Welcome to the first ever Carnegie Winter League Power Rankings. It might only be August however with the immediate BAFA season just finished we thought it would be fun to look at how we think things could shape up for this year Winter League from what we have seen so far this year. In our 3rd Edition of Winter League we have increased the amount of teams to 10 and with a mix of teams from the BAFA HNC Premier League, BAFA HNC Division One and 2 non league teams its going to be an interesting few months of Flag Football and with each team playing 18 games anything could happen, some might even say the action will be “Electric!”.
The rankings are simple really, we have mustered up a crew of flag football pundits from around the league and asked who they thought would be our top 10. Then gave each team a score so if they got voted as 1st they would get 10 points and 1 point for if they were voted 10th so a bit like “Eurovision”…. This then produced who we think will be at the top of the rankings, seems like a sensible and totally legitimate way of forecasting the future right?
So here is what we are thinking for the 2019/2020 Winter Flag League in our way to early edition…
In what is a relatively unknown team for many, those that know the mastermind behind the squad are all well aware of the players that could be showcased on this team. Led by GB Gold Star Julian Holburn-White (husband to our very own Michelle Holburn-White here at Carnegie) this will be in our eyes the team to beat if he gets to pick and choose his squad. Finishing up 2nd overall back in Winter League 1 they would eventually end up only losing 3 games of which all were to the mighty Kirkcaldy Bulls led by Neil Arnold and co. As this is the “Way to Early Power Rankings” we can back that up very quickly for this team as we certainly have no idea the kind of squad he will likely muster on a week to week basis this time around but with friends from all around the HNC Premier League and Division One along with history in the league its no surprise we saw the name come up as the power ranking leaders already with 3 of the 5 votes for 1st place and 2 for 2nd place from our resident experts here at WFL.
So have they peaked before its even begun?, are our pundits looking like proper experts? or can we say that nobody has a clue what to expect and that anything will happen…?
Well you’re not going to miss them coming!, We now have one of the first new teams to enter the Carnegie Winter Flag league this year in the Rexy Midnight Runners and we cannot wait to have them come and play this coming season. In our voting they did pick up the other 2 of the 1st place votes however with other votes in the top 3 this is something we could have argued over for a while as with strong results in 2019 especially Flagging Iron Man there is no reason why they cannot go on to win Winter League in our eyes. However sometimes your best ability is your availability which has been a common theme for the Aberdeen Oilcats this season. With the heart of the squad coming from Aberdeen along with a masterclass of other talent from around the league joining forces (much like the Top Guns) we just dont know who will be available any given week. It could be one bad week for Rexy which could see them dropping up to 5 games potentially this year and that could be dangerous so it will be fun to see how the team will get on. Its also worth noting we may have got some live commentating vocal talents from this squad and we will try our best to get our favorite First and 15 Podcast Celebs onto the Winter League Live Stream for you all.
Best or Worst Strip Award?
Your HNC Division One Champions for 2019 are here and also back in WFL!!!, and we have them on for a pretty good run at this years Winter Flag League Title. This is one of the first teams that a had a very mixed opinion with two 5th place votes, one 3rd place vote and maybe more surprisingly two 2nd place votes from our WFL crew. Those in the Killerbees camp will no doubt love and appreciate this as they have worked so hard in the past 2 years to get to the Premier League and with the team arguably not classed as a Development team in 2020 with no “Wandering Rule” it will be interesting to see how this team will do in 2020 in the BAFA Premier League and the Winter League could maybe showcase the talent they have on offer. Will any players be playing up on the Hornets and not make an appearance or will Hornets come play for the Killerbees? again there is so many unknowns at this point and the way we see it right now is that this would be a time to keep the Killerbees together as one unit and let them prepare for the 2020 season and continue to grow on the success from this year and that is why we have them in 3rd because if they have the same core group led with Derek Frost at QB, Robbie Menzies and Kerrance James at Receiver and then William McNab on the Defensive end also we can see them picking up some wins this Winter in the shorter game format and pushing the Premier League and non league teams
Probably now the most awkward ranking and its about ourselves, but thanks to our pundits of which dont all consist of Carnegie Players we feel a bit better about putting ourselves into 4th place but there is a few key points to probably note. In previous years the approach of the team is too use the first few weeks for development and practice for players to try new positions, let new players get a chance to play and gain experience while providing a stepping stone for all players to improve on key areas for the BAFA League. This is mission statement for the league and we do make an emphasis on trying to do this so our 4th place ranking may be very generous depending on what players are coming to play for Carnegie and if we have any new players we wish to provide the valuable experience too. While the 2019 season saw us finish 3rd in the BAFA Premier League and make our first every appearance at British Finals we have certainly found our feet but things could get tricky as Winter League organiser and QB Stuart Anderson may not be around to play due to running the each game week. The QB role may fall to someone else within the ranks of Carnegie and with receivers like Brandon Lamb, brothers Calum and Craig Nicol along with Peter Allison to name but a few receivers this will make the job of who every is throwing the ball a bit easier. The team will still have plenty of options and experience to help them on the way to picking up a few wins and likely aiming for the top 6 overall finish to ensure they make the playoff for the over title come week 5 playoffs of the WFL.
Well lets move on before it gets any more awkward writing about ourselves.
In what could be a talking point in less than a month is the Power in Edinburgh between the Midlothian Sabers and Edinburgh Outlaws of whom are set to lock horns in the Promotion Playoff game on the weekend of the 16th August in Manchester with the winner guaranteeing them a spot in the Premier League for 2020. So in voting we had 3 out of the 5 pundits having the Outlaws will be finishing above the Sabers however 2 of which say its going to be the Sabers. This will lead to an interesting match-up in the Winter league becuase will the game be about revenge or will it be justification, we are excited to see if the power remains with the Edinburgh Outlaws and with some of the performances in 2019 being cause for concern its the games against teams like the Manchester Titans that fill us all with optimism about the teams future. We think Liam Clutterbuck along with Jamie Archibald and Ali Morello are certainly Premier League talent so coming into Winter League will this be enough power to see them topple all the Division One teams and right now we see no reason why not. Depending on the Squad that Carnegie TopGun and Rexy bring to each game day we can even see the Outlaws finishing even higher if things go their way so maybe a top 3 would certainly not be a surprise. So what can we expect from the Outlaws we are unsure, the league offers the chance for players to get minutes and decent game time and with a decent size squad we can also see them running the bench and giving some valuable experience to players for the 2020 BAFA season regardless of the result in August and this might mean a few losses but we dont see this being an issue looking at the bigger picture of the clubs future.
Once more though we are excited to see a new team enter the Carnegie Winter League and the Outlaws will be a great addition.
We now move onto our 4th new team of the Carnegie Winter League and as we speak the second best team in Edinburgh!, (for now). We certainly do have some love for the Midlothian Sabers and what they are likely to bring this year to the league and with Jared Armour at QB he will no doubt be bringing with him the high scoring offence which saw him guide the Sabers to an impressive 2019 BAFA season which saw them make the Plate Playoffs and also a match-up with the Edinburgh Outlaws for potential promotion. The Sabers have some experience with the shorter game formats however we wonder if this is something that might take them time to get used to in the early weeks and with a 0-3 final game day in BAFA Division One Week 6 we do also see some cracks in the armour which teams like the Colts, Raptors and Silvercats could exploit given they have all played each other numerous times already in 2019 which might see the sabers slip early. We do also look forward to seeing James Grubb in Winter League and seeing if the volume of TDs in Division One can be translated onto the next level and this could be one of the first tests for James against some top level defenders in Scotland.
So can the Sabers be the best team in Edinburgh? can they get that high scoring offence going in such short games? lets see what happens in Week 1 and lets hope for a Sabers Vs Outlaws match-up also on opening day on field 1 for the live stream.
Coming back for another year is the Grangemouth Colts and we currently have them in 7th in our Power Rankings, this was the highest place vote also by our WFL pundits and one that could quickly change. Ending another solid year in Division One and coming good late in the year to finish 3rd we think this is a year which the Colts could look back and think “What if” because with Andy Brown at QB they are capable of beating any of the current teams in Division One. Saying that though makes us feel like we have put the Colts further down than expected however results from Winter League last season saw the colts pick up 6 wins, 2 draws and 11 losses to a 4th overall finish but with the coaching of some veterans like Jimmy Thomson, Fraser Thomson and more from the Broncos we see no reason again that they could pick up more wins this time around with a deeper field. Are the Colts going to be in the same position as the Killerbees with the loss of the Wandering rule for 2020 leaving them with some holes to fill with players stepping up into Broncos? or will they be using some Broncos on the Colts for the winter league?. As its “Way to Early” to say or be accurate on what will or could happen we still see the Colts certainly picking up more wins in this years Winter League and being that bubble team that could maybe scrape into the playoffs (The top 6 after week 4) if they pick up some wins in the early weeks against the new teams who may not be as familiar with the league format.
The Dark horse of the field?, We welcome our final new team for the Carnegie Winter Flag League which are the Renfrewshire Raptors who were previously the Paisley Spartans and boy have they come along way. The growth of the club has been a huge achievement for the Flag Community and hasn’t gone unnoticed with a larger squad, new strips, social media and a Logo to scare your opponents what isnt to love right?. After an exciting Division One Campaign for the club with some really good wins in, they didn’t quite get enough wins to topple the Sabers and Colts to make the Plate or Promotion Game. When it comes to Winter League though they will be coming up against some next level opponents from the likes of TopGun, Rexy, Carnegie and the Outlaws which could be a struggle for the Raptors however against the rest of the field the Raptors will easily pick up some wins and find themselves along with the Colts battling for that 6th spot to the playoffs come March for the Winter League finale.
Will the Raptors be the best Dino in attendance to Winter League? We cant wait to see the battle of the prehistoric monstArs and see what social media fun will come out this time around… Good luck Raptors we cant wait to have you along to Winter League!.
Well when the votes started coming in for the Power Rankings this could probably end up being the one Shocking Mistake we make, putting the Winter League 2 Champions down for finishing 9th and struggling. So are we going to get this right or fall on week 1 when they pull out some emphatic wins who knows, but what we do know is this wont come as a surprise to the Silvercats in what was a bit of a disappointing year in Division One. Having talents like Cameron Reid, Scott Forbes, Eli Rorie and Jamie Bennett we certainly couldn’t have seen them finishing where they did this year. Will this be the form they take into the Winter League we will wait and see and this is what has given them a 9th place ranking for now however if they come to play in Winter League they could be the team with the biggest jump. What could be a talking point is coaching though, with Bezly Berry stripping up with Rexy alongside Greg Sim and other key Oilcats personnel could the lack of experience cost them some key games or will we see the Aberdeen Oilcats Legend Michael Scott make an appearance in a Silvercats uniform? We do hope our Reigning champions are fighting for the playoffs however are our pundits calling this one to early based on current form or will the off season do the world of good for this talented team.
Charger watch continues into Winter League we have heard from our 1st and 15 Podcasters and we have one of our pundits having them down for over 1.5 wins…?
So we once again we welcome back another team in the West Lothian Chargers as they come back for another season with us and they will be looking to grow on what could be said was a tough 2019 league season in the HNC Division One finishing up with a final record of 0-15. In last years winter league the chargers did have a record of 0-2-18 and those 2 draws could easily be wins in this shorter game format as we have seen the Chargers get early scores this year but lose out later in the games. So will the shorter game format be beneficial?.. We certainly do think so, and could they pick up that first win in Winter League?.. again we certainly think so. What will be interesting to see is if the team continue to recruit and pick up some additional talent to help them get closer to the rest of Division One and also for Winter League be pushing to get off the foot of our rankings. Neil Warren will certainly be rounding up the troops for each winter league and use this is valuable experience for the 2020 BAFA League season and go in well prepared and take the fight to the rest of the league.
Will they have more than 1.5 wins? will the Beers be opened on 1st and 15? and can we see the win come in week 1? So many questions!!!!
In conclusion, we have no idea whats going to happen but what we do know for certain though is that it will be a fantastic 4 weeks of action in the Winter League and create some exciting games for us to watch and stream for you all to view on Youtube each week. Then we will have the Playoffs to look forward to in March just before the BAFA season begins so thanks for everyone who has contributed to the League so for we greatly appreciate the support and we will have some further announcements about the Live Stream, Sponsors, Awards and more over the coming months leading into Game week 1 in November.
Be sure to come back to www.CarnegieFootball.com to get the latest standings, results and fixtures for each team along with news, reviews and updates for Carnegie Winter Flag League 3.