Monday's season-opening 35-11 win over McMaster didn't turn up any glaringly obvious red flags. Dan Brannagan throwing for close to 300 yards? Check. One-hundred-yard games for Mike Giffin (143 yards rushing) and Scott Valberg (a buck thirty-two receiving)? Check Defence pitching a shutout for three quarters? Check.
All of that is nice, for a moment. The Guelph Gryphons, meantime, shot themselves in the foot big time in their 15-13 loss to Laurier, which means if they're worth a damn, they'll play with an edge when on Saturday for the University Rush season premiere on The Score.
Guelph had several blown scoring opportunities -- turnovers and settling for field goals in the red zone, sacks allowed at the worst possible times. They were especially unlucky when their speedy sophomore, Jedd Gardner, stepped out of bounds at the eight-yard line after a 117-yard runback of a missed field goal on the last play of the first half. They'll be desperate on Saturday, or at least they will be if they're worth a damn.
Meantime, Queen's got through that opener against overmatched Mac pretty much unscathed -- or if they were nits to pick, they weren't obvious from listening ot the game over the web. Guelph offers a much more dangerous, if still youngish, group of backs and receivers, plus they can play a field position game.
This is worry-wartism from a guy who's never been there, of course, but after last season (walkovers against Waterloo and Toronto to end the regular season before you-know-what happened), there's bound to be a little fanboy foreboding until Queen's gets a real physical test. Point being, Saturday should serve to tell where Queen's stands.
- The Whig-Standard and the FAN 590's Mike Hogan have weighed in on Queen's subtle switch to "Queen's Gaels."
Ex-coach Doug Hargreaves, at least according to the story, has been able to abide by the switch. He was quoted saying, "The ironic part about that is wherever you go in this country people are going to ask, 'What's a Gael?' "
- A spot on CFRC congratulates Pat Sheahan for "20 years of service to Queen's football," which seems to actually refer to this being his 20th season as a head coach. (His record vs. the Gaels during his 11 seasons at Concordia was actually pretty good.)
- That was quite a number Queen's did on The Hammer, eh? The Gaels beat Mac and Bryan Crawford scored the winning touchdown in the Toronto Argonauts' win over the Tiger-Cats.
- Both Toronto teams needed a Queen'sman on Blue Monday -- former Gaels coach Bob Howes is now with the suddenly victorious Varsity Blues.
- As for The 613's winless team (kidding) ... Ottawa coach Denis Piché's post-game quote after the Gee-Gees' letdown in London was that he was "upset but not concerned."
That's an together reasonable statement. No doubt a few Ottawa fans are muttering, "Choke job!" after the Gee-Gees gave up 22 points in a four-minute, three-second span in a 35-31 loss to Western. They outgained the Mustangs, had more than 500 yards in offence, but turnovers and a defensive meltdown were killers.
What happened last night, hopefully for the Gee-Gees' sake, was the byproduct of starting the season on Labour Day. Teams are a long way from fully developed when they hit the field, even relative to back in the 1990s, when the season started later.
Everyone is a little "disoriented and disshevelled," to borrow a line CFRC commentator Mike Cotton used on air yesterday. Teams can get a little sloppy, so it's not the end of the world for Ottawa to lose. Besides, the OUA is nutty enough that it's reasonable to believe no one is going to finish 8-0. There could be some crazy tiebreaker scenarios in effect by the end of Oct. 18.
- There's a mostly full accounting of opening day in the OUA at The CIS Blog, and our man Mike even has some video from U of T's win a little farther down on our mainpage. The YouTube clips on the sister site are also his.
- Our man at The Merc, Greg Layson, has all your Guelph Gryphons-related needs taken care of at his Big Man on Campus.
- This is only tangentially related to football, but the first block of commercials CFRC played yesterday included spots for a tattoo parlour and a Kingston realtor. It was the second one that included a heavy metal song.