Windsor's Daryl Stephenson needs 337 for the Canadian career mark, but Greg Layson is reporting that the running back has a hamstring injury that could limit his carries in the Lancers opener vs. York.

The Lancers' other Daryl, running back Daryl Townsend, is going to be playing safety tomorrow. It's not unheard of to shift a player to the other side of the ball in camp, if his talent demands that he be on the field.

Incidentally, if you have any time tonight or tomorrow before 1 p.m., check out the Big Man on Campus OUA preview. Mr. Layson is calling for the U of T Varsity Blues to end The Streak on Saturday vs. Windsor. He's not alone in this prediction. I've heard more than one person joke about the fact that the Blues' last three wins -- in 2001, 1999 and in 1997 -- were over the Lancers.

Their last win before that was earlier in '97 over Waterloo, whom the Blues face today.

(Update: On CFRC, Queen's student station, Tyler King has predicted that the Blues will beat Waterloo tonight. What was that Oscar Wilde said about youth?)
Everyone has heard by now, but Samuel Giguère will be on the Indianapolis Colts practice roster to start the NFL season.

Former Sherbrooke receiver sticks with Colts (David Naylor,
Talk about a Freudian slip:
"Our oasis includes a world-class sports and entertainment facility where community events could include international activities like last summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup soccer tournament, or possibly a future U2 concert. We'd host national events such as the Grey Cup or the CIAU's Vanier Cup."
-- Ottawa sports operator Jeff Hunt, in an Ottawa Citizen op-ed (emphasis mine)
It's early yet, so it is too sarcastic and glib by half to say, "Mr. Hunt, you might have come off as a little more sincere if you had correctly named the league and sport -- it's CIS football -- that you're championing."

The notion of a Vanier Cup in Ottawa sounds pipe-dreamish to a hardened, somewhat cynical CIS nut who lives in that city, at least at first blush. The lack of spectator support for the football Gee-Gees has always been mystifying; when Ottawa hosts Queen's, the Golden Gaels almost always have more fans.

However, 10 years ago no one foresaw a day when Carleton and Ottawa would play basketball games at Scotiabank Place. Simply rebuilding Lansdowne Park would not spark an increase in fan support for the Gee-Gees that would show the CIS that Ottawa could host a Vanier (then again, aside from having Rogers Centre, what did Toronto ever do to show it wanted the game?).
It's not a bad idea to spread the word. The wheels will be in motion once Jeff Hunt learns that the CIAU has been the CIS for seven years now.

(Geeky journalist footnote: It is a little ironic that the Citizen didn't catch the flub, considering an editorial in the same edition, found fault with Carleton's athletic department, essentially because one of the paper's staffers -- the horror! -- had to a park off-campus. Next time, take public transit, bud.)
Getting a different perspective is one side benefit of the CIS vs. NCAA weekend. Here's one odd observation via Case Keefer of the Daily Kansan, who was in Ottawa to cover the Jayhawks' wins Saturday over McGill (72-67) and Carleton (84-83):

"While Canadian players are on the bench, they cheer and chant during important situations. It’s kind of freaking me out. Not that there’s anything wrong with it – I’m just not used to it. It reminds me of a softball game in America. The players on Ottawa's bench just started chanting 'Defense!' and McGill did something similar a couple times this afternoon."
Actually, that would be "DE-fence! DE-fence!"

In all honesty, having played (very) little hoops (and badly at that) and covered basketball (no great shakes at that either), it had never sunk in that the players on the bench chanting "defence" was a Canadian thing. Who knows, maybe it stems from the fact that while Americans play in very loud, packed gyms, Canadian ballers often do play in gyms in front of just family and friends.

There's more on the Scotiabank Place doubleheader over at the mothership, Out of Left Field.

Helping out with the Streaming Sports Network ( broadcast of the Can-Am Shootout here in Ottawa (well, Kanata) precluded following Alberta's 25-13 win over Simon Fraser and Manitoba's 25-12 victory over Regina.

The Golden Bears showed they can run -- Tendayi Jozzi carried 24 times for 141 yards and Alberta had a nice balance in its win over SFU, whose losing streak now stands at ... one.

The wind was gusting at about 50-60 km/h, so that played hell with the passing game in the Bisons' 13-point win over Regina. Forget special teams player of the week -- maybe Manitoba kicker Scott Dixon should get offensive player of the week after going 6-for-6 on field goals in windy conditions.

Regina is without its two best deep threats, Jordan Sisco and Kolten Solomon, the latter of whom has a little ineligibility imbroglio going happen (so sayeth the dot-orgers, God love 'em). The Rams meet Saskatchewan next week. For all his virtues, Teale Orban does need some receivers.

Speaking of which, a shoulder injury to Laurence Nixon was the big takeaway from Saskatchewan's 25-0 romp over Calgary on Friday night.

Nixon (18-of-24, 220 yards, 2 TDs against one interception) was spot-on during what seemed to otherwise be the typical flag-filled, defence-dominated first game. It's his non-throwing shoulder and the scuttlebutt among the dot-orgers is that it's not a season-ender. The View From The Stands (a good primer if anyone out there is thinking of starting a school-specific blog; there really ought to be more) seems pretty confident that Trevor Barss, who finished the game for Saskatchewan, has a grasp of the offence.

The Huskies' D did a job on Calgary -- apparently it was rookie David Rybinski who knocked Dinos QB Jordan Flagel out of the game, and the Dinos' couldn't run-block their way out of a wet paper bag. (One sidebar to the game: Aaron Ifield, the Calgary kicker and a Saskatoon native, didn't get to do any placekicking last night. There's some schadenfreude for ya.

(What are the odds that the winning team in each Can West game this week would score 25 points? Un-fluffin'-believable.)


All's quiet until Monday, but Windsor has named rookie Sam Malian its starting QB for their opener vs. York. It's way too late at night to fake a knowledge of Malian. What happened to Billy McConkey?

One rule that would be put into place if I got to run the Canadian media for a day: No one would be allowed to write an article, column or blog post about U of T's football losing streak unless (a) wrote about two teams doing well or (b) proved they could name the last 10 Vanier Cup champions in reverse order. It's tiresome to have the media choose to use the worst team in the country to define the league for them.

One National Post blog hasn't seldom seen fit to comment on university sports since the start of the year, but oh, they write posts about U of T and Simon Fraser instead of the other 25 schools. Objections have been filed with the writers in questions, for what it's worth.
Four Trinity Western University Spartans soccer players were apparently arrested in Oregon on Saturday and charged with criminal trespass, criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and minor in possession of alcohol, according to a report from the Corvallis Gazette-Times [I couldn't find the original story either using their website's search function or a Google search of their site, but their archives seem to be limited, so it may not be there anymore].

I was pointed to the story by Langley Times colleague Gary Ahuja, who does a great job of covering the Spartans. His story can be found here .

The players were in Oregon to face Northwest Christian University on Friday morning, on the campus of Oregon State University. They'd originally been scheduled to take on the Oregon State Beavers, but a last-minute NCAA rule change [Scott Stewart,] meant that the match was no longer considered "foreign" for some odd reason, leaving the Beavers with too many scheduled pre-season games and forcing them to cancel the TWU match, substituting a scrimmage game with Northwest Christian for the Spartans (which Trinity won 3-0, according to their site). According to Howard Tsumura's story in the Vancouver Province, the incident that resulted in the charges occurred early Saturday morning, so it sounds like the Spartans were celebrating a little too raucously. The team then continued their tour with a 3-0 loss to Gonzaga, before returning home to beat the University of Calgary Dinos 1-0 on Tuesday and the Concordia University [Oregon] Cavaliers 3-1 on Wednesday [First two links are from Trinity's website, the third is a recap by Concordia Sports Information Director Jason Dormeyer].

This is probably pretty serious. The minor in possession of alcohol charge isn't a big deal in my mind, but criminal trespass, criminal mischief and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in connection with alcohol all sound pretty bad. This may mean that these Spartans are gone for the year.

I have more details over at [Sporting Madness].

Update,12:20 P.M. ET: Greg Layson of Big Man On Campus managed to find some more information on this, which alleges that the four players were streaking inside the Oregon State football stadium and then went for a ride in a dump truck. Streaking isn't such a big deal, but stealing construction equipment is a bit more serious, especially when alcohol is involved. Here's the AP story Greg referenced.
Saturday's Can-Am Shootout in Ottawa, featuring the Kansas-Carleton game, is going to be aired on the Streaming Sports Network (

The webcast is scheduled to go live at 4:30 p.m. with the CIS Today pre-game
show at 4:30 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. tip-off for South Alabama-Ottawa and the matchup between the reigning NCAA champions and the Ravens.

Mark Masters, who's commentated just about every sport under the sun in Ottawa for SSN and for Rogers Community 22, will be at the mike. The in-front-of-the-camera talent lineup includes co-hosts John Bower and Alayne Crawford, with Alison Sandor and Joe Fishman working as reporters.

It's promising to see that SSN is continuing to expand. In their release, the company's president, Bengt Neathery, says it "will nearly double the number of productions we provide to university sport fans this season via our network of affiliated schools and in the production of our weekly Sunday night show on the CIS that debuts in September."

The first telecast for the CIS magazine show is on Sunday, Sept. 7.

(Cross-posted to Out of Left Field.)
First things first: For anyone who had been speculating about Queen's new football uniforms, a well-placed source says, "our football helmet remains gold! You heard it here first... feel free to let the world know."

There was some speculation from commenters at Out of Left Field and elsewhere that a blue helmet might be a better background for Queen's Athletics new logo, which makes heavy use of gold. Seriously, though, the very thought of Queen's not having a gold helmet calls to mind that Seinfeld episode where George Costanza tells Cheers' George Wendt, "I don't mean to tell you how to run your show, but ... enough with the bar already."

The big takeaway from the announcement that adidas Canada will outfit all Queen's varsity athletes is that all teams will now wear gold at home and blue on the road. It's a regular conformity factory down there in Kingston, but in a good way.

The king of Kings, who's actually in Kingston, should have more on this later. Does anyone know how to upload a 20-page PDF to a Blogspot page? Failing that, if you're really desperate, it is available via e-mail. Shoot an e-mail to neatesager AT for the hook-up.

Queen's has a slideshow on its website.
The Hawks' new football uniforms were inspired by former team captain Chris Worden, the RCMP constable who was gunned down in the line of duty in Hay River, N.W.T. last year.

" 'Chris e-mailed me two or three weeks before he was killed,' said Hawks head coach Gary Jeffries. "He said 'I saw you guys on TV. The uniforms look horrible. You've got to get new ones. They are all ripped.'

Worden made his thoughts known to his wife, Jodie, who later spearheaded a campaign to raise $12,000, or about half of the cost of replacement jerseys."
-- Kitchener Waterloo-Record
The Record included artists' sketches of the new uniforms (no helmet), so you can click through and judge for yourself. It's a touching story, you've got to admit.

Laurier will still have purple jerseys and pants at home, but it's a less busy look than what they sported the past two seasons. The uniforms "borrow elements" of Louisiana State, although oddly enough, the LSU Tigers are seldom seen in purple jerseys -- they wear white at home.

The all-white road uniforms somewhat resemble the old Minnesota Vikings look, minus any stripe on the pants. (The speed guys tend to love that all-white look; offensive linemen, not so much.)

Queen's is also unveiling new uniforms later today.
The Score has a University Rush schedule for the first six weeks of the OUA football season (remember, they don't air games in Week 1):
Sept. 6: Queen's at Guelph, 1 p.m.; Western at Laurier, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13: Ottawa at McMaster, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20: McMaster at Guelph, 1 p.m. 
Sept. 27: Western at Queen's, 1 p.m. 
Oct. 4: Laurier at Ottawa, 12:30 p.m.
Quick analysis: This is a pleasant surprise to see the network will travel east to both Kingston and Ottawa, especially the latter, since the Gee-Gees are a Yates Cup favourite. One bone of contention from a Western point-of-view is that The Score won't be showing their Oct. 4 homecoming game vs. Windsor, even though it had been posted on the school's website that they would.

Going with a flex schedule for the last two Saturdays of the regular season is a good idea. There are only three games on Oct. 11, including a McMaster-Laurier matchup which would probably be the safe, default choice that doesn't require venturing into the wilderness that lies beyond Southern Ontario. (The other two games are York-Guelph and Ottawa-Queen's. A third trip east before the playoffs is a little much to ask, considering the budgetary constraints that are a reality in Canada. York isn't a big ratings draw, but if they're competitive, it might be an excuse to showcase a good Guelph team.)

As for Oct. 18, Guelph-Western and Windsor-McMaster are possibilities, depending on the playoff implications. Waterloo could rate an appearance if they show bona fide improvement; they play on a Friday night the Oct. 11 weekend and are home to Queen's on the 18th.

Cross-posted to Out of Left Field.
Nothing earth-shattering to share from tonight's Queen's/McGill exhibition game, other than it gets cold when the sun goes down (who knew?!) and the attendance was in the several hundreds, but there was an amusing moment in the second quarter:

Third down, Queen's. They sent out their punting squad and McGill responded in kind. Then everyone stood around for a while until McGill called a timeout. At which point, the Gaels immediately put the regular offensive unit back in, so the Redmen quickly switched out their special teams for their defence. Once they did that, Queen's put the punter back in. Fun all around.

I forget how the play turned out, but if it's anything like the rest of the game, McGill was probably offside.

Earlier impressions of the Redmen's play selection were confirmed tonight, as they probably ran 20 pass plays for every running play. Other things, though, can be pretty much be summarized with "the Redmen are not a great football team" and unfortunately for McGill, I think we already knew that.
See a major media outlet convey new Ryerson athletic director Dr. Ivan Joseph's plan to improve the state of varsity athletics at the downtown Toronto school is a welcome sight, since a post here might not have done it justice.
" 'When I left Toronto 15 years ago to attend Graceland University in Iowa, on an athletics scholarship, Ryerson had 5,200 students,' Joseph said. "They now have 26,000 students. Since that time, Ryerson has done a great job of raising its academic profile. It's now my job to raise the profile of the athletic programs and help take them to the next level.' "
There aren't a lot of specifics in the story about what that might entail, granted. The three Toronto universities, as far as sports are concerned, don't do the best job of capitalizing on being located in the most densely populated, wealthiest region of the country. It hurts the profile of the entire CIS when the teams in Canada's capital city are seen as irrelevant.

Given its location, Ryerson should be competitive in basketball and soccer, both genders. Its men's hockey team has made strides. It's no longer an automatic two points in the standings and its women's team will soon begin full-fledged OUA and CIS play.

(Football would be far-fetched, although Joseph came from a university which has a good football porgram. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, they could always rent Varsity Stadium from that neighbouring school.)

Ryerson riding high on sports; University's new athletic director is confident that school 'is poised to be great' (Toronto Sun)
Well, that didn't take long.

Simon Fraser's multi-year losing streak ended tonight with a 24-10 win over UBC in the early season opener. (How early? The Thunderbirds' site still shows their 2007 roster.)

UBC, #14 in the Out of Left Field countdown and #17 in three-year performance, went all the way to Burnaby to open the Canada West season against Simon Fraser (#25, #27).

Thunderbirds head coach Ted Goveia, as quoted on the CiTR broadcast, said QB Mark McVeigh "had some jitters" in the first half. Indeed, McVeigh didn't complete a pass until his third sequence of the game, was going along under 50% most of the night (ending up with 15 of 32 for 211 yards), and threw one touchdowns against two interceptions.

In the second quarter, Jeffrey Biles caught back-to-back passes from Bernd Dittrich (15/25, 315) for 12 and 41 yards, the latter leading to SFU's first touchdown since, oh, last September or so. At the half, SFU led 14-10; that was their first halftime lead since October 29, 2005.

Then, improbably, that lead grew. After a Clan field goal, Dittrich (possibly the only CanWest quarterback from Vienna) connected with Spencer Watt for another major shortly after the fourth quarter started. That 24-10 score did not change for the rest of the game, resulting in what can only be described as an upset win for Simon Fraser. It would also not be surprising if this turned out to be the loss that kept UBC out of the playoffs.

The game itself did not sound to be of terribly high quality--there seemed to be a fair number of ill-timed fumbles, interceptions, missed field goals, not to mention all the two-and-outs from UBC--but it's essentially impossible to tell from five provinces away. Overall, good on SFU for picking up their first win since 2004 in front of an opening night crowd.

And congratulations to the UBC radio crew for admitting, with about 2:40 left in the game and the 'Birds down by 14, that SFU might actually, possibly, have a chance to win this thing. Don't worry, guys, it surprised everyone else, too.

UPDATE: Here's the recap from Howard Tsumura, Little Man On Campus. The CIS still needs a blog called Medium-Sized Man On tall is Chad Lucas?
"Mitch worked extremely hard this summer, put on 15 pounds of muscle and is now a much more complete player." — Duncan Cowan, Queen's men's basketball assistant coach
There was a time when it would be near unheard-of for the Queen's basketball team to get extended media play in August, but these Gaels, with the aforementioned Mitch Leger entering his junior year, are going to bear watching.

The nationals being at Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ont., means there's that available berth for a third OUA team to join Carleton and the West division winner at the Final 8, so it's tempting to think that coach Rob Smart's Gaels might be able to squeak in there. (Hey, they did count wins last season over Brock and national semifinalist Western.)

Gaels to get another taste of hoops, U. S. college style; Queen's hosts trio of American squads in pre-season series (Patrick Kennedy, Kingston Whig-Standard)
Note: This post is a corrected version of the original, available here. This correction was made in October, but was back-dated to August 20, the original posting date. Only the 2007 numbers were changed between the old post and now, but it seemed right to put it all together correctly.

A few notes before the rankings:

I used adjusted net yards per pass attempt (which counts sack yardage, adds 10 yards per TD, and penalizes 45 yards per INT) for all quarterbacks with at least 112 attempts. As noted by Greg Layson, rushing yardage/TDs don't count here. This number was then compared to their conference average, under the assumption that some conferences are more conducive to the passing game than others.

Brief explanation: "1. 176, Joshua Sacobie" means Sacobie led the CIS that year, and gained 176 adjusted yards per every 100 gained by an average conference quarterback (in his case, the average OUA QB).

With that out of the way, let's see the complete rankings. Names are kept as-is to save time and highlight the...creativity of the CIS scorekeepers.

1. 176, Joshua Sacobie, Ottawa
2. 175, Adam Archibald, McMaster
3. 157, Erik Glavic, Saint Mary's
4. 154, Dan Brannagan, Queen's
5. 134, Laurence Nixon, Saskatchewan
6. 133, John Makie, Manitoba
7. 133, Jean-Philippe Shoiry, Sherbrooke
8. 131, Ian Noble, Laurier
9. 131, Bret Thompson, Saskatchewan
10. 130, Teale Orban, Regina

11. 120, Cesar-roberto Sanchez, Laval
12. 110, Jesse Andrews, Bishop's
13. 98, Marc-olivier Brouillette, Montreal
14. 94, Justin Dunk, Guelph
15. 93, Michael Faulds, Western
16. 92, Quade Armstrong, Alberta
17. 86, Steve Snyder, StFX
18. 83, Matt Connell, McGill
19. 82, Keith Lockwood, Acadia
20. 79, Kelly Hughes, Mount Allison

21. 74, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser
22. 72, Luke Balch, Waterloo
23. 67, David Hamilton, Toronto
24. 58, Michael Hyatt, York
25. 45, Marc Mcveigh, UBC
26. 38, Andrew Gillis, Toronto

1. 167, John Makie, Manitoba
2. 155, Benoit Groulx, Laval
3. 153, Dan Lumley, Windsor
4. 146, Joshua Sacobie, Ottawa
5. 146, Adam Archibald, McMaster
6. 141, Teale Orban, Regina
7. 123, Billy Robinson, Saint Mary's
8. 113, Jamie Partington, Laurier
9. 112, Jean-philippe Shoiry, Sherbrooke
10. 112, Chris Judd, Acadia

11. 109, Bret Thompson, Saskatchewan
12. 109, Justin Dunk, Guelph
13. 107, Blake Smelser, UBC
14. 103, Justin Connors, StFX
15. 97, Matt Connell, McGill
16. 96, Scott Syvret, Concordia
17. 93, Dan Brannagan, Queen's
18. 88, Bart Zemanek, York
19. 86, Jon Morbey, Waterloo
20. 83, Michael Faulds, Western

21. 83, Kelly Hughes, Mount Allison
22. 76, Dalin Tollestrup, Calgary
23. 72, David Hamilton, Toronto
24. 61, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser
25. 60, Jesse Andrews, Bishop's
26. 53, Cameron Linke, Alberta

1. 167, Benoît Groulx, Laval
2. 162, Michael Faulds, Western
3. 152, Ryan Pyear, Laurier
4. 149, Steven Bilan, Saskatchewan
5. 144, Darryl Salmon, Alberta
6. 142, Billy Robinson, Saint Mary's
7. 136, Adam Archibald, McMaster
8. 126, Jonathan Jodoin, Montréal
9. 123, Teale Orban, Regina
10. 122, Ryan Zahara, Manitoba

11. 122, Chris Judd, Acadia
12. 116, Scott Syvret, Concordia
13. 114, Danny Brannagan, Queen's
14. 110, Justin Dunk, Guelph
15. 108, Josh Sacobie, Ottawa
16. 106, Nick Chessa, StFX
17. 105, Jon Behie, McMaster
18. 103, Blake Smelser, UBC
19. 92, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser
20. 86, Matt Connell, McGill

21. 84, Jon Dent, Windsor
22. 76, Jon Morbey, Waterloo
23. 68, Charles Guedo, Calgary
24. 65, Bart Zemanek, York
25. 64, Mark Stinson, Toronto
26. 63, Marc-andré Tougas, Sherbrooke
27. 60, Joel Lefebvre, Bishop's
28. 50, David Hamilton, Toronto
29. 3, Eric Morris, Mount Allison

In case anyone's wondering, gaining 3 yards per 100 is quite unfortunate, but it was topped (bottomed?) by York's quarterback in their awful 2008 year, who actually got into the negative numbers.

Top 10 passing seasons from 2005 to 2007
176, Joshua Sacobie (2007)
175, Adam Archibald (2007)
167, Benoît Groulx (2005)
167, John Makie (2006)
162, Michael Faulds (2005)
157, Erik Glavic (2007)
155, Benoit Groulx (2006)
154, Dan Brannagan (2007)
153, Dan Lumley (2006)
152, Ryan Pyear (2005)
Important note (Oct. 28): An error on my part threw off the 2007 numbers. This post remains for archival purposes only, not for reference. A corrected version of this post is here. Kids, always proofread your work.

A few notes before the rankings:

I used adjusted net yards per pass attempt (which counts sack yardage, adds 10 yards per TD, and penalizes 45 yards per INT) for all quarterbacks with at least 112 attempts. (UPDATE: As noted by Greg Layson, rushing yardage/TDs don't count here.) This number was then compared to their conference average, under the assumption that some conferences are more conducive to the passing game than others.

The second number below is adjusted net yards per attempt. First number, which they're ranked by, compares the player to his league, with 100 representing league average. Bigger than 100 is that much above conference average, less than 100 is that much below (e.g., 74 is 26% below).

Brief example: "1. 167, 9.6, John Makie" means Makie led the CIS that year, and passed for 9.6 adjusted yards per attempt, which was 67% better than the CanWest average.

With that out of the way, let's see the rankings. I've included everyone, not just the top 10 or top 20:

1. 164, 9.1, Joshua Sacobie, Ottawa
2. 163, 8.0, Dan Brannagan, Queen's
3. 163, 9.1, Adam Archibald, McMaster
4. 140, 8.7, Erik Glavic, Saint Mary's
5. 131, 7.4, Jean-Philippe Shoiry, Sherbrooke
6. 121, 6.7, Teale Orban, Regina
7. 119, 6.9, John Makie, Manitoba
8. 118, 6.8, Ian Noble, Laurier
9. 116, 6.9, Laurence Nixon, Saskatchewan
10. 114, 6.8, Bret Thompson, Saskatchewan

11. 109, 6.1, Jesse Andrews, Bishop's
12. 107, 4.8, Steve Snyder, StFX
13. 104, 5.5, Marc-olivier Brouillette, Montreal
14. 101, 4.9, Justin Dunk, Guelph
15. 95, 6.7, Cesar-roberto Sanchez, Laval
16. 92, 4.8, Quade Armstrong, Alberta
17. 89, 4.8, Michael Faulds, Western
18. 87, 3.5, David Hamilton, Toronto
19. 83, 4.6, Keith Lockwood, Acadia
20. 81, 3.8, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser

21. 81, 4.4, Kelly Hughes, Mount Allison
22. 80, 4.6, Matt Connell, McGill
23. 73, 3.7, Luke Balch, Waterloo
24. 67, 3.0, Michael Hyatt, York
25. 49, 2.0, Andrew Gillis, Toronto
26. 49, 2.4, Marc Mcveigh, UBC

Notables missing the cut:
n/a. 140, 9.8, Benoit Groulx, Laval (87 attempts, would have been fourth)

1. 167, 9.6, John Makie, Manitoba
2. 155, 8.8, Benoit Groulx, Laval
3. 153, 8.1, Dan Lumley, Windsor
4. 146, 7.8, Joshua Sacobie, Ottawa
5. 146, 7.7, Adam Archibald, McMaster
6. 141, 8.1, Teale Orban, Regina
7. 123, 7.0, Billy Robinson, Saint Mary's
8. 113, 6.0, Jamie Partington, Laurier
9. 112, 6.4, Jean-philippe Shoiry, Sherbrooke
10. 112, 6.4, Chris Judd, Acadia

11. 109, 6.3, Bret Thompson, Saskatchewan
12. 109, 5.8, Justin Dunk, Guelph
13. 107, 6.1, Blake Smelser, UBC
14. 103, 5.9, Justin Connors, StFX
15. 97, 5.5, Matt Connell, McGill
16. 96, 5.5, Scott Syvret, Concordia
17. 93, 4.9, Dan Brannagan, Queen's
18. 88, 4.7, Bart Zemanek, York
19. 86, 4.6, Jon Morbey, Waterloo
20. 83, 4.4, Michael Faulds, Western

21. 83, 4.7, Kelly Hughes, Mount Allison
22. 76, 4.3, Dalin Tollestrup, Calgary
23. 72, 3.8, David Hamilton, Toronto
24. 61, 3.5, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser
25. 60, 3.4, Jesse Andrews, Bishop's
26. 53, 3.1, Cameron Linke, Alberta

Notables missing the cut:
n/a. 137, 7.8, Erik Glavic, Saint Mary's (66 attempts, would have been seventh)

1. 167, 9.3, Benoît Groulx, Laval
2. 162, 9.9, Michael Faulds, Western
3. 152, 9.3, Ryan Pyear, Laurier
4. 149, 7.8, Steven Bilan, Saskatchewan
5. 144, 7.5, Darryl Salmon, Alberta
6. 142, 6.6, Billy Robinson, Saint Mary's
7. 136, 8.3, Adam Archibald, McMaster
8. 126, 7.0, Jonathan Jodoin, Montréal
9. 123, 6.4, Teale Orban, Regina
10. 122, 6.4, Ryan Zahara, Manitoba

11. 122, 5.7, Chris Judd, Acadia
12. 116, 6.4, Scott Syvret, Concordia
13. 114, 6.9, Danny Brannagan, Queen's
14. 110, 6.7, Justin Dunk, Guelph
15. 108, 6.6, Josh Sacobie, Ottawa
16. 106, 4.9, Nick Chessa, StFX
17. 105, 6.4, Jon Behie, McMaster
18. 103, 5.4, Blake Smelser, UBC
19. 92, 4.8, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser
20. 86, 4.8, Matt Connell, McGill

21. 84, 5.1, Jon Dent, Windsor
22. 76, 4.6, Jon Morbey, Waterloo
23. 68, 3.6, Charles Guedo, Calgary
24. 65, 3.9, Bart Zemanek, York
25. 64, 3.9, Mark Stinson, Toronto
26. 63, 3.5, Marc-andré Tougas, Sherbrooke
27. 60, 3.3, Joel Lefebvre, Bishop's
28. 50, 3.0, David Hamilton, Toronto
29. 3, 0.1, Eric Morris, Mount Allison*

* 97% below average?! That can't be possible. Well, believe it: he threw 524 yards in 8 games, with no touchdowns against ten interceptions.

What can we see here?
  • Josh Sacobie's rise to the top: 16th in 2005, 4th in 2006, 1st last year.
  • Same idea for Brannagan, too.
  • A weird 2006 for Western's Michael Faulds. 20th out of 26th for a 5-3 team? A year after he was second-best? Must be something more there.
  • Toronto QBs were, technically speaking, never the worst in the country, so they've got that going for them.
  • The inability of the CIS to handle hyphenated names. Sorry, wrong topic.
  • The Top 10 passing seasons in the last three years: Makie '06, Groulx '05, Sacobie '07, Archibald '07, Brannagan '07, Faulds '05, Groulx '06, Lumley '06, Pyear '05, Bilan '05

Now, crunching the numbers is all well and good, but this is where you come in to provide context, reader. For instance, these rankings (which are only called "rankings" to spark debate, not declare "Orban is #6") may mirror the quality of the team and not necessarily the QB, but I have to say more sophistication makes little sense when the quality and size of the statistics we have aren't great. Other comments are welcome.

It also goes without saying that, in a few weeks from now when real games start, you'll have a much more current version of all this "adjusted net yards per attempt" business.
The season starts in seven days, so let's look at the schedule. Here's a list of matchups that a) figure to be pretty close and b) don't involve bottom-feeder teams. (UPDATE: And c) consider the home-field advantage, which is about 54-46 in the CIS. The first comment below reminded me of that.)

2 Mon Sep 1 McMaster @ Queen's
2 Mon Sep 1 Ottawa @ Western

3 Sat Sep 6 Alberta @ UBC
3 Sat Sep 6 Queen's @ Guelph
3 Sat Sep 6 Saskatchewan @ Regina

4 Sat Sep 13 Alberta @ Calgary
4 Sat Sep 13 Guelph @ Windsor

5 Sat Sep 20 Acadia @ StFX
5 Sat Sep 20 Montreal @ Sherbrooke
5 Sat Sep 20 McMaster @ Guelph

6 Sat Sep 27 Western @ Queen's (The Score)
6 Sat Sep 27 UBC @ Calgary

7 Sat Oct 4 Laurier @ Ottawa
7 Sat Oct 4 Concordia @ Montreal
7 Sat Oct 4 Alberta @ Regina

8 Sat Oct 11 Saskatchewan @ Manitoba
8 Sat Oct 11 Montreal @ Saint Mary's
8 Sat Oct 11 Regina @ Calgary

No point in including Weeks 9 and 10 because we don't know how the season will go down between now and then.

Also notable is that in terms of quality of the teams playing, the worst matchup of the year after York/Toronto and Calgary/SFU is the Canada West season opener next Saturday. An unfortunate bit of scheduling, that.
Fate is a trickster.

There's more than a few fans in Kingston who are hoping that one of the city's hockey heroes will make a triumphant return and buy the OHL's Frontenacs. So what happens? Former Leafs centre Alyn McCauley -- as first noted by fellow Out of Left Field-er Tyler King -- has joined the Queen's Golden Gaels as an assistant coach.

That is very good as well. Not everyone can make the switch from player to coach. One would think the 31-year-old McCauley's own experience would give him some grounding in being able to relate concepts to players. He was a big scoring star in juniors with the Ottawa 67's -- remember that he wore No. 98 because it was "one from Gretzky and two from perfect" -- and had to adjust after he went to the NHL, because he was an undersized centre at the absolute nadir of the Dead Puck Era.

McCauley and Gaels coach Brett Gibson are both from Gananoque, just east of Kingston, so there's an obvious connection.

Tyler will have more on his Friday sports panel show, Offsides (4 p.m. ET, on 101.9 FM in Kingston and elsewhere).
Believe-it-when-you-see-it seems to be a prevailing attitude toward talk of a true football stadium for the Manitoba Bisons.

That being said, there might not be a team that deserves a better facility more, in terms of the program's accomplishments. All my knowledge of the U of M's stadium is second-hand, but it's hard to find anyone who hasn't complained about it.

U of M site for stadium raised (Bruce Owen, Winnipeg Free Press)
We might have the OUA analogue to Randy Moss joining a loaded New England Patriots offence last season, not to overstate things.

Six-foot-4 wide receiver Ivan Birungi (pictured), who was a two-time Hec Crighton finalist at Acadia in 2005-06, will play his final CIS season with the Gee-Gees. The school just announced it in a press release.

The Moss comparison is hyperbole, of course. However, consider that Josh Sacobie had a sick, somewhat Bradyesque 21-to-4 TD-to-interception ratio last season, when he was working with a few first-time starters on offence, it fits. Sacobie is as polished a passer as you'll find in the OUA, and now he's got a receiver who will always get double- and triple-coverage on important passing downs.

Birungi was a big factor in Acadia winning back-to-back Atlantic conference championships, and presuming he's fit, he'll give the the Gee-Gees a big target who, as football types say, can get separation from defenders, especially in the red zone. It's not as if the Gee-Gees had small receivers last season. Cyril Adjeity is 6-foot-2, Matthew Bolduc is 6-3. Birungi, though, might be on another level when he has to catch a pass in tight space.

The Gee-Gees have always been better than most teams at utilizing big receivers, from current B.C. Lion Adam Nicolson a couple years ago to the Tounkara brothers, Ousmane and Ibrahim, about a decade ago. They already stacked up as a solid pick to win the Yates Cup and go the Vanier against the evil empire from Quebec City, and this is just a cherry on the sundae. Coach Denis Piché's statement is bang on: "There is the potential for something crazy this season."

The Gee-Gees also have former Saint Mary's receiver Ron Kelly, former Queen's centre Sean O'Donnell and former Golden Gaels linebacker Ian Hazlett in camp. The latter two are former OUA all-stars.

Mroué back for more, but in Vert et Or

The Quebec conference is apparently not be outdone when it comes to a offensive star switching schools: The Sherbrooke Vert et Or, as was rumoured last season, have confirmed former Montréal Carabins star Joseph Mroué, who was a 1,000-yard rusher at the U de M, is attending their training camp.

This is an outsider's opinion, but depending on how quickly Mroué can get up to speed, Sherbrooke could have a very good running game. Their entire offensive line is back and QB J.P. Shoiry put up good passing numbers last season. There's going to be a few people picking them to wrest second spot in the QUFL away from Concordia.
It's interesting to see the places CIS alumni wind up. Last week, I did a short sports feature for the Langley Times on Dana Matheson, the new coach of Langley's midget (16-18-year-olds) football team. I was expecting him to be a stereotypical guy who had grown up in minor football, maybe played a little junior, maybe picked up a cup of coffee in the CIS, and was now coaching kids to stay involved in the game. Instead, he turned out to be a former star offensive lineman for the St. Mary's Huskies who was part of their back-to-back Vanier Cups in 2001 and 2002, and a fascinating character to boot.

One of the most interesting aspects of Matheson's story to me was how he grew up in Langley, then promptly went across the country to play university football before returning to his hometown to coach. Apparently, Canada West teams don't always snap up the recruits in their backyards. Matheson spent time coaching two local junior teams on his return, but then shifted to teenagers to give him more time to run his own business (he works as a freight broker, arranging for trucking shipments and such).

Also, the photo Matheson sent me was of him standing in the Seattle Seahawks locker room, just outside quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's locker, so of course, I had to get the story behind that. It turns out that a football buddy of his from St. Mary's, Steve Morley, was with the Seahawks last year and invited Matheson down to train with him at the team's training facility in the off-season. In another CIS connection, Morley is now playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (he's currently on their list of reserves). It just goes to show that you never know where a university sports career will take you. So be nice to those minor football coaches: they just might turn out to have Vanier Cups on their resume.

Related: Football experience from sea to sea [Langley Times, August 8, 2008].
" 'We have to get the Ontario teams used to the fact of travelling. Their travel budget for the whole year would be what it costs us for one game out here; they don't have anything longer than a three-hour bus trip. It's something we're willing to work at and it's healthy for the whole country.' " -- Brian Towriss, Saskatchewan Huskies coach

Hard heads can lead to heavy hearts. There's too much geography and not enough history to believe this can happen. It should happen and it can happen.

It would be great to see Saskatchewan-Western or Laurier-Regina games in the regular season, to give two random examples. Any fan who wouldn't want to see that instead of some of the one-sided contests that are a fact of life in each conference is no kind of fan. To be fair, the OUA has put some miles between it and those days when talk of being "the Ivy League of Canada" set blood to boiling in a few athletic-department offices across Canada.

The U of S is spending $50,000 to fly out Concordia for an exhibition game. For an OUA school, where's the practical incentive to spend that money to fly out to play the Calgary Dinos instead of getting on the bus to and pinning a 60-7 tail on a donkey team? Assuming ticket prices are $12-$15, and each fan spends a few bucks on food and drinks, that means getting a few more thousand fans out on a Saturday afternoon. That's a tough selling job. It doesn't take a minor-league baseball operator in Ottawa to know that to many Saturday afternoon = three hours of sitting in the stands does not compute in Canada like it does in the U.S.

Towriss is not the first or last Westerner who's had a tough time getting his mind wrapped around how Ontario types get weirded-out about travelling. As a Queen's fan, one adjustment that had to be made when the Golden Gaels changed conferences in 2001 was getting used to 2 p.m. kickoffs after years of 1 p.m. starts in the O-QIFC. The reason for the later start was so that the visiting teams in southern Ontario could bus up in the morning and save a night of hotel accommodations for the coaches, players and any affiliated travellers.* Most teams now start their games at 1, however.

Towriss has a point. Something has to be done to address the appearance of the OUA not being competitive nationally, which hurts the perception of CIS football in Toronto, Canada's media capital. The conference won't be to live off Laurier's 2005 upset of Saskatchewan forever. It's true that all four conferences have produced a Vanier Cup winner within the past six years, the shortest span since 1977-80, when there was a Western-Queen's-Acadia-Alberta line of succession.

However, that only covers the two weeks at the end of the season. There's a lot more to be done about week-to-week competitiveness and public interest.

There are too many people who dismiss the CIS game out-of-hand because, as one colleague who played a couple years at an Ontario school once put it, "It's the same schools as when I was playing that are winning."

What to do, then?

There probably are a few Ontario schools who want to do a lot more with their football programs than they ever could playing their schedule entirely within the province's borders. This is as good a time as any to link to an Out of Left Field post written right after Laval's win in the 2006 Vanier Cup that argued for realignment of all teams in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

The aim was to make the point that leagues don't have to be formed across geographical and regional lines. It should be based on how much commitment a school has to its football program. Talk about a novel concept for Canada.

This isn't an argument for creating a Division 2. In the States, Bishop's, with 1,800 students, wouldn't be playing a university the size of Laval or Montréal. Bishop's or Mount Allison should have every chance to field a competitive team that is representative of the student body and, in theory, compete for the national championship. However, look at NCAA basketball. Davidson made it into the Elite Eight during the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Kansas, which has more faculty than Davidson has students. Davidson wasn't denied a chance at college basketball's greatest prize because of its small size and academic requirements, but it wasn't being forced to play heavyweights during the regular season, either.

One way to achieve this in the CIS for football would be to arrange the 20 teams east of Manitoba into two leagues. There would be an eight-team superconference -- call it the Big East -- of the schools who want to take football seriously. They would be able to offer scholarships, build Cadillac facilities (which in some cases, could be combined be used as a high-performance centre for Olympic sport athletes, although that might be a little pipedreamish) and provide the beer and circus for alumni and the surrounding community. (If they don't want it, well, businesses lose money every day.)

The other 12 schools (or more) would play in a league that's more about football as a student activity, recognizing that it's a big carrot for many young men to attend university. It might also encourage some schools which discontinued football or which are now big enough to support it to form teams. The growth of minor football in Ontario and Quebec suggests there's enough talent to stock a few more teams.

Belonging to the "Big East" wouldn't entirely be based on enrolment. (Just look at the lists at the bottom of this post for an answer.) However, the schools who want to be part of a competitive football league, be it Laurier with less than 12,000 students or Saint Mary's with 8,800, could go for it.

At the same time, if some larger school was content to have a team just to have a team, it could do that.

Laurier, Laval, Ottawa, Saint Mary's and Western are likely suspects to be in the Big East. For the other three teams, Concordia, Montréal, McMaster are maybes. Queen's, Guelph or Sherbrooke could be in there too.

The 12-team division would have its own playoffs, with some setup to ensure that the championship game pits is an Ontario vs. Atlantic/Quebec matchup. Canada West and the imagined Big East would get one benefit for the national playoffs. We'll borrow the practice of the women's basketball Final 8 and have a designated wild-card spot for the conference of last year's national champion.

That would mean, this season, Canada West would have two teams in the bowl semi-finals, since Manitoba won it all last season. Success should perpetuate success, right?

This is all very sketchy, but the point is that we could level the playing field for the have-nots, have the top teams playing each other more often and create more buzz around the bowl games. Imagine the buzz in Québec if plucky Bishop's went up against Saskatchewan in a Uteck Bowl at sold-out Molson Stadium, while elsewhere, Laval was playing in a semifinal.

Imagine two schools from the same conference meeting in the Vanier Cup.

This all could be done with minor cost increases, without lengthening the season. A conference regular season and playoffs would still be done in 11 or 12 weeks. One added benefit: An eight-team Big East and Canada West could play some crossover games -- which is exactly what Brian Towriss is seeking.

It's all about the art of the possible.

The Big Ten:
Toronto (63,000), Montréal (41,055), York (39,100), Concordia (38,809), Sherbrooke (35,000), Ottawa (30,882), Laval (28,902), Western (25,000), McGill (23,758), Waterloo (22,368)

The less big ten:
McMaster (19,113), Guelph (17,332), Queen's (13,500), Windsor (12,291), Laurier (11,869),
Saint Mary's (8,800), St. Francis Xavier (4,267), Acadia (3,000), Mount Allison (2,200), Bishop's (1,817)

Huskies pre-season game a gamble (Kevin Mitchell, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Aug. 7)

While not professing to be an expert on Alisa Wulff, it does seem reasonable to say that the former tri-captain of the Michigan State Spartans should do a lot for the Windsor Lancers' chances in OUA West women's basketball.

Brock, Mac and Western are typically each around the top of the division. Windsor, which went 14-8 in the conference after winning only 19 OUA games the previous three seasons, now has a pretty good big three. They already have a scoring guard, Dranadia Roc, and 6-foot-4 big Iva Peklovà, who nearly averaged a double-double last season.

Lancers lure Spartan star; Wulff adds front-line presence (Dave Waddell, Windsor Star)
Sherbrooke's Samuel Giguère should get some time on the field on Saturday night when the Indianapolis

Stampede Blue is noting that the Colts "want to see" Giguère returning some kicks.

His competition among aspiring return men, includes another Canadian, Clifton Dawson, a former Harvard star. (There's been times of desperation when I considered becoming a fan of an Ivy League football team — they're never on TV, but at least you don't have to worry about the BCS.)

(Update, Aug. 10: says Giguère played, but he didn't make a catch or touch the ball as a retuner.)
There's only time for a brief mention of this — but did everyone see that Chris Bauman caught his first CFL touchdown pass tonight in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' trouncing of the Argonauts?

Let the record show it was a 63-yard pass-and-run from Richie Williams.
"The Eskimos also announced rookie offensive lineman Adam Rogers, 22, has left the team to return to school. The six-foot-five, 310-pound Rogers was a first-team CIS all-star in 2006 and 2007 while at Acadia."
That's a load off the Axemen coaches' minds ... because Rogers is a load on their offensive line.

Is there anything to the fact the story said back to school, but not Acadia specificially? Players who have played four seasons but have their degree can go anywhere and play without sitting out a season.
"In general, Giguere is raw, but he's got the goods. The coaches ride him hard, and I think it's because they see something." — Stampede Blue
One educated guess here is that Samuel Giguère might end up on the Indianapolis Colts' developmental roster. He's a bit of a rough diamond compared to most pro football aspirants, but what little has been written about him during Indy's training camp has been positive. It's only logical a NFL team, if they believe he's worth the investment, would rather have him learning the American game and than running around up in Canada.

As previously noted, being in the Colts organization under GM Bill Polian, who was the architect of the 1990s Buffalo Bills dynasty, is very good karma for a wide receiver from Sherbrooke. The Bills always loved their small-school finds. Andre Reed (Kutztown St.), Don Beebe (Chadron St., a NAIA school in Nebraska), Mark Kelso (William & Mary), spring to mind. Hey, they even had a CIS guy, fullback Tim Tindale, the former Western star.

Coincidentally, Giguère's competition includes another receiver with a French name — Pierre Garcon (translated: Peter Boy). He's not from Québec — he's actually from Florida. With a name like that, he's a copy editor's dream. Stampede Blue is a good go-to site for Giguere updates. The Indianapolis Star's beat writer is also has his own site.

(One recurring theme on the former site is that Colts running back Kenton Keith, the former Saskatchewan Roughrider, hasn't exactly been a workout warrior so far in training camp. This will not shock 'Riders fans, but then again, they're still mad about his goal-line fumble in the 2004 Western final.)
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