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.
YATES CUP FINAL
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.