• The East Coast's top CIS chronicler, Monty Mosher, posits that Mount Allison's diminutive dynamo Gary Ross might be "one of the most underappreciated stars in CIS football history." There won't be much of an argument on this end. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

  • The Saskatchewan Huskies are last in Canada West in offence. As Barney Stinson would say, "True story."
    "(Coach Brian) Towriss was quick to point to execution problems, and a wide array of injuries, when asked why the team is having so much trouble scoring. The injury list through the first three games include tailbacks Tyler O'Gorman, Mark Klause and Jeff Hassler, offensive tackle Patrick Neufeld and receivers Braeden George, Cory Jones and Scott McHenry."
    Saskatchewan has had 4-4 regular seasons and won Canada West. They've been in tough straits before. (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)

  • Saskatchewan Roughriders slotback Andy Fantuz (Western) was named the CFL's Outstanding Canadian for last week. (Regina Leader-Post)

  • The onion has been completely peeled back on Guelph QB Justin Dunk saying "that word" during the Gryphons-Western Mustangs game. Of course, the fact a Saturday Night Live cast member said it on TV was unintentionally hilarious.

    By the way, don't be the one who thinks it's clever to say "that was the only thing hilarious about Saturday Night Live." (Guelph Mercury)
  • Defenceman Ben Wright, a four-year WHL veteran with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, was released by the AHL's Norfolk Admirals. The speculation is that he is bound for a certain AUS team, but as David Kilfoil notes down below, he has opted for Elmira in the ECHL.

  • Former Kitchener Rangers defenceman Myles Barbieri is the top recruit for Ryerson, which has new life with the OUA's expanded playoff format. (The Eyeopener)
  • Guelph quarterback Justin Dunk's loose lips get the editorial treatment (let's not repeat a recent rant about sports topics being used for editorials). It was even Page 1, above-the-fold news! (Guelph Mercury)

  • The sluggish Saskatchewan Huskies were a lot crisper at practice on Monday after the Foote Field fiasco on Friday. (Huskies Football Outsider)
  • Anticipation is building for the Nipissing Lakers' regular-season debut vs. Queen's on Friday. Who won't be cheering for them? The opening-night roster is also set for Mike McParland's team. (North Bay Nugget)
  • The RMC Paladins have an uphill battle in the OUA East, but 6-foot-9 Nick Cooke is coming into his own in the pivot. A new name to know, in the considered view of Mark Wacyk, is point guard Justin Hill from Queen Elizabeth in Halifax (I used to pass it every day while going to school in Hali). (

  • Chris Horwood has produced a documentary, On The Line, about his father Don's final season helming the Alberta Golden Bears. Its premiere is Oct. 5 in Edmonton. (
  • The Victoria Vikes have been a good feeder team for the USL's Vancouver Whitecaps down through the years. (Victoria Times-Colonist)
For the voting breakdown every first place vote receives 10 points, every 10th-place vote receives 1 point. Last week's rankings in parentheses, first-place votes in bold.
  1. LAVAL 250 (1) 25
  2. WESTERN 219 (2)
  3. CALGARY 194 (4)
  4. QUEEN'S 177 (5)
  5. MONTREAL 133 (6)
  6. ST. FRANCIS XAVIER 109 (7)
  7. SAINT MARY'S 65 (9)
  8. SASKATCHEWAN 62 (3)
  9. ALBERTA 60 (NR)
  10. GUELPH 57 (NR)
Other teams receiving votes: Wilfrid Laurier (36), Regina (5), Ottawa (3), Sherbrooke (2), Simon Fraser (2)
Two OUA teams are in the top four. That sounds you just heard was heads exploding from Steinbach, Manitoba to Sechelt, B.C.

Calgary, Queen's and Montréal each scoot up a spot while the searching-for-an-identity Saskatchewan Huskies slip all the way to seventh.

Guelph and Alberta tied for the 10th spot, but coach Kyle Walters' Gryphons were awarded 10th spot on a tiebreaker. Guelph and Alberta are essentially co-No. 10s.

  1. Laval Rouge et Or (+20)
  2. Western Mustangs (+58)
  3. Calgary Dinos (+170)
  4. Queen's Golden Gaels (+113)
  5. Montréal Carabins (+230)
  6. St. Francis Xavier X-Men (+56)
  7. Saskatchewan Huskies (-733)
  8. Laurier Golden Hawks (+72)
  9. Saint Mary's Huskies (-50)
  10. Guelph Gryphons (-16) & Alberta Golden Bears (+129)

    Also receiving votes: Regina (+7), Sherbrooke (-27), Ottawa (+1), McGill (+1), Simon Fraser (-100).
This coming weekend will mark the annual AUS hockey pilgrimage to New England to play NCAA Division I schools. It is a win-win situation: the NCAA teams get to open their seasons with an exhibition game that will have no impact on their all-important national polls and rankings, and the AUS teams get the challenge of playing against very good teams who are reasonably close (it is a shorter drive from anywhere in the Maritimes to Boston than Montréal, and a shorter bus trip to New York than Toronto). Whereas in the past the scores were redundant (the AUS teams just about always got smoked), more recently the top AUS (and CIS) schools are proving that they can often hold their own with the best in the NCAA – and how many sports can you say that about?

StFX: The X-Men have arguably the toughest weekend. They play current NCAA champion Boston University on Saturday night, and then late Sunday afternoon they play previous champion Boston College, both out of Hockey East. Prediction: The X-Men may beat BC, but not BU.

UNB: The Varsity Reds start their weekend early, as Wednesday night they play the AHL’s Portland Pirates in Maine. This will be the Buffalo Sabres’ top farm team’s last exhibition game before they begin their regular season next week, so UNB is really in tough. The V-Reds continue down I-95 to play the UMASS Minutemen on Saturday, and then Sunday afternoon they are at Vermont. Prediction: I can’t see UNB beating the Pirates, but they could win both of their games against Hockey East opponents.

Acadia: Saturday night the Axemen will face a huge crowd at the Whittemore Center when they play New Hampshire. At least they’re used to playing on an Olympic sized ice surface. Sunday afternoon they play the UMass-Lowell River Hawks. Prediction: I don’t see Acadia beating these two strong Hockey East schools, but UNH does have a recent history of losing against AUS schools.

UPEI: The Panthers are in Troy, NY on Saturday night to play the Rensselaer Engineers and then onto Connecticut on Sunday afternoon to play Quinnipiac. Both schools are in the ECAC conference. Prediction: You know, if UPEI stays disciplined and focused they could win both of these games.

STU: The Saint Thomas Tommies have the unenviable task of facing the Hockey East heavyweights Northeastern Huskies on Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon they play Sacred Heart, out of the weaker Atlantic Hockey conference. Prediction: I give STU no chance against NU, but could see them beating the Pioneers.

Saint Mary’s, Moncton and Dalhousie will not be making American road trips this fall. SMU and Dal will engage in the first installment of the Battle of Halifax on Wednesday night and then again on Sunday. UdeM will be playing SMU on Saturday night.

V-Reds step it up a notch (Daily Gleaner)
Windsor coach Mike Morencie sounds like someone who knows his time is up.

It did not take much to read between the lines after seeing the coach's quotes on

"I was unhappy just with our mindset coming out of the dressing room on Saturday morning. I thought the kids would be fired up and ready to go."

"Things were bad early and they got worse as the game went on ... It's a distrubing trend that we've got to figure out what it is and we've got to get it taken care of."

It is reasonable to wonder, based on the way Windsor came out its past two games — they have been outscored 82-7 in the first halves — whether the coach has lost the players, or the players are tuning out the coach. There's already been rumblings about some internal discord.

It's not this site's place to say it, plus you never presume to know what goes on inside someone else's football team. The media in Windsor, though, might want to get cracking, because coaches are ultimately judged on their record. To use a Detroit Lions analogy while one still can, there was no way Rod Marinelli could come back after 0-16 (he's still a good coach, and has found another NFL job with the Chicago Bears, coaching defensive linemen). Morencie is a good guy, but the long string of losing seasons at Windsor must be addressed.

Lancers loss gets coach in motivating mode (
The lesson today is someone being gifted athletically doesn't mean they're going to act all nice and media-friendly, even if we wish otherwise.

Guelph QB Justin Dunk, as you probably expected, is suspended for Saturday's game vs. Waterloo after he was caught saying "fuck Western" right in front of The Score's camera after his third touchdown run of the game vs. the Mustangs barnburner last weekend. Guelph put out a statement from athletic director Tom Kendall:
"I have spoken about this with Justin. He is one of the top quarterbacks in the country, but we both agree that his actions Saturday do not reflect the high standards required of all Gryphon athletes."
Dunk also apologized to Western in the statement.

The optics arebad for the U of Guelph. Generally, football players tend to come from more conservative, straigtlaced families than the general student population. Guelph coach Kyle Walters, whose recruiting base is in south-southwest Ontario, has to worry about what parents of prospective players might think if let Dunk off without a wrist-slap. It's the, "What values is my child going to learn if he plays there?"

At the same time, there has been a trend toward the media overreacting about perceived poor sportsmanship by athletes in major sports. Just from memory, there was the NBA's LeBron James being scolded for leaving the floor early after his Cleveland Cavaliers were ousted from the playoffs, Detroit Red Wings players chastising Sidney Crosby for not shaking hands at the end of the Stanley Cup final, mixed martial arts' Brock Lesnar insulting UFC sponsors during a post-match interview and the fallout over Serena Williams losing a match after she told off a lineswoman at the U.S. Open.

The same go-for-broke mindset someone needs to be a great athlete does not lend itself to upholding Little League lessons about sportsmanship. Dunk has a lot of moxie and derring-do out on the field, a Superman attitude, but he got carried away when he sought out a camera and swore.

Ultimately, Dunk has made OUA football more fun to watch. For instance, in Week 1 against Queen's, Dunk ran to the sideline after a game-tying touchdown in the final minute of play and hopped on a bench to wave his arms at the Guelph fans. Nothing wrong with that.

People individually maybe shouldn't mind Dunk swearing. The university, OUA and its TV partner have different concerns and obligations.

Update: Greg Layson did the gumshoeing and a full story is posted. Apparently, the OUA received complaints "within five minutes" and Guelph had a few Monday morning calls. The Score says it will not adopt a seven-second delay.

" 'What’s funny about sports is that the reason you want the camera there (on the sideline) is to get a sense of the emotion of the game. And it’s rare that you get that,' said Greg Sansone, The Score’s head of programming. 'When you do get the emotion, you run the risk of crossing that line.

'When it happened I was, like, "Wow. Yikes." But there’s nothing you can do, it’s live TV.”

"The Score broadcasts without a seven-second delay and without the use of a “panic button,” used to mute profanity before it hits the airwaves.

"But Sansone said his station didn’t receive a single complaint about the profanity as of Monday afternoon. And, his station will not change the way it broadcasts University Rush on Saturdays.

" 'Am I happy that it happened? No,' Sansone said. 'We’re sensitive to the way OUA student-athletes are seen. We would never want to air anything to make people look bad. I feel terrible about the fact he’s suspended.' "

Gryphon QB Dunk suspended for bad language (Greg Layson, Guelph Mercury)
Potty-mouthed pivot sacked by Gryphons (Christine Rivet, Waterloo Region Record
It was an auspicious start for the new club-level Atlantic Football League, as perhaps as many as 2300 fans turned out Saturday night for the first football game in 30 years for the UNB Red Bombers. Alas, they lost 16-14 to the UNBSJ (Saint John) Seawolves thanks to a last-minute field goal by John Phillips.

A huge crowd considering that they were competing for fans with the UNB-McGill hockey game next door at the Aitken University Centre (many who watched from the concourse windows during intermissions), so it could bode well for pent up football mania in Fredericton.

Moncton is the third team in this new loop, which are looking to add other non-CIS football schools like Dalhousie next year. If the crowds keep coming, and corporate sponsors appear, then the return of CIS football to UNB might move from a dream to a possibility.

Phillips screws up storybook ending (Daily Gleaner)
University football lures 2,300 fans to first game (Telegraph-Journal)
UNB: Even though the Varsity Reds gave up only one goal in their first 3 exhibition games, on Friday McGill’s Francis Verreault-Paul scored just 13 seconds into the game on University Cup hero Travis Fullerton to launch the sixth annual UNB Varsity Reds Fall Classic tournament. McGill scored on their next shot a few minutes later before the V-Reds finally started replying. The final score in this sloppy affair was 7-6, with UCup MVP Lachlan MacIntosh getting a hat-trick. Shots were 42-18 for UNB. The next night was more like the familiar UNB, as they scored 5 times while dominating McGill, and Derek Yeomans had his second consecutive shut-out foiled with 25 seconds to go in the game. Shots were 38-14 for the V-Reds. With the victories, UNB retained the Fall Classic cup. Rookie UNB defenceman Ben Wright missed the games as he is now at the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) camp, and recruit Jeff Lee has yet to suit up with the V-Reds as he has been at the Edmonton Oilers and Springfield Falcons (AHL) camps (but he just got cut by them on Sunday).

SMU: For their part, the Saint Mary’s Huskies won the Don Wells tournament at Acadia. In their first game of the tourney the edged the StFX X-Men 2-1. Shots were 25 apiece. In the championship game on Sunday they spotted the host Acadia Axmen a 3-1 lead, traded a few goals, and then scored six unanswered goals for the 10-6 victory. Shots were 30-27 for SMU and their vaunted powerplay counted for two of the goals.

Acadia: In their first game at their tournament on Saturday the Axemen hammered the Dalhousie Tigers 7-1, with Dal’s lone goal coming in the last two minutes on a powerplay. Acadia went 4 for 6 on their powerplay while outshooting Dal 40-22 in the game.

Moncton: Friday night in Shediac Les Aigles Bleus were stoned by St. Thomas Tommies’ new netminder, Charles Lavigne, who made 41 saves to steal the 3-2 win. The next night across the Fixed Link in Charlottetown, UdeM squeaked by the UPEI Panthers 6-5 in a game that was reportedly exhibition sloppy. Shots were 34-31 for UdeM.

StFX: In X’s other game at the Don Wells they defeated Dal 5-3. Dal scored first, gave up the lead and then got it back, only to see the X-Men score three unanswered goals in the third period. Shots were 33-27 for X.

Dal: The rebuilding Dalhousie Tigers, with something like a dozen new players, are still giving up lots of goals. See above.

STU: That big win in Shediac over Moncton makes up a lot for their two 8-1 losses the week before.

UPEI: They only had that one exhibition game against Moncton. Like many teams in the AUS they’re heading to the States next weekend for some NCAA competition. I’ll post more about that later this week.
Here goes nothing:
  1. Laval (4-0)— For the record, the Rouge et Or defence, counting the exhibition game, went 291:44 before allowing its first TD. The skein of impregnability was broken by Bishop's Jordan Heather on his first CIS play, a 73-yard TD pass in Laval's 55-7 win on Sunday.

  2. Western (4-0) — It is arguable the Mustangs beat Guelph going away if not for handing nine points to Guelph early with two special teams mistakes (an opening-kickoff fumble and a botched long snap). Special teams cost Western in its only regular-loss of 2008 at around the same point of 2008 (and it was a grass game), but they fixed that by post-season.

  3. Calgary (3-1) — Scary offence.

  4. Montreal (3-1) — Can't wait to play Laval with a healthy Marc O. Brouillette.

  5. Saskatchewan (2-1)The Quad has a post up decrying how the "old standby of perception over results" affects the AP Top 25 poll south of the border. Houston from Conference USA beat the Big 12's Oklahoma State, but is ranked three spots lower, for instance.

    That might be at play with putting Saskatchewan this high after another meh showing. It's the old Canada West > OUA.

  6. Queen's (4-0) — No touchdowns against in 12 quarters and Dan Brannagan has passed for more than 1,100 yards in only nine quarters. Of course, like good friend Tyler King points out, there's trace amounts of bumph in all OUA stats due to the variance in competition.

  7. St. FX (3-0) — Rookie coach Gary Waterman's team has won by five, six and two points without getting great production from its running game, which was solid the past couple seasons with James Green.

  8. Saint Mary's (2-1) — Just scratching the surface after a narrow escape at home vs. Sherbrooke.

  9. Guelph (2-2) — The Gryphons could be 4-0 with better contain on punt coverage (they gave up a 51-yard runback to Western's Ryan Tremblay in the fourth quarter Saturday, which helped the 'Stangs switch the field position).

    Guelph played Western tougher than Laurier (3-1) did, if you're looking for a cherry-picked justification for leaving out the Golden Hawks.

  10. Alberta (2-2) — Twelve- and 20-point wins the past two weeks count as impressive victories. The Golden Bears could still end up 4-4 since Calgary and Saskatchewan (in Saskatoon) are their home-and-home foes.
It's only semi-CIS, but attention should be paid to Canada's women's basketball team beating Cuba 59-49 in overtime on Sunday to reach the 2010 FIBA World Championship For Women.

Teresa Gabriele, who played for Simon Fraser before it joined CIS basketball (and before it left, you might say), had the double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in 42 minutes, all team highs. Kaela Chapdelaine, the older sister of Queen's quarterback Justin Chapdelaine (and daughter of former Laval football coach Jacques Chapdelaine) also hit a back-breaking three-pointer in the overtime.

Anyway, it's great for Canada Basketball both senior teams will play in the worlds in 2010. Oh, and commenters who say stuff such as "Just wait til Canada has to play the USA" and refer to the players as "chicks" can go jump in a lake.

Canada downs Cuba in OT to qualify for world championships (The Canadian Press)
  • Hands up, everyone who had Bishop's backup QB Jordan Heather as the one to break the Laval defence's no-touchdown streak. Heather acred a 73-yard scoring strike to Shawn Gore on, get this, his first CIS play. The Rouge et Or rolled, 55-7.

  • Queen's all-Canadian linebacker Thaine Carter, who had shoulder surgery a couple months ago, has not ruled playing this season:
    "You just have to make sure everything is together before you make a decision ... I'd (like) to be here with my family and have one more run at the title."
    (Kingston Whig-Standard)

  • Darryl Wheeler was The Closer for No. 2 Western on Saturday. In case anyone forgot, Wheeler had the touchdown save on an 85-yard missed field goal return by Guelph's Brad Lively at the end of the first half, bringing him down inside the 20.

    Talk about omens: Lively was replacing injured Jedd Gardner. Last season vs. Laurier, Gardner almost returned a missed field goal for a touchdown on the final play of the first half, but stepped out of bounds at the three-yard line. Guelph lost that game by two, just like it did Saturday. (Sun Media)

  •'s Jeff Blair points out that Laurier's all-purpose ace Dillon Heap is on pace to set a CIS record for punt-return yardage in a season. Heap has 27 returns for 441 yards halfway through the regular season; the mark is 777. It is dodgy to say "on pace" since how many good return opportunities a player will get is unpredictable.

    Queen's Jimmy Allin (26 returns for 415 yards) is also more than halfway to the mark.

  • As if it wasn't rough enough for Windsor after getting outscored 119-7 the past two games, one Ontario paper reported that the Lancers are 0-4 (actually, it is 2-2). Getting outscored by a factor of 17 over successive weeks ... The Scorpions should reunite to record a song called The Winds of Coaching Change.

  • Former Saint Mary's lineman Bryan Jordan won his MMA fight.
  • The Brandon Bobcats only have four holdovers from last season, but when two of them are Dany Charlery and Tarik Tokar, they should be OK. Acadia transfer Andrew Kraus (ask Carleton fans about him) is also out of drydock to run the point. (, which is gaining new fans every day)
  • How about those Nipissing Lakers? The new kids got their first two pre-season wins, beating Toronto 2-1 on Saturday and doubling up York 8-4 to win a pre-season tournament. Tyler Riel, a Winnipegger, and Lakehead transfer Ryan Maunu each scored twice vs. York. (Bay Today, North Bay Nugget)

  • St. Thomas' new goalie, Charles Lavigne, had a 49-save game in a Tommies pre-season win over Moncton. There's one notable result from weekend. (Daily Gleaner)
It was hard to keep track of all the bombs in a game with 750 passing yards, but there was little mistaking the one Guelph's Justin Dunk dropped in close vicinity to a The Score camera during the University Rush game on The Score on Saturday.

Right after the Guelph QB broke a 22-yard TD touchdown run in the third quarter, a live blog reader noted , "Dunk said and I quote: Fuck Western ... to the camera and the audio was picked up live." Some users also caught the swear word and have had a lively discussion over whether there should be consequences. There does not seem to be any dispute it was said.

Everyone has heard that word before (in a normal shift in my job, I might hear it 100 times). Having a face-of-the-franchise player who is used to promote OUA football saying it in front of a national TV audience, in reference to the opposing school, is hardly acceptable.

Dunk is a unique talent who is a lot of fun to watch (it will hard to picture Guelph without him next season). The same I-can-do-anything braggadocio he shows when he's snapping off 60-yard throws and keeping pass plays alive for 12-15 seconds might also lead him to go over the edge once in a while. Saying that emotions were running high in a close game in front of a loud stadium is no excuse. Ninety players dressed and 89 of them did not walk up to a camera and say the F-word.

It's not clear if this will become a larger story; from a media standpoint, it's moot since Western won the game, 41-39. The Mustangs' defensive players have faced Dunk before and no doubt have no trouble getting fired up to face the cocksure pivot. If this can be handled with a Sunday or Monday phone call from Guelph's coaching staff to their Mustang counterparts (as so often happens between coaches when something controversial happens), so be it.
  • Final totals from the Western-Guelph shootout: Eighty points, 750 passing yards, seven lead changes and 8,750 hoarse fans. The Mustangs, thanks to an all-time bailout by Nathan Riva, who fell on a fumble in the final minute to preserve their victory drive, dealt Guelph its second last-second loss, 41-39. Justin Dunk, who made one sick play after another — 458 yards total offence — looked sickened by the ending.

    Say this much: No one will want to have Guelph coming to its stadium for a playoff game. They put up more than 500 yards on Western despite losing speedy Jedd Gardner on their first offensive series, thanks to Dillon Dimitroff stepping up.

  • How many third-down gambles did Western convert? There were at least three where it was more than third-and-sneak-it.

  • No. 4 Calgary hammered Simon Fraser 49-22, which sets them up to get some second-place votes in next week's Top 10, although Western's done nothing to lose that spot.

  • The AUS got its split in the interlock, with Saint Mary's shading Sherbrooke 26-23 and St. FX holding on to edge Concordia 19-17 despite being zilched in the second half.

  • Laurier's Dillon Heap had 420 all-purpose yards (130 receiving, 111 kickoff return, 179 punt return), meaning he outgained McMaster's entire offence in the Golden Hawks' 30-14 win.

  • In the Chase for Chapdelaine & Connell, Queen's Dan Brannagan (9,236 career yards) moved ahead of Western's Michael Faulds (9,137) in the bid to become the OUA's most profilic passer. Brannagan needs 739 to pass Ben Chapdelaine (9,974) and is 1,220 away from ex-McGill star Matt Connell's all-time record.

  • McGill is Andrew Hamilton, who had 352 rushing-receiving yards and four TDs in a 49-27 win over Mount Allison.

  • How much can be drawn from Saint Mary's Jack Creighton taking Saint Mary's down the field in the final 85 seconds to beat Sherbrooke 26-23? That is the-making-of-a-QB stuff, although Sherby, which was up 16-0 early, took its foot of the gas.

Top 10

No. 2 Western 41, No. 10 Guelph 39
— The tipping point in a game that was not decided until the 59-minute, 59-second mark was probably Western's willingness to gamble on third downs and make them.

The national TV audience, not to mention the Gryphons, will remember Nathan Riva falling on a Michael Faulds fumble to preserve Western's victory drive, plus a smart slip screen to Josh Svec (seven catches, 121 yards) which set up the winning field goal.

However, the point one should begin is a triumvirate of third-down gambles in the first three quarters which led to Western touchdowns on a day when no one could afford to settle for a field goal, except at the end. They had third-and-3 on an early drive, down 9-0, and got it with a Riva run behind Josh Buttrill and Andrew Rady. They went for it third-and-goal from the Guelph 3 and linebacker Jerod McCrory, lined up as an H-back, made the TD catch. They ran the ball on third-and-6 early in the second half Riva, who had 206 rushing-receiving yards, popped out of the pile for a 31-yard run.

Seriously, it was hard to tell if it was Greg Marshall coaching the Mustangs or Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights. Those were huge.

Conversely, Guelph elected to kick a field goal on third-and-goal from the Western 3 early in the fourth quarter when it took its final lead, 39-38. Some of the liveblog panelists first-guessed the call. Dunk can break contain, Western's D was beat-up and the worst-case is that Western is starting inside its own 5.

Western, led by Faulds' 415-yard, four-TD day (he ran for a fifth score on, naturally, third-and-goal), ensured its Oct. 17 visit to Queen's will take on added importance. It will be for home-field advantage, plus a chance to avoid preparing for Justin Dunk, who was nails, passing 39 times for 335 yards and rushing for another 123 and 3 TDs. On his third TD, he thrust the ball out before he even reached the five-yard line and clearly shouted something like, "Buck Western."

Honestly, this was like the Stu Turnbull game at the CIS Final 8 that involved the Western basketball team — an upstart challenging the conference's lodestar and thinking it had in the bag, only to have a team spin a little magic without betraying a hint of desperation.

Western was on the cusp of opening a 16-point lead in the third quarter before an end-zone INT by Jordan Duncan revived the Gryphons.

Guelph has scored 88 points in its two losses, giving up 910 yards passing in those two games. Nick Fitzgibbon was not a huge factor along the ground in either; he had 51 yards today, similar to the 24 he was limited to vs. Queen's. It was a hell of an effort and they legitimately look stronger than Laurier. (One bias that might be at play is that people sometimes overrate a good offensive team over a good defensive team. Laurier's D has yet to turn in a bad game; it would have been 50-7 instead of 30-7 if the unit had played poorly at Western on Sept. 12.)

The Mustangs had a lot of missed tackles on defence. Rob Pettapiece counted four on a 62-yard screen pass to Fitzgibbon in the fourth quarter (before that fateful field goal). They also had at least six penalties on kicking plays, plus a fumble on the opening kickoff). Some of the tackling and coverage problems might have had to with playing on grass in the rain. The officiating, which was not on par with the quality of the teams, was another variable that had to be accounted for.

Guelph led 9-0, 19-0, 36-31 and 39-38; Western led 10-9, 24-19, 38-36 and 41-39.

No. 4 Calgary 49, Simon Fraser 22 — The Dinos' cover teams helped set a tone early, recovering two fumbles inside the 25-yard line to help Erik Glavic, et al., roll out to a 28-3 lead before the game was 16 minutes old.

Glavic passed 16 times for 218 yards and three TDs and the Dinos (3-1) got Nathan Coehoorn (6-149 receiving, two TDs) going. Running back Matt Walter had a 121-yard rushing day, with two TDs (one was on a pass).

Calgary uses a lot of starters on special teams — defensive end Deji Oduwole forced the fumble that led to the day's first TD and DB Matt Grohn recovered another late in the first quarter.

The win puts the Dinos in the driver's seat in Canada West, with a half-game lead over Saskatchewan. They'll likely be No. 3 next week, with Western holding its spot.

Tongue-in-cheek, it was like SFU (2-2) had already moved to the NCAA. QB Caleb Clark played, so apparently his eligibility issues were resolved.

No. 5 Queen's 67, York 0 — There might some questions about why Dan Brannagan was in the game long enough to pass for 543 yards, but apparently the Golden Gaels planned to play him three quarters and let rookie Justin Chapdelaine handle the fourth. They did not deviate from that strategy. All-Canadian wideout Scott Valberg had a strong game and Tom Howes, the third-string quarterback who also moonlights as receiver, scored two touchdowns, one on a QB sneak and another on a 41-yard catch.

Queen's (4-0) has Windsor and Waterloo the next two weeks, both on the road. A matchup of unbeatens is possible for the Oct. 17 game vs. Western.

York's rookie linebacker, Robert Yeomans, was in on 10 tackles in his first game.

No. 6 Montréal 34, Acadia 13 — The dynamic dyad at Allez Les Bleus will have much to say. We saw a highlight of Montréal throwing a touchdown pass. After last week, it was mind-blowing.

No. 7 St. FX 19, Concordia 17 — The X-Men really seems to have this Queen's East routine down pat, having won their first three games by less than a touchdown.

Steve Snyder passed 38 times for 396 yards and hit two biggies in the first half, a 52-yard TD to Peter Giannikipolous and a 43-yard strike to Pat Coristine shortly before halftime that set up a one-yard scoring run. Henoc Muamba (eight tackles) must have had a pretty good game; it seemed like he was down for every tackle that forced Concordia into a kicking situation.

The Coristine catch came three plays after the Stingers (0-4) were offsides on a second-and-10, giving X a free play. Snyder ended making the inchage on a third-and-1, giving them a fresh set of downs they availed themselves of more than fully.

No. 8 Laurier 30, McMaster 14 — The Golden Hawks defence gave up no touchdowns, Dillon Heap ran all over the Marauders like a purple sock in a load of whites and the offence was good enough.

Since Laurier won, that makes it OK to joke that Evan Pawliuk passed for three touchdowns in his first start — two to Laurier, one to McMaster (Stephen Lynch had a pick-six for the Marauders). Heap and Shamawd Chambers each had 100-yard games and both caught an 80-yard-plus pass, while Alex Anthony had a two-TD game (the second was a fumble recovery).

McMaster was held to 254 yards as Kyle Quinlan went the distance at QB instead of Ryan Fantham. The Marauders look consigned to being a 4-4 team again, unless they upset Guelph.

Laurier (3-1) faces Ottawa (2-2) in the Oct. 3 University Rush game. They have a hard act to follow.

No. 9 Saint Mary's 26, Sherbrooke 23 — The Huskies pulled out a game where the lead changed hands three times in the final 8½ minutes, when Jack Creighton scored on one-yard drive to cap a 68-yard, 73-second victory drive.

Fittingly, since the game had more flags than the G20 summit (30 penalties for 270 yards), two Sherby pass-interference calls helped the Huskies' cause on the final drive. The officiating was probably a pain in the rectum for both teams.

For his part, Creighton (18-of-27, 198 yards) was pick-free and also had a beauty 43-yard completion to Jahmeek Murray on a second-and-16 early in the fourth quarter. Who know if SMU gets a shot at the end if they do not convert there.

Since SMU was in tough to slow down Pascal Fils (34 rushes for 205 yards, two TDs), they were often in bad field position. Their three TD drives covered 102, 90 and 68 yards.

It feels like Sherbrooke (2-2), which was up 16-0 and took a 23-19 lead with 2:25 left, released its boot from SMU's throat. They had a 10-play sustained drive in the third quarter result in no points when a 41-yard field goal hit the upright. Of course, they gave up a sack on the previous play (a cardinal sin in the red zone), making the kick tougher for William Dion. Sherby also had to take a safety in the fourth quarter on a possession which began its own 30-yard line. They got the ball back and scored, sure, but doing that from such field possession seems monstrously inefficient.


Waterloo 49, Windsor 0
— Hey, why are you laughing?

Luke Balch accounted for four Warriors TDs, Tyler Smith had a 33-yard interception return and god knows when was the last time Waterloo pitched a shutout. Rookie tailback Matt Socholotiuk also had 134 yards, including one broken-play run where he caught the ball after a shotgun snap ricocheted off Balch.

Windsor coach Mike Morencie's Millenesque tenure might be drawing to a close. The Lancers have been outscored 119-7 the past two games. Sam Malian only had two passes for Windsor, which makes one wonder if he was re-injured.

Canada West

Regina 28, UBC 17
— T-Birds QB Billy Greene had a rough day, fumbling the ball away once and throwing an interception inside his own 35-yard line, leading to 14 points for the Rams.

Regina (2-2) cobbled together some offence with Cale Inglis gaining 87 yards and scoring his first Canada West TD, while Graham Mosiondz chipped in 55.

UBC had a 393-375 edge in offence, with Greene putting up on-paper-good numbers, passing 34 times for 296 yards.

Perri Scarcelli averaged 43.1 yards punting and was 4-for-4 kicking. No wonder the Saskatchewan Roughriders like him (although can he do that rugby punt on the run like Jamie Boreham?)

AUS/QUFL Interlock

McGill 49, Mount Allison 27
— As noted up top, Hamilton was kind of a big deal, rushing for 257 yards and counting another 95 receiving (85 on one play, mind you). Cedric Bishop had two of the Redmen's five INTs.

Gary Ross also helped make it show for the fans in Sackville, scoring in multiple ways with a 25-yard TD catch and a 90-yard punt return TD. Mount Allison is in tough to start this season.

Incidentally, what was up with McGill having a convert and a field goal blocked and twice failing to get the kick away on the point after?
One wonders if St. FX fans will chant, "Nice shot ... Ngot!" after 7-foot-2 newcomer Riiny Ngot swats a shot out of bounds. It has an early-'90s retro ring, don't you think?

Mark Wacyk has more details about Ngot. Suffice to say, St. FX will not be playing small-ball as much as it did last season, when it occasionally put out lineups with no one taller than 6-foot-6 on its way to being a tournament team:
"Ngot's journey in the U.S. took him initially to Notre Dame (Ma.) Prep in 2006-07 and then to SUNY Orange, a JUCO in New York State, in '07-08 where he used up his first of post-secondary eligibility. Ngot then accepted a scholarship at NCAA Division II University of Bridgeport, where fellow Sudanese big man and former NBA shot blocking specialist Manute Bol once played in the '80s. Ngot injured his knee very early in his very first game with Bridgeport last season, which sidelined him for the rest of the year, granting him a medical redshirt season. He arrives at X ready to play immediately with four full seasons of eligbility remaining.

"With his length, no doubt Ngot will be an impact player defensively for the get-go and it will be interesting to observe how Coach Steve Konchalski integrates him into the X system, historically predicated on full-court, pressure D and transition offence. Konchalski first saw Ngot in high school at the NIKE camp and expects the 7-footer to be able to run the floor well and move into a prominent role almost immediately."

Here is some good background on Ngot, via the Middletown (N.Y.) Times Herald-Record: He is survivor of the Sudanese civil war, one of the some 20,000 Lost Boys:
"Ngot was 11 and staying with his grandparents at their farm near the city of Wau when the war — mainly over religion, politics and economics — hit the farming village. Riiny's parents were thought to be dead. After a brief stay in a displacement camp, Riiny and his 8-year-old sister, Akuol, started walking. Soon they met up with others on the journey through jungles, into parts of the Sahara desert and its sub-regions, into Ethiopia and across a treacherous river, the Gilo, before reaching safety at a refugee camp in Kenya."

7-footer joins X-Men (
Ottawa definitely made the right call:
"Without (injured Jordan) Wilson-Ross to carry the load, the Gee Gees would normally turn to Brendan Gillanders, but he didn't make the trip to Toronto.

A car accident in Navan, Ont., last Monday took the lives of three kids Gillanders grew up with. Gillanders made the very difficult decision to skip the game and attend the funeral, a decision he made with his coach's blessing." Sun Media

That might be the difference between CIS and the NCAA. It is hard to picture a U.S. coach, with all the pressure they're under, letting a key contributor miss a game on compassionate grounds. Gillanders is No. 2 on Ottawa's depth chart at tailback (although fullback Craig Bearss can play either position and rushed eight times for a team-high 68 yards last night) and he's also their kickoff returner.

The Ottawa newspapers have plenty about the three people taken from us, 19-year-olds Brad Rivington and Chris Sabean and 16-year-old Ginny Marko.
No one anticipated it was possible for Canada West to become more of a clusterfudge, but there it is:
Alberta 27, Saskatchewan 7.
The one kicker for the Green Dogs is that a pair of Saskatchewanians, Mike Wasylyniuk (89 yards receiving, including a TD and a catch down to the 1-yard line) and Jason Hetherington (three interceptions), helped administer a outright spanking. The Huskies fans on the dot-org are apoplectic in light of the fact Saskatchewan was coming off a bye week. The Golden Bears might have really embarrassed them, if not for what one sportscaster called "musical interceptions," since it threw three INTs.

It's the first win coach Jerry Friesen's Golden Bears have had over Saskatchewan since Oct. 23, 2004 — before the Boston Red Sox reversed the Curse! — and it throws Canada West into an uproar. Alberta flat-out beat Saskatchewan. They also paid No. 4 Calgary a huge favour, since the team which dealt the Dinos a loss has now lost itself.

Here are records and the remaining schedules for anyone who wants to take an educated guess at how this conference shakes out:
  • Calgary (2-1): Simon Fraser, at UBC, Manitoba, Regina, at Alberta
  • U of S (2-1): at Simon Fraser, UBC, at Manitoba, Alberta, at Regina
  • Simon Fraser (2-1): at Calgary, Saskatchewan,at Regina, UBC, at Manitoba
  • Alberta (2-2): At Manitoba, Regina, at Saskatchewan, Calgary
  • Regina (1-2): At UBC, Simon Fraser, at Alberta, at Calgary, Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba (1-2): Alberta, at Calgary, Saskatchewan, at UBC, Simon Fraser
  • UBC (1-2): Regina, Calgary, at Saskatchewan, at Simon Fraser, Manitoba
Manitoba, which is on its bye week, would seem to have the toughest schedule over the weeks of Oct. 3-17.

Canada West

Alberta 27, No. 3 Saskatchewan 7 —
Final stats are unavailable, but Tendayi Jozzy (23 rushes for 119 yards and a pair of scores) churned up yardage vs. an overworked Huskies defence. Alberta seems a bit like the team it just beat, Simon Fraser, maybe not too high-octane on offence, but it can run the ball, pass when needed (Quade Armstrong passed 23 times for 182 yards, a decent 7.9 average, notwithstanding those three picks) and solid special teams led by Hugh O'Neill, who made a 44-yard field goal and had a 51-yard punt with no return in this game.

Anyway, it should be more about Alberta delivering a serious beatdown, but, yeah, when one of the country's traditional powers gets thumped, all the questions will be about them. Saskatchewan, which will probably still get benefit of the doubt from Top Ten voters (hard to see how No. 5 Queen's is put ahead of them, given the general impression of their respective conferences), seems to have gone away from what it's done in the past. Thirty-three yards rushing is not exactly exerting their will on opponents like the Brian Towriss-coached teams we knew and loved. They've scored two offensive touchdowns in three games if you take away the overtime series vs. Calgary in the opener.

Huskies Football Outsider will have much more to say about this in the morning, although it might be rated NC-17.


Ottawa 35, U of T 15 —
The big takeaway is the Gee-Gees' lack of polish might have contributed to feature tailback Jordan Wilson-Ross being knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury.

Ottawa had a fumbled snap on a third-and-short gamble in the first quarter. Wilson-Ross (seven rushes, 41 yards) scooped up the ball and attempted to make chicken salad out of chicken feed, only to get stacked up by the Varsity Blues defence. He came right off the field, apparently heaved his helmet in frustration and was on the sidelines with his arm in a sling.

Beyond that, this bore a faint resemblance to a Queen's-Ottawa game from the O-QIFC days at the end of the last century. The Golden Gaels would keep it close for three quarters before the Gee-Gees started to get some big plays by dint of having superior athletes. It was still a two-score game early in the fourth quarter when Cyril Adjeity (five catches, 162 yards) turned a short pass into a 71-yard touchdown pass, then got behind Toronto for a 66-yard score. Brad Sinopoli (12-of-21 for 215 yards, seven rushes for another 66) showed flashes of his usual strong, moving well in the pocket against a decent pass rush. Ottawa's passing numbers were goosed by those two long scoring plays; otherwise it was below five yards per attempt.

U of T (0-4) competed well. The big head-scratcher remains which QB should play. Jansen Shrubb mopped up and finished with a better yards-per-attempt (9.4, passing 17 times for 159) than Andrew Gillis (5.5 on 22 for 122). However, U of T's best running play is Gillis sprinting out of the shotgun, almost like a single-wing tailback.

Renfrew native Ben Sharpe (three catches, 101 yards) scored his first CIS touchdown on an 83-yard pass in window-dressing time, stretching over two Gee-Gees and outracing them to the end zone. His brother, Willie Sharpe, the defensive back who also punts, presumably is replaying a near-interception he had in the end zone. He also broke off a 27-yard run on a fake field goal. U of T also pulled off a successful onside kick. The Varsity Blues like their bag of tricks. They will get a win yet.
  • No. 9 Saint Mary's knows about Sherbrooke tailback Pascal Fils, even if no one west of Quebec does. The Huskies and Vert et Or is in an intriguing interlocking matchup, to say the least. (Metro Canada)

  • Laval lineman Louis-David Gagne is on a mission. (Le Soleil)

  • It's probably too early to know the nature of Ottawa running back Jordan Wilson-Ross' injury, but there were initial (initial, mind you) worries of a "cracked collarbone." (Sun Media)

  • There is a rookie of the year award, but if there was a newcomer of the year award, Alberta's Mike Wasylyniuk would get some consideration. His 42-yard catch that set up the Golden Bears' first touchdown vs. Saskatchewan was a stomach-punch. (Sun Media)

  • Is the QUFL too strong for the AUS? One reporter thinks so. (Rue Frontenac)

  • Regina running back Graham Mosiondz has been to hell and back rehabbing a surgically repaired shoulder. The Rams also get LB Brandon Ganne (sprained back) back from injury. (Regina Leader-Post)

  • More praise for Saskatchewan Roughriders wideout Rob Bagg (Queen's). (Regina Leader-Post)

  • Windsor has given Sam Malian a clean bill of health for Saturday's game vs. Waterloo. (Windsor Star)
  • It is catch-as-catch-can with pre-season scores, but there's a few worth sharing from Friday:

    • Defending national champion UNB beat McGill 7-6.
    • Alberta, on Ian Barteaux's OT goal, beat Saskatchewan 3-2 at the Huskies' home tournament.
    • Apparently, talking up Windsor in Friday's roundup jinxed the Lancers, who lost 6-3 at home to Carleton (which played last weekend). Derek Wells had two goals for the Ravens, giving him five in three pre-season games.

  • Former Medicine Hat Tigers star Daine Todd is itching to make an impact for the aforementioned Varsity Reds. (Daily Gleaner)
  • Mark Wacyk shares some thoughts about the "flexible scholarship" notion:
    " properly implement a widespread scholarship program from which every program at every school can benefit, a cultural discontinuity is required that changes the approach at the leadership levels from one of relying solely on University funding and passive philanthropy to a pro-active market-driven approach that focuses on the needs of partners (alumni, students, business, community) and delivers value to that end. Or else the new rules will sound great in theory but in practice have little to no impact on keeping student/athletes at home in this 'competitive marketplace.' "
Howard Tsumura, as Neate linked to earlier, has a very interesting take on Simon Fraser's move to the NCAA and what it means for four players in their fourth year who would now not be eligible for 2010-2011 play:
However, because of the four-year eligibility rule in the NCAA versus the five-year window in the CIS, the team will now graduate more than half its roster after this season.

And what hurts the program most is that this season's fourth-year group -- considered one of the most talented recruiting classes in Canadian history -- is facing its Clan swan song a full season ahead of schedule.
The players in question are Robyn Buna, Kate Hole, Matteke Hutzler, and Laurelle Weigl: four of the best players in the country who, if they want to keep playing together, must all transfer to another CIS school.

Buna is quoted as saying that it's not that simple, for the (entirely true) reason that they are four distinct people and they don't necessarily all have the same idea: "I guess that [transferring] would be a possibility if we all went to one school. But everyone has a different take on whether they want to keep playing basketball, if they want to transfer, or if they want to stay here and study."

But it's fun to speculate harmlessly, especially (as coach Bruce Langford says) that these four players, or any subset of them, would immediately make most teams that much better. Assuming that none of them would have to sit out--that should be the case, but who knows--there are a few transfer destinations for the four. Tsumura brings up a fascinating case for those of us here in the land of OpenText:
[There] are several schools that make sense, the most curious being the Waterloo Warriors, where a very similar system is being run by head coach Tyler Slipp, a former Clan assistant.
(Similar system if not similar results. About the only thing statistically similar about SFU and UW is how fast they run their offence: both teams were in the top 10 last year in possessions per game, with Waterloo at #4.)

We covered off Slipp last summer; in his first year UW went 7-15 and had some big question marks: getting to the line, forcing turnovers...just to name a few. Whether or not Slipp has the influence to get any of these B.C.- or Alberta-based ballers to move east and improve Waterloo is up in the air (although Hutzler is from Ontario, if that matters). If my math's right, three or four Warriors will exhaust their eligibility after this year, so he'll be looking for new players anyway.

(By the way, think about how bizarre this situation will be for Bruce Langford, who's in the unique position of losing this quartet but without any fear that they'll be playing against him. It's one of the few situations where encouraging your players to transfer elsewhere won't hurt your own program.)

It bears watching, at the very least, because even with all the Bronze Baby-related achievements these four have, athletes are driven to play and to compete, wherever they can. And because it's not every day that the starting lineup for the national champions are about to wander the earth like Jules in Pulp Fiction, looking for a flock they can shepherd to victory.

UPDATE (Oct. 4): Kate Hole's first blog post (from Oct. 1) of the 2009-10 season indicates she isn't going anywhere (and that she has several months of built-up alliteration she needs to get out all at once). Just to cherry-pick two quotes: "It is, I admit, a hard concept to grasp – having to identify oneself as something other than ‘varsity’ or ‘a basketball player’ a whole year earlier than previously expected" and "for myself, as well as three other fourth-years, senior status has set its sights on us a season sooner than we supposed".
Queen's killing Homecoming — excuse me, moving it to spring — was never about a street party, much less a football game.

It was about how one extreme breeds the other. This weekend typically would be homecoming at Queen's, with the Golden Gaels' football game vs. the York Lions serving as a centrepiece.

Instead, it's just another regular-season game, even as "Kingston hoteliers report strong business from Queen's graduates who plan to come to Kingston this weekend" (Whig-Standard) for what the kids are calling 'Fauxcoming.' Since the York-Queen's game figures to be a cakewalk, they can't all be coming for the game. The street party on Aberdeen St. is on like the fall of Saigon, which is what it has come to resemble.

What we had at Richardson Stadium was too good to lose. As Duane Rollins noted at the time of the decision to scrap Homecoming last November, "... we in Canada don't do nearly enough to take full advantage of homecoming weekends. Queen's was an exception." The mature reaction is to understand why something so valuable was lost.

It is a laugh riot to see the lack of perspective, on all sides. Nothing will change until those at either extreme get over themselves and admit they are each full of brown stuff. At one extreme is people carrying out the Ontario government's agenda of being more in people's faces than it has been at any point in relevant memory. The other extreme is people who are just out for a good time, come hell or a Ford Focus going up in flames.

The students and the partiers have acted like idiots and it's yob culture and a mob mentality run amok. They might be the least to blame in a fiasco which will probably only be curtailed when someone gets killed, but it will persist until someone tries to understand it, instead of just trying to sweep it under the rug.

The government does a lot for the populace, but you can see traces of its high-handedness in everyday life in Ontario. All sorts of admittedly anecdotal examples abound. The volume of speeding tickets handed out has increased markedly in the past five years, although people are not necessarily driving any faster. A community group cannot hold a bake sale or a potluck dinner without getting a visit from a health inspector (seriously). High schools suspend students at the drop of a hat (this is anecdotal, but at one of my previous jobs, I had to edit a story about suspension statistics for the local school board, and the numbers worked out to more than one person-day per student, really). You go to a Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre and those staffing the beer concession wear "We ID Under 30" buttons, rendering service-sector workers into rent-a-cops.

Why? They can. Might equals right, especially for a province which has seen its industrial base decline and needs the revenue. There is also probably trace amounts of the creeping corporatism which is hijacking higher education.

There are many people who service that agenda: The Queen's administration, Kingston police, the knobs on city councils past and present such as Bill Glover and Don Rogers and their echo chamber of fusspots who believe a city's relationship with its university should be a one-way street.

Please understand that this has turned universities to paranoid public relations vehicles. It's on them to realize this is total BS and show some leadership, rather than goose-stepping along. Universities are on the hot seat over any damaging, negative publicity, more so than at any point in recent memory. They're worried about applications dropping and losing funding rather than, you know, understanding that young people have feel like they're being trusted. If they're not, they will push back, hard.

All of this is heightened further since it is so easy to report anything, click a cellphone camera, upload it to Facebook and watch it spread like wildfire.

That might explain why universities are so quick to come down on bad behaviour, without necessarily going to the root of the problem.

You saw it last week when Carleton University suspended its women's soccer team for two games over — well, no one is exactly sure. They just slapped a label on it — "hazing incident" — and hoped people would accept that it was many times worse than what has gone on for decades with jocks and alcohol, even though it was probably only worse by a small percentage. (That is not to say the students didn't deserve some repercussions.)

It's a similar story at Queen's, where the admin folks are acting in this top-down, we-know-what-is-best way. Just have homecoming in May and go to bed with a clean conscience.

Never mind that it took the most craven way out by only trying to craft the most cynical Official Response. What was Oscar Wilde's great line about cynics? They know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The football game was a great conduit for the Queen's spirit, as a young woman named Stephanie Fusco noted at So Bitter It's Sweet:
"Each year, I have attended the Homecoming football game ... Each year, I have had an immense surge of pride at seeing the most senior of alumni, eyes brimming with tears, being driven around the track at Richardson Stadium in golf carts while waving to thousands of cheering students ... during a recent conversation with some fourth year and recently graduated students, we all agreed that the best part of Homecoming is the interaction we get to have with the alumni – whether at the football game, the QP, walking around campus, or even, as the case may be, during kegstands on Aberdeen. This year, I’m faced with the reality that I may never get to experience this myself, and that this very special moment where we are movingly connected as students with the alumni is gone. I will never get to experience the tradition of Homecoming. In fact, I may be relegated to doing the Oil Thigh alone in my bedroom each September to retain my connection to the school."
That is something to share with the ivory-tower types who were constitutionally incapable of connecting with people and hoping to push them in a positive direction. It's on a scale a million times smaller, but it calls to mind George W. Bush after Sept. 11 only being able to offer Americans, "Go shopping."

The Queen's heirarchy cannot honestly believe shifting homecoming is a remedy. That is like some latter-day Dorothy tapping her ruby-red slippers together and saying, "I want them to stay home ... I want them to stay home." Say it all you want, it won't make it happen, twitbags.

Meantime, the Kingston media seems to range between a soft paternalism and (ha!) appealing to reason. No offence, but that is just party line-towing.

Throwing out loaded terms such as "booze-drenched" and "disruptive, illegal and increasingly dangerous street parties" in a tsk-tsk tone doesn't help. That kind of comes off as pandering to the easily shocked set. What does it do to increase understanding of how to fix this mess? The same goes for The Queen's Journal saying, "Let's use the sense that got us into Queen's."

That is propping up a subtle form of age discrimination. Like Chris Hitchens says, "To be young in America" — or America Jr. — "is to be constantly told to buckle up, wear a bike helmet, waer a condom, avoid risk, watch your intake, show your ID at all times, and respect the world of political correctness and safe sex that curmudgeons like me have so considerately left to you." Small wonder that those raised in a don't-do-that environment push back. Shame on those who ignore such a reality.

Queen's, at some point, has to address its history of children of privilege acting out in Kingston like it's their personal country club. The attitude is so ingrained at the school — work hard, play hard. You gotta be a little selfish to make it in this life, but a small minority have taken it too far at Queen's, with people who have no formal connection to the school jumping on the bandwagon. You only rent the Queen's tradition for four years and leave it in good condition for the next tenant; you don't own it.

Students, especially those who think the Aberdeen St. party is a tradition (it isn't, speaking as someone who lived there in 1997-98), have lost sight of their role. You have a bunch of children, mostly white and upper middle class, rebelling against nothing. These kids who are out there overturning cars and getting sloppy drunks are the same ones who will be defending the status quo in another 10 or 15 years. It affirms those who push hardest against the established order usually end up thriving within it eventually.

It is hypocritical for the university to not address this and get people to realize they are something bigger than themselves. Students need an outlet to blow off steam and the old guard in Kingston are just going to have to manage the situation. They have failed miserably.

This is not a sports story, per se, but the hysterical ignorance has affected the Queen's football team in a negative way. They deserve better. The university threw a great football tradition under the bus because it was afraid to be a leader in its own community. That sucks.

One of the subtle touches of the homecoming game is that Queen's is that graduating players are introduced before the game begins, rather than the starting offence or defence. It might be the only time someone who is a backup or a special-teamer hears his name called on the Richardson Stadium PA. They won't get that this season or next.

Current fifth-year players such as Jimmy Allin, Dan Brannagan, Scott Valberg and Matt Vickers have sacrificed too much to have it taken away because some people were too selfish to see the big picture.

Queen's says it's about leaders. Instead, it has struck a blow for being a selfish, short-sighted follower. That's not the university many alumni attended, nor is it one they wish to support in the future, beyond cheering for the football team and other varsity squads to kick ass with class.
  • The San Diego Chargers will give Vaughn Martin (Western) a lot of time this weekend against the Miami Dolphins.
    "Vaughn Martin got his first significant snaps as an NFL player. He found out about what this game's about and, hopefully, he'll be a week better." — coach Norv Turner
    (Miami Herald)

  • QB Benoit Groulx might be a no-go again when No. 1 Laval hosts Bishop's on Sunday. Groulx is the third Hec Crighton Trophy winner in a row to be bothered by injuries the following season. It's like there's a curse. (Le Soleil)

  • A former Concordia quarterback who is now a personal trainer, Mike Gough, is the kingmaker in how rush end Shomari Williams decided to continue his football career at Queen's. Gough played for Golden Gaels coach Pat Sheahan with the Stingers in the 1990s. (Kingston Whig-Standard)

  • Long-time OUA fans probably figured this out already: McMaster defensive end Steve Cecchini is indeed a relative of Andy Cecchini, who was the starting running back for the 1991 national championship Laurier team which included a young wideout named, dunh dunh dah, Stefan Ptaszek. (Hamilton Spectator)

  • Alberta is sticking with Quade Armstrong as the starting QB for its home game on Friday night vs. No. 3 Saskatchewan. (The Gateway)

  • Western's passing combo of Michael Faulds and Jesse Bellamy are Guelph boys, so you know they are fired up. Nice to have Greg Layson gracing the sports section. (Guelph Mercury)

  • The two coaches who meet in the University Rush game, No. 2 Western's Greg Marshall and No. 10 Guelph's Kyle Walters, certainly fill a reporter's notebook. It should be a good matchup; the weather is a big X-factor. (Guelph Mercury)

  • Two up-and-comers who have made strides with the youngish Ottawa Gee-Gees are linebacker and leading tackler Trevor Seal and running back-kick returner Brendan Gillanders. Both played for the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Lancers in Ottawa's east end. (Orleans Star)
  • Whatt about the four starters at Simon Fraser (Laurelle Weigl, Matteke Hutzler, Robyn Buna and Kate Hole) who would have been fifth-year players in 2010-11? They're each in a jam. Rob Pettapiece has expanded on this. (Little Man on Campus)

  • Former Laurentian Lady Vees all-Canadian guard Carolyn Sturgess (Swords), sister of LU men's coach Shawn Swords, will be remembered in a celebration of life on Oct. 2 in Ottawa. Sturgess died Sept. 13 after a battle with breast cancer.

    The Sun Media story also includes information for anyone wishing to donate to a trust fund set up for Sturgess' two sons, Mason and Matthew.

  • Windsor men's coach Chris Oliver on losing out on a visit from Georgia Tech of the ACC: "We've got a pretty young group of guys so we're not disappointed to say we've got a little extra practice time but I certainly wouldn't trade that for the excitement of playing Georgia Tech." (Windsor Star)
Maybe it wasn't wishful thinking that Simon Fraser bolting would have a desired effect
" 'When the NCAA changed its constitution to allow Canadian schools in, that was a key catalyst for the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) to look at making some changes,' said Clint Hamilton, the director of athletics and recreation at the University of Victoria and president of the CIS. 'We have a flexible scholarship in the works and a motion will be put forward for the CIS membership to vote on in June.'

"If the flexible scholarship model is passed, it will give Canadian schools a fighting chance at keeping the best talent at home.

"The system would work something like the salary cap in the National Hockey League. Universities could offer a full scholarship to one or two players and use the remainder of their budget to pay partial scholarships for other players."

" 'We will have to do a better job of increasing the athletic scholarships and that will mean more fundraising,' Hamilton said. 'We want to keep our athletes in Canada and if we do, that will raise the level of competition and make our product better.' "
The proof will come next June. Perhaps the top-end talent like Oshiomogho Atogwe (the current St. Louis Rams safety who attended Stanford) will never opt for a Canadian school, but there are plenty whom it would be nice to see staying at home instead of going to a smaller Division I school that people have to Google.

(That's right. It's "write the best long-winded headline like they do in The New York Times" day.)

Canadian schools ponder increased scholarships to keep student-athletes (Ron Rauch, Victoria Times-Colonist)
There's been some discussion online that Simon Fraser was being investigated over player eligibility. QB Caleb Clark, who has split time with Bernd Dittrich, played in two games last fall when he was with Western Michigan in the NCAA.

If Clark's working toward his MBA, an advanced degree, he should have been OK to play right from the start of the season, so long as SFU dotted the I's and crossed the T's. If not, then they might be sanction.
"The Clan have been battling an eligibility issue this past week concerning quarterback Caleb Clark, a Calgary native who is a transfer from Western Michigan University.

" 'It’s been a tough week for Caleb, but we think it's going to be okay,' says head coach Dave Johnson. 'Bernd Dittrich is going to start. But Caleb is going to be with us on the trip.'
Let's not jump the gun believing SFU will go from 2-1 to 0-3 until all the facts are in. It could happen.

Ironically, Western Michigan is in the Mid-American Conference with Toledo, the school Western QB Michael Faulds supposedly played a few snaps for in 2004, although no one's produced evidence of such.


Football: UBC Thunderbirds face hard-throwing Regina
(Vancouver Sun)
A mention at Sports Illustrated does not come not come along every day, so in that spirit it must be passed along Western Mustangs' Danielle Hilliard is featured as's cheerleader of the week.
"The most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to me during a game is: Before a game, we were warming up on the grass and I did the splits right beside an ant hill. They climbed up my leg and as I freaked out and tried to get them off, they all started to bite me. I had red bumps all the way up the inside of my leg from ant bites. Needless to say, it wasn't an attractive look in my cheer skirt. I was embarrassed to do anything during the entire game."
There is an extensive photo gallery people might find kind of appealing.

It's good publicity for Ms. Hilliard and probably a pretty proud moment for her family, friends and the Western cheerleading team, so please spare the jokes about how someone who is blond, from Toronto and likes The Hills must stick out like a sore thumb at Western. (Exposed underwear, though?)

Those cheerleaders are pretty hard workers, and pretty frickin' fearless to do some of those stunts. Let's focus there, notwithstanding what one might think about a respected sports publication posting photo galleries for office workers to salivate over in lieu of good writing and reporting.

Cheerleader of the Week: University of Western Ontario's Danielle (Sports Illustrated)
Highlights from this week's OUA football coaches' conference call:
  • Western coach Greg Marshall noted the No. 2 Mustangs opted not to practise on grass ahead of their visit to Guelph, which could be an issue since there is a 40% chance of rain on Saturday (1 p.m., The Score, liveblog). His reasoning was, "It just wasn't practical."

    Moving practice is usually a pain in the ass, logistically, so one can see where he was coming from. Western also won at Guelph in the 2007 Yates Cup when the field would have been fairly chewed-up.

  • Guelph's Kyle Walters joking about facing Western's big offensive line: "We're going to plan on putting 12 in the box and hope Western QB (Michael) Faulds has an off-day." He was kidding.

  • Injuries, injuries: Laurier's Gary Jeffries said QB Luke Thompson is likely done for the season ... Waterloo's Evan Martin is "day-to-day" with an elbow injury, but Windsor QB Sam Malian will play in the UW-UW matchup. The Warriors are getting middle linebacker Jordan Verdone, a potential all-Canadian, back from a shoulder injury.

  • McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek noted his 2-1 Marauders have a "bit of a quarterback controversy, a bit of a quarterback competition" between Ryan Fantham and Kyle Quinlan.

  • Laurier's Jeffries, on coaching vs. Ptaszek, his former offensive coordinator: "I think the world of him, but we'll knock heads on Saturday, just like we do on the golf course. I can handle Stef on the golf course, not so sure about Saturday.

Fuller, more fleshed-out quotes below the jump:

Western's Greg Marshall and Guelph's Kyle Walters

Marshall, on expectations of a scoring battle: "I would expect there's going to be scoring and it's going to be weather-related. If we get a good dry day, there's a chance there could be a lot of points. Nick Fitzgibbon is as good a running back as there is in our conference, he's as good a pass receiver as he is running the ball. They have (speedy wideout) Jedd Gardner, some good possesion receivers, and Justin Dunk is tough to stop.

"Offensively, we want to control the football, get first downs. Probably Kyle would agree with me, you don't want to give the opposing offence too many opportunities, one reason we were successful down in Windsor (in a 60-7 win) was that the offence had so many opportunities."

On the atmosphere (it is Guelph's homecoming):

Marshall: "I am from Guelph, I didn't play there but I did do a lot of training there. I always look forward to going back to Guelph. There will be contingent of Marshalls in the stands cheering for Western. Two years ago, when we played Guelph in the Yates Cup, it was a hostile crowd, they had the snow-fence around our bench, but it was one of the best college atmospheres that I've been to in a long time. I know Guelph will be loud, but what we have to do is block out the crowd."

Walters: "Well, two years ago, it wasn't much of an advantage for us, but it was as good an environment as I've been around, and that includes all those years in Hamilton (as a Tiger-Cats player) ... ultimately, when the whistle blows, it's just football."

Marshall, on the game also being a homecoming for three Mustangs offensive starters, QB Michael Faulds, wideout Jesse Bellamy and tackle Zach Pollari: "Those are three outstanding players who are all big contributors. Kyle's not letting too many of those Guelph guys slip out anymore, but fortunately, five years ago, we got some good ones."

Marshall, on the Mustangs going from field turf to natural grass: "We would have liked to have some practices on grass. It's not easy to do with all our other outdoor teams needing to practice. It just wasn't practical. We've told the kids, 'Bring different pairs of footwear, try them out, figure out what works.' "

Walters, on the season to date: "Certainly based on the first three weeks, our philosophy is keep their offence off the field. The best defence for us is to control the ball, keep their offence on the bench. Offensively, we've been doing a great job limiting turnovers, continuing drives (picking up second downs). The one area we have to improve with is penalties. We took ourselves out of three scoring drives last week, we ended up kicking six field goals."

On the game becoming a battle of ranked teams: "We don't put too much weight into that. The only ranking I've talked about is that the number-two team in the country is coming in and we have some stuff to clean up."

On containing Da'Riva, Western's tailback platoon of Nathan Riva (No. 16) and Da'Shawn Thomas (No. 2): "We're going to plan on putting 12 in the box and hope Faulds has an off-day ... No, I mean, therein lies the rob. If you jam the box and play cover-zero, Faulds and those receivers are going to skin you over the top. You have to mix it up and try to get some pressure. Those tailbacks are going to get their yards, we have to be sure tacklers and limit them. (Gains of) seven and eight are acceptable, but 40s and 50s are not acceptable. We have to get them down, make sure we limit the yardage."

Marshall, on the sophomore Riva: "He is incredibly fast. He accelerates as quickly as anyone we have. This year he's got a little more weight on, a little more physical. Some of the things people in Windsor told us when we were recruiting him have turned out to be false. They said that he was not really a running back, more of a receiver or a defensive back."

Walters, on his running back, Fitzgibbon: "He's more of patient runner, doesn't have the flat-out speed of a Nathan Riva. He moves well laterally, can make people miss in the open field.

Queen's Pat Sheahan and York's Mike McLean

Sheahan, on how he feels about being 3-0:
"Fortunate. We feel very fortunate."

Sheahan, on a procedural change Queen's made after giving up 49 points in Week 1 to Guelph, with defensive coordinator Pat Tracey coaching from the sideline instead of the spotters' booth: "When your coordinator stays up top or comes down, there's a give-and-take. For the past few years, Pat has enjoyed being in the perch. We've had some turnover in coaches, our linebacker coach (Chris White) left and he was a great gameday organizer. Ryan Bechmanis, another assistant, our defensive backs coach, is also special teams coordinator so he has other duties. So Pat coaches the bench while Ryan and Bob Vespaziani (defensive coach and a long-time CFL assistant) are up in the booth."

On reserve QBs Justin Chapdelaine and Tom Howes, who filled in for Dan Brannagan the past two weeks: "Not many pure freshmen step into CIS and rip it apart. For the time Justin has been here, I will say this, he is one of the better-prepared QBs I have had the privilege to work with. He has talked more football sitting around the dinner table than most kids will in their first three years of college football just because of who his dad (B.C. Lions asst. coach Jacques Chapdelaine) is ... Tom Howes is a big ol' country boy, he's a gunslinger, he can throw the ball 70 yards, but he hasn't had a lot of snaps."

McLean, on York's injuries: "We're pretty beat up. We're a young squad which is not real deep. You lose 8-10 starters it gets a little bothersome. It's been tough to run a proper practice. On the bright side, we have some young kids who are getting some time and are starting to make progress.

On defence, some of the young guys (first-year defensive ends) Joe Shyminsky, Colton Bonnah, Justin Brear, plus the linebacker, Robert Yeomans, we're going to be getting this week, are all looking really, really well. (Receiver) William Austin has been very good for us. The biggest one has been Nick Coutu, he's a sophomore quarterback but he's playing like a junior or senior."

On emerging tailback Jacob Appiah: "Last season, he played a full OVFL season (with the Etobicoke Eagles) and came in pretty banged-up. Near the end of the year, he had two excellent practices and we saw the things can do ... he's just breaking into the league and we're ecstatic with where's he at, so far."

On rebuilding: "So many things that need to start being done right on and off the field that it is hard to pick one. This is really and truly the first year of a building phase. We're happy with what we've brought in. We're under no illusions. It's going to take another year or two to get the numbers to where they need to be ... we've got some scabs and warts and until we get rid of them, we have to wear them proudly."

Laurier's Gary Jeffries and McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek (Laurier is playing on Mac's campus for the first time since '02):

Jeffries, on Luke Thompson's status:
"It's a very serious knee injury. Have not had the MRI. The likelihood of his return this year is very slim."

On new starter Evan Pawliuk, who will be backed up by freshman Dan Daigle (who is from Stoney Creek): "The experience factor is big, but we're confident in the young kid, good arm, he's fairly mobile and he's quite bright. He sees the field quite well ... We were concerned (with an ankle injury Pawliuk suffered). We had to get him some reps in practice. He's been good all week. He got taped up. He's had a good workweek."

"(Pawliuk) throws the ball extremely well. He's got a stronger arm than Luke. The receivers have been catching the ball from him all season long."

Ptaszek, on whether Ryan Fantham or the younger Kyle Quinlan starts (each got equal time vs. York last Saturday): "There is a bit of a quarterback controversy, a quarterback competition with our club. I think we'lll name a starter for Coach Jeffries around 12:59 p.m. Saturday."

Ptaszek, on his young secondary facing a Laurier pass-receiving corps with Shamawd Chambers, Josh Bishop, Alex Anthony, Saxon Lindsey and Dillon Heap: "Top to bottom, they are the most athletic receiving corps in the conference if not the country. They are not only great receivers are good blockers. Our young kids are going to have to get off the blocks, get away from those veteran guys. One thing that might be to our benefit is that young kids sometimes don't realize how big these games are. They fly around, oblivious. I'm not sure they appreciate what they're getting into."

Ptaszek, on last season's 29-0 playoff loss to Laurier: "We've looked at it. They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, we took a look at what was going on. They have great players, who are going to make great plays. Given the QB situation, the line of scrimmage ll be even more important."

On the rivalry (Ptaszek and Jeffries were both career Golden Hawks before the former became Mac's coach in 2006, after Laurier won the Vanier Cup):

The only emotion that would be extra is that Coach Jeff is one of my best friends in the world. Focused on task at hand, getting our 90 young men ready to compete for a Yates Cup. If I let my personal feelings get in the way, that would be selfish."

Jeffries: "When Stef got the opp after the Vanier Cup, as much as I hated to see him go, I knew it was what he needed. He's going to have a long great career doing what he's doing. As Stef says, it certainly goes both ways. I think the world of him, but we'll knock heads on Saturday, just like we do on the golf course. I can handle Stef on the golf course, not so sure about Saturday."

Ottawa's Denis Piché and U of T's Greg DeLaval

Piché, on a 1-2 start:
Our goal is to reach our full potential when it really, really count. We put ourselves in a tough situation. This season is not predicated on beating Queen's and Western in Weeks 1 and 3. It's a process, it's ongoing and we are still early in the process."

"Every year, university sports is all about cycles, it's so important that your veterans are there to lead and inspire who might not have all the answers and the experience. They're the corporate memory. They're buying in."

On Ottawa's penalty issues (OUA-most 426 yards after three weeks): "Some of our kids have got to settle down. We have lot of guys in new roles and first-year kids. From the outset, we said it would be learning process, three-four games to learn to play together, to learn what it is to play it at this level. We're still in the process and we're obviously hoping to see an improvement in that category on Friday night."

On the receivers' tough day vs. Queen's, including a dropped touchdown pass: "It was just a tough game all-around. These receivers are not rookies. They've been performing for us for two, three, four years, other than Steven Hughes, who's new to us but not new to the league (having previously played at York). We have a lot of confidence, as long as we protect up front, we should be fine."

Evalating Brad Sinopoli, who had three INTs and was sacked four times vs. Queen's (one sack, the rusher was totally unblocked): "I thought he played very well in the first two games and he had a bit of a tougher go last week. That being said, you have fourth- and fifth-ear starters who have those games. They're not machines. We're pleased with his development and he has to rebound from what we thought was an average performance, for what he can do."

DeLaval, on finding positives: "We're young, in particular on offence, we have eight new people. We're progressing, as we continue to watch film and correct errors, hopefully we'll progress and get a couple wins."

"We had over 500 yards of offence versus Guelph. We really needed that. We had a tough time moving the ball the first two games."

On his QBs, Andrew Gillis, Jansen Shrubb and Jordan Scheltgen, a Simon Fraser transfer who will be eligible this week: "Andrew will play for us, he'll be our starter. We're very comfortable with Jansen coming in off the bench. One guy that gets overlooked is Jordan Scheltgen ... Andrew, gives us a running attack, Jansen has good pocket presence. Jordan is a mix between the two, he's mobile and he's got some good pocket presence. We'll go with Andrew, but if the situation dictates, we'll look to either of the two backups."

Windsor's Mike Morencie and Waterloo's Dennis McPhee

Morencie, on bouncing back from a 60-7 loss to Western:
"As far as the debacle last weekend, our mantra in practice has been, 'next play, that's where your focus has to go.' Nothing you can do about Western, we have to face Waterloo. They're very fast. I am very interested to see how our kids respond."

Sam Malian will return from a two-game absence, but what about the running game? "We're a much different animal. Kamar Anglin and Paul Lefaive have been our two primary guys. Kamar is more of a shake-and-bake guy and Paul will try to run you over. Cody Butler has been a bit of surprise, how well he's blocked and giving us an occasional carry from the fullback spot."

McPhee, on an 0-3 start: "We're not scoring. First and foremost. We had a 20-play drive vs. Laurier and it ended on the four-yard line, not even in the field goal. We're getting in the red zone and not scoring."

On tightening up the defence, which gave up 204 yards to Laurier's Mike Montoya last week and 232 to Ottawa's Jordan Wilson-Ross the week before: "We've faced some good backs, there's no question. I'm sure the mindset of most teams has been to run the football. We're a little undersized ... Am I concerned about the run? Absolutely. Right after scoring, we have to stop the run."

On injuries to QB Evan Martin (day-to-day) and LB Jordan Verdone (expected to play): "Martin is day-to-day with an elbow injury. Once a QB's elbow goes, it's over. Jordan practised Wednesday and I expect you are going to see Number 44 flying around the field on Saturday."

On his young group of tailbacks, Marco Visentin, Matt Socholotiuk and Steve Lagace: "I'm really happy with their progress, to a point. Marco is more of a kid who can run the rock a little bit inside and catch the ball out of the backfield. Steven is a transfer from Saginaw Valley State, he didn't play much there, he's taking time to get up to speed. The big surprise has been Matty, he's got great feet for a big guy. I'm happy with a point, but we have to score touchdowns."

On wideout Sean Cowie's impact with Josh Svec's transfer to Western: "Sean's a real seasoned vet, he's all-time leading receiver at Univ of Waterloo, he offers tremendous leadership in the locker room and on campus. Sean's responded very well. He's mentored some of our younger players. We have (slotback) Mike Squires starting to step it up and a bit and (rookie wideout) Nick Anapolksy has done some good things. When Sean goes off into the real world, we're going to miss him."

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