (2-6)

Leeds Beckett Carnegie – Record: 5-2

After being knocked out of the playoffs last season by the eventual champions in a last-minute thriller, Carnegie are re-entering the playoffs after another great regular season. A cancellation in their finals scheduled game against Durham caused a void game, leaving them one game short.

Their two losses both came to UoN in very tight games either side of the Christmas break, with score lines of 30-20 and 9-8 respectively. Outside of the champions of the North, Beckett hardly struggled this season aside from a narrow win over Durham in January, beating out the third seed 12-2.

LBU will face the 2-6 Birmingham Lions in Leeds to open up the postseason.

Durham Saints – Record: 4-3

The Durham Saints have been one of the most exciting to watch in the Prem, using a lot of local talent and staying competitive with the best of the best.

The Saints have had one of the top defenses in the country, holding the likes of Leeds Beckett and UoN to just two scores, and conceding just 11.1 points per game.

Durham will travel to face SGS PRiDE in what will certainly be one of the better matchups of the weekend.

Loughborough University – Record: 2-6

Loughborough’s first season after being promoted and crowned Division 1 champions could have gone better, but they have certainly shown promise for their future in the top tier.

Loughborough managed to make easy work of a poor Newcastle side twice to claim their only wins, and stayed competitive in one matchup against Durham in which they fell 10-6, but aside from that their first season at the top has been one consisting of blowout losses.

The reigning Division 1 victors will head on the road to Bristol where they will face a terrifying UWE Bullets side.

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.