What the BUCS league restructure means.

Having had quite a build up, with committees across the country voting on two proposals and suggestions coming from all corners of British American Football, BUCS decided to not change much at all. The full league structure can be viewed HERE, what this post is going to focus on is where the Swansea Titans lie amongst the mix and the changes that have been made to what was (and may still be) the SWAC, which we will call the South West Tier One for now.

South West Tier One consists of 9 teams, one of which is Falmouth. The Falmouth fixtures were scheduled in 2013/14 however non were fulfilled after the Tridents were not allowed to compete under BUCS regulations. Those regulations, one can only presume, have been lifted. UWE piped Swansea to the second place spot last year and from everyone’s point of view it is important that these games are played, it would be unfortunate should that happen again. 

So the South West gains a team facing its first season and looses two established teams in Bath Killer Bees and Aberystwyth Tarannau. Killer Bees head up into what BUCS hope will be the highly competitive Prem South, where perennial playoff finalists Birmingham Lions will be expected to dominate and let everyone else battle for places 2 to 5. On the other hand, the Tarannau get shunted off into the North Tier One due to the league’s desire to have balanced numbers across the divisions (8 or 9 teams per division). This is a shame for Welsh football due to the rivalries, which have formed over the last few years but BUCS can hardly be criticised for forming balanced divisions.

So, what can we expect from the South West this year? Firstly, UWE and Swansea will be ear marked as favorites for the division. Swansea of course went on to win the Challenge Trophy and will want to finish above UWE this time round. UWE struggled in the late part of the regular season due to injuries but pushed Hertfordshire hard in a 17-14 loss in the Championship playoffs.  At this point you would be hard pressed to choose between the two teams.

Secondly, Bristol, Cardiff and Plymouth should be better. These three teams have under performed in regards to their reputations and set-ups over the last few years. Thirdly, Bath Spa and Falmouth will struggle. This is what we can expect as Bath Spa have showed us nothing else since joining the league. Falmouth will be looking to buck the trend for new teams having difficult first season.

We can also expect lots of rain! It’s the South West! Advocates of a three tier system have stated that the bottom tier should consists of teams who have failed to fulfill their schedule as well as teams with the worst record. Historically the SWAC has been one of the worst divisions for calling games off and we can only hope that this changes and committees do all that is in their power to not let this happen.

Finally, it still appears there are a number of question marks over the new BUCS league structure. Many have suggested that the two-tier system has created two competitive divisions (both Prem divisions) and the problems of the old structure remain. The 2014/15 season may answer some questions and raise new ones but either way it is one step closer, which is good for everyone.