Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Top 27 for Oct 7

This week's list below the jump.

Top 27 for Oct 7

No. 27 – York

Dear God.

No. 26 – McGill

Lost in the 80-point York loss was the fact that McGill fell by 60 to Laval. There are two tiers in the CIS, they just don’t have two leagues.

No 25 – Waterloo

Although the Warriors seem able to hang in with most teams they haven’t been able to play a full 60 minutes. As always the question is whether the staff will be given the resources needed to truly compete moving forward. If not, Waterloo will be a plus-20 team for years to come.

No. 24 – Toronto

More than two wins was never going to happen (actually two is a bit shocking), but the Blues return to relative competitiveness is a nice story. Toronto is where Mount Allison was about three years ago. However, if the Blues can appear ready to make a jump up, they could convince recruits that it’s a worthwhile place to go. A U of T Vanier win (or Yates even) would be the best story ever told in the CIS, so fans of the sport should always be cheering for a full revival.

No. 23 – Acadia

At this point of the season results mean more than potential and the results show this: 0-5

No. 22 -- Bishop’s

A nice win two week’s ago was followed up by a real stinker last week. It’s still hard to shake the feeling that it’s a one-man team.

No. 21 – Manitoba

The Bisons are just not good enough this year. They are getting very little protection for the QB and, as a result, John Makie is statistically one of the worst starters in the country. That’s a problem, since they can’t seem to run the ball either. At least they have the ’07 rings to look at when things seem bleak.

No. 20 – Alberta

There is nothing particularly wrong with the Golden Bears. They just aren’t all that good either. And just OK ain’t gonna cut it in CanWest (in the OUA however…)

No. 19 – Windsor

The Lancers beat Ottawa. The Golden Gaels beat Western in 2000 too. If you follow. Let’s look at the Western game as a better indication of the Lancers position.

No. 18 – McMaster

MAC is a bit hard to figure this year. The young team can occasionally step it up, but it can also lose to Waterloo and barely squeak by Toronto (the Blues outscored MAC 14-7 in the second half – not good).

No. 17 – University of British Columbia

The measure of a CanWest’s team’s worth is always found on the road. That’s where you separate the championship level teams from the just average ones. UBC was kicked around in Saskatoon last week. The season’s on the line against SFU this weekend.

No. 16 – St. FX

The X-Men are competitive every time they step on the field (in the AUS), but they have yet to pull out a real big performance. And, with Mount Allison seemingly on the rise…still don’t count Antigonish’s finest in the playoffs. They always seem to step it up.

No. 15 – Guelph

Windsor, Toronto and Waterloo. That’s who U of G’s wins have come against. Undoubtedly explosive, Guelph has yet to step it up against the top teams (although they did play Queen’s better than anyone else, it should be said). They are still a year away.

No. 14 -- Mount Allison University

And, having watched more Mounties games than any human should have in the early part of this decade it warms my heart to see MtA finally looking to earn its keep in the AUS. The playoffs are almost assured. Could a home date be in the cards? Maybe, and that’s good news for the AUS and the CIS

No. 13 – Montreal

Based on the strength of results that Quebec has shown in the cross over games, it’s the opinion here that it is the strongest conference top to bottom. Although the Carabins are still struggling on the offensive side of the ball, they remain competitive in the tough conference and are still in the conversation for the province’s second best team. Can they beat Laval…um, probably not..

No. 12 – Wildrid Lauier University

They still aren’t scoring nearly enough to be taken seriously as a championship contending team. At some point Gary Jefferies is going to have to learn to develop a QB (he inherited Pyear) if the Hawks are going to get back to 2005 levels.

No. 11 – Simon Fraser University

Still hanging around, but are the Clan a championship contending team? Getting smacked by Regina and barely getting by struggling Manitoba would seem to indicate not yet.

No. 10 – Ottawa

This is going to cause some debate, but the talent is too much to ignore completely. How much would you bet against Ottawa not being in the Yates? Exactly.

No. 9 – Calgary

The Dinos enjoyed the week off after getting a nice win over UBC. This week’s showdown with Regina will tell us a lot about where the strength is in CanWest.

No. 8 – Regina

The Rams finally seem to be clicking on offence putting up 769 total yards in their last two games. They will need more of that to get the job done against Calgary.

No. 7 – Sherbrooke

I was high on this team a couple week’s ago, but the loss to Bishop’s is troubling. Certainly the two-headed rushing attack can be effective, but can it upset one of the big players in Quebec come playoff time? To me, you have to beat BU consistently before you can be taken seriously as a contender. Still, a breakthough season for the Vert et Or.

No. 6 – University of Western Ontario

That Golden Gaels game is troubling. You just don’t like to see a team self-destruct in such a big game. Still, if you want to keep things on the positive, you can point out that the ‘Stangs moved the ball against the Goldens. If Greg Marshall can whip the purple boys into shape the rematch could be different (and if a Golden Gaels, Western Yates Cup game can’t draw big on the tube then this sport will never get over the niche hump…).

No 5 – Saint Mary’s University

SMU is still the clear best team in the AUS. But, you would like to see the Huskies doing a bit more against the conference. Of course SMU didn’t look that tough in ’07 (and ask Laval how that went). Remember…OUA bye…

No. 4 – Concordia

So far the only team that has played Laval close. If the Stingers don’t cough the ball up three times in the rematch in Ste. Foy we might have seen one of the CIS’ biggest regular season upsets in some time. When everything plays out the Stingers will probably be the forgotten team again, but…I’m not sure Laval wants to see Concordia a third time.

No. 3 – The Golden Gaels

The Goldens have silenced all the doubters so far. They are playing tougher and more balanced than at anytime since, oh, about 1992. The Bowl game against the AUS looks winnable, alumni are already warming up their vocal cords for some late November Oil Thighs in Hamilton. Ottawa is reeling. Laurier is rebuilding. Western is still not quite Western. What is the sport of Kings again?

No. 2 – Saskatchewan

As the weather gets colder, the green Huskies get better. The WTF loss is on the books (it isn’t a Saskatchewan season without one), it’s time to get busy. The clear Hardy favourites.

No. 1 – Laval

The only fault I can see with the team is that I’d like to see a bit more production from the backfield. But, even then you just get the feeling that the Rouge et Or could just turn it on and grind the yards out if they wanted to. And at any rate so long as Benoit Groulx keeps up with his Hec of a season, Laval must be considered the Vanier favourite.

21 comments:

Duane Rollins said...

FYI - The Official Top 10:

1. Laval
2. Queen's
3. Saint Mary's
4. Saskatchewan
5. Western Ontario
6. Calgary
7. Concordia
8. Simon Fraser
9. Sherbrooke
10. Wilfrid Laurier

Dennis Prouse said...

I am going to assume the Gee-Gees lose to Queen's this weekend, but beat Toronto.

Question 1:

Does 4-4 even get them the last spot in the OUA playoffs, or could they miss?

Question 2:

If they go 4-4 and miss the playoffs, or lose first round, will we hear some rumblings of discontent from Camp Gee Gee? That is a pretty deep roster, and with the kind of skill they have a 4-4 record is pretty poor. Denis Piche has some 'splaining to do.

sager said...

Dennis,

Glad you asked, since it spares us from breaking this out in a separate post ...

The perfect storm is as follows:

• McMaster (at Laurier, Windsor) and Guelph (York, Western) win out
• Windsor beats Waterloo to get to 4-4
• The Gee-Gees lose to Queen's and end up 4-4

If that happens, you have at least five teams with n worse than a 5-3 record. Windsor, with the tiebreaker advantage over Ottawa, would then be the 6 seed.

McMaster's no sure thing to beat Laurier, and Guelph would be in tough vs. Western. There could be a crazy logjam of 4-4 teams, but the Gee-Gees might be OK since they have a good point differential.

Our friend Greg Layson should have more about this in the Guelph Mercury soon, since it affects the team on his beat.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Ottawa and and I am a long time Gee Gee fan.
But dammit, this year's team just frustrates the hell out of me.
In fact, I am royally PO'ed by this utter waste of talent.
Subtract those two wins over tomato cans York and Waterloo and you are left with a 1-3 record against 4 teams of which only one rates as a legitimate Yates contender.
And that loss against Western, like Windsor and Laurier was more a case of self destruction compared to anything brilliant by the opposition.
Josh Sacobie is a 5th year senior who should be contending for the Creighton trophy.
Instead, he's looked at times like a struggling sophomore trying to find his game.
Subtract those two stat padders against York and Waterloo, and Sacobie's season has been a huge disappointment.
Turnovers, not TD passes have defined his season thus far.
All the blame doesn't lie entirely on his shoulders.
The D has been guilty of being unable to come up with the crucial stops at critical times in close ball games.
And lastly, the coaching staff, Piche in particular have been guilty of some questionable strategy that backfired big time.
A win over Queen's Saturday could be the turning point for Ottawa.
A loss, especially a lopsided one, would all but consign Ottawa to also ran status.

Anonymous said...

I can't figure out Ottawa. On paper they should contend for Vanier. Maybe it's all those transfers they get, team chemistry, or the coaching staff can't get the team to perform at a high level.

In my opinion, Sacobie should be a better QB than what he is displaying. His hot-headedness is doing no one a favor. True, he's had a million different receivers to work with due to injury however something is missing with him.

York--I do not think Rona hardware store would have all the parts to fix that program.

Concordia at number 4--interesting argument, I don't agree with that ranking.

Western--It's one thing to run up the score vs. Windsor, 49-3 win over Waterloo and 71-0 over York--it's another thing to lose 43-16 to Queen's. Western is young, but I think jury is still out.

Anonymous said...

Particularly frustrating when you consider that Ottawa has lost their three games by 4 points, two points,and one point. An unusual number of injuries would explain why Ottawa did not defeat some teams by the margins that were expected. However, you would think that the troops could dig down deep enough to win at least one or two of these very close ones. Yes the coaches have to take a lot of the blame for not managing the games well enough
Other than a few meager athletic scholarships, the players are not paid. Piche and Roberts are paid, so the buck literally stops with them.
Sacobie has put up some big total passing yardage, but his management of the ball at key points in the game has left a lot to be desired. The coaches do not seem to be helping him out much with their decision making either.
Can they turn things around and salvage the remainder of the season and especially the playoffs?

OttawaFan

Anonymous said...

In the case Saint Mary's they are 5-0 and have been without their #1 QB and they have had a rash of injuries. If they are healthy and Glavic is back they will be scary. I can't see how you have anyone other then Laval a head of them. (especially when you knock the OUA in many of your posts?)

Acadia has had the toughest schedule of anyone in the CIS having to play SMU twice and Laval once then throw in SFX. That is 4 tough games and I'n not sure anyone could come back after that. Ask Coach Cummins if he would rather be playing York, Toronto, Guelph, McMaster, Waterloo or Windsor as apposed to what they have had to face up to date?

Duane Rollins said...

I'm not sure if I "knock" the OUA so much as I write the uncomfortable truth about the conference (keep in mind that I'm an OUA guy...). As for the AUS and SMU...I think there is some solid evidence, based on playoff games over the past few yeras and this year's Q cross over games that the league is a step behind. The Huskies upset things last year by beating Laval and they get a greater benefit of the doubt because of that. They may be 5-0, but they haven't been all that impressive so far (based on the competition they have played). From my perspective MtA, Acadia and X would be right there with the Windsors/MACs of the world if they were in the OUA.

But remember that I had ranked SMU No. 1 to start the year. I still think there is a lot of potential on the team. A No. 5 ranking is still in the Vanier hunt...

Anonymous said...

I think it is harder to play the same team 2's in one season as teams get to know you. Laval has had to play a very good Concordia 2 times and like you said maybe 3 times and I feel Montreal is as good as The Stingers so Laval's road is a tough one as is Saint Mary's who might have to play Saint Frances X 3 times. Tough to be at the top and be chased then be the chaser!

In regard to the OUA I always hear year in and year out that they finally have the team that can beat everyone and sometimes I jump on that bandwagon (does anyone remember The Gee Gees and all those Vanier Cups they were going to win?). Queens has not faced a good football team as of yet and I agree with the statement above that the other 3 teams in the AUS are overall better then teams mentioned (I believe only Queens and Western might be better). Acadia sounds like they have had a hell of a bad schedule this season. That being said when push comes to shove this season should be no different Queens or who ever comes out of the OUA as they will face Saint Mary's and will get handled by a very good team.

I think the only thing that can stop Laval and Saint Mary's from meeting in the VC is injuries (sounds like SMU has some at this point.

Duane Rollins said...

I just wanted to point out this:

Wilfrid Laurier University -
Your 2005 OUA and Vanier Cup Champions.

It's not a trend, but...let's just say that I'm glad that the games are played on the field.

Anonymous said...

and I will point out that was the first VC win for the OUA in about 20 years. The stars alligined that day for Laurier having mostly 5th year players, they played a weak Acadia in a rebuilding AUS and the two best teams that year knocked the crap out of each other (Laval/Sask) and there was nothing left to give against Laurier.

I see your point that anything can happen but a healthy Laval and SMU will not lose to anyone else in the CIS in 2008.

Duane Rollins said...

20? No. It was the first in 11.

That said, the league clearly had a dry spell for many years leading up to WLU's win. Something that I reflect in my ranking every week.

BUT...

There is evidence that the OUA is getting closer. Evidence taken from the last few years, not the mid-90s.

Duane Rollins said...

And WLU won that game against Sask because they were the better football team on the day, period.

Anonymous said...

What I can't understand is why everyone thinks Ottawa was so good to begin with? This is a team that lost 12 players in the off season, is young at the corner spot, and has unproven o-linemen. Throw in 14 different receivers used this year (in fact only one receiver has played in every game), and the ridiculous number of injuries they seem to be having, I am not in the least bit surprised they are where they are.

If they make the play-offs and some how manage to get healthy, I might expect something from them, until then I am not expecting much with a roster missing so many people.

Having said that, I am pretty sure that regardless of where they finish, provided they make the play-offs, there are not too many teams that would like to play them come play-off time.

Mike said...

Love this logic, goes something like this:

-the OUA can't be considered a good conference until they win a Vanier
-any team representing any other conference would kill the OUA rep so they won't even reach the Vanier
THEN...
-the Vanier Cup win was a fluke, it was luck they played a bad conference rep, the OUA is the worst conference around

People have to give their heads a shake, why in the world does one conference receive SO much heat so consistently? And why, when results are presented, are they so easily dismissed as well? Many will talk about how Sask and Laval were the 2 best in the country in '05, yet dismiss the '03 MAC and Laval teams (who played one of the greatest Bowl games ever in my opinion).

I'll never understand the hatred for the OUA conference, but maybe I'm not supposed to - I am an OUA guy...

Anonymous said...

Mike I think the best way to answer your question why people really dislike it is simple. The CIS has always favored the OUA teams and if you ever go to the Vanier Cup you will see signs and advertising everywhere supporting the OUA (last year all over the Rogers Centre even though it was Canwest vs AUS in the game) They have historically been down right awful when compared to the other divisions yet get this free marketing from the CIS. Just look at the rankings every week and see all the OUA teams that really do not belong year after year yet get ranked over much better teams like Concordia, Montreal, Regina, Saskatchewan, SFX just to name a few. Last year Mac was ranked above SMU YES SAINT MARY'S and that was a total insult.

Anonymous said...

Actually agree with the last post about the OUA being favored (to a nauseating level actually and I live in Ontario) but unless I'm wrong I believe the media people that vote on the top 10 are broken down like this

5 from Ontario
3 Quebec
1 Halifax
1 Saskatchewan

Plus the fact that the OUA has more teams then any other division might play a part in it. Ranking McMaster above SMU last season was pretty bad I must admit.

Duane Rollins said...

Again, it’s fair to say the OUA was a step behind. But, let’s put things in full perspective. In the nine Bowl games between Western’s win in 1995 and Laurier’s in 2005 the OUA played the eventual Vanier champions six times. And in the three games where they played the runner-up, one involved a No 4 playoff seed that won the Yates in a major upset, one was decided when the opponent’s mascot ran onto the field to make a game saving tackle and one involved a team that was likely the best non-Vanier winner of all-time.

1996 Saskatchewan * 33 Guelph 9 (Guelph was the #4 OUA team)
1997 Waterloo 37 Ottawa 44 (Waterloo likely would have won this game had the Gee-Gee’s mascot not stopped a sure touchdown)
1998 Saskatchewan * 33 Western 17 – (In western Canada)
1999 Saint Mary's 21 Waterloo 14 (Waterloo was the No 4 team)
2000 Ottawa * 20 McMaster 15 (Good result for a very young MAC team)
2001 Manitoba 27 McMaster 6 (In western Canada. Manitoba would have won the Vanier in any other year)
2002 Saint Mary's * 36 McMaster 25 (2001 and 2002 are the two years where the OUA was lest in the game and it’s where the OUA sucks, period, end of story stuff mostly comes from
2003 Laval * 36 McMaster 32 (could have went either way)
2004 Laval * 30 Laurier 11 (In Ste. Foy)

*= Vanier winner

A step behind, yes, but not as big a step as is routinely claimed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Duane that the OUA is not as bad as the bias generates. However I think it's also fair to say they are definitely not as good as the Official Top 10 has made them look. That's why we like yours better.

The AUS, Canada West and OUA are all roughly the same, with one conference edging out the other year-by-year. Quebec slightly edges out all three conferences mainly because they have the best developmental football in the country (CEGEP) and the highest average investment in football per program. The other three conferences can bicker all they want, none of them is really consistently better than the others overall, and all would have done roughly the same in an interlock situation vs Quebec over the past five years.

The national playoffs come down mostly to matchup and location. The champions of each conference are all generally competitive with each other except in year's where one team's champion literally walked on water during the season until that point, and thus isn't really representative of the rest of their conference anyway (eg 2001 SMU, 2003 Laval, 2005 Laurier, 2007 Manitoba)

Anonymous said...

Ha! First time in ten years I have heard it said that Gee Gee the Mascot actually won the 1997 bowl game for Ottawa,
He is slated to start at wide receiver this weekend.
To quote an anonymous coach; "He is no Ivan Birungi, but these are desperate times."

OF

sager said...

Can I confess that I was out of the room when the mascot play happened? It was either that or one of the housemates changed the channel.

(Remember, if Waterloo could have held Ottawa to TWO punt retern touchdowns in that game, maybe they win in OT.)