Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Top 27 for Sept 23

This week's list below the jump

Top 27 for Sept. 24
* indicates biggest jump
** indicates biggest loss

No. 27 – York (NC)

No, really. Has there ever been a team this bad?

No. 26 – McGill (-2)

The second-worst defence in the CIS is enough to grab the second worst placement on the Top 27.

No. 25 – Waterloo (+1)

It’s hard to understand how the Warrior team that has been blown out the last couple weeks pulled the upset over McMaster.

No. 24 – Toronto (+1)

The bottom four are a long ways behind even the rest of the “twenties” but Toronto seems, surprisingly, to be the best of that bunch.

No. 23 – Mount Allison (NC)

The Mounties have improved just a little bit since the dark days that started the decade, but they just can’t seem to break through into even the middle of the pack.

No. 22 – Windsor (–6)**

See above – although the Lancers have been a mid-pack team. Just not much.

No. 21 – Alberta (-1)

Increasingly it is becoming obvious that the Bears are Canada West’s worst team in 2008.

No. 20 – Bishop’s (-3)

It’s perhaps unfair that BU drops following its biggest win of the year, but it was against McGill and other teams below leapfrogged and, well, it just happens sometime. It seems clear that BU is the clear No. 5 Q team.

No. 19 – McMaster (NC)

The Marauders have recovered well after the early season stumble to put themselves right in the middle of the OUA playoff hunt. Every Ontario team is thinking about the ’07 Stangs…just get in.

No. 18 – Manitoba (+3)

Better than Alberta. Maybe no one else out west.

No. 17 – Acadia (-2)

The Axemen continued to struggle against X last week (over the past few seasons Acadia always seems stronger than X until the two teams actually meet). An ugly OT loss makes it difficult to see any AUS team challenging SMU.

No. 16 – St. FX (+6)

The overall ranking doesn’t so much matter as the No. 2 spot in the Maritimes. Any decent AUS team is only ever one good game in November from playing in a Bowl Game.

No. 15 – Guelph (-5)

Guelph looks dangerous, but can’t get it done when it counts in the OUA this year. An easy three week stretch should make the playoffs an easy bet, but Guelph can’t like that it’s on the wrong side of the tiebreaker for both Laurier and Mac.

No. 14 – Wilfrid Laurier (+4)

The Golden Hawks had a great second half last week to pull away from Windsor. In what’s clearly a rebuilding season for the decade’s best Ontario program, every week must be viewed as a stepping stone to the Hawks next serious run at a Vanier—in 2009 or, most likely, 2010.

No. 13 – University of British Columbia (NC)

Neate said it best.

No. 12 – Regina (NC)

You just keep waiting for the Rams to break out. They never quite do. Still, nice win last week, even if it probably wasn’t deserved.

No. 11 – Concordia (-2)

It was ugly against Laval.

No. 10 – Montréal (-4)

And in Sherbrooke. But, Quebec is becoming the new Western Canada in CIS football, so the Carabins hold onto a Top 10 spot.

No. 9 – Calgary (-1)

A slight slip back for the Dinos, but still solidly in the top half of Can West.

No. 8 – Sherbrooke (+10)*

At the risk of hyperbole last week’s win over Montréal was the biggest in the program’s history. It’sa short history, but still…

No. 7 – Simon Fraser University (+4)

Honestly, it’s hard to fully understand why they are wining, but they are. And there comes a time when that's all that matters.

No. 6 – The Golden Gaels (+1)

They move up because of Montréal’s loss, but the real chance for respect comes this weekend.

No. 5 – Saskatchewan (NC)

Bye week.

No. 4 – Ottawa (NC)

The Gee-Gees’ talent will keep them in the top few spots all year. The questions about the team — chemistry, coaching, etc. —will keep them from the very top until they prove the doubters wrong on the field

No. 3 – Western (NC)

The Battle of the Buffys Bowl is Western’s chance to show that the ‘Stangs are Vanier players and not just Yates.

No. 2 – Saint Mary’s University (NC)

As always with SMU, the issues are about how to get better when playing teams that aren’t the same quality.

No. 1 – Laval (NC)

It’s becoming clearer and clearer….


Tyler King said...

Duane, how come you're not on the actual top 10 committee? Is it because you're not stupid enough to base rankings on raw win-loss record?

Duane Rollins said...

...because as primarily an internet journalist I'm not a high enough profile. But, I've talked to enough actual Top 10 voters to know that my list influences there vote, so I'm happy with that.

There was a time when getting on the Top 10 committee was something I wanted. Now, I'd actually turn it down. Not out of spite, but rather because I enjoy the freedom that my list provides me.

Duane Rollins said...

*Their* vote. I's a riter

Anonymous said...

This is the first time in many seasons that Laval and SMU are not playing each other. Is this a good thing or bad? Should they go unbeaten it could be a hell of a Vanier Cup! I still don't buy that any team in the OUA can beat either of these teams or be mentioned in the same breath. Playing against York, TO, Waterloo, Mac, Windsor are not a serious challenge and I have no doubt so called weaker teams in other divisions like Montreal, Bishops, Concordia, SFX, UBC, Calgary could also easily defeat these weak teams. Ottawa is overrated (almost loosing to a rebuilding mac team) and should not be anywhere near a top 10 list!

Tyler King said...

Duane, who *is* on the committee other than Mike Hogan?

Duane Rollins said...

Jim Mullin is on it. I'm pretty sure Alex Walling is still there...I think Sean Fitzgerald is still there...the Sask newspaper guys ('toon and Regina)...I know Stein was for a time...The Halifax newspaper guys...A lot of the voters are more connected to the CFL than they are to the CIS...

It is what it is...and we have a playoff, so...

Andrew Bucholtz said...

The CIS would do well to publish a list of voters: it would help in evaluating the credibility of the poll and the potential biases involved. I like their rankings better for the most part, though: there's advantages to a consensus of different opinions.

sager said...

Ottawa is overrated (almost loosing to a rebuilding mac team) and should not be anywhere near a top 10 list!

I'm obviously biased since I live in Ottawa (/sarcasm). We have seen them take time to get up to speed; 3 straight appearances in the OUA semis, a Yates in '06 (and they were leading Saskatchewan with 2 1/2 to go in the bowl) and an unbeaten regular season in '07 suggests this is a very solid program.

Besides, if you're going to use one bad game as basis for banishing a team from the rankings, Saskatchewan is No. 6, with a loss where it didn't score a TD in the second half. If you're going to say it was on the road, while the Ottawa-Mac game was away too.

Calgary's offence hasn't scored in two games, and they're ranked. We are at the point of the season when so-so teams are going to get ranked; that's the reality of having a Top 10 for a 27-team league, as opposed to the NCAA having a Top 25 for a 119 teams.

Anonymous said...

In regard to sagers comments Ottawa has played a lot more then one bad game over the last many years. They did not look very good against a weak mac team and last year lost to Western and have really had problems just trying to get to the Yates Cup let alone a Vanier Cup. I believe Ottawa also lost their DC and that is something that is tough to replace. Calgary and Saskatchewan are playing in a very good CanWest Division and not in a very weak OUA. We have seen for years how the OUA winners (Western, Ottawa, Mac) in the past once they cross over get beat soundly by teams like Manitoba, Saint Mary's and Laval. As hard as it is to accept the OUA is just not up to the level of the other 3 divisions and this year will be on different. I hope in the future that does change.

In regard to Andrews comments I totally agree with him but credibility is not something CIS fans have seen when it comes to their rankings when we keep seeing as many as 6 OUA teams being ranked above other teams that are clearly better in stronger divisions.. It's bias towards the OUA. Just looking at the rankings now they have Western above SMU. Do you really think they should be ranked above SMU?

sager said...

Duane didn't rank Western ahead of SMU ... he has the Buffys at Nos. 3 and 6, as opposed to 2 and 4 in the media poll. What he says is more than good enough for me, since Duane looks at the overall quality of the program and the conference.

Bear in mind, Ottawa had like four receivers injured the week of the Mac game. That wasn't the real Gee-Gees. There is a huge Show Me factor with this team. No one should lose sight of that with Ottawa.

Honestly, though, out of Con U, Regina, UBC, Laurier (Duane's 11-14), who could you justify putting in the top 10?

Anonymous said...

As a CIS fan this is my top 10

1 Laval
2 Saint Mary's

Not much difference between the two but if Erik Glavic is healthy I put SMU at 1 with out him 2 These are clearly the 2 top teams in the CIS with everyone else in further ran.

3 Saskatchewan - Tough division with a good coaching and depth.

4 Concordia - Has to play Laval twice in any other division could be the 2nd if not top team.

5 Montreal - Same as Concordia could be a top 2 team in other division

6 Western - Good coach but how can you judge a team playing York, Toronto, Waterloo etc

7 Queens - Same as Western

8 SFX - This is a good football team who plays every game tough win or loose.

9 Ottawa - Great QB and now WR but same problem as in the past no depth.

10 Calgary - Great Head Coach and up and coming team. If in the OUA could win it all.

Duane Rollins said...

Wheras I don't disagree that the OUA is not as strong as CanadaWEst or Quebec--clearly it isn't--it's not fair to suggest that lately the top OUA teams haven't been competitive in the Bowls, last year excepted.

Western was the No 6 seed in Ontario, so you have to give a bit of a pass there.

In 2006 Ottawa played Saskatchewan tough, losing by just over a TD.

Laurier won the Vanier Cup in 2005, largely based on the lessons it learned in 2004 from playing Laval in Laval.

And MAC really should have won the Laval game in '03.

The OUA isn't quite there, but it should be given credit for improving over the last 5-6 seasons.

Anonymous said...

Ottawa's problem isn't lack of's suspect coaching.
Piche may be a good recruiter, but his performance as a game day coach running the bench has always been suspect.
No way Ottawa should have lost to Western after building a huge lead.
But the team unraveled in the final 10 minutes of that game.
That to me, points to a lack of leadership from the coaching staff.
Good coaches can see momentum shifting and can make adjustments as the game progresses.
Piche has never demonstrated that ability as far as I'm concerned.
To say the Gee-Gees aren't top 10 material is just silly, but it would be right to say they have underachieved.

Anonymous said...

Sager, the Huskies have played the last two games and half of their first game with their 2nd string QB. The held Calgary and won, then went into Regina and dominated, but with the 2nd string QB at the helm, just couldn't get the offense going against a pretty good SFU D.

Don't bring up injuries. every team has them. They are pointless.

Philippe said...

Duane, you are the best CIS analyst in the Country, period. That does not mean I have to agree with you. That's why I will tell you Laval should have won the 2003 bowl without that much problems, Laval was much stronger than MAC.

But back then you thought Denisson was the best QB in the CIS and forgot about the impact of a certain #19 for Laval, Mathieu Bertrand.

Watch this video, will bring you a lot of good memories.

Tyler King said...

Would there be interest in an alternative CIS media top ten? As in a committee formed of media who specifically cover the CIS and not just the CFL (radio stations, newspaper, bloggists like DR, etc.), a public list of voters, detailed breakdowns of rankings (points, "others receiving votes", etc.) and so forth?

Or are there too many alternative top tens as there is? If not I'll get crackin on recruiting people for this.

Anonymous said...

I always appreciate your Top 27 but I totally disagree with you when you rank McGill as the 2nd worst team in the CIS. It's totally unfair. Yes, their defence is terrible but overall they are a MUCH better team than TO, Waterloo and Mount Allison. I'm pretty sure Connell alone on the field could beat TO ... well maybe with the help of one WR ;-)

Anonymous said...


I highly respect your top 27 list. IMHO, you bring to it a “detached” analysis that we, fans, don’t have. The Top 10 of “a CIS fan” pleases me because my kid plays for X BUT until X can credibly translate their potential to the field, it’s impossible to justify ranking them or other AUS teams higher than you did, regardless of what we fans think. The Top 27 picture will become clearer to all in the next two weeks.

Keep up the great analysis. We all know you can take the heat.


Duane Rollins said...

Thanks La T, er, X-nanimous. I enjoy the dialogue, even when it's coming from Antigonish.

Anonymous said...


Some X fans won't like my last post at .org


Frédéric said...

Duane, I would like you to explain why you think MAC really should have won the Bowl game in 2003... Laval had a stellar roster, the best Rouge et Or edition so far in their history.

That being said, that was the most exciting game I have witnessed as a Laval fan. It's too bad the Vanier Cup game was totally lackluster.

sager said...


My name is not Duane, and I'm sure he'll answer. It was a 36-32 game that Laval won on a designed run by Bertrand with 3 minutes left. It could have gone either way.

Probably one of the best semi-final bowls ever played, when you consider the calibre of each team and how close Mac came.

Duane Rollins said...

I don't have time to post in detail now, but Neate ailed it. I'm not talking about talent--I'm talking about the actual game. MAC lead the game for long stretches in the second half and, in my mind, should have held on. That Laval found a way shows just how good that Laval team was.

Let's put it this way. That MAC team could have played with anyone that year.

Duane Rollins said...

BTW...I'm heading to Fredericton for six days, leaving early tomorrow morning. I will have internet access and will be posting, but likely not as much.

The reason for the trip...

So I can become Mr. Dr. Andrea Miller. Andrea's seven year journey to the extra letters on her name is the most impressive accomplishment I've ever seen. It even beats the 2002 SMU Huskies!

Frédéric said...

I see your point now; when you said MAC really should have won, I thought you meant they either were clearly superior, or they handed out the game to Laval and beat themselves.

However, I kinda disagree with your assessment of the game, when you said MAC led the game for long stretches in second half and should have held the helm. It was 22-5 Laval at halftime, and Mac took the lead for the first and only time midway in the 4th quarter at 32-29. Laval had a long drive and scored that touchdown on the very next ball possession they had, right after the Marauders took the lead.

But I agree with you...that McMaster team was definately Vanier Cup Material. And I agree also the top teams of OUA can compete on national level.

Finally, thanks for putting up the top27 every's always a very interesting read, even though some people can sometimes disagree (like some X fans ;) ). I asked you about it last year....and I'm still waiting for your all-time top 27 :)

Anonymous said...

I guess the comment above that said Ottawa is overrated as of today turns out to be right. I now also agree they do not belong in the Top 10.

Anonymous said...

Top 10 after Sept 27 in my opnion

Saint Mary's