0203 – Feb 13

Well, today is going to be a big one, as it’s season preview time! Let’s get stuck in.

FFL Season Preview

Antwerp Diamonds

The Diamonds are missing their star quarterback, and this raises questions as to how they’re going to mount an effective offense. They’ve got some great young players on the defensive side of the football, but they’ll still need to figure out how to score a few touchdowns per game to be competitive. What they could really do with is another threat in the passing game.
Players to watch : TE Joris Verhelst, S Joshua Vanderaa

#3 Brussels Black Angels

How are the Angels going to make the final step towards the Championship? Their defense will be as tough as ever and they can sure run the football with the best backfield in the league. It’s going to have to come from their passing game and in the special teams, and seeing as how their punter/kicker isn’t playing for them any more, they’ll need to find a better replacement.
Players to watch : HB Rashidi Banza, WR Nicolas Delaisse, LB Roland Fiquet

#1 Brussels Bulls

Well organised, well coached team. It’s hard to say exactly what it is that they’re good at because they’re well rounded. They’ve got team speed and enough playmakers to keep their opponents guessing as to what’s coming next. Defensively they keep everything in front of them and their line play in general is a strength. They also had a strong kicking game last season.
Players to watch : HB Ben Acheson, DE Romy Nyati-Panzu

Gent Gators

They got the stability at quarterback they were looking for so let’s see if that offensive line can protect him. Defensively they need a couple more playmakers and hard hitters so let’s see who can step up and make a name for themselves, especially at the defensive back positions.
Players to watch : LB Kim Jolie, WR Pauwel Depreitere

Leuven Lions

The Lions juniors had a successful campaign so let’s see how many of them can make the transition to seniors. I hope they found a couple of big bodies to shore up the offensive line, and a bit of speed on the back end wouldn’t hurt either.
Player to watch : G/DE Paulo Salvaggio

#5 Limburg Shotguns

I think the biggest problem the Shotguns had last year was purely numbers, as by the end of the year they didn’t have enough healthy bodies to be able to play their final scheduled game. Like most teams, they would like to find a few big guys so they can start to win the war of the trenches.
Player to watch : RB Michel Eeman

#4 Puurs Titans

The Titans have weapons on offense but they still have to get them the football, so the questions are how their quarterback is going to do it, and how are they going to be able to protect him? They have great linebackers, but there’s more to defense than just that – pass defense comes from the defensive line and the defensive backs, and it’s there that they’ll want to improve.
Players to watch : WR Dorian Vermeir, LB Mattias Lagae, S/RB Cedric Steenbeke

#2 West Flanders Tribes

Their linebacking core has been decimated with retirements, so how will the new guys go? They will pick up some reinforcements on the offensive line, and everybody knows about their best two receivers, but who can play on the other side of the field at receiver and be a threat over there?
Players to watch : WR Vital Gancharov, QB Benedict Vermaut, LB/CB Wim Vanmarcke

Rankings

I’m glad that the rankings have caused a bit of controversy, the more people talking about football the better. There are 11 people who vote, and all 11 had different top fives, so it’s not like we agree either! By the way, every team did receive at least a total of 2 votes. 10 of the top fives will remain secret, but I’m going to tell you mine.

1 : Brussels Bulls – I just feel that they were close last year and that they have the biggest margin for improvement
2 : Brussels Angels – I don’t expect a big change in their level from last year
3 : West Flanders Tribes – The loss of their linebackers is huge. They can be replaced but then other positions become weaker too
4 : Puurs Titans – They just have too many good players to be ranked any lower
5 : Gent Gators – I think they’ll make some steps forward this season

Pre-season rankings are always difficult, however. The next rankings will be made after the first games, and then we’ll have a bit better idea of where things really stand. However, this leads me to..

Predictions

I have the same three teams in the playoffs as last year, the Tribes, Angels and Bulls. But going by my rankings, I can’t pick Belgian Bowl XXV any other way than this :

Brussels Bulls 17, Brussels Black Angels 13

Would I be surprised to see the Tribes in the final? No, absolutely not. Would I be surprised to see any other team (FFL or LFFAB) in the final? Yes. In my mind there are three teams who have a real chance, and then there’s everyone else. Like I always say, I will change my mind about anything, but you will have to convince me!

Ten thoughts I think I think

Friday was the press conference for the Belgian Bowl, so here come my ten thoughts.

1 – I think that the promo video for BB XXV is awesome. Brilliant job by all who are associated with it. Check it out on facebook if you haven’t already.

2 – I think that the Tribes are a little annoyed that they aren’t ranked number 1. That’s ok, the other thing that matters is being number 1 at the end of the year, not the start.

3 – I think that the organising committee have set a reasonable target of 1500 people in attendance. If all the players of all the non-playing teams would show up then they’d hit that with no trouble at all.

4 – I think that I wonder where everyone is going to park though.

5 – I think having Harley-Davidson as the main sponsor is great. I’m not much of a fan to be honest, but it’s a huge name with a certain image that fits with our sport.

6 – I think I wonder just what they’re going to show with their 5 or 6 TV shows that are coming on LifeTV (starting May or so). My suggestion – BFL GameDay!

7 – I think that Eva Jacobs can definitely sing.

8 – I think that I wonder why Carl Hoefkens was there. I guess he must he an ambassador or something?

9 – I think that the whole thing was well organised and so I expect the Belgian Bowl to be as well.

10 – I think these are my non-Belgian Bowl thoughts of the week

– I got Little Big Planet 2 for Playstation on Tuesday. Finished it by Friday, and now I’m planning to make a few levels. To learn I’ll start with a remake of the first few levels of Gods (if you have never played that then you missed out). – As I write this (on Sunday afternoon), it’s snowing again. However the predictions are for temperatures above zero for at least the next week so hopefully everybody can get training again and the season can begin without a hitch. – Coach Curtis from the Bulls had a nice suggestion for the blog. He said that we could do a pick-em competition with some random people (I believe he suggested a celebrity, a hot chick, someone’s mum and an octopus). I’d definitely let my daughter pick (she loves it when Lee Corso puts on the head at the end of College Gameday), but who else could we use? – I enjoyed the Superbowl, even though I had the Patriots to win. The Giants deserved it, and I think there are more G-Men fans in Belgium than any other team.

Update

Five teams are confirmed as far as the stats go. Puurs have said that they’ll find someone but I don’t know who yet. Leuven and Limburg haven’t told me anything substantial at all. February 25 is the deadline and there will be no extentions. Did I mention that you’ll get all the stats of all the games if you just find someone to record what happens in one single game that I choose? I must admit I don’t see why this is a problem. These are the games I’m talking about

Titans : April 15, in Puurs vs Bulls Lions : April 1, in Leopoldsburg vs Shotguns Shotguns : March 11, in Leopoldsburg vs Diamonds

Let me know something, ok?

Outro

As usual, Thursday will be your mailbag so let me know your questions and comments. Until then

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