Thursday, November 06, 2008

Top 14 for Nov. 6

The final weekly list below the jump (nine years of Top 27s and counting!)

Thanks for reading. Comments are always welcome here or at dgrollins@gmail.com.

No. 15 -- Mount Allison

It's probably telling that I forgot Mount A the first time I wrote this! The Mounties earned a playoff berth for the first time in a long while.. They are still clearly a ways away from the top f the AUS, but improvement is there. If they can finally stabilize the head coaching position, there is a future at the program. Playing at Mount A is a different type of experience -- the facilities aren't as nice and the pace is much slower, but for a certain kid there is a lot of appeal to playing on a small campus like Mount A. Anyone who was there during the lean years has to be cheering for the Mounties just a little bit.

No. 14 -- Sherbrooke

The Vert et Or slumped to the finish in 2008. Last week's final score likely flattered them, after falling behind by 39 points to Concordia. Still, a solid season for Sherb that can be built on

No. 13 -- Wilfrid Laurier

The Hawks were just a little too young in 2008. But, when your rebuilding seasons are 7-3 things are OK with your program.

No. 12 -- St. FX

Based on interlocking results, I can't place the No. 2 AUS team much higher. Last year, X surprised in the Jewett with a close loss. Although SMU is struggling this year to find its form, the season results don't point to the possibility of a St. FX upset. It is hard to play a team three times in a season, but since the two teams played a game to end the year that had nothing on the line -- and therefore would not have featured much to look at on film -- I'm not sure that's as much of a factor this year. If I'm wrong, and X plays this game to within seven points, I will subject myself to ny public humiliation that the X-fans wish to put upon me. Seriously. I'm not worried.

No. 11 -- Regina

140 to 44. That, the Regina and Calgary rushing totals, was the difference last week in what was a tough loss that ended a disappointing season for the Rams. There was a time when there was a certain toughness to Regina, but it just seems that the Rams have played soft the last few seasons.

No. 10 -- Saskatchewan

It just wasn't a Saskatchewan-like, Saskatchewan season. They likely rode their reputation in the rankings for much of the year.

No. 9 -- Montreal

The final call on Montreal's strength won't come until Laval is tested in the bowl game. If, as I suspect, the Rouge et Or win in a walk then the Carabins ranking goes up. If Laval is tested, it stays about here.

No. 8 -- The Golden Gaels

Oh, man. Two weeks ago I was told by someone close to the program that Mike Giffin was likely out. At that point, it was difficult to see how the Goldens would continue their magic. Although a team is more than one player, it is very difficult to adjust an offence when the feature back goes down. I can't say I was shocked by the result last week, especially when you consider Ottawa getting healthier. It's too bad (both personally, growing up in Belleville I have a soft spot for the local university and a tonne of my friends went to Queen's, but also for the CIS. A Queen's Vanier would have packed the place). This was likely the Golden Gaels best chance for a while too.

No. 7 -- Ottawa

They are getting healthy and one should remember that the Gee-Gees were contenders for the pre-season No. 1 pick. However, there has been a bit too many low points in '08 for Ottawa to be considered as anything more than what they are now--an underdog that pulled an upset and has to pull a couple more to really accomplish something.

No. 6 -- Calgary

Whether Can West is ultra competitive in 2008 or just mediocre won't be determined for two more weeks. But now it appears that this year will feature the weakest western champions since SFU represented the conference as a No. 4 seed in 2003 and travelled all the way to Halifax to get clobbered by Saint Mary's.

No. 5 -- Simon Fraser

Speaking of....The Clan are hard to peg. From afar it seems like they are getting better results than the roster would indicate and even those in Can West are slow to defend the team (SFU will never inspire the type of western loyalty that any other program out there will). They likely haven't been given enough respect, however. But, the Clan will need to show something big against a team not wearing green before they will be taken seriously as a Vanier contender.

No. 4 -- Western

Greg Marshall is a hell of a coach and he probably has better balance and more overall talent now than he did at anytime while at McMaster (resisting "with the Ti-Cats too" joke). Young and athletic with a veteran QB in Michael Faulds, this could be the 'Stangs best shot at making a Vanier in some time (although this program seems to be back in the annoyingly good every year path again).

No. 3 -- SMU

The play doesn't justify a No. 3 ranking. The experience of playing in the Vanier Cup last year bumps them there. Forget talk of an OUA bye (the last time the AUS played the OUA it has its ass handed to them by Laurier in '05, at home, no less). SMU will need to earn its trip to Hamilton. But, don't count them out either.

No. 2 -- Concordia

Quebec appears to be the strongest conference in '08 and Concordia has looked all year like the only team capable of defeating Laval. The third game factor is also at play--it's always hard to defeat a team three times in a year. They are big underdogs, but if the Stingers can pull the upset it says here that old Loyola College will see national glory for the first time. It's a big if, however.

No. 1 -- Laval

In the CIS world of 2008, the Rouge et Or are default favourites. They won't win every year, but they will win more often than they don't. The best thing that can happen to Laval this week would be for them to win by six on a last-minute TD. They need to be pushed before they get out of conference.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey!
What happened to Mt.A.
They played (sort of) last week.
I think the Mounties deserve your # 15 spot and a quick blurb.

kinger said...

Hey Duane, while you're right about the difficulty in adjusting without a feature back, that didn't seem to be Queen's's problem. I mean, Marty Gordon was just as good, and actually better than Giffin was in the regular season Ottawa matchup. They just didn't run the ball. And went for the long bomb about 15 times too many.

I think it had to come down to passing and playcalling.

Duane Rollins said...

Sorry about Mt A!

I'll add then. And they will be No. 15...

Duane Rollins said...

The Queen's play calling likely reflected the coaching staff's adjustment on the lack of Giffin as well as the way Ottawa chose to defend. The Gee-Gee's were probably more than OK with letting Gordon get his yards because they didn't feel that he had the same type of game breaking ability than Giffin did.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that the Queens fans are make excuses saying that Giffin's injury cost them. Ottawa has had injuries all season long and now they got some receivers back and played a good game. I don't hear SMU fans crying about not having the HEC winner not playing for them and they have went through 5 QB's yet they are 7-1 in what I believe is a stronger division then the OUA. If Concorda does not beat Laval this weekend I hope Saint Mary's gets to the Vanier Cup because they have the talent to go toe to toe with Laval if they play at the top of their game.

sager said...

This site was the first to say Queen's was more than Giffin, and like Tyler -- who is not a Queen's fan first, but a journalist who is a student at Queen's, key difference ... said was "that didn't seem to be Queen's problem ... it had to come down to passing and playcalling."

Queen's needed to be able to win without its best player on offence. They couldn't. Yes, I cheer for them, yes I went there, yes I dislike the OUA format, but at the end of the day, there are no excuses for not winning the game.

Etienne said...

Montreal beat Saint Mary's 37 - 20 on 10/11 and it took everything for Concordia to beat Montreal on 10/04. The Carabins should be higher up the ranking.

Anonymous said...

Seasons are not based on 1 game. I saw the Mt & SMU game and I felt nether team played will and that SMU beat themselves. Even a powerhouse like SMU can play a bad game. That being said does this mean that SMU should beat Laval because they pounded the Hell out of them last year in the playoffs?

Anonymous said...

Last year, Western sauntered into Frank Clair stadium and promptly
ruined Ottawa's perfect season and went on to take the Yates Cup.
I say turnabout is fair play.
This time the Gee-Gees are the underdogs.
The last time they played at Western, Ottawa blew a game they should have won.
The Gee-Gees beat a team last week that killed them in the regular season.
The gap between Western and Ottawa wasn't that much to begin with and
it has narrowed as Ottawa has regained health.
A close game either way but don't be shocked if Ottawa pulls it out.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last comment and feel an upset could happen in any of the 4 games today I think all the games will be close. I think Ottawa left if all on the field last week and will not have enough gas in the tank today against Western. I don't feel the CW teams are as strong as the other 3 divisions this season but would not beat against Blake Nill in Calgary. I think that when all is said and done we will see Saint Mary's and Laval advance to the Vanier Cup because they are just to powerful for anyone else to handle and loaded with talent.

Good Luck to all the teams today!