Earlier, Neate referred to the Quebec as a clusterfudge in a good way. Well, allow me to attempt to clear it up and handicap the Quebec conference.
Everything would be a lot clearer if things had gone as planned but Sherbrooke and Bishop's really made things a lot more difficult by upsetting Top 10 teams Montreal and St. FX respectively. The Q coming off of the bye may have something to do with that. I'm not saying, I'm just saying...
So, without further adieu, the Quebec playoff picture.
Laval Rouge et Or, 5-1
Remaining Games: @ Sherbrooke (10/24), @ McGill (10/31)
Story: Laval has the edge, and logic says that they should win both games and cruise to home field throughout the Quebec playoffs. However, Sherbrooke is coming off of a win over No. 1 Montreal at home and they are a very good home team. Laval would have to lose both games to lose home field, and I don't see that happening.
Prediction: Laval will finish first and will not let Sherbrooke do to them what they did to Montreal. 7-1, 1st place.
Montreal Carabins, 4-2
Remaining Games: @ Bishop's (10/24), vs Sherbrooke (10/31)
Story: Montreal had the let-down game everybody envisioned in Sherbrooke and it was a trap game that had merit. The Carabins lost, and now have to pick up the pieces against Bishop's and a return match in the home-and-home against Sherbrooke. Montreal needs to win both to secure themselves a home playoff game in the first round, or get one win and some help.
Prediction: Montreal will not need help. They will win both games. Sherbrooke is a different team at home than on the road, and will not pull off back-to-back upsets against the Carabins. 6-2, 2nd place.
McGill Redmen, 3-3
Remaining Games: @ Concordia (10/24), vs Laval (10/31)
Story: All the Redmen need is one win. One win and they clinch a playoff spot. The problem, is that after playing Saint Mary's, they now have Concordia and Laval. The Redmen are a great story and have had a great season after two woe-and-eight's. They have a chance to establish themselves with a win at Concordia that would damper their rivals hopes.
Prediction: No one knows Andrew Hamilton better than the Concordia coaching staff who had Hamilton two seasons ago. That will play a major role in Saturday's game. The other? Pat Donovan, and Junior Bishop know Gerry McGrath very well. The Redmen also have Moe Sidibe but he has not played much. 3-5, 4th place (tie).
Sherbrooke Vert et Or, 3-3
Remaining Games: vs Laval (10/24), @ Montreal (10/31)
Story: Sherbrooke went from dead-to-rights to playoff contender. The problem remains their schedule. With Laval and a rematch with Montreal, don't look for Sherbrooke to get any more wins. Of course, we did say that last week as well. Sherbrooke has never won a game on the road against either the Carabins and Stingers (and also lost this season at McGill). That's telling.
Prediction: No chance for deja-vu. Sherbrooke is in tough against two of the top teams in the country and Montreal will not be fooled again, and Laval will not be fooled once. 3-5, 4th place (tie).
Concordia Stingers, 2-4
Remaining Games: vs McGill (10/24), @ Bishop's (10/31)
Story: Concordia started off this season as the team that almost beat Laval in last year's Dunsmore Cup. However, with injuries and graduation, this is not the same team. They had to break in a very young group with the hardest part of the schedule early on. However, they are starting to get healthy, and Rob Mackay is shaking off the rust with 8 TDs in his last two games.
Prediction: The Stingers hung tough against St. FX and Montreal, and were better than their 0-4 record showed. They now have a chance to prove they are a playoff team. If they cannot beat McGill or Bishop's (or either) they do not deserve to make the playoffs and they aren't as good as many (including myself) thought. Despite starting 0-4, their fate is in their hands. Win two, and they are third. I say they do it. 4-4, 3rd place.
Bishop's Gaiters, 2-4
Remaining Games: vs Montreal (10/24), vs Concordia (10/31)
Story: Bishop's got over the loss of three key players to put together a solid season and a big win over ranked St. FX. They have Montreal this week, and I don't see another upset happening. Bishop's is in tough to make the playoffs and a last-minute loss to McGill looms large, with their win over St. FX bringing them back to the playoff picture.
Prediction: The Gaiters will fall in both games, but the game to look at is against Concordia. Bishop's has beaten Concordia at home several times late in the season over the years, but this time Concordia will have something to play for. Bishop's, depending on tiebreaker situations might as well. But, it's not likely. 2-6, 6th place.
McGill beat Sherbrooke in the only game between the teams and therefore has the tiebreaker if both teams finish tied at any record.