Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Top 27 for Oct 15

This week's list is below the jump.

No. 27 - York

I made a promise to a reader to say something productive about York this week. It's tough. Like Toronto was four or five years ago there is so little to hold onto. The best approach for York is to stabilize the coaching system and to make an appeal to this year's recruits that they will step in and play right away. Understand that 0-8 is likely again next year and that it's better to go real young in 2009 than it would be to go 1-9 and face 18 graduating players. Avoid recruits, unless they are legitimately coming for academic reasons and offer more than scoreboard benefits. You need to build around a core of kids that will lose--the 2005 Golden Hawks didn't happen without the 2002-03 teams.

But it all starts with stability at the head coach position.

No. 26 -- McGill

What is frightening is that the Redmen will likely be worse next year with the graduation of Matt Connell

No. 25 -- Toronto

The temptation is to put the Blues higher for sentimental reasons. But, there are still a lot of holes and very little depth. However, don't discount the importance of this season. Suddenly, top recruits aren't hanging the phone up when Toronto calls. Combine that with a first rate academic reputation that mom and dad like and you have opportunity.

No. 24 -- Acadia

You have to think that the program has bottomed out now.

No. 23 -- Windsor

The Lancers had a chance to break through over the past few years, but ultimately weren't able to capitalize. Although located in Southern Ontario there is something isolating about Windsor. It's hard to attract GTA kids that aren't aware there is an Ontario beyond London to make the trip down and the kids in the region dream of going to Western or Laurier.

No. 22 -- Waterloo

The Warriors have done a nice job of putting together a youngish team that seems willing to go out and sacrifice each week. The talent isn't there, but for the first time in a while the foundation appears to be.

No. 21 -- Alberta

There just doesn't seem to be any cohesion with the 2008 Bears and, as a result, no chance.

No. 20 -- Bishop's

If only Kyle Williams hadn't gone down with a career ending injury...

No. 19 -- McMaster

33.6. That's the average points MAC has allowed in games that don't involve CIS teams located in the City of Toronto.

No. 18 -- Mount Allison

It's difficult to argue that a team that loses 66-13 to, well, anyone deserves to be ranked much higher than No. 18.

No. 17 -- UBC

The Thunderbirds are having trouble winning the close ones this year--and it's not the first time that has been the case with the program. Still, not as easy a touch as the ranking would seem to imply.

No. 16 -- Manitoba

The Bison's looked God awful at times against Saskatchewan. And they won. That's 2008 CanWest for you. With two games left they are right back in the hunt. Still, we need to see another big win before the ranking goes up again.

No. 15 -- St. FX

McGill's not that good, but the X-Men did what they were supposed to. The whole AUS suffers from the cross-over results, but the focus for STFX only needs to be Maritime for the next little bit. SMU looks vulnerable, if X can improve each week they seem the most likely to upset the Halifax school and make the trip west for the Bowl game.

No. 14 -- Guelph

It's difficult to be too hard on Guelph--or too excited by them. However, it's important to realize that last year's run to the Yates Cup game was from the No. 5 seed. Guelph is actually doing better in 2008 than it was last year. They are a big play team that will not be dun for, likely, the Golden Gaels to play in the semi-finals.

No. 13 -- Ottawa

Injured...sure. Doesn't matter. The Gee-Gee's are a sinking ship.

No. 12 -- Regina

The Rams had it handed to them against Calgary and suddenly are on the outside of the playoff race. With a (must) win this week against Alberta, it will likely come down to a final week playoff game in all but name with Manitoba.

No. 11 -- WLU

On the positive, the Hawks put 50 points up against MAC. On the negative, they allowed 31. Laurier has been inconsistent on both sides of the ball in 2008 and aren't likely to move too far in either direction from the No. 10-13ish positions.

No. 10 -

Coach Nill used the bye week well and Calgary had its most impressive performance in two years last week. A team that seems--SFU game aside--on the move up.

No. 9 -
Simon Fraser

Not that the first place Clan are getting much respect. Probably because they don't do any one (offensive) thing overly impressive. Although holding UBC to just three points in the second half last week was a worthy accomplishment. Which might just be impressive.

No. 8 -- Sherbrooke

It's hard to take much from last week's win against weak Acadia, but Sherb has had a solid year from the get-go. The Vert et Or play playoff type football. They will have a chance to show just how well in the playoffs.

No. 7 -- SMU

The Huskies just haven't found a way to build on last year's success. They are running out of time.

No. 6 -- Western

The 'Stangs are just kind of hanging in there, getting surprisingly little attention. Some of that could be because they stunk it out against the Golden Gaels, but it's more that, ironically, CIS fans are inclined to believe that good Western teams are typically less than they appear. It's been a long time since Western inspired real fear in the nation's top programs. They need a big win this week against tricky Guelph to earn back some respect.

No. 5 -- Saskatchewan

The Huskies had no business losing to Manitoba last week. None. They looked to be in full control, but...CanWest is hard to handicap this year. So, you have to give a bit of leeway to a program that always gets it done when it matters. That will only last one more week if Saskatchewan doesn't go out and show the Clan just who is who next week.

No. 4 -- Montreal

Quebec is proving to be a very deep, tough conference. It would have been telling if Montreal had squeaked out a win against SMU last week. It was really telling that there was no squeaking involved.

No. 3 -- The Golden Gaels

Do you think they will write "Golden" on the Yates Cup?

No. 2 -- Concordia

The Stingers seem to to be getting better each week. Provided that the Quebec semi doesn't kill them, don't discount the possibility of another team than Laval representing the conference in the semis.

No. 1 -- Laval

Just don't bet too much on it happening.


Anonymous said...

.I'll take issue with Queen's at #3.
I see them as the only logical choice for #2 because they are unbeaten and dominating every opponent they have faced.
It's not their fault they are in the OUAin't.
Of course, I'll defer to Laval for #1, who like the Carleton Ravens of men's basketball, have had the most dominant CIS program in football the past decade.
I can't see how Concordia can be given #2, with a 4-2 mar, strength of schedule aside.
Also, I find it interesting that Waterloo, a team that was obliterated by Ottawa is ranked ahead of Windsor, who actually beat the Gee Gees.
Of course, Ottawa has been such a Jekyl-Hyde bunch this year that using them as a comparative yardstick is by now virtually meaningless.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

I agree that Queen's should be #2: they really haven't had a bad game, unlike Concordia. Yes, there's more to it than a W-L record, but it would be awfully hard to get me to think that a 4-2 team is somehow better than a 7-0 team that's never really even had a close game this year, regardless of conference. There's a good argument for even Western being better than Concordia, despite their one bad loss to Queen's. Of course, the teams don't play each other until playoffs, so it's tough to judge across conferences. With that said, I still prefer the CIS media poll rankings (although I think Calgary probably should be about 7 or 8, not 4 as the CIS poll has them or 10 as you have them).

Duane Rollins said...

My argument to that is this: If you just want teams ranked based on the agate section of your local paper.

Conference strength *has* to count for something.

And, both Concordia's losses came against Laval.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, Duane.
But I have seen both Concordia and Queen's....on TV, mind you, and I still think Queen's is the better team, plain and simple.

Tyler King said...

You've seen Queen's playing bad teams on TV. You've seen Concordia playing good teams on TV. Of course Queen's would look better.

sager said...

Tyler, you're taking Waterloo this week?

Philou Félin said...

Anonymous said: "I can't see how Concordia can be given #2, with a 4-2 mar, strength of schedule aside."

Well, since their two defeats were against Laval, it makes sense to me...

sager said...

How far does McGill move up once it plays Laval?

Duane Rollins said...

No. 8, clearly.

Anonymous said...

I can see why Queen's fans are a little puzzled at Con U's ranking...just a couple of points in support of Duane (and the team I follow lol).

I saw the tilt at PEPS and for good stretches of the game the Stingers outplayed Laval. (Con U actually out-gained them slightly on the day.) They also shut down Laval's run game and had great pressure on Groulx all day (six sacks, I believe). Such rarely happens to Laval, especially in Quebec City.

Queen's is undefeated thus far, but I strongly suspect they would have two or three losses had they already met Laval (twice) and Montreal (criminally underrated until the SMU game) this season.


sager said...

I haven't seen any "Queen's fans" who are "confused" by Con U's ranking.

Anonymous said...

I had both Concordia and Montreal in my top 10 list from day 1 and Ottawa has never made my top 10 list this season. Laval could have a tought road to win the Q and even then they could be tired and beat up playing these tough teams (assuming they win). I also feel that maybe Montreal might have woke up Saint Mary's who I still see as a top 3 team in the CIS top 2 if they can get a healthy and consistant QB. As for Queens I think they are having a great year but as many have said playing those weak teams in the OUA might be making them look better then they really are. I think they could be in for a rude wake up when they do have to play a Saint Mary's or Laval because history shows the bigger the game the bigger these teams play.

sager said...

It's university football. You can't take any team for granted.

Duane Rollins said...

...nor PATs.

[/never gets old]

DJP said...

PATs ....

Has anybody ever seen that .. ever.

That game still denied one of the best potential rematches in the history of the CIS - Lumsden vs Denison. It woulda, coulda, shoulda been a classic

Duane Rollins said...

A great story about the day after that game was told to me by a former CFRC broadcaster...He told me he looked out on the field to see Pat Sheahan standing at the spot of the kick just staring at the ground. Walking up to the coach he asked what he was looking at. "I'm just trying to understand," was the response.

Craziest. Game. Ever.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Queens coaching staff will allow their players to become cocky. I'm sure they know they need to get by Western first and the winner of that knows Saint Mary's is coming like it or not. SMU has always been a big football team but a big playoff team. I think every time someone puts them low in the so called Top 10 of the CIS it just upsets them. I agree with the above that Montreal caught them napping and now they are awake. I wish everyone would stop pissing them off it's not a good thing as I think CIS teams will start to see just ask Laval what happened when they woke the sleeping giant.