Fast facts: The Varsity Blues of the AUS, perhaps? A 34 game losing streak was broken in 2006, but they haven't exactly wowed since then. They haven't won more than 2 games in a season since 1999, when they won 3. No playoffs since 1998, when they went 6-2 and finished first.
Coach: Kelly Jeffrey (Interim, 1st season, 5th overall), former quarterbacks, special teams, and offensive coordinator, as well as former head coach at Mayville State University.
Co-ordinators: Patrick Le-Pain (DL), Peter Estabrooks (DC, DBs), Travis Tait (LB)
Alumni in the CFL: None (Wow, both teams I preview today are the only ones without any)
Famous non-football alumni: Ian Hanomansing, PEI Premiers Angus MacLean and Catherine Callbeck
Three-year record: 3-20
2007 unit rankings: 15th offence, 24th defence
Key losses: SB Jonathan Dyer (2nd on team in receptions, 1st in yds/rec), LB Matt Harding (1st on team in tackles), Starting OLs Zack Macaulay & Gaetan Richard
Players to watch: QB Kelly Hughes led the AUS in passing yardage and total quarterback offence last year, WR Gary Ross led in all-purpose yards with almost twice as many per game (242) as the #2 thanks to his work in receiving, punt returns, and kick returns. DB Jermaine Oram was third in the AUS in tackles, while DL Dustin Timothy led the sack category.
For future reference: A couple of Nova Scotia high school stars lead the recruiting class, as the Eastern Conference offensive and defensive players of the year, RB Calum Hardie and LB Justin Richard, both of Tantramar Regional High School, will suit up for the Mounties this year.
Schedule (swing games in bold):
Sept. 6 @ St. FX
Sept. 13 Sherbrooke
Sept. 19 @ Saint Mary's
Sept. 27 St. FX
Oct. 4 @ Acadia
Oct. 11 @ Concordia
Oct. 18 Saint Mary's
Oct. 25 Acadia
Final analysis: With their one win last year a decently convincing 25-13 home victory over St. FX, and with the away rematch a close 41-35 in favour of the X-Men, that's the most likely part of the schedule to be competitive. A 6-point road loss to Acadia in the 07 season opener and a 3-point overtime loss at home also indicate those two could be competitive again. The offence was fine last year but the defence let them down consistently save for the one win. With the team losing a few key contributors, 4-4 would be a miracle. Still, unlike their similarly struggling OUA counterparts in Toronto, they will be able to keep far more games respectable and entertaining. The four against Saint Mary's, Concordia, and Sherbrooke, however, might get ugly.