"We see two aspiring performers competing for stage time. Both think they are a cut above their counterpart and will do anything to promote how great they really are. In a place where a football team, that of the Roughriders, puts away contempt, hostility, and dislike bringing the province together as one for a few games a year, this brand of university football will undoubtedly separate these two competitive cities.
"Welcome to what is now the most heated rivalry in Canada West conference football.
" ... It has become, over the years, a classic battle of my city is better than yours”. Depending on who you ask, one of the cities will without question have better scenery, better opportunity, better people, better this, better that. Both are similar in size. One is the capital, and one is the hub of the province. Habitants of either city have little reason to visit the other as both places have all one needs. The citizens of both cities seem to have limited interaction…until gameday comes around."
The floor is open: Which is the best football rivalry in each conferences? Some humble submissions for the other three:
Laurier vs. Western: It has always been the little school vs. the upper-crust, established university in southwestern Ontario. Laurier and Western have typically always been at or near the top of the OUA over the past couple decades. The schools are only a hour's drive apart and their recruiting catchments overlap, meaning the element of friends playing against friends is amplified.
Everyone wants to beat Western, of course. Laurier was one of the programs which, back in the 1960s, forced the powers-that-were to realize good football was played at schools other than the Old Four of Western, Queen's, U of T and McGill. That's why it's extra special when they play the 'Stangs.
Montréal vs. Laval: The history here is off the field, since the two teams represent cities whose hate-on goes back centuries. It's always been small city vs. big city and that has played out in sports, never more so than in the heyday of the Canadiens-Nordiques hockey rivalry in the 1980s.
The Rouge et Or, in the small word of CIS football, are like the old Habs. They also don't mind reminding the Carabins, that they will never, ever, ever close the gap.
St. FX vs. Saint Mary's: Another geographical rivalry that is not exclusive to sports, Halifax vs. rural Nova Scotia, plays out when the X-Men and Huskies meet.
Each school has a fervent alumni base who feel attached to those old school colours. Plenty of graduates of AUS schools settle in Halifax since it's a hub city, so the back-and-forth jawing is has more of a 24/7/365 quality. No doubt there is some mutual resentment.
St. FX-SMU also stands out because it bridges all seasons. Both schools have prominent men's basketball and men's hockey teams, so the one-upmanship goes on forever.
As an aside, HFO is one among many good team-specific blogs which are popping up. Of course we have to plug Allez Les Bleus! (Carabins football) and Le Pony Express, which covers all Ottawa Gee-Gees sports. Hopefully, more will start to appear and if you have already started one, where have you been hiding