When the XFL and USFL agreed to merge to become the UFL, an exciting debate started between different fan bases across social media. That debate focused on which league had superior teams, the XFL or the USFL. Many had tried to point out a talent gap between the two leagues, stating that XFL teams had a more substantial collection of talent, but many USFL fans responded that the USFL teams had superior talent.

During Week 1 of the UFL regular season, two games featured matchups between a USFL team and an XFL team. In those matchups, the Birmingham Stallions defeated the Arlington Renegades 27-14, and the Michigan Panthers defeated the Saint Louis Battlehawks 18 to 16. With the USFL teams sweeping the first round of XFL vs. USFL matchups, the debate about which division of the UFL has intensified.

In addition to the Renegades and Battlehawks losing in Week One, the San Antonio Brahmas upset the DC Defenders 27-12 in a game many predicted that the Defenders would dominate. With their victory against the Defenders, the Brahmas are suddenly among the most talked about teams in the UFL and are in the top spot in the XFL division. Heading into Week 2, the Brahmas get their first opportunity to get the first XFL victory against a USFL team when they travel to Memphis on Saturday.

So, with the Brahmas currently championed as the leader in the XFL division and the division struggling to win against USFL teams, the question is: Will the Brahmas be the first XFL team to secure a victory against a USFL team? 

What Advantage Do USFL teams have over XFL teams?

In the first of two XFL vs. USFL matchups in Week 1, Arlington and Birmingham came into the game with similar philosophies and championship histories within their respective divisions. The second matchup featured the fan-favorite Saint Louis Battlehawks against the underrated Michigan Panthers. In both games, the deciding factor was that the Stallions and Panthers could dominate the line of scrimmage.

The Stallions ran the ball 36 times for an average of 5.1 yards/carry, and the Panthers ran the ball 22 times, also averaging 5.1 yards/carry. On the XFL side, the Renegades ran the ball 18 times, averaging 3.3 yards/carry, and the Battlehawks ran the ball 20 times for 3.1 yards/carry. These two data points stood out as the deciding factor in both games.

Brahmas is the Next XFL Team to Face a USFL Team

Riding the momentum of an explosive performance on offense and a dominant defensive performance, the Brahmas come into a matchup with the Memphis Showboats looking to start the season with two straight wins. If the Brahmas re-create their successful performance from Week 1, San Antonio can show that the perceived USFL dominance was simply a one-week anomaly.

The Brahmas and the Showboats come into the Week with 1-0 records and tend to be more pass-heavy than the other teams in the UFL. Statistically, neither the Brahmas nor Showboats hit what could be the magic number of 5.0 yards/carry, which may be a critical data point for determining the better team in XFL vs. USFL matchups. In Week 1, the Brahmas ran the ball 23 times and averaged 3.3 yards/carry, and the Showboats ran the ball 19 times, averaging 1.8 yards/carry.

If success in the running game is the deciding factor between XFL and USFL teams, then the Brahmas should be favored in this matchup. Additionally, the Brahmas run a wide-open offense built around different types of motion and a variety of trick plays. San Antonio also has the advantage of having quarterback Chase Garbers, who, after one Week, is viewed as a pleasant surprise leading the Brahmas offense during his first professional start.

The Brahmas were also successful on the defensive side of the ball in Week 1, shutting down a DC offense led by the 2023 XFL Offensive Player of the Year, Jordan Ta’amu. The Brahmas defense recorded four quarterback sacks against Ta’amu. If the Brahmas can duplicate that performance against Case Cookus and the Showboats, they could find themselves undefeated after the first two weeks of the UFL season.

If San Antonio can go into Memphis and win over the Showboats, they could forever be known as the first XFL team to defeat a USFL team. As teams prepare for this weekend’s games, it will be interesting to see if the Brahmas and the XFL division can show that Week 1 was not a sign of things to come but simply a product of matchups favoring the Stallions and Panthers.

Follow me on X: @AaronSauter7

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author avatar
Aaron Sauter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.

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