0428 – BFL week 11

Welcome back to the Barbarian Blog. Just quickly, there won’t be a blog on Thursday. This is because I am playing an Australian Football game in France and I’m away for a few days. You see that you guys aren’t the only ones who can represent your country! Anyway that’s enough about me, it’s time to talk BFL.

Barbarian News

The Antwerp Diamonds are the latest team to have submitted their nominations to the Combine. That now makes 8 teams who have done so. And also it looks like the Fighting Turtles will be joining in the fun after all, which is great news. There are now 10 days until all nominations must be handed in. Not long after this, all of the nominated players will receive an invitation to the Combine, and not long after that I’ll publish a list of all nominated players.
Also we’ve been talking to some Belgians who are playing in Germany. The ones we’ve talked to all want to come and compete, so I recommend you local guys all bring your A-game to the Combine!

Game reviews

Brussels Black Angels 47 – Antwerp Diamonds 3

The Diamonds went into this game down their quarterback, and it didn’t begin well for the boys in red, down three touchdowns while still in the first quarter. The Black Angels passing game was working well, however, making a lot of completions, and looking like forcing the game towards a mercy rule.
However in the fourth quarter the Diamonds made some drives, mostly due to some long passes to WR Lufungula. Also of a big help was the punting and kicking job done by Vervaet, including a 35 yard field goal to prevent the shutout.

Gent Gators 34 – Leuven Lions 0

Surprisingly, this game started as a defensive struggle. The Lions were down a few key players on offense but their defense held strong, almost scoring on an interception return. But with just a few seconds left in the half, QB Killens snuck one in from two yards away. After recovering the onside kick it took just one play for WR Lezy to make a catch and run for another touchdown and it was 12-0 in about 15 seconds.

The Gators continued on in the third quarter with a touchdown catch by WR De Ruyter, and after the two point conversion it was 20-0. In the final term both De Ruyter and Lezy made their second touchdown catches of the game, setting the score at 34-0.

Something else to come out of this game was the birth of TECA (The Excessive Celebration Army) a group of mostly ex-Lions players whose mission is tailgating and cheering like mad for Leuven. If you ask me (and if you’re reading this, then you are asking me) then I think that this is awesome! These games really need some atmosphere, and what a great way to provide it.

Brussels Bulls 20 – Ostend Pirates 14

Here was a game where both teams were their own worst enemy. I have never seen a game where both teams shot themselves in the foot so many times. The Bulls spent half of the game in illegal formations, and the Pirates spent the other half of the game shouting at each other. If either team would have got their act together they would have walked away with the game comfortably. But as it was, it was a thriller.

At the beginning of the game the Bulls seemed to have trouble again moving the football. After going nowhere and being forced to punt, the Pirates made a nice drive which was ended by a QB Vermaut pass to WR Kaca in amongst defenders for a touchdown. The extra point made it 7-0 and that’s the way it would stay until just before half time.

The Pirates let WR Paulus (4 rec, 121 yards, 1 td) get behind them and he was found by QB Njufom, taking it 65 yards to the house but the conversion failed and the Pirates led 7-6. An untimely interception gave the Bulls good field position and RB Van de Wiele (27 rush, 146 yards) was able to convert from 8 yards away, and he made the two point conversion as well, so the Bulls were up 14-7 at the half.

It was the Pirates defense who made the next score, DL Eeckhout stripping the ball from the Bulls RB and taking it 50 yards for a touchdown (I must admit that when I saw their RB without the ball my first thought was ‘that was one hell of a fake handoff’, before I figured out what had actually happened).
So the score stayed tied at 14. The Pirates made one goal line stand, but with just six seconds left, QB Njufom found WR Despiegeleer on a slant for a touchdown and that was the end of that.

The Bulls outgained the Pirates 284-71. The Pirates “outpenaltied” the Bulls 111-110. For the Bulls’ D, LB Nicolajeff had 8.5 tackles and an interception, while the Pirates big defensive contributors were LB Van Hee with 6.5 tackles, and LB #35 with 6 tackles.

Puurs Titans 26 – Izegem Tribes 16

I don’t remember any game this season where a player had at least 10 tackles. Could be wrong, I suppose, but this game actually had three players with double digit tackles!

The Titans began like a house on fire*, RB Kabongo (7 rush, 143 yards, 2 td) proving almost unstoppable, at least until he got hurt, but the damage was already done. He had a huge touchdown run and backed it up with another from 5 yards, giving the Titans a two touchdown lead at the quarter, and when RB Steenbeke (12 rush, 70 yards, 1 td) scored from 4 yards away it was 20-0 with just a few minutes gone in the second quarter.

But the Tribes wouldn’t give up, and they would score on their final drive in the half, QB Huysman (12 rush, 106 yards, 2 td) breaking tackles and scoring from 12 yards away to make it 20-7 at the half.

After a LB J Meersmans fumble recovery, QB Baete found WR Bruyndonckx in the endzone to make it 26-7 and all seemed lost for Izegem. It was QB Huysman again who found a little room in the Titans defense, this time 27 yards worth as the score came back to 26-14. A little later the Titans were stuffed in their own endzone by LB Van Marcke for a safety but the Tribes ran out of time.

The Titans outgained the Tribes 280-173. The three defenders with massive amounts of tackles were Tribes DE Jamin (10), Titans LB K Meersmans (12) and Tribes LB Van Marcke (12.5)

Players of the week

Tribes LB Van Marcke – 12.5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 safety

Titans LB K Meersmans – 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass defense, 1 interception

Titans RB Kabongo – 7 rush, 143 yards, 2 td

Bulls RB Van de Wiele – 27 rush, 146 yards, 1 td, 1 2xp

Play of the week

Titans RB Kabongo takes a handoff right, gets a little room, turns on the afterburners and goodbye. 79 yards to the house.

Quote of the week

“After some strong defense from the Titans, the flag was waved off” – Dieter Eerens, not making a hell of a lot of sense doing play-by-play during the Titans-Tribes game. I will say this though for the Titans, they sure know how to have a good time when watching a game. It was good times in the press box!

C’Mon man of the week

I’m not sure whether to be silly or serious with the C’mon man this week. Actually, I think I’ll go with serious. I don’t normally write bad things about people so I won’t say who it was, but a certain player abandonded his team by walking off the field, leaving them a man short for what could have been a very crucial play. This attitude will not be a part of anything that The Barbarians stand for. C’mon man!

Computer rankings

1 – Brussels Tigers                   + 29.0
2 – Gent Gators                        + 26.6
3 – Waterloo Warriors            + 18.7
4 – Brussels Black Angels       + 14.4
5 – G-D Fighting Turtles        + 11.7
6 – Brussels Bulls                     + 10.2
7 – Ostend Pirates                    + 10.0
8 – Liege Monarchs                 + 1.9
9 – Leuven Lions                      + 0.6
10 – Puurs Titans                     – 8.0
11 – Izegem Tribes                    – 9.9
12 – Limburg Shotguns          – 16.6
13 – Antwerp Diamonds         – 22.1
14 – Charleroi Coal Miners    – 25.4
15 – Wapi Phoenix                   – 41.6

Power Rankings

1 (=)       Gent Gators (5-0-0)
2 (=)      Brussels Tigers (3-0-0)
3 (=)       Brussels Black Angels (5-1-0)
4 (+1)    Brussels Bulls (3-2-0)
5 (+1)     Waterloo Warriors (2-1-0)
6 (-2)     Ostend Pirates (2-2-0)
7 (=)      Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles (3-1-0)
8 (=)      Puurs Titans (3-2-0)
9 (+1)    Liege Monarchs (2-1-0)
10 (-1)   Leuven Lions (2-3-0)
11 (=)     Izegem Tribes (0-3-1)
12 (=)    Limburg Shotguns (1-3-1)
13 (=)    Antwerp Diamonds (0-5-0)
14 (=)   Charleroi Coal Miners (0-4-0)
15 (=)    Wapi Phoenix (0-3-0)

Game previews

12pm @ Tournai : #7 Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles vs #4 Waterloo Warriors – GAME OF THE WEEK

There’s a large chance that this game will determine who will finish second and who will finish third in the LFFAB, and it’s a big difference because the team that’s second gets a home game in the wild card round.
The Warriors played pretty well against the Tigers and will look to continue that good form here. Meanwhile the Turtles will look to regain a couple of players and out-physical the Warriors.
Prediction : It should be a great game but I think the Warriors can do it with their speed around the outsides. Watch out for those Turtles Tight Ends though!
I say : Warriors by 2. Computer says : Warriors by 7

3pm @ Tournai : #14 Charleroi Coal Miners vs #15 Wapi Phoenix

Both teams come into this game still looking for their first win of the season, and for the Coal Miners their season will be over after this game. The Phoenix work hard for each other but the Miners are a physical team.
I say : Coal Miners by 10. Computer says : Coal Miners by 16

2pm @ Evere : #2 Brussels Tigers vs #9 Liege Monarchs

This will be a great chance for the Monarchs to show everyone just what they’re made of. The Tigers have already clinched a playoff birth, but a win in this game will guarantee them the number one seed in the LFFAB (again). I expect a hard hitting football game but I still expect the Tigers to do what the usually do, and that’s win.
I say : Tigers by 14. Computer says Tigers by 26

Outro

I may or may not get to any games next weekend, depends on when I get back from France, although Tournai is actually on the way home so maybe I’ll swing past there. Good to see a few faces in Puurs that I hadn’t seen in quite a while! Until next time

* I have no idea why we say this, but if something starts like a house on fire it just means that it started very fast.

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0427 – Week 10 Rankings

Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Barbarian Blog. Did I mention that the Black Angels have nominated their three players? We’ve now gotten nominations from about half of the teams in the BFL which is very nice! Let’s check out the rankings

Computer rankings

1 – Brussels Tigers                + 29.0
2 – Gent Gators                     + 22.3
3 – Waterloo Warriors         + 18.7
4 – Ostend Pirates                + 14.3
5 – Brussels Black Angels    + 13.7
6 – G-D Fighting Turtles     + 11.8
7 – Brussels Bulls                  + 9.2
8 – Liege Monarchs              + 2.0
9 – Leuven Lions                   + 1.6
10 – Puurs Titans                  – 3.5
11 – Izegem Tribes                 – 15.5
12 – Antwerp Diamonds      – 18.2
13 – Limburg Shotguns        – 18.3
14 – Charleroi Coal Miners  – 25.4
15 – Wapi Phoenix                – 41.5

Power rankings

1 (=)       Gent Gators (4-0-0)
2 (=)      Brussels Tigers (3-0-0)
3 (=)      Brussels Black Angels (4-1-0)
4 (=)      Ostend Pirates (2-1-0)
5 (+1)    Waterloo Warriors (2-1-0)
6 (-1)     Brussels Bulls (2-2-0)
7 (=)     Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles (3-1-0)
8 (=)     Puurs Titans (2-2-0)
9 (=)      Leuven Lions (2-2-0)
10 (=)    Liege Monarchs (2-1-0)
11 (=)     Izegem Tribes (0-2-1)
12 (=)    Limburg Shotguns (1-3-1)
13 (=)     Antwerp Diamonds (0-4-0)
14 (=)    Charleroi Coal Miners (0-4-0)
15 (=)    Wapi Phoenix (0-3-0)

So the computer favors the Tigers but I still like the Gators. I wonder what the chances are that we get to find out who is more clever at the Belgian Bowl? Speaking of probabilities, (what a segue)

A bit of brute force

If you don’t know what ‘brute force’ means with regards to mathematics, I would usually describe it as “bashing at the numbers with a sledgehammer until something useful falls out”. Thanks to our friend Benoit Lagae and his Monte Carlo simulations, we’ve learned some interesting facts about playoff scenarios, such as :

- No team in the FAFL has been eliminated from playoff contention, although the highest the Diamonds can finish is third
– The Brussels Tigers have already qualified for the playoffs (I kind of suspected this but hadn’t figured it out explicitly yet)
– There is actually a scenario in which five FAFL teams finish the regular season with the exact same record of 6-2. If I combine my computer rankings into this calculation, the chance that this happens is just about 1 in 5500. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen because that would take a month to figure out the tie-breakers!

Mailbag

Someone (I don’t know your name so I can’t put it in) suggested that we present the Barbarians players and coaches at the Belgian Bowl.

I don’t think so. The Belgian Bowl is for the two teams that are playing. Also I have no idea how many Barbarians players and coaches will go to the Belgian Bowl. It would be pretty embarrassing to actually go on stage with like eight players and three coaches.

Kenneth Huyghe, Izegem

“The problem with the punt coverage is that most teams use recievers as gunners instead of safeties or corners that know how to tackle, and they only want to light those returners up”

This is true, most teams just go with their offense for punt coverage. I guess this is because coaches are afraid if they make lots of substitutions they’ll end up with 10 or 12 (or even 9) players on the field and end up wasting all their time outs.

Upcoming

12pm @ Leuven – #13 Antwerp Diamonds (0-4-0) vs #3 Brussels Black Angels (4-1-0)
I said : Black Angels by 27. Computer says : Black Angels by 32

3pm @ Leuven – #1 Gent Gators (4-0-0) vs #9 Leuven Lions (2-2-0)
I said : Gators by 18. Computer says : Gators by 20

12pm @ Puurs – #6 Brussels Bulls (2-2-0) vs #4 Ostend Pirates (2-1-0) : GAME OF THE WEEK
I said : Pirates by 6. Computer says : Pirates by 5

3pm @ Puurs – #11 Izegem Tribes (0-2-1) vs #8 Puurs Titans (2-2-0)
I said : Titans by 13. Computer says : Titans by 12

Outro

So the weather looks like it could be a bit shoddy on Sunday (although it will be warm enough), so don’t be a wussy wussy (like my kids would say), get out there and support your team, whoever they may be! Until next time

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0426 – BFL week 10

Hello and welcome back to the Barbarian blog. We had two games to check out on Sunday, and we’ve got four to preview for next weekend, so we’ll be fairly busy today. But first of all it’s time for

Barbarians News

Good news as we’ve now received nominations from our first LFFAB team – the Phoenix. Also the nominations from Liege are coming too, so this is exciting news as well as this is a much better team than I had thought. Don’t forget to annoy your coaches until they have made their selections too (just kidding), as they have just a little over two weeks!

In other, sadder, news, it seems that the Turtles won’t nominate any players. The word we heard was that they don’t believe in the National Team. They won’t stand in the way of their players going to the combine and playing if they are selected by us, but they won’t actively help either. Sad.

Game reviews

Brussels Tigers 30 – Waterloo Warriors 19

This was a most entertaining game that had pretty much everything. That is, except for a glorious comeback from the underdog, as the Tigers proved to be just a bit too much for the young Warriors.

The Tigers had a rotten start, their first play was a snap straight over their QB’s head and the Warriors recovered. But they couldn’t take advantage of their good field position, and it was the Tigers who scored first, QB #34 (13-36, 243 yards, 5 td, 3 int) finding RB #8 (21 rush, 50 yards. 4 catch, 81 yards, 1 td) on a long catch and run for 39 yards and a touchdown near the end of the first quarter. It would be their only score in the first half.

The Warriors wouldn’t crumble after this setback, and even took the lead once QB S Franchomme (12-32, 174 yards, 2 td, 2 int) found both his form and WRs Schoonjans (3 catches, 52 yards, 1 td) and G Franchomme (4 catches, 117 yards, 1 td) in the endzone, so the boys in green entered half time up 12-6.

Their defense had a much tougher time in the second half, which was started by Tigers WR#87 finding a lot of room and scoring a touchdown. It was answered straight away by Warriors RB Meerschout who made a very long run up the left sideline for another Warriors TD, this time with extra point and the Tigers found themselves down 19-12.

But then it was time for Tigers WR #18. He made three catches after this : 23 yards, 50 yards and 16 yards. All three were touchdowns, and his final score put the game out of reach of the Warriors, who just couldn’t get a handle on covering him, nor could they get enough quick pressure on the Tigers QB to disrupt their timing.

All in all it was a really nice game, one of the best I’d seen this year. The Warriors actually outgained the Tigers 304-280. Warriors defensive players Godart had 3 tackles and 2 interceptions, while Lustman had 5 tackles. Defensively for the Tigers, #84 had a huge game with 8.5 tackles, 2.5 tackles were for a loss.

Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles 52 – Wapi Phoenix 0

So the Turtles did pretty much just what was expected of them, by heavily defeating the Phoenix. Wapi had just 15 players and were forced to use one of their offensive tackles as a quarterback, but you’ve got to admire their spirit.

The Turtles started the game fast, scoring touchdowns on four of their first five drives, QB Firszt (6-21, 147 yards, 4 td) tossing four touchdowns, all to different receivers. The Phoenix, meanwhile, were just trying to make a first down. The Turtles tried to score again but they fumbled on a handoff right close to the goal line and the Phoenix recovered, which all led to a comfortable 28-0 half time lead.

The second half was much of the same, the Turtles were lining up to score, TE Valet (4 catches, 68 yards, 2 td) catching his second and later in the final quarter he took a reverse the distance as well, with the final score coming from QB Firszt on a run. RB (!?) D Corijn (9 rush, 52 yards) made his second two point conversion and the game was over, the Turtles winning easily 52-0.

The Turtles dominated the game, outgaining the Phoenix 423-59. S Massart made 2 sacks for the winners, while DL #69 had 5 tackles, 3 for loss, and CB #26 had 5 tackles and 3 passes defended for the Phoenix.

Players of the week

Warriors RB Meerschout. 12 rush, 114 yds, 1 td. 2 catches, 4 yards. 5 tackles, 3 tfl, 1 f f.

Tigers QB #34. 13/36, 223 yards, 5 td, 3 int

Turtles TE Valet. 2 catches, 58 yards, 2 td. 3 rush, 66 yards.

Tigers WR/DE #18. 3 catches, 91 yards, 3 td. 1 sack

Bonus player of the week. I won’t list any stats, but respect to the guy who played QB for the Phoenix, #10. He clearly had no experience at the position but he really tried his best, scrambling for a few yards here and there and encouraging his teammates for the whole game despite taking a real pounding from the Turtles.

Play of the week

Warriors RB Meerschout takes a pitch wide left, hurdles a Tiger, cuts inside, then outside, catches a block and is gone. 68 yards to the house

Quote of the week

“Mock him!” – Steven Corijn
I had a chat to David Corijn at half time, just after he’d fumbled from the 1-yard line and I’d said that he missed his once chance at glory. Then his brother joined in, giving the quote of the week. That’s what brothers are for!

C’Mon Man of the week

So I talk about punting and returning in this section pretty often, but seriously, it’s getting worse. Here’s the situation – Phoenix punt and the ball kind of rolls around a bit. The Turtles returner watches it for a while, picks the ball up and kind of walks around like the play is dead. The refs look at each other and decide to blow their whistles, ending the play (I assume because the runner had ‘given himself up’?). But here’s the thing – the play was not dead. The ball was live (at least until the officials blew their whistles) and the Phoenix missed a glorious opportunity to drill the Turtles returner. C’mon man!

Game previews

12pm @ Leuven – Antwerp Diamonds (0-4-0) vs Brussels Black Angels (4-1-0)

So the Diamonds and their new and improved offense will face a tough test as they take on the Black Angels. Brussels have recovered well after their opening game loss and a win against Antwerp will almost guarantee them a playoff spot.

Prediction : I think that this will be a tough one for the Diamonds. Black Angels 34, Diamonds 7.

3pm @ Leuven – Gent Gators (4-0-0) vs Leuven Lions (2-2-0)

Probably the two most aerial teams in the FAFL will take to the skies in Leuven. The Lions’ defense will have to bring their very best if they want to slow down Gent for long enough so that they can score enough points themselves to keep up. At any rate, it should be a very entertaining match, as the Lions can score in a hurry too.
Prediction : I think the Gators can continue their merry march to the playoffs. Gators 32 – Lions 14

12pm @ Puurs – Brussels Bulls (2-2-0) vs Ostend Pirates (2-1-0)

This could be a very important game with playoff implications. A win for the Pirates gives them victories over both the Bulls and Titans and will let them control their own destiny in the hunt for the post-season. The Bulls need this game just as badly, and will be hoping for a better offensive effort than their last couple of games.
Prediction : This has all the potential to be a great game. Pirates 20 – Bulls 14

3pm @ Puurs – Izegem Tribes (0-2-1) vs Puurs Titans (2-2-0)

The Tribes couldn’t quite finish the deal against the Shotguns but will look to learn from that experience and do better next time. The question will be if they’re allowed to have another shot at winning the game, as the Titans at home will look to get back to winning form and keep themselves in the playoff hunt.
Prediction : I think the Titans can get themselves back above .500 by winning this game. Titans 27 – Tribes 14

Outro

I’m out. Until next time

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0425 – Week 9 rankings

Well if it isn’t Thursday again! We’ve actually got a very full edition for you today, so let’s get straight into it.

Barbarians News

The Limburg Shotguns have made their three nominations too, which now brings the total number of teams to 5. Like I mentioned before, teams have until May 1 to make their nominations.

Computer rankings

1 – Brussels Tigers               + 29.0
2 – Gent Gators                    + 22.3
3 – Waterloo Warriors        + 18.8
4 – Ostend Pirates                + 14.3
5 – Brussels Black Angels   + 13.7
6 – G-D Fighting Turtles     + 12.2
7 – Brussels Bulls                  + 9.2
8 – Liege Monarchs              + 1.8
9 – Leuven Lions                   + 1.5
10 – Puurs Titans                  – 3.5
11 – Izegem Tribes                – 15.5
12 – Antwerp Diamonds      – 18.2
13 – Limburg Shotguns       – 18.3
14 – Charleroi Coal Miners – 25.3
15 – Wapi Phoenix                – 42.1

Power rankings

1 (=)       Gent Gators (4-0-0)
2 (=)      Brussels Tigers (2-0-0)
3 (=)       Brussels Black Angels (4-1-0)
4 (=)       Ostend Pirates (2-1-0)
5 (+1)     Brussels Bulls (2-2-0)
6 (+1)    Waterloo Warriors (2-0-0)
7 (+1)     Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles (2-1-0)
8 (-3)     Puurs Titans (2-2-0)
9 (=)      Leuven Lions (2-2-0)
10 (=)    Liege Monarchs (2-1-0)
11 (=)     Izegem Tribes (0-2-1)
12 (=)    Limburg Shotguns (1-3-1)
13 (=)     Antwerp Diamonds (0-4-0)
14 (=)    Charleroi Coal Miners (0-4-0)
15 (=)    Wapi Phoenix (0-2-0)

Mailbag

Stijn Dossche, Ostend
“Are you gonna provide gametape from The Netherlands and Hungary?”

The game against us will be Hungary’s first ever international game. But we will look into it, yes.

Cederic Veryser, Izegem
“Hey Dale, hope you enjoyed the football on Sunday! Just wanted to say, Limburg Shotguns, really nice guys. They play fair, and afterwards we were able to make a huddle with the 2 teams togheter and enjoy some conversation with them while having some beers. The thing I’m trying to say here is, this is how I want all of my football sundays to look like: play the game and then have some chats with your opponent! We all love football, and we’re all amateurs, there is no reason for the hate that is out there afterwards sometimes! Great refs as well!”

Pretty much everyone wants their Sundays to be like this, and I think that this will be one of the added benefits to the National Team – players will get to know the guys on other teams better.

Bart Killens, Gent
“Do you think that if someone would create a new team in Belgium and recruit Barbarians to play for his team, we would get enough quality to compete in the European League? And would players be willing to leave their team and be prepared to travel? It would of course kill the Belgian League if all the best players would be in one team instead of spread out in the league.”

Hmmm, no. Not as it currently stands, anyway. If you had 60 players who would commit to it, train twice a week and power train and learn the playbook at other times, maybe you could compete within a few years, but not as it is now.
Would players be willing to leave their team and travel? Some would, most probably wouldn’t. I suppose we will find that out when the Barbarians start playing away games. This is, incidentally, the exact reason why we require everybody to be at the Combine – we want to see who is committed.

Carlos Pype, Izegem

“Looks like an exciting 2nd half of the season is upon us, with at least 6 teams with a legit shot at the playoffs. How long has it been since there were this many contenders?”

Well, the short answer to that is ‘never’. I think in 2008 and 2010 it was very close for the final playoff spot but there were only really two teams in contention (both times the Gators missed out, first to the Diamonds, and then to the Titans).
Don’t forget that the first tiebreaker is the result of the game between the two teams. The Pirates beat the Titans who beat the Bulls who beat the Lions. In two weeks, Ostend play against the Brussels Bulls and that could be crucial.

Lots of people, everywhere

“Do you know who writes this? : http://Fafl.wordpress.com/”

Nope, no idea. Whoever wrote it knows what they’re talking about, that’s for sure. All I know is that my OCD flips out when I see the offense pointing down the page instead of up!

Photo of the week

 82J7489

This photo was taken by Gary Dibble – be sure to check out many more photos at http://www.gdsportpics.be/gallery3/index.php/

Predictions

It’s time to go back and see just how my pre-season predictions are shaping up. This sort of thing always makes me nervous because I don’t remember everything that I had written down back then!

- Despite losing their first game, the Gent Gators will lead the FAFL in scoring. Not only that, but they’ll make the playoffs and do some serious damage along the way, winning at least one game before time by leading by 50 (and as far as I know, they have never done that before).

Three out of four ain’t bad! The Gators didn’t lose their first game. They are, however, leading the FAFL in scoring, almost certain to make the playoffs by starting 4-0 and have already won one game by 50 points.

- The Pirates will have a great first season, just missing out on the playoffs.

The Pirates are currently sitting at 2-1, having beaten the Titans and Diamonds and lost a close one to the Black Angels. They’re definitely still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

- For every team that steps forward, one will step back. The Fighting Turtles will still make the playoffs, but they won’t be the threat that they were. The new challenge in the LFFAB to the Tigers will come from Waterloo.

This one might not have been so clever. Although it’s hard to tell because the Warriors haven’t played either the Turtles or the Tigers yet. That changes on Sunday when they face the Tigers, so we’ll know more then.

- Playoff teams LFFAB – Brussels Tigers, Waterloo Warriors, G-D Fighting Turtles
– Playoff teams FAFL – Brussels Black Angels, Gent Gators, Brussels Bulls

So far so good, I’d say. The Bulls are the ones looking most likely to miss out, although they are far from out of it, especially with their win over Leuven. It’s all still very much up in the air, and that’s the way that it should be!

Upcoming

12pm @ Archennes – #2 Brussels Tigers (2-0-0) vs #6 Waterloo Warriors (2-0-0) – GAME OF THE WEEK
I said : Tigers by 14. Computer says : Tigers by 10

3pm @ Archennes – #7 Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles (2-1-0) vs #15 Wapi Phoenix (0-2-0)
I said : Fighting Turtles by 50. Computer says : Turtles by 53

Outro

Needless to say I’ll be in Archennes on Sunday. Hopefully we start to get some nominations from the LFFAB soon because we haven’t been very successful in that so far. Until next time

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0424 – Week 9

So we’re back with the review of week 9. We had 4 games played in the FAFL this weekend, but this is the Barbarian Blog after all, so let’s start with this :

Barbarians News

Both the Leuven Lions and Brussels Bulls have nominated three of their players to the National Team Combine on June 22, which takes the number of teams who have made their choices to 4. Here’s a little timeline for the process of nominations and the Combine.

Don’t forget this date – Thursday, May 1 : Last day for teams to hand in their nominations (nominations made after this date WILL NOT be accepted)
Once all nominations are in (both from teams and from us) the players will be notified and only then will I post a list of all the players.

Now, the other piece of news was about our opponent for our second game. It seems pretty sure that we’ll be having a visit from the Hungarian National Team! We haven’t figured out where it will be played yet but I’m sure it will be worked out soon enough. So this means that in only a couple of months we’ve arranged two home games, versus The Netherlands and Hungary. Get excited, people!

Game reviews

Izegem Tribes 13, Limburg Shotguns 13

The Tribes had a glorious chance to win this game, but just couldn’t quite come up with it. Things started well enough, opening up a 13-0 lead thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns by QB Pype, but the Shotguns defense held firm after this and allowed their offense to get back into it.

But it was a special teams play that gave the Shotguns life, a long kickoff return by WR Roundtree all the way to the Tribes 2 yard line, and it was soon after punched in by QB Smith on a sneak. The extra point was good and the Shotguns went into half time down 13-7.

Now in the final quarter, the Shotguns were able to find WR Moore on a long pass, and then again on a slant to tie the score at 13. The extra point was blocked by the Tribes which gave them one last shot with still 4 minutes remaining. They would move the ball downfield but had to attempt a fairly long field goal for the win which sailed wide right.

And as a wise man (as usual, when I use those words, I mean Coach Harve) once said : “Playing a tie is like kissing your sister”.

Ostend Pirates 36, Antwerp Diamonds 12

The Diamonds showed off their new and improved passing game against the Pirates, and it had a pretty good effect. It was just that the Pirates pass offense isn’t new, and they’ve been good at it for a long time.

WR Goncharov was back to doing what he does best – giving cornerbacks nightmares – by scoring three touchdowns, TE Brutyn caught another and QB Vermaut rounded off his day by scoring one touchdown on the ground as well.

QB Butler (playing under center for the first time since graduating high school all those years ago) has revived the Diamonds offense and they could have gotten right back in the game after a long pass but Antwerp fumbled the ball away. So they didn’t win the game but there was definitely improvement there which is good for the future.
For the Pirates, they won but at the cost of a few injuries to key players, let’s hope that everyone recovers just fine.

Brussels Bulls 17, Leuven Lions 5

It’s fair to say that this game had a pretty unusual scoreline, but it was a pretty unusual game, so I guess that that’s fine then.

The Lions really seemed to be all over the Bulls at the start of the game, but they just lacked a bit of composure and couldn’t take their opportunities when they presented themselves. A long punt by the Lions was fumbled by the Bulls and ended up it Lions’ hands, they had great field position but could only generate a field goal.
A long pass from QB Baete was caught by WR Sakyi-Gyinae but it only led to another punt, but the Lions defense held strong and after a snap sailed over QB Njufom’s head, it was easy for DE Salvaggio to wrap him up for a safety and the Lions went ahead 5-0, which was also the score at half time.

The Bulls offense had really gone nowhere in the first half (not even one first down at all), but the introduction of RB De Caluwe made a big difference, taking a handoff for 30 yards on his first touch and it lead to a TE #48 6-yard touchdown pass over the middle. RB De Caluwe himself ran it in for the two point conversion and the Bulls took the lead 8-5.

The Lions didn’t look as coherent in the second half, and the Bulls made a long drive with a nice catch from WR #83 from QB #8 and it lead to a RB De Caluwe touchdown, this time with an extra point and now the score was 15-5. Later on in the game a Lions punt was blocked through the end zone which counts as a safety as well, which took us to the final score of 17-5.

The Bulls outgained the Lions 179-107. For the Bulls, S Van de Wiele had 8.5 tackles, and LB #14 had 6.
On the Lions defense, S #86 had 5 tackles and 1 interception, and DE Salvaggio had 5.5 tackles and a safety.

Brussels Black Angels 27, Puurs Titans 8

The Titans were missing a few really good players through injury but the ones who did play held up pretty well, they just had a rotten time trying to cover WR Alloun, QB T Bouron finding him all alone on several occasions including the first touchdown. The second touchdown came in the second quarter on a tough run by QB T Bouron himself, and although the Titans defense weren’t that bad in the first half, their offense hadn’t achieved much and so they were down 13-0 at half time.

The second half was much of the same, the Titans holding back the flood but that was about the best they could manage, it took until the final quarter for the Angels to score again, WR #85 wide open in the back corner of the endzone. After a big punt return it was left to RB #44 to score from one yard away and it was looking like another shutout for the Angels at home.

But the Titans had one last chance, RB Kabongo with a 36 yard run and the next play 20 yards and a touchdown. QB Baeke found WR Van Reeth for the two point conversion which left the final score at 27-8.

The Black Angels outgained the Titans 180-101. For Brussels, DE Vrancken had 5 tackles, where 3 were for a loss and RB Banza had 67 yards on the ground and a 2 point conversion. For the Titans, LB Ghazal and S Steenbeke each had 5.5 tackles, and LB Lagae had 4 tackles, 2 were sacks.

Players of the week

Pirates WR Goncharov – 3 touchdown catches

Bulls RB De Caluwe – 12 rush, 55 yards, 1 td, 1 2xp. 3 tackles

Bulls S Van de Wiele – 8.5 tackles, 2 tfl, 0.5 sack

Black Angels QB T Bouron – 8/14, 102 yards, 2 td. 1 rushing td

Play of the week

Diamonds WR Wauters makes a diving, toe-dragging catch along the side of the endzone for a touchdown.

Quote of the week

“We aren’t allowed to say anything during the week, so we have to trash talk on Sundays”, injured Titans CB Raphael Baeten

C’Mon man of the week

It’s unbelieveable apparently how hard it is to get an ambulance to show up to the game on time. I know that these things have to be arranged months in advance, so is it too much to ask for these medics to actually arrive at the ground before the game is supposed to start? Ambulance crews, C’Mon man!

Game previews

12pm, @ Archennes – Brussels Tigers (2-0) vs Waterloo Warriors (2-0)

Here’s an interesting one as we finally get to see what the Warriors are made of. It’ll be tough going for them as the Tigers are still the Tigers, but this is the opportunity that they’ve been waiting for. A Tigers win virtually assures them of the number 1 seed in the LFFAB.
Prediction : This should be a hard fought, tough game, but I still think the Tigers will have enough to win this one. Tigers 28 – Warriors 14

3pm @ Archennes – Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles (2-1) vs Wapi Phoenix (0-2)

The Phoenix are giving their young players a chance which is great, but it’s going to take a little while before they start to see good results, although each little baby step they can take is one in the right direction. It’s hard to imagine that they’ll be able get much done against the Fighting Turtles though, who are coming off a home loss against the Tigers. On another note, even if it’s warm weather, make sure to wear long pants!
Prediction : Well, this is probably going to be a whitewash, so let’s predict it as one : Fighting Turtles 50, Phoenix 0

Outro

So on Thursday we’ll roll with the usual rankings and mailbag. And seeing as it’s half way through the season, it’s time we go back and see just how clever (or dumb) I was with my predictions at the start of the season. Until then

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0423 – BFL week 8 rankings

Welcome to the rankings and mailbag for this week. We’ve just about reached the halfway point of the regular season, so let’s see how things are shaping up.

Computer rankings

1 – Brussels Tigers                   + 29.0
2 – Gent Gators                        + 21.7
3 – Ostend Pirates                    + 18.9
4 – Waterloo Warriors            + 18.8
5 – Brussels Black Angels       + 14.0
6 – G-D Fighting Turtles        + 12.2
7 – Brussels Bulls                     + 7.1
8 – Leuven Lions                      + 2.6
9 – Liege Monarchs                 + 1.9
10 – Puurs Titans                     – 3.1
11 – Izegem Tribes                   – 13.9
12 – Limburg Shotguns           – 20.4
13 – Antwerp Diamonds         – 21.3
14 – Charleroi Coal Miners     – 25.2
15 – Wapi Phoenix                   – 42.1

So the Tigers move up to number one with their win over the Turtles.

Power Rankings

1 (=)   Gent Gators (4-0)
2 (=)   Brussels Tigers (2-0)
3 (=)   Brussels Black Angels (3-1)
4 (=)   Ostend Pirates (1-1)
5 (=)   Puurs Titans (2-1)
6 (=)   Brussels Bulls (1-2)
7 (=)   Waterloo Warriors (2-0)
8 (=)   Grez-Docieau Fighting Turtles (2-1)
9 (=)   Leuven Lions (2-1)
10 (=) Liege Monarchs (2-1)
11 (=)  Izegem Tribes (0-2)
12 (=) Limburg Shotguns (1-3)
13 (=) Antwerp Diamonds (0-3)
14 (=) Charleroi Coal Miners (0-4)
15 (=) Wapi Phoenix (0-2)

I’ve left things as they were but the Tigers are catching up to the Gators for the number one spot.

Mailbag

Bart Killens, Gent

“I talk about this every year but will the BFL finally schedule the play-off games at different days or hours? I hate that people have to chose between 2 games that most of the time are very fun to watch”

I don’t know, I’m not the BFL. They should though. Looking at the standings, it’s very likely that both games on Wildcard Weekend will be in or around Brussels, making it perfectly possible to have one game at 12pm and the other maybe 4pm or something. Seems logical to me, but I don’t know what the plans are.

Upcoming

12pm @ Berendrecht : #11 Izegem Tribes (0-2) vs #12 Limburg Shotguns (1-3)
I said : Tribes by 2. Computer says : Tribes by 6

3pm @ Berendrecht : #13 Antwerp Diamonds (0-3) vs #4 Ostend Pirates (1-1)
I said : Pirates by 20. Computer says : Pirates by 40

12pm @ Anderlecht : #6 Brussels Bulls (1-2) vs #9 Leuven Lions (2-1)
I said : Bulls by 4. Computer says : Bulls by 4

3pm @ Anderlecht : #3 Brussels Black Angels (3-1) vs #5 Puurs Titans (2-1) – GAME OF THE WEEK
I said : Angels by 14. Computer says : Angels by 17

Outro

I’ll be going to Anderlecht on Sunday, hope to see a lot of people there. Who knows, maybe we’ll have some more Barbarians news to report as well! Until next time

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0422 – BFL week 8

Week 8 is in the books, as the games took place in Waterloo and Grez-Docieau, so let’s not watse time, but get stuck into it.

Game reviews

Brussels Tigers 28 – Grez-Docieau Fighting Turtles 7

So this was one of those games that I thought was closer than the final score indicated while watching it live. Although looking back at the numbers it was probably a fair result.

It started horribly for the Turtles, fumbling on their first possession and handing the ball to the Tigers in great field position. They took advantage of it on a pass from QB #34 (8-17, 106 yards, 1 td, 1 int) to WR #37 for 18 yards and a touchdown. Neither team could do much with the ball for the rest of the quarter so it was fitting that LB Mons made an interception for the Turtles and was able to return it to the endzone for a touchdown. After the extra point the game was tied 7-7.

After a Tigers field goal the game was poised nicely at 10-7, and it seemed like the game was waiting for a big play. It was provided by the Tigers WR #20 (3 rec, 37 yards. 7 rush, 35 yards, 1 td), who took a swing pass, found a little room and scored a touchdown from 11 yards away to make the score 16-7 just before half time.

In the second half the Turtles offfense just fizzled out, only able to make 1 first down and QB Firszt (9-29, 55 yards) throwing 3 interceptions, two of them to Tigers CB #15 (1 tackle, 2 int). Their defense fared better, shutting out the Tigers in the third quarter, but eventually the Tigers could breach them thanks to RB #28, and later on RB #5 scored from 1-yard away and the scoring was complete.

So this game was played at the Turtles new home at Grez-Docieau. It was pretty easy to find and looks to be a good facility – certainly an improvement over their last place. If you want to know the downside though, you had better check out the quote of the week.

The Tigers outgained the Turtles 251-53, and the Turtles were held to the pretty amazing total of -2 yards rushing by the Tigers front seven.

Other scores :

Liege Monarchs 60 – Wapi Phoenix 6
Waterloo Warriors 58 – Charleroi Coal Miners 6

Players of the week

Tigers RB #28 – 22 rush, 83 yards, 1 td

Tigers LB #11 – 6 tackles, 3 tackles for loss

Turtles LB Mons – 8.5 tackles, 1 interception, 1 td

Play of the week

Turtles KR Massart is on the return, cuts right, and gets drilled shoulder high by the Tigers player #65, causing the returner to lose his footing and land flat on his back.

Quote of the week

“They should call themselves the Fighting Bloodsuckers”, Gators and Barbarians Head Coach Roald Piqueur, being eaten alive by mosquitos on the sidelines of the Turtles game.

C’Mon man of the week

So I headed to the Turtles field, checking the weather before I went, like usual. The weather report said 23° and sunny. I don’t need to tell you that there wasn’t a single ray of sun to be seen for the entire day! Weather guy, c’mon man!

Game previews

12pm @ Berendrecht : Izegem Tribes (0-2) vs Limburg Shotguns (1-3)

The Tribes defense took a bit of a pounding by the Lions in their last game so they’ll be looking for a better effort against the Shotguns. Limburg’s defense will also look to improve after being blasted by the Gators for nine touchdowns in their last game.
Prediction : I think Izegem have the offensive line to make the tough yards so I think that they just might be able to do enough and win their first game. Tribes 20 – Shotguns 18

3pm @ Berendrecht : Antwerp Diamonds (0-3) vs Ostend Pirates (1-1)

The Pirates come off a tough loss to the Black Angels and will look to reverse that and get back to their winning ways. If they hope to make the playoffs then they definitely can’t afford a slip up here. Antwerp will be at home and hungry for their first win of the year. They will need to play mistake-free football and punish any mistakes that Ostend makes.
Prediction : The Pirates should be to sail right out of Antwerp with the win with their strong offense. Pirates 34 – Diamonds 14

12pm @ Anderlecht : Brussels Bulls (1-2) vs Leuven Lions (2-1)

The Bulls’ run defense will be stretched hard against a Lions team who ran all over the Tribes in their last game – fortunately this is their strength. The real question is what adjustments will they make to their game that didn’t really work out for them against the Titans? As for the Lions, this will be a great test to see exactly where they stand. If they win this game, it will almost exclude the Bulls from playoff contention.
Prediction : I think the Bulls’ defense might just be too much for the Lions, but it’ll be close. Bulls 14 – Lions 10

3pm @ Anderlecht : Brussels Black Angels (3-1) vs Puurs Titans (2-1)

So the Titans come off their big win and have to head to Anderlecht to face the Angels. The Titans would put themselves firmly in the middle of playoff contention with a win, but they’ll be a few guys short as their victory over the Bulls cost them with injuries. The Black Angels have been in good form throughout the season and with a victory in this game they’ll have beaten almost every other playoff contender.
Prediction : I like the Black Angels at home to win this game. Black Angels 27 – Titans 13

Outro

This guy will be heading to Anderlecht on Sunday for what should be a great pair of games, so I’ll see you there. Until then

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