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 - Calgary
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.
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