David Naylor is the latest to take a swing at the Canadian QB quandary:
"For years, the absence of Canadian-bred quarterbacks in the CFL was attributed to the bias of American coaches, who were unfamiliar with the Canadian university game and not willing to take its quarterbacks seriously. But that argument no longer stands up, given there have been three former CIS head coaches to hold CFL head coaching jobs – Jim Daley, (current Western coach) Greg Marshall and current Tiger-Cats boss Marcel Bellefeuille – and none of them have employed a Canadian QB.

" 'If there was a Canadian quarterback (who could play at the CFL level) at the time, I certainly would have,' said Marshall, whose two-plus seasons at the helm of the Ticats ended in 2006.

" ...CFL head coaches – all of them, not just the Americans – agree quarterbacks coming out of Canadian schools simply don't measure up to the ones coming out of the upper U.S. college ranks. And they say it's no mystery why: American quarterbacks come from a more competitive level, usually have been playing the game longer and had far-more coaching specific to the position.

"There have been Canadian university quarterbacks who've had the physical skills to play at the professional level. But their development isn't far from a level akin to U.S. college football at the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III or lower Division II. And the CFL almost never employs quarterbacks from those levels either."
It's a total self-aggrandizing move to point out that Streaming Sports Network Canada's CIS Touchdown had a commentary on this several weeks ago (check its Week 4 episode), which pointed out it's a self-fulfilling prophesy by the CFL. They don't do anything to develop the Canadian quarterback (and frankly it's more of a chatterati issue than one rank-and-file fans care about; has the CFL's attendance or TV ratings suffered?), then say there are none qualified. Meantime, CIS football has to contend with a lack of depth at the pivot position.

(You'll note the unintentional comedy of the one Globe & Mail user noting, "This story fails to mention the great Russ Jackson, one of the greatest Canadians to ever play in the CFL." As if David Naylor doesn't know about Russ Jackson, who last played in the CFL eight years before I was born (and I'm not that young). Things have changed, people, try to keep up.)

A Canadian game without the Canadians; No matter how many yards they pass for, no matter how many touchdowns or awards they score, the nation's university quarterbacks are shunned at the pro level (David Naylor, globesports.com)
Check in at 1 p.m. Saturday for another lively liveblog of the Guelph-Western OUA football quarter-final, which is live on The Score and 1290 AM in London.

This was published after Friday's games, so I haven't included them below.

OUA quarterfinals
McMaster @ Ottawa (-9.5)
Guelph @ Western (-12)

Regular season
Sherbrooke @ Montréal (-13)
Laval @ McGill (+20)
Concordia @ Bishop's (-2.5)
Calgary @ Alberta (+6.5)
Simon Fraser @ Manitoba (-4)

The favourite has covered just less than half the time (24 out of 47 games).
  • Well, Saskatchewan sure sucked any drama out of the final Saturday in Canada West. The Huskies' 42-17 win in Regina locked in the Canada West playoff matchups, Manitoba-Calgary and Alberta-U of S.
  • Mount Allison's Gary Ross (not St. Francis Xavier!) became the most prolific pass receiver in AUS annals, which might get him a Hec Crighton Trophy nomination since it's either give it to a great player on an 0-8 team or give it to a specialist.
  • That specialist, Saint Mary's Justin Palardy kicked four field goals in a 21-7 win over Acadia, to finish with an AUS-record 23. Palardy was 85% kicker in a league where the rest of the kickers made only 66% of their placements.
Canada West

No. 4 Saskatchewan 42, Regina 17:
The phenom, Jeff Hassler, scooted for 49 yards on his second carry and went on to rush 23 times for 224 yards and three TDs, ensuring the U of S will not visit another Canada West stadium this fall. Saskatchewan went out to a 21-3 lead, with Laurence Nixon turned in an efficient day (9.3 per pass, no interceptions).

Huskies cornerback-kicker-punter Grant Shaw (is there anything he can't do) had a 45-yard run out of punt formation to set up the game's final touchdown. Please create an award which recognizes his talents, as Huskies Football Outsider argued persuasively earlier this week.

The story remains the same with Regina, nice team, some talented offensive players, but the defence just isn't there. They allowed an average of 554 yards during their season-ending three-game losing streak. Not ven in the OUA does a team feel good about giving up almost a third of a mile in offence.

Marc Mueller should finish as Canada West's leader in passing yards, but that's somewhat the nature of the offence. Regina scored only 14 TDs in eight games.

Perri Scarcelli's three field goals included a 50-yarder. No wonder some people would like him to keep kicking field goals at Taylor Field next season with the CFL's Roughriders.


No. 5 Saint Mary's 21, Acadia 7:
Saint Mary's, which offered its usual combo of methodical offence (212 rushing, 225 passing, with only only pass play longer than 25 yards) and solid defence, with sam linebacker Jeff Hecht collecting two sacks.

Jack Creighton (26 passes for 219 yards, no TDs) went most of the way for Saint Mary's, which will host the Loney Bowl in two weeks.

Acadia's played each quarterback, Keith Lockwood and Kyle Graves, about equally the past few weeks. Lockwood is a fifth-year passer and Graves is second-year, but at some point, why not go with the future of the program? Loyalty is nice, that being said.

Adrian Saturley's two sacks were an Acadia highlight. The

St. Francis Xavier 31, Mount Allison 18: Paraphrasing Jim Cuddy, at least X is livin' again. It took a half to wake up (Mount A was up 11-10 at the break), but two takeaways in the the third quarter helped get the game turned around for X, which hosts an AUS semifinal next week vs. Acadia.

The first was a Nick Riva interception on the first play of the second half which sparked a 14-point run that put the X-Men ahead to stay. The second was a John Skillen fumble recovery after Mount A give it credit, got back to within a converted touchdown (the young QB, Jake Hotchkiss, passed for 308 yards) of taking the lead.

St. FX's Steve Snyder, who passed 18 times for 207 yards, came out when the game was still close. Having followed the game from work, it's not clear what that was all about.

James Green's 109-yard night made him the leading rusher (2,304 yards) in St. FX football history.
  • Montréal's young starting QB, Alexandre Nadeau-Puize, needs all the fan support he can during Saturday's Sherbrooke Vert et Or-Carabins game on Saturday at CEPSUM. (Allez Les Bleus)

  • Tributes are amassing for former Alberta and Windsor coach Gino Fracas.
    "In 1976, quarterback Scott Mallender arrived back in Windsor after a year at Laurier.

    "Fracas summoned him and incumbent Lancer starter Bruce Walker into his office that summer and announced that Walker was switching to wide receiver and Mallender was taking over at quarterback.

    " 'I was stunned,' said Mallender of a bold move that eventually saw him win the 1979 Hec Crighton trophy as the most valuable player in Canada and Walker go on to an all-star career as a receiver in the CFL.

    " 'Gino was such an innovator. Everything he taught me, I still teach to all my athletes. All the offence he used is still relevant today.' "
    (London Free Press, Windsor Star; the latter article includes info on the visitations)
  • Alberta hoops fans are in for a treat, since Monday's Alberta-Gonzaga game is being broadcast by Spokane's KHQ (7 p.m. Mountain), which is carried by Shaw Cable. Gonzaga apparently has a following in southern Alberta since their games are on TV.

  • You know about Simon Fraser's Fab Five, now meet the Clan's Terrific Trio of frosh guards Carla Wyman, Kristina Collins and forward Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe.

    Howard Tsumura has a full preview of Canada West women's basketball, so you might need to block out a good half-hour to 45 minutes for proper absorption. (Little Man on Campus)
  • Giving up a short-handed goal for the game-winner? Tough one for Lakehead to lose to Waterloo, but that's where there's always a tomorrow. (TBNewsWatch)

  • Hey, the first-year Montréal Carabins were the first team to score on No. 1 McGill in QSSF women's play. Now, the bad news ... (CyberPresse.ca)

  • Never let it be said St. Thomas Tommies players — and the sports editors at the campus paper — don' t have a sense of humour. (The Aquinian)
  • Top 100 returnees: PG Nick Lother (94th)
  • Other key returnees: G Mike James, F Peter Lomuro, F Ben Kingdon, F James Horaska
  • Newcomers: C Adam Dobriansky (transfer, Monmouth, NCAA D-1)
  • Coach: Dave Crook (ninth season)
  • Offence and defence: 87, 98 (-11)
  • Last year's results: 7-23, 38th in RPI
  • Looking ahead: This might seem like it's coming out of left field (or is due to the fact sister site Out of Left Field has a UW grad writing for it) but hear us out. Winnipeg returns 92% of its scoring and as Rob notes, has lots of room for improvement after the offensive performance was across-the-board below average. Part of that was also due to injuries. A team may only play with the hand it's dealt by times and if Winnipeg has everyone available, they could surprise. The 6-foot-10 Dobriansky is also expected to help Winnipeg cut the path to the rim better than it has in past years. Lother is a steady hand at point guard, which counts for a lot, especially in the nitty-gritty of conference play after Jan. 1.
Rob's explanation of Top 100 players by Player Efficiency Ratings (see last year's PER) and Net Efficiency may be found in the women's preview.
  • Top 100 returnees: PG Simon Farine (16th)
  • Other key returnees: F Sandy Viet, G Andrew Sullivan
  • Newcomers: F Joe Schow (transfer, Calgary), G-F William Yengue, G Marcus Wong
  • Coach: John Campbell (eighth season)
  • Offence and defence: 97, 88 (+9)
  • Last year's results: 25-12 overall, won AUS Final 6, lost in CIS Final 8 quarter-final, 15th in RPI
  • Looking ahead: Only 51% of scoring returns, which accounts for the No. 19 ranking. That concern is tempered by the fact Dalhousie has an all-Canadian candidate at point guard in Farine and, almost to a man, plays find-out-what-gum-he's-chewing defence in the half court. Mark Wacyk has Dal ranked No. 5 in Canada and his word is as gold as the trim on the Tigers uniforms on these matters. They should be around all season and their next CIS berth won't be another 13 years in the waiting, like last March's.

    Dal is going to have to replace two Top 100 players, three-point ace Josh Beattie (41st) and forward Germain Bendegue (85th). Stephen Lopez, one of the few 6-foot-2 guys who could play the 4-spot, is not listed on Dal's roster after having knee surgery, which is a major loss.

    Dal has held a pair of tournament teams, Calgary (64) and Western (58, but with a much different team from last year) below 65 points already. The 6-foot-9 Schow and 6-7 Viet should provide the inside muscle and Sullivan might be the shooter. This is a team that's easy to like, with reason.
Rob's explanation of Top 100 players by Player Efficiency Ratings (see last year's PER) and Net Efficiency may be found in the women's preview.
  • Top 100 returnees: None
  • Other key returnees: G Cyril Indome, G Ryan McKinnon, F Mike Berg (sat out last season to play rugby), F Wendell Thomas
  • Newcomers: PG Zac Andrus, G Dan Evans, G Omid Pourmomen, F Nick Adair
  • Coach: Craig Beaucamp (7th season)
  • Offence and defence: 98, 87 (+11)
  • Last year's results: 20-9 overall, 7th in RPI
  • Looking ahead: The Vikes have consistently had a top 10 RPI across the past couple seasons, but are replacing a troika of Top 100 players in Mitch Gudgeon (36th), Tyler Hass (54th) and Brandon Dunlop (77th), plus their division includes a traditional power, UBC, and ascendant Trinity Western.

    UVic has led Canada West in scoring defence five years running, which attests to Beaucamp's (who has been described as "obsessive") attention to detail. That will help tide them over until they find a go-to scorer. Indome averaged 9.7 points off the bench last season and McKinnon can stretch defences, so they might be able to carry the Vikes in the early going. There could be some surprises, but the Pac-D's three guaranteed playoff berths are likely coming from UBC, UVic and Trinity Western.
Rob's explanation of Top 100 players by Player Efficiency Ratings (see last year's PER) and Net Efficiency may be found in the women's preview.
Just received a note passing along word a new monthly basketball show produced in Quebec, Le 5 Partant (The Starting Five) will premiere on Jet7basket.com and SSN Canada on Nov. 7.

It will be Quebec-oriented, but will talk a fair bit about what's happening outside the QSSF. By the way, the UQAM Citadins, last season's runners-up in the Q, are also going to videocast on SSN along with radio broadcasts the student station, CHOQ.
  • Allez Les Bleus is all over the player eligibility controversy that has ensnared Laval and a handful of other schools. Basically, it sounds like Laval used players who weren't eligible, but now are. (Le Soleil, Le Journal du Québec)

  • Laval QB Benoit Groulx has only played the equivalent of 3½ regular-season games this season, which has kept him from finding his groove. (Le Soleil)

  • There could be a lot of scoring in the Guelph-Western OUA quarter-final on Saturday (1 p.m., The Score and CJBK 1290 AM in London), which will be liveblogged on this site.

    For the record for those who click through, Gryphons coach Kyle Walters did not bring up the comments Western's John Surla made about Justin Dunk earlier this week. Walters was asked about it by the media and he answered the question, like a pro. (London Free Press)

  • Ottawa receiver Steven Hughes played junior football with the Hamilton Hurricanes, so Saturday's OUA quarter-final vs. McMaster is a bit of reunion game for him. (Hamilton Spectator)

  • Has the fire gone out of the Saskatchewan-Regina rivalry, since the Huskies have typically been very good while the Rams have been only OK? The green dogs are 13-4 vs. the U of R, plus people in Regina are preoccupied with that pro team. (Huskies Football Outsider)
  • Ross Bekkering is The Man for the Calgary Dinos now that his brother is playing in Europe. Eighteen points, 10 rebounds a game, how's that for a prediction on his numbers? (Calgary Sun)

  • Ryan Christie and Keenan Jeppesen in the same McMaster Marauders frontcourt, that's scary. (Hamilton Spectator)

  • It's an even-numbered year, so does that make Deb Huband's UBC Thunderbirds (national champions 2004, '06, '08) the favourite to win the Bronze Baby? (Vancouver Sun)
  • The St. Thomas women's team draws a ton of leadership from centre Caroline Hammerheim, one of a handful of Swedes playing in CIS.

    One file-away: the AUS women's championship will have the same round-robin format as the nationals. (Frederiction Daily Gleaner)

  • Could Guelph deny Laurier from going to the women's hockey nationals? It's bound to happen one of these years. (The Ontarion)
A story about player misconduct is threatening to overshadow the finale AUS season, as was the case during basketball season. Only this time, it was on the field. Saint Mary's leading rusher, Devon Jones, is out for three games after striking St. FX D-lineman Yahia Dalloul last Friday.
"The offence, which was not flagged by the game officials, occurred early in the fourth quarter of a 41-7 Saint Mary’s win in Halifax that clinched first place in the conference for the Huskies.

Jones struck Dalloul, a fifth-year player from Halifax, after his helmet had already been knocked off during the play. Jones kept moving and caught a short pass on the play.

Dalloul was flattened by the shot and did not return to the game. He needed dental work this week and has a swollen jaw, leaving his status questionable for Friday night when the X-Men host the Mount Allison Mounties in their regular season finale.
The debate is raging on the dot-org, of course. X coach Gary Waterman said he was "disgusted" when he watched the game video; SMU coach Steve Sumurah says it was inconclusive.

Not having seen it, it's best not to pass judgment, but it's out there and people will want to share a take.

Star running back's suspension 'excessive', SMU says (Monty Mosher, Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
You know someone was an institution when he had two awards (at least) named after him.

Those with Windsor ties can better speak of Gino Fracas (1930-2009), who in many ways is a father of the Lancers football program. You can sort of track the development of the university game in southwestern Ontario through him. He grew up in the city, starred at Western in the Old Four days and had an eight-year CFL career with the Edmonton Eskimos before eventually returning to preside over hometown school's move into then-OUAA. Fracas, whose death was apparently announced tonight at a Windsor Spitfires hockey game, coached the football Lancers for 21 seasons, a span that included their lone shared Yates Cup in 1975.

Fracas' bio doesn't note that he was part of the development of the modern Vanier Cup. He was the coach at Alberta in 1963 when the Golden Bears challenged Queen's, then at its peak under Frank Tindall. Alberta won that game, 25-7, and it proved to be a catalytic event that led to the development of a true national championship. (That defeat stuck with the Queen's players of that era to such an extent that in 1998, Alberta and Queen's held a rare non-conference exhibition game to mark the 35th anniversary.)

CIS honours an outstanding volunteer assistant football coach each year with the Gino Fracas Award, while the University of Windsor's own coach of the year award also bears his name. That would speak to the regard the sports community had for the man.

Please don't be shy about building on the effort to recognize one of the greats.

(Special thanks to Big Blue at cisfootball.org.)
Canada West tips off conference play this weekend, so it's time to step to it and offer capsules on some of the prospective top teams in men's basketball.

The whole exercise, as Rob Pettapiece says, is more of a framework for discussion than predictions on which seven teams join host Carleton at the CIS Final 8 in Ottawa in March.

The Pettapiecian calculations are based on each team's final RPI from last season and how much (how little is more accurate) scoring and minutes played it has to replace from 2008-09. It's a mix of Moneyball and the widely held belief there is intangible value in how much a team's players have played together. Most of Carleton's national championship teams have had core players whose time together playing for Dave Smart predated their arrival in university, plus they were efficient players. Brock's 2008 national championship team, with six fifth-year seniors, was another classic example of chemistry perhaps trumping the math (they had a negative rebounding margin going into the Final 8).

There is limited marginal benefit to doing a Top 25 instead of a Top 20, but there are a few "wild cards" who should be tossed into the mix. Trinity Western has all those transfers, such as Tyrell Mara, who go back a long way with Spartans coach Scott Allen. The Saskatchewan Huskies, with a Moser Award shortlister in shooting guard Showron Glover, merit watching. In the OUA, Western turned over almost its whole starting five from last season's team which came within four seconds and change of playing in the national final.

Anyway, we salaam to cishoops.ca when it comes to basketball, but please keep checking for capsules over the next 24, 48, 72 hours or beyond.
The CIS Football Fan Committee, which has provided weekly Top 10's all season long, has taken its great collective wisdom, overall charm and rugged good looks and are now applying them to postseason prognostication. That's right, conference breakdowns for each bracket right thru to the conference championships, with a second round of picks to come just before the Bowl Games as well. But it starts with the OUA picks as the football playoffs begin this coming weekend in Ontario.

So without further ado I present to you the Fan’s Committee Playoff Predictions: OUA.


Guelph at Western WINNER: Western

This is the only game that was a unanimous decision; all voters sealed Guelph’s fate by choosing the Mustangs to come out on top. The Gryphons have folded down the stretch faster than a folding machine specifically designed to fold laundry (should’ve just gone with Superman…). This weekend they will need to overcome a lot of obstacles, both in terms of the opposition and their own play as of late. Western is a little banged up so Guelph has that going their way, but the Mustangs have looked quite good the last couple weeks while Guelph has not so…maybe take that point away again. It will be a tall order for the Gryphons, and if they won the one game that would truly be considered an upset in these OUA playoffs - according to the fans, anyways.

McMaster at Ottawa WINNER: Ottawa

For a game so closely matched on paper there was a surprising runaway consensus placing the Gee Gees as victors of this one. Homefield advantage notwithstanding neither squad has met this season and both have similar attributes that shouldn’t make things that lopsided. They both run the ball well and control the clock as a result of the run, both sport strong Defences, young QB’s with bright futures, heck even their jerseys kind of don the same colour schemes. Nonetheless Ottawa did claim all but three of the votes of confidence for this quarterfinal tilt. This game would likely not be considered an upset were MAC to oust Ottawa though as both teams have shown similar strengths along with moments of inconsistency throughout the regular season. Ultimately however the fans do believe the Marauders to be more of an outsider in this year’s OUA playoff landscape.


Western at Wilfrid Laurier WINNER: Wilfrid Laurier

This was the closest of all games voted upon; in fact both of these teams received the same number of votes to win the Yates Cup should they move on. However by one single vote the Golden Hawks squeaked out the nod for this Semi-Final match-up. It's likely this game could take place, these two meeting up in a rematch of Week 2’s convincing win by Western down in London. However with Laurier’s performances as of late - most notably the last game against the previously undefeated Golden Gaels - combined with a week to rest up and prepare, everything is coming up Milhouse for the Hawks. Whenever these two longstanding rivals meet up in the playoffs it’s guaranteed to border on instant classic, and this game should provide nothing less. The Mustangs are already banged up, and if Guelph puts more of a beating on them this does shift further in favour of Laurier. However there is good reason behind this game being so tough to call; we’ll likely see why that is should it play out this way.

Ottawa at Queen’s WINNER: Queen’s

The second most lopsided vote of the playoff picks. At times an inconsistent Ottawa team who has already lost to Queen’s (sans Brannagan), the Gee Gees received only a couple votes of confidence in this one. Ottawa can take comfort however in knowing that they received about the same odds last season when they came into town and ended Queen’s perfect season. But at the same time Queen’s most certainly haven’t forgotten about that, and the loss to Laurier last weekend will likely serve as a reminder that they can be caught sleeping at the switch. The Gee Gee’s were overwhelming favourites to win against MAC but find themselves on the flip side of the coin this round as all but two votes of confidence went to the Gaels. There are some players banged up for Queen’s but with a week off to rest and stew over memories of last year everyone is expecting them to move on in the end.


Wilfrid Laurier at Queen’s WINNER: Queen’s

Despite the fact that there’s great parity in the OUA this year, as seen with a four-way tie for second place and no undefeated teams at the season’s end, this breakdown has gone to the higher seed each and every time. That’s not to say that there isn’t a debate over the results however; the top four seeds all received votes of confidence to win the Yates Cup in voting. It’s just that Queen’s doubled up the next closest team in terms of the Yates Cup predictions (actually a two-way tie between Western and Laurier for second). Homefield is a big advantage for Queen's, especially given their field which is at times a boggy grass pit of despair that can swallow up the competition on bad days. Even in spite of a loss last weekend to Laurier people aren’t discounting what Queen’s has done with and without their all star pivot Danny Brannagan this season in working to secure the top spot.

Taking Week 8 into consideration this would promise to be an exciting finale for the OUA season. Laurier’s Defence found a way to shut down Brannagan and the Hawks Offence even moved against a tough Queen’s Defence. A rematch would likely be a hard fought contest right to the bitter end with Queen's returning some key players who sat Week 8, and having the advantage of the homefield crowd.

Overall however the fans believe that that this year the Queen's Golden Gaels will finish the playoffs as the 2009 Yates Cup Champions.
A longer regular season in the QUFL has been on the table. Now Christian Gagnon, athletic director at Sherbrooke, has told Le Journal de Québec that it's possible the league might play a nine-game regular season in 2010.

There is no word whether that involves more or less interlocking play with the Atlantic conference.

Un neuvième match ajouté au calendrier régulier? (Jean-Paul Ricard, QMI Agency)
I'm guessing we may see more of these kinds of announcements this fall. I just got this from UNB:
"Please note that the Saint Mary’s at UNB AUS Men’s Hockey game scheduled for Saturday, October 31st has been postponed.

In consideration of current H1N1 concerns in Atlantic Canada it has been decided that it is in the best interest of the two teams and the general public that this game not be played at this time. The decision has been based on the recommendation of health professionals as some Saint Mary’s team members have been displaying flu-like symptoms.

The game will be rescheduled at a later date."
UNB Release

Update: In the OUA, the Waterloo women's teams has called off its games vs. York and U of T since two Warriors players have H1N1.
These preseason rankings are just a quick ordering based on last year's RPI adjusted for returning players. They are used only as a framework for discussion, not to say Team X is the 4th-best in the country.

"Top 100 returnees" refers to anyone returning who was in the top 100 in last year's Player Efficiency Rating among players with at least 400 minutes played (list here). "Offence and defence" means points scored and allowed per 100 possessions (with the difference, or Net Efficiency, in parentheses); the CIS average for this is about 82 per 100 for the women and 94 per 100 for the men.

There's one team from last year's RPI Top 10 who isn't covered below, and it's the Western Mustangs, who lost nearly as much as their men's team, but gain quite a bit too and maybe should be in the OUA West discussion as much as Laurier and Lakehead are. However, let's draw the line at these 20.

Top 100 returnees: Victoria Thistle, Brittany Dalton
Offence and defence: 91, 81 (+10)
Last year's results: 16-4 season, 16-5 including playoffs, 14th in RPI
Looking ahead: They'd be ranked higher if they weren't losing hundreds of boards from a team that, last year, was one of the best at rebounding defensively (not the same as defensive rebounds). But with Thistle around (#11 in PER last year), a lot is possible.

Top 100 returnees: Emilie Morasse, Hannah Sunley-Paisley
Offence and defence: 84, 78 (+6)
Last year's results: 15-7 season, 16-8 through OUA playoffs, 18th in RPI, not much of anything in Regina
Looking ahead: Winning the OUA East and getting to the Final 8 was a huge accomplishment for this team, who went 3-19 the year before and hadn't finished above .500 since 2004-2005. This year, even after losing three K.L.'s, they could very well do it again. The U of T Blues and Carleton Ravens are certainly not much better off, going forward, than uOttawa (66% of points return for the Gee-Gees; 40% and 57% for those other two).

Top 100 returnees: Taylor Smith
Offence and defence: 77, 74 (+3)
Last year's results: 14-8 season, 15-9 overall, 19th in RPI
Looking ahead: Will this year's Final 8 hosts even host an OUA playoff game? Okay, maybe finishing fourth or higher is a given, especially with the two teams west of Woodstock more vulnerable this year, but maybe not. Thankfully for Mac, their offensive shortcomings (short on rebounding and free-throw shooting) can be covered up by their defence; also, they return four big-minute players aside from Smith and add two decent recruits. A couple more exhibition wins would have been encouraging, though.

Top 100 returnees: Ashley Hill
Offence and defence: 78, 81 (-3)
Last year's results: 8-14 season, 8-16 overall, 20th in RPI
Looking ahead: The Dinos would do well to shift from a relentless-yet-turnover-prone team that did not shoot well or keep its opponents from shooting well to a young and improving team that can challenge the four or five other very good teams in its new division. With injuries keeping three players out for a large part of the season, that may be difficult. Put as much stock as you wish into a 92-79 loss at home to Regina.

Top 100 returnees: Renata Adamczyk, Amber Hillis
Offence and defence: 82, 83 (-1)
Last year's results: 11-11 season, 12-12 including the playoffs (with a close loss to the Lancers), 24th in RPI
Looking ahead: A thoroughly average team in 2008-2009, the Hawks return every starter but one in a not-automatically-Windsor's OUA West. One presumes they are better than thoroughly average this year, although I currently have them as a whopping 0.03 points below average based on preseason results. Regardless, Adamczyk is worth the price of admission.

Top 100 returnees: Darrah Bumstead, Lisa Furchner
Offence and defence: 84, 83 (+1)
Last year's results: 10-12 season, 10-13 playoffs, 25th in RPI
Looking ahead: The preseason has not been kind to Laurentian, but most of that was Memorial. The Vees welcome many players back; Amanda McConnell is the only qualifier who isn't. Not forcing enough turnovers was a huge issue last year and it would be worthwhile to keep an eye on that this year. The favourites for the OUA East are probably still the Gee-Gees.

Top 100 returnees: Zara Huntley, Lia St. Pierre, Alex Vieweg
Offence and defence: 84, 77 (+7)
Last year's results: 13-10 season, 15-12 overall, 13th in RPI
Looking ahead: Two years after winning it all, and a year after losing a few players and missing out on the Final 8, this year's T-Birds might be thankful that the Canada West Pacific division doesn't follow the MLB rules for playoff qualification. They're at least third place behind UVic and SFU. Minor improvements from their returning players across the board will be needed to finish first or second, especially without Defensive Player of the Year Leanne Evans.

Top 100 returnees: Gabrielle Gheyssen
Offence and defence: 88, 72 (+16)
Last year's results: 18-4 season, 23-6 overall, 4th in RPI, made the CIS final at home.
Looking ahead: Will this still be one of the best defences in the country? Last year, they were very, very good at preventing shots and grabbing the rebounds on the ones that got through. But they return only half of their defensive boards and half their blocks. Finishing second at the nationals two years in a row may be bittersweet, but doing so again in 2010 will be difficult.


Top 100 returnees: Anneka Bakker, Nicole Clarke
Offence and defence: 84, 68 (+16)
Last year's results: 16-6 season, 23-9 playoffs, 3rd in RPI, bronze at nationals.
Looking ahead: This is a good team that lost some players near the top: Ashley Wigg and Kristen Jarock to name just two. Watch their opponents' turnovers; they were the best at causing those last year. The losses to Windsor, Regina, and Carleton (!) so far this month mean as much as you think exhibition results deserve to mean; they are worth mentioning, at least.

Top 100 returnees: Jessy Roy
Offence and defence: 88, 76 (+12)
Last year's results: 10-6 season, 11-12 playoffs, 16th in RPI
Looking ahead: In some ways a better team than UQAM, who are listed below. There must be something in the Lennoxville water reservoir: the Gaiters' returning players shot 78% from the line, ten points higher than the CIS average (Mélanie Ouellet-Godcharles: 31-for-33.). They also seem to play a slower game than most (think the Carleton men). Look for the Gaiters to work on that turnover ratio some more; if they do, they're sitting pretty in the Q.

Top 100 returnees: Tasia McKenna, Lindsay Drurey
Offence and defence: 80, 77 (+3)
Last year's results: 11-11 season, 11-12 playoffs, 21st in RPI
Looking ahead: Al Maki might not refer to the Lakehead women's team as a great group of dudes (yes, we're going to call back to that over and over) but they have a great chance of winning something this year. Their outside shooters are back (McKenna was 34% from long range last year; Georgia Harvey 39%) and it's likely that they'll run another quick offence.

Top 100 returnees: Marie-Michelle Genois, Elyse Jobin, Chanelle St-Amour
Offence and defence: 87, 78 (+9)
Last year's results: 11-5 season, 14-7 overall, lost consolation final at the nationals, 17th in RPI
Looking ahead: This is one Quebec City-based team that doesn't cause turnover problems for their opponents (in fact, none of the five teams in this conference did last year, which is supremely odd). Genois is one of those names you hear a lot of when following women's basketball in this country. Her per-40 averages last year were 18.2 points and 12.6 rebounds, which helped her finish 18th in the country in PER, highest in the QUBL, while Jobin and St-Amour will step up on the perimeter, having 43 of the returning 52 three-pointers between them.

Top 100 returnees: Iva Peklova, Shavaun Reaney
Offence and defence: 100, 76 (+24)
Last year's results: 21-1 season, 24-1 through OUA playoffs, fourth place at nationals, 2nd in RPI
Looking ahead: Losing Alisa Wulff and Dranadia Roc hurts, but maybe not as much as we thought. Windsor was the best rebounding team in the country last year for a reason. Peklova is still around and they've added some sizeable recruits. It remains to be seen how the other factors of their game will stand up in 2009-2010.

Top 100 returnees: Jana Spindler, Kim Tulloch, Jill Humbert
Offence and defence: 88, 74 (+14)
Last year's results: 18-4 season, 19-10 overall, 8th in RPI
Looking ahead: And here's why a No. 7 ranking doesn't matter much -- it doesn't consider McMaster transfer Lindsay Degroot, who had a single-game high of 33 points during non-conference play. She isn't listed in the Top 100, but had she played last year, she would have been. Can the Huskies maintain their performance in other categories while improving their defensive rebounding? If so, they'll fly past the nominal No. 4 team, listed below.

Top 100 returnees: Irline Noel, Karine Boudrais
Offence and defence: 80, 81 (-1)
Last year's results: 9-7 season, 10-8 playoffs, 7th in RPI
Looking ahead: I received more than one confused e-mail last February asking why they were so high in last year's RPI. It certainly wasn't because of their shooting, the worst among any team in this post. With exactly one preseason win so far, over McMaster in Calgary, the same confusion may be evident for this #6 ranking. But let's see how the season plays out. By the way, they should finish first just for having the most appropriate nickname in the QUBL (roughly, "the urbanites," which--yeah, that works for UQAM).

Top 100 returnees: Kayla Dykstra
Offence and defence: 86, 73 (+13)
Last year's results: 17-6 season, 17-8 overall, 5th in RPI
Looking ahead: So how'd you like to be the 2008-2009 Vikes? They had the CIS player of the year, were near the top of the conference in RPI, and did something nobody else did: beat SFU. However, their postseason was blink-and-there-it-goes. They and the Clan are safe bets to finish 1-2 and, what do you know, they open the season against each other (govikesgo.com will have your Aylward-approved streaming video, 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET tipoff on Saturday).

Top 100 returnees: Caitlin Gooch, Amy Odigan
Offence and defence: 86, 85 (+1)
Last year's results: 13-9 season, 15-12 overall, 11th in RPI.
Looking ahead: Hey look, another Canada West team. And don't be living in the past, wondering why the unfortunately named Wesmen are No. 4 here with only a +1 Net Efficiency: after all, they return 94% of their minutes, 96% of points, 95% of rebounds, 97% of steals...is that enough? Should I go on? With virtually everyone back for another year, moving up from 11th in RPI is expected. A first-place finish in the revised Prairie division is easily within reach and depends greatly on the Huskies' performance.

Top 100 returnees: Jacquelyn Richardson, Ashley Stephen
Offence and defence: 88, 78 (+10)
Last year's results: 16-4 season, 17-5 overall, 10th in RPI.
Looking ahead: Well. You know and I know and everyone in Antigonish knows that the best three or five or however many teams in the country are in a league with "West" in its name, not "Atlantic." But we proceed onward with the X-Women, who finished behind three teams in the AUS despite having as many or more wins than all of them. That will not happen this year. Unless I have missed something, the only player not returning had a total of 41 minutes of court time last year. So if you want to go by the axiom of "lots of returning players on a good team makes that team better," which I have relied upon throughout this preview, X might mark the AUS entry in this year's Final 8...

Top 100 returnees: Kelsey Hodgson, Kari Everett, Karmen Brown
Offence and defence: 88, 78 (+10)
Last year's results: 15-5 season, 17-5 overall, 11th in RPI, went to Final 8
Looking ahead: ...if the Capers don't mark it themselves. 41 minutes not returning for St. F-X? Big deal; CBU "loses" only 89. You know about Hodgson, who was 51-for-118 from long range (or thereabouts ... this is CIS after all), but there's a lot more to this offence. Friend of the blog and A-1 AUS chronicler Chad Lucas said, of the Capers' AUS championship win, "I predicted that if the Capers got solid contributions from Everett and Karmen Brown they'd win it all this weekend, and that's exactly what happened." There is no reason to disbelieve that statement as it applies to the whole pre-Final 8 schedule.

Top 100 returnees: Laurelle Weigl, Robyn Buna, Matteke Hutzler, Katie Miyazaki, Lisa Tindle
Offence and defence: 101, 70 (+31)
Last year's results: Uh, hard to remember. They might have won a few games or something.
Looking ahead: Most everyone, including the erudite Kate Hole, returns for the dominating Clan's last year in the CIS; Courtney Gerwing does not (but she's keeping busy with former SFU assistant Tyler Slipp and the Waterloo Warriors). That +31 Net Efficiency really stands out, doesn't it? You don't need to watch much of this team to realize how far above the rest of the league they are. Accordingly, there aren't many weaknesses, but if you had to pick an area for development, it would be getting to the line more often. Doing so, when combined with their status as the best-shooting team in the league, would presumably result in many more three-point plays. Have I already mentioned their UVic matchup on Saturday? (What else are you going to do, watch the World Series?)
Apologies for not having this week (although oua.ca has the audio available so you can hear me stammer out questions).

With only the four coaches involved in the quarter-finals (Guelph's Kyle Walters and Western's Greg Marshall; McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek and Ottawa's Denis Piché) on the call, it made for a speedy affair.

Piché had the bons mots, considering the past two OUA post-seasons have seen an 8-0 team lose in its first playoff game: "We always say you have eight weeks to get ready for the weeks that matter." If that isn't a spur to change one's thinking about the importance of regular-season records.

Guelph's Kyle Walters and Western's Greg Marshall (whose teams meet Saturday, 1 p.m., on The Score, and there will be a liveblog)

Marshall, on Western's defensive struggles: "We're pretty healthy, we've lost defensive linemen this year, we lost (end) Scott Fournier last week, we lost (tackle) Mike Van Praet early on in the season ... we're not using injuries as an excuse, we have to play better. Sometimes when you have young players in, they're tentative and they make mistakes. We hope that after an eight-game regular season, our defence steps up.

On what needs to improve from their first meeting with Guelph (a 41-39 win Sept. 26): "We need to do a better job offensively and need to do a better job on special teams. We put our defence in some bad spots last time."

Walters, on going into TD Waterhouse: "We've had four road games, so nothing should surprise us. We've played against some big crowds and some loud crowds, so it's just another road game, it happens this is a playoff road game."

On Guelph's last-season fade, losing 4-of-5: "It's not overly complicated. Our biggest concern is the inconsistency. I've told the kids, if we can play on offence, defence, special teams remotely at the level we're capable of, we'll be fine. Easier said than done ... it's just the inconsistency."

On Western MLB John Surla's public comments about Gryphons QB Justin Dunk: "When that came up, to be honest with you I had completely forgotten ... because when you're coaching, you're just thinking of the next week. After that happened, we had to get ready to play Waterloo ... ow that whole Justin Dunk episode is resurfacing. From an emotional standpoint, Justin's an emotional kid. John Surla's comments in the paper, we're hoping it acts as motivation. ... I'm hoping what Surla said helps the lightbulb go on and helps him keep his focus. We've talked to him, it doesn't do you any good to get fired up like that, see this is what we've been telling you about

Marshall, on facing Dunk: "He is an outstanding athlete. We can't get down when he makes a big play, you just have to focus on making the play the next time. He and (running back Nick) Fitzgibbon are going to make plays ... you know, one of the things we did against Queen's is we started to play a bit afraid when they started to move the ball. We have to play confident and stay on-task."

On the benefits of a first-round bye vs. playing in the quarter-final (3 of the last 4 Yates Cups finalists did not have a bye): "There's certainly advantages to playing and keeping guys into it and playing games and keeping a rhythm. However, there's a risk you're taking when you don't have a chance to get guys healthy. When you get that bye week, you're just fresher. We did it in '07, on the road the whole time against teams (Queen's, Ottawa and Guelph) that had beaten us in the regulation season. My feeling is if we're going to be the best team, we have to beat the best. I don't care what the record is, Guelph is a good team. They lost a close game to us where we had to kick a field goal at the end, they lost a close game to Queen's in a similar situation. If we want to be the best team, we have to beat the best team and we are hoping that starts Saturday."

McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek and Ottawa's Denis Piché (1 p.m., ssncanada.ca)

Ptaszek, on not having played Ottawa in regular season: "The information exchange we have between OUA teams is outstanding. As a coach, you're kind of motivated to do your job. The first time around, you might be able to pull a few tricks and get a couple extra first downs."

On what worries him facing Ottawa: "They can score in a big hurry. (Quarterback Brad) Sinopoli, one of the leading rushers in the conference. He's also a pocket passer that can gun-sling to the four corners of the universe. Obviously, we want to control the clock, I think we're the top two teams in time of possession. Last week (against Guelph), the 300 yards rushing, no fumbles, was encouraging."

On Mac's diverse rushing game with Jordan Kozina, Joey Nemet and slippery slotback Matthew Peressini all able to challenge defenders: "It's tremendously difficult to know what we're doing when we have three ballcarriers on the field. It creates some headaches. All three can carry the ball, they can catch the rock and they can block for the quarterback. You need a couple people to share carries ... to have a marquee tailback and to give him 200 carries is to wear him down before the real season starts."

On sophomore QB Kyle Quinlan: "He's been tremendously poised in every situation. He handled it well in his first start against Laurier which is probably the best, then to go down to Western and play the way he played. We hope to get him his favourite throws early in the game to calm him down, then go from there."

On the third phase of the game, special teams: "I know Coach Piché has some film of us turning the ball over on punt returns in the fourth quarter the past two weeks. We're doing everything we can address that area and fix those mistakes. Special teams is 1% inspiration, 99% work, you bust your ass and outwork the guy in front of you. Mostly it's not starters, it's the other 21 guys on the (45-man) roster who have take ownership. It is a major concern, have had some major gaffes. That's something to look out for on Saturday, if we can have a big play go our way on specials, that will help our chances."

Piché, on his veteran cornerbacks Chayce Elliott and Lee Shaver (Mac's corners are each rookies): "Lee and Chayce have done well, the thing which would come up with them is consistency, but they've always come up big at the right time. We have to minimize the mistakes and give our front seven the freedom to do some things, so we have be strong on the back end."

On how the Gee-Gees have galvanized during a five-game win streak: "We always say you have eight weeks to get ready for the weeks that matter. Bradley is a pretty insightful man. He has been a qback all his week and had a big role ... approaching it the same way.

On the difference between the '08 team and '09 edition: "We're a lot younger at certain positios. We have a new quarterback, a freshman running back (Jordan Wilson-Ross, plus backup Brendan Gillanders) starting for us ... on the positive side, we're healthy. Last year, we were walking dead. (Reciver) Ivan Birungi played the Guelph (quarter-final) game with about 70% recovery on his broken foot, guys who were not practising and just playing the games during our play. This year, we're a young team, it's an exciting time, these kids want to create their own history."

On appraising Mac: "I see a very tough defence that is predicated on throwing the football to beat them. They have great athletes, they have size ... on offence, I see one which is very similar to ours, a quarterback who can do it with his arm and his feet, good running game, good receivers."
In the interest of equal time, the Guelph Mercury has an editorial chastising Western linebacker John Surla for his comments about Gryphons QB Justin Dunk earlier this week.

Although some of us laughed it off, it's worth passing on as we fret about the death of civility:
"Where Dunk’s remarks (like anyone needs a reminder — Ed.) came in the heat of a tight and emotional homecoming game and after he had just scored, Surla seems to have coolly and simply opted for the low road in commenting about Dunk to a Free Press reporter.

"In the story, he calls Dunk 'ignorant,' questions Dunk’s sportsmanship, and vows to trash talk Dunk during Saturday’s game—perhaps even during the playoff match’s opening coin flip.

"He should be embarrassed. Western should be too."
All of us are prone to being oversensitive and have our hot buttons — guilty as charged — but this seems to be taking it too far. It is just words, coming from a self-possessed young man who maybe hasn't developed the filter that makes us older people dull and wishy-washy by times. (I would differentiate between what comes from a 20-something player and a professional writer.)

The upshot is Western coach Greg Marshall, who is from Guelph, spoke to The Merc's Greg Layson and distanced himself from Surla's comments. That should be good enough.
"What did upset me was the fact John chose to say those things. I was disappointed with what he said. It doesn’t reflect our team or how we feel. I’ve never condoned trash talking. I believe in football, you should have that respect.

“(Guelph head coach) Kyle (Walters) would probably agree with me that as much as it is bulletin board material both ways, the game is won on the field by executing the game plan. You do your talking by making plays on the field during the game."

As a matter of general principle, running an editorial about sports is a bad idea, except when the issue affects the lives of non-sports-watchers (i.e., when taxpayer money might be used to build a stadium). To some extent, if you love football, you have to love the coupla-screws-loose crazies every good team needs. It's part of the package. Surla's words were pretty harmless. No one was put in physical risk and he threw some spice into the soup. Isn't the jaded media always complaining about athletes who offer vanilla quotes?

(Just to explain, tongue-in-cheek, the stance with editorials. Any self-hating sports geek knows sports is too insignificant in the grand scheme to rate such attention and besides, people who haven't dedicated their life to memorizing baseball statistics aren't going to tell me about sports, ha-ha.)

Sportsmanship seems to be lacking (Guelph Mercury)
  • Morris Dalla Costa has a lengthy, should-read profile on Western's Hec Crighton-candidate QB Michael Faulds that reveals his dad and mum put him in football as child "as a way of overcoming his shyness."

    Faulds should be a good coach someplace when all is said and done.

  • Guelph return specialist Brad Lively (ankle, knee) will not play vs. Western, so wideout Jedd Gardner should pull some double duty running back kicks. (Guelph Mercury)

  • Saskatchewan Roughriders' Rob Bagg (Queen's) gives a little shop talk on the difference between slotback and wide receiver. So that running start receivers take is called a "waggle." (CBC Saskatchewan, The Lions Den University)

  • "Scary good" is one way to describe the OUA quarter-final matchup between McMaster and Ottawa, two teams with a lot of common. The winner likely faces Queen's in the next round (depending on the Guelph-Western outcome) and both teams have had success at Richardson Stadium. (Sun Media)

  • U of S Huskies guard Hubert Buydens will play in his 50th CIS game Friday, a feat not many players can claim. (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)
  • Fraser Valley coach Barnaby Craddock is none-too-pleased the Cascades' schedule has them playing eight home games and 10 on the road.
    "The Canada West scheduling committee gave us the real raw end of the stick ... It's just something we've got to fight through."
    UBC, UVic and Thompson Rivers each have 10 home games and eight on the road. (Abbotsbord News)

  • Wayne Thomas takes the lay of the land in the Canada West East Division, while Mark Wacyk tees up the opening weekend of conference play. (cishoops.ca)

  • Ryerson's Boris Bakovic gets a lot of attention as the OUA East's best big man. Queen's forward Mitch Leger should have a new dimension now that he is playing at 6-foot-8, 235 lbs., up from 185 as a frosh three years ago. (Kingston Whig-Standard)

    Lakehead legend Jim Zoet reflects on being inducted into the school's Hall of Fame. Zoet had a NBA stint with the Detroit Pistons. (newsdurhamregion.com)
  • Lakehead's Swedish sensation, OUA scoring leader Victor Anilane, is a classic crease-crowder. The article likens him to Dino Ciccarelli but Tomas Holmström might be a more contemporary NHL reference. (TBNewsWatch)
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 219 (1) 21
  2. CALGARY 188 (3) 1
  3. SASKATCHEWAN 176 (5)
  4. QUEEN'S 160 (2)
  5. WESTERN 112 (6)
  6. SAINT MARY'S 108 (7)
  7. WILFRID LAURIER 87 (10)
  8. MONTREAL 50 (4)
  9. OTTAWA 39 (8)
  10. BISHOP'S 19 (NR)

Other teams receiving votes: McMaster (16), Concordia (14), Alberta (10), Sherbrooke (8), Manitoba (3), St. Francis Xavier (2)
You could say Edgar Allan Poe's work has had an influence on football beyond inspiring the NFL team in Baltimore to use the name Ravens.

Poe's short story "William Wilson," which is about a man who becomes obsessed with someone with similar characteristics, came to mind while putting together the Ottawa Sun's preview for Saturday's OUA quarter-final, No. 10 McMaster at No. 7 Ottawa. Hey, the game is on Halloween.
  • Each team went 6-2 with a quarterback in his first season starting, Ottawa junior Brad Sinopoli and McMaster sophomore Kyle Quinlan, who are each about 6-foot-4 and each wear No. 12.
  • McMaster averaged an OUA-best 31:20 average time of possession, one second more than Ottawa (31:19).
  • Ottawa and Mac are 1-2 in the OUA in rushing (second and third in CIS behind Calgary).
  • They are the only two teams with two rushers to have gained more than 600 yards apiece. (Ottawa: Jordan Wilson-Ross with 790 for Ottawa and Sinopoli with 624; McMaster: Jordan Kozina with 720 and Joey Nemet with 612).
  • Both teams turned their season around by spoiling a homecoming game on Oct. 3, with Ottawa beating Laurier 27-25 and Mac outlasting Western 42-35. Both were homecoming games for the other guys.
  • Kozina and Wilson-Ross, the feature backs with the same first name, have each represented Canada internationally in rugby.
  • Each team has a Coach P (Piché and Ptaszek) who was once the offensive coordinator on a Vanier Cup-winning team before taking his current position.
Those are more fun things for us fans than serious analysis, of course. Ottawa's defence plays an attacking defence and can match up man-to-man, especially with someone like Chayce Elliott on the corner. Mac defensive coordinator Greg Knox's group forces teams to try to dink and dunk, go 8-10 plays, which is tough in three-down football. (Mac's offence plays the patient, methodical game pretty well.)

The combo of Wilson-Ross, whom Mac coach Stefan Ptaszek describes as someone "who runs more like a fourth- or fifth-year guy" and Sinopoli, who combines pocket presence with serious afterburners when he runs, will test the Marauders.

As best one can recall, in the Poe story it turns out there weren't two William Wilsons, but the person the title character was actually obsessed with was himself. And McMaster and Ottawa also have similar colours. Just sayin'.

By the way, Ptaszek had a sit-down with The Score's Donnavan (D.J.) Bennett last week.
  • Mount Allison's all-purpose ace Gary Ross is the choice of AUS coaches to be the conference's Hec Crighton Trophy nominee, even though his Mounties are 0-7. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

  • Standout Sherbrooke defensive back Ludovic Kashindi was a pretty fair basketball player in his youth before opting for the pointy-ended ball instead of roundball. (La Tribune)

  • Saskatchewan Roughriders' Chris Getzlaf (Regina) is adjusting well to wide receiver after playing slotback most of the season (Regina Leader-Post)

  • Waterloo Warriors coach Dennis McPhee has received a vote of confidence. UW is getting better. (Waterloo Region Record)
  • It's a great day to be Laker, since the No. 9-ranked Nipissing hockey team is the school's first to appear in the CIS Top 10. In the interest of equal time, some will notice the line that "(Nipissing AD Vito) Castiglione said he was optimistic about the hockey team’s chances in its first year when it was placed in the OUA East division, where there seemed to be more opportunity to contend for a playoff spot."

    We can still be happy for Nip U, though. (North Bay Nugget)

  • St. Thomas centre Matt Eagles has a good take on his Tommies and their thin blue line taking on No. 1-ranked UNB tonight:
    "Eagles calls on an analogy from his former (QMJHL) coach in Moncton, Danny Flynn.

    " ... 'He always used to say that if your fist is smaller than the other team's fist, you've got to squeeze it even tighter ... You've got to be a tight knit group, and that's the way we've got to play.' "

    No doubt this a well-worn and trite joke down East, but did anyone read the headline, "Eagles not about to concede anything" and say, "Eagles? I thought STU was the Tommies, Moncton's the Eagles. Ohhhhhh." (Fredericton Daily Gleaner)

  • Wayne Thomas previews Canada West's West Division, as the Pac-D of UBC, Simon Fraser, Fraser Valley, UVic, Thompson Rivers and Trinity Western is now known.

    Why couldn't the divisions be known as Pacific and Prairie? (cishoops.ca)

  • Not CIS, but it doesn't hurt to pass along a more abstract article about roundball: The New York Times look at how teams have got over the long-standing aversion to the three-pointer, since points-per-possession is more important than traditional shooting percentage:
    "A team would have to shoot 60 per cent on 2-pointers to match the offensive output of a team that shoots 40 per cent from beyond the three-point arc."
    It is honestly odd, speaking as someone who has never known hoops without the three-point line, to hear people who say they don't like the three-point line. The other day Jack Armstrong of The FAN 590 in Toronto said, "I don't like the three. Too many guystaking them and not enough guys making them." The gut response was to yell at the radio, "That's why the only people who call you 'The Coach' are your radio colleagues!"
Since we are a hockey nation, it's appropriate to say the Saskatchewan Roughriders pulled off a hat trick: Rob Bagg (Queen's) being named the CFL's Canadian player of the week means it's the third time this season a 'Riders receiver from a CIS school won the award.

Green Is The Colour, gets the fist jab for that pickup. Chris Getzlaf (Regina) and Andy Fantuz (Western) have already won this season. Bagg had 124 yards on eight receptions in Saskatchewan's 33-30 overtime win over the B.C. Lions last Saturday.
Acadia coach Jeff Cummins is due a ton of points for candour:
" 'It’s been not a whole lot of fun,' Cummins said of this season to date. 'It's been very frustrating at times. We just haven’t lived up to the expectations we had for ourselves. But we’ve put ourselves into a situation where we have a chance to get into the playoffs; it’s a fresh new start.'

"The playoffs may also mean another opportunity for Cummins to present a case for a new contract.

" 'Obviously, my record over the last couple of seasons would tell you that my job is in jeopardy,' he said. "There’s no doubt about that. I'm at a crossroads right now.'

"Certainly there are challenges in maintaining a contender at Acadia. Once Ontario schools began offering athletic scholarships it slowed the pipeline of Ontario players headed toward the Maritimes. Acadia’s high tuition and academic entrance standards also make it more difficult to bring in marginal students who may excel at football. But such problems aren’t limited to Acadia. They are simply among the roadblocks that many head coaches must learn to get around."
Of course, to pick up on a favourite ax to grind of some commenters, Acadia could beat all those OUA teams whose rosters include all those players Acadia tried to recruit.

Cummins feeling the heat (Chris Cochrane, Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
Alright, thanks to the QUFL's crack team, we finally have a complete list of playoff scenarios for this weekend's final games.

In the Quebec conference, two of the four playoff spots are up for grabs. Laval is locked into 1st, and Montreal can be anywhere from 2nd to 4th. That leaves Concordia, McGill, Sherbrooke and Bishop's fighting for two spots. Again, all info straight from the QSSF.

Continue reading...

Scenario 1:
Laval beats McGill
Montreal beats Sherbrooke
Concordia beats Bishop's

1. Laval (7-1)
2. Montreal (5-3)
3. Concordia (4-4)
4. McGill (3-5)
5. Sherbrooke (3-5)
6. Bishop's (3-5)

McGill wins tiebreaker because of point differential in games vs. Sherbrooke and Bishop's

Scenario 2:
Laval beats McGill
Montreal beats Sherbrooke
Bishop's beats Concordia

1. Laval (7-1)
2. Montreal (5-3)
3. Bishop's (4-4)
4. Concordia (3-5)
5. McGill (3-5)
6. Sherbrooke (3-5)

Concordia wins tiebreaker due to head-to-head points against McGill and Sherbrooke. McGill wins over Sherbrooke.

Scenario 3:
Laval beats McGill
Sherbrooke beats Montreal
Concordia beats Bishop's

1. Laval (7-1)
2. Sherbrooke (4-4)
3. Montreal (4-4)
4. Concordia (4-4)
5. Bishop's (3-5)
6. McGill (3-5)

Sherbrooke wins on head-to-head points over Montreal and Concordia. Montreal over Concordia.

Scenario 4:
Laval beats McGill
Sherbrooke beats Montreal
Bishop's beats Concordia

1. Laval (7-1)
2. Sherbrooke (4-4)
3. Bishop's (4-4)
4. Montreal (4-4)
5. Concordia (3-5)
6. McGill (3-5)

Sherbrooke would take head to head from Montreal and Bishop's. Bishop's would take it from Montreal.

Scenario 5:
McGill beats Laval
Montreal beats Sherbrooke
Concordia beats Bishop's

1. Laval (6-2)
2. Montreal (5-3)
3. Concordia (4-4)
4. McGill (4-4)
5. Sherbrooke (3-5)
6. Bishop's (3-5)

Concordia takes head to head from McGill.

Scenario 6:
McGill beats Laval
Montreal beats Sherbrooke
Bishop's beats Concordia

1. Laval (6-2)
2. Montreal (5-3)
3. McGill (4-4)
4. Bishop's (4-4)
5. Concordia (3-5)
6. Sherbrooke (3-5)

McGill beats Bishop's over head to head points.

Scenario 7:
McGill beats Laval
Sherbrooke beats Montreal
Concordia beats Bishop's

1. Laval (6-2)
2. Montreal (4-4)
3. Concordia (4-4)
4. McGill (4-4)
5. Sherbrooke (4-4)
6. Bishop's (3-5)

This one is the most complicated. Montreal and Concordia beat McGill and Sherbrooke on tie-breakers to create a two-way tie for second while McGill and Sherbrooke have a two-way tie for fourth. Montreal and McGill win both two-way ties due to head-to-head.

Scenario 8:
McGill beats Laval
Sherbrooke beats Montreal
Bishop's beats Concordia

1. Laval (6-2)
2. Sherbrooke (4-4)
3. Bishop's (4-4)
4. Montreal (4-4)
5. McGill (4-4)
6. Concordia (3-5)

Another complicated scenario. This time Sherbrooke and Bishop's create a new tie for second beating Montreal and McGill. Sherbrooke and Montreal win the two-team ties.

All games are Saturday at 1 p.m. to eliminate any sneaky play. The games are at McGill, Montreal and Bishop's.

Here's a print, scissor and save bullet-point list:
  • Concordia, Laval, Montréal win: McGill at Laval, Concordia at Montréal
  • Bishop's, Laval, Montréal win: Concordia at Laval, Bishop's at Montréal
  • Concordia, Laval, Sherbrooke win: Concordia at Laval, Montréal at Sherbrooke
  • Bishop's, Laval, Sherbrooke win: Montréal at Laval, Bishop's at Sherbrooke
  • Concordia, McGill, Montréal win: McGill at Laval, Concordia at Montréal
  • Bishop's, McGill, Montréal win: McGill at Laval, Bishop's at Montréal
  • Concordia, McGill, Sherbrooke win: McGill at Laval, Concordia at Montréal (Sherbrooke would miss the playoffs at 4-4)
  • Bishop's, McGill, Sherbrooke win: Montréal at Laval, Bishop's at Sherbrooke
  • Laval coach Glen Constantin was seeing red over all those orange flags the No. 1 Rouge et Or had on Saturday. (Le Soleil)

  • Allez Les Bleus has sound some silver lining in Montreal's loss to Bishop's. By the way, wouldn't it be crazy if the Carabins and Laval played in the QUFL semifinal?

  • Always OUA is stopping just short of saying McMaster could upset Ottawa in Saturday's OUA quarter-final, the one without all the trash talk.

  • Huskies Football Outsider has contemplated all the ifs with Canada West playoff scenarios. You thus can hide under a big stack of coats on Saturday and assume all will be OK when you emerge.
Western's John Surla comes off like he's reading from a script straight out of Monday Night RAW. One read into the Mustangs middle linebacker's comments is that it was orchestrated to get into Guelph QB Justin Dunk's head before Saturday's OUA quarter-final (1 p.m., The Score). Dunk, after all, is the young man who cried, "F--k Western."
"We all saw it and we laughed at it (the F-bomb on TV) ... but Dunk's that type of guy. It's something you don't say. You don't look into a camera and say that. Nobody does it.

"It just shows he's ignorant. It's a stupid thing to do.' "
And it just goes on like this:
"He's always been the same. I think back on my three years and I don't remember him ever shaking hands with us after a game. I think he went straight to the dressing room after we beat them last time.

"I was thinking about bringing it up and saying something during the coin flip (Saturday), but I'm not sure if I will.

"There will definitely be some words exchanged after tackles."
Surla hit all the talking points about Dunk, describing him as someone who is "not that good a passer and runs better than he throws" and Guelph only goes as its quarterback goes.
" "The rest of the Guelph guys are pretty good, but they look to him (Dunk) for leadership and it becomes a domino effect ... They take their cue from him and that's why we want to get to him early. I remember last year when we beat them at home in the last regular season game, he was frustrated and threw his helmet on the sidelines.

"That's the kind of stuff we want to see."
It sounds like a little psychological gamesmanship. It is fine if backed up on the field, which Western should be able to do Saturday considering Guelph's defence has not stopped a playoff team all season (which obviously is all Justin Dunk's fault and has nothing to do with coaching and players who actually are on the defensive side of the ball).

It's only a game. Players only go around once. People always complain of the vanilla, "they have a great team over there" quotes and victors write the history. Seriously, since The Score airs pro wrestling and OUA football, perhaps Western could bring in Vince McMahon for the coin toss on Saturday.

Mustangs haven't forgotten (Ryan Pyette, London Free Press)
Mark Wacyk at cishoops.ca did an early season Top 10; records from games vs. CIS foes only
  1. Carleton (6-0)
  2. UBC (3-0)
  3. Calgary (3-0)
  4. McMaster (7-0)
  5. Dalhousie (5-1)
  6. Toronto (6-1)
  7. Trinity Western (1-0)
  8. Cape Breton (2-1)
  9. Windsor (2-1)
  10. Saskatchewan (5-1)
Honourable mention: Queen's (4-0), St. FX (5-2), Laurier (4-1).
Here's a look at the weekend that was in the Canada West.

The Saskatchewan Huskies continued their early season struggles, dropping another pair of games this weekend in Edmonton against Alberta. The Golden Bears managed a pair of wins over their rivals from Saskatoon, with a 6-4 win Friday night and a 4-1 win Saturday night to improve their record to 5-0-1 on the season. The Bears took the final six penalties of the game Friday night, allowing the Huskies to score two PP goals late to make things close. Ian Barteaux led the charge for the Green and Gold Friday with a pair of goals. A skirmish at the end of the second period saw a total of eight penalties handed out, including a pair of game misconducts to Bears forward Eric Hunter and Huskies netminder Jeff Harvey who both saw their nights end early. Saturday night Travis Yonkman got the start for Alberta after Real Cyr picked up the win Friday, and Yonkman was outstanding Saturday night in what was his best performance as a Bears making 37 saves. Chad Klassen, the leagues leading scorer notched a hat trick Saturday night to help the Bears secure the sweep. Dave Adolph's team now has a 1-5 record, which is last in the conference. Alberta hosts Manitoba this coming weekend while Saskatchewan will welcome Lethbridge for a pair of games in Saskatoon.

In Lethbridge, the Pronghorns picked up a pair of wins over the UBC T-Birds who entered the weekend ranked #9 in the CIS top-10. Friday night the 'Horns were lifted offensively by first-year forward Adam Chorneyko who had a five point night, scoring two goals and adding three assists to help the Pronghorns pick up the 6-4 win. Lethbridge's power play was critical Friday night as well, as the Pronghorns went 4/8 with the man advantage with one of Chorneyko's goals coming on the PP. The two teams combined for 24 penalties Friday night. Saturday was a tighter contest as both teams limited the march to the penalty box, as the Pronghorns were able to earn a hard fought 2-1 win as Lethbridge goalie Scott Bowles was the game's first star after a spectacular 43 save performance to make sure his team picked up the two game series sweep. UBC now enters their bye week.

The Calgary Dinos were able to fly into Winnipeg and hand the Manitoba Bisons their first loss of the season on home ice Friday night, defeating the Bisons by a score of 2-1 as Jerrid Sauer and Dan Ehrman scored for the Dinos, while Dustin Butler was excellent in between the pipes for Mark Howell`s team. Saturday night saw an unfamiliar face in net for the Herd as Jesse Deckert made his start of the season in net for Manitoba. Steve Christie had started the Bisons first seven games of the season, and started every regular season and playoff contest last season for the Bisons before giving way to Deckert Saturday night. Deckert was solid stopping 32 of 34 shots Saturday night, as the Dinos and Bisons played to a 2-2 tie through 65 minutes, and needed a shootout to crown a winner. It took five shooters a side before a winner could be crowned, as Jared Walker would score the shootout winner for the Bisons as they managed to pick up a weekend split. Manitoba is tied for first in the conference with Alberta at 11 points, with Alberta holding two games in hand on the Herd. Calgary will host Regina this coming weekend after the Cougars had the bye this weekend.
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