Sunday, October 07, 2007


This is written not to nag or whine, but to prod: The Southern Ontario-based media can do a lot better job of realizing the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Queen's Golden Gaels are full-fledged members of the OUA football league.

Some of us Tricolour types, now that the Gaels are a sort of successful team this fall, have made a parlour game out of blowing tiny slights out of all proportion. This is going to seem like fishing for compliments after the Gaels' close loss to Ottawa, but this week was kind of exceptional (and much of this post was written before that game took place).
  • A Waterloo Region Record column mentioned six of the 10 teams in the league, but didn't have one word about unbeaten Ottawa and Hec Crighton candidate Josh Sacobie or Queen's, who could end up 6-2 after being predicted to go .500 in the pre-season.
  • The Ottawa Citizen game story somehow referred to a Gaels running back named Mike Griffin. (It's Giffin and he leads the OUA in rushing.) It's like the Southern Ontario mindset is colonizing Eastern Ontario papers.
  • The topper came from the Guelph Mercury:
"It's no secret the OUA is often viewed as a two-tiered league -- or three-tiered league -- depending on where you draw the divides.

"Western, McMaster,
Waterloo, Ottawa and Laurier comprise the upper class. Queen's, Guelph, Windsor, York and Toronto occupy the working class." (Emphasis mine)
Judging by their record, Waterloo is doing an admirable job keeping its upper class status a secret. Queen's has twice as many wins (37) as the Warriors (19) since rejoining the OUA for football in 2001, including a 5-0 edge in post-season victories. Who knows, maybe there's some way to divine the quality of a football program without actually looking at regular-season records or post-season success.

The theme that runs through all this is more than a couple journalistic oversights. It feels like that with Queen's and the U of O, what each program did in the old O-QIFC never happened as far as long-time OUA football observers are concerned. It's like both were created from whole cloth in 2001.

Maybe a random reporter has memory burn about Waterloo being a strong OUA team the 1990s when the great Tuffy Knight had them running the wishbone offence long after it had become a museum piece everywhere else outside of U.S. service academies. However, does the OUA try to bring the media up to speed on how Ottawa and Queen's fared during their years in the O-Q, in order to give a better reading of history?

Sure, Waterloo was good in the '90s. Some Queen's types look at that as a Meh Decade aside from the '92 Vanier Cup, yet the Gaels played in the conference final five years out of 10. Queen's played for some sort of division or conference title in 15 of the 25 seasons they played over in that other league, but hey it didn't happen in Southern Ontario so it might as well not have happened.

It just keeps creeping up. Ottawa beats McMaster and it's reported that it's the Gee-Gees' first win in Hamilton in 1974. When, Queen's beat Mac in the playoffs last fall, The Score's highlight package made sure to note it was the Gaels' first win over Mac anywhere since '75. However, those teams didn't play one another regularly for 25 years, so isn't it wrongheaded to play that up?

Think there's a good chance the '92 Gaels might have squeaked out a win over Mac team that gave up 80 points one Saturday that fall? How about 1996? Think the Gee-Gees who won the O-QIFC would have been favoured to beat a McMaster team that went 0-8?

This Golden Horseshoe chauvinism has got to go. It's not as important as curing cancer, global warming, deposing Gary Bettman as NHL commissioner, keeping Friday Night Lights on the air or finding an antidote for male pattern baldness, but it's somewhere in the top 100.


Anonymous said...

The Ottawa never beating Mac, until now, story also ignored thet Ottawa beat Mac in 2000 in Hamilton. It was the Churchill Bowl and Ottawa won 20-15, without star qb Phil Cote who was injured. But as you say, the fact that Ottawa was in the OQ does not count. Only the OUA games do.
Do not know how we could expect Southern Ontario to recognize Eastern Ontario football when the Ottawa press does not either. The newspapers were devoid of any pre-game info leading up to the GeeGee--GG game last Saturday. If you were not already a fan who made the effort to keep in the know, you would not have known this game was about to take place. Oh, and Le Droit keeps our francophone population up to date on what is going on with R&O football with frequent articles, but most weeks does not even mention GeeGee football. Go figure on that one!
So what can we few fans do to convince the local press to give local university football more coversge?

Anonymous said...

I believe, that Ottawa left the Q partly because they were looking for more media coverage in the larger Ontario market. That is the team would get the uni's brand more recogniton in that market.That idea has not borne much fruit.
They also thought that the deal the OUA was doing with to get TV coverage would get the GeeGees on national TV. Well , they do sometimes when away, but since The Score took over broadcasting the OUA games, they avoid coming to Ottawa unless they have to. That is for a Yates or something. So all in all the move from the Q to the OUA did not mmet the intended goals.