Football: Uteck Bowl has the irresistible plot, with Creighton waiting in wings

A round of applause is due Halifax Chronicle-Herald photographer Tim Krochak for making the image that perfectly captures the animus between Calgary's Blake Nill and his Saint Mary's successor, Steve Sumurah.

It really illustrates the words of Monty Mosher:
"Nill and Sumarah — brothers in arms from their days in the early 1990s as assistant coaches at St. Francis Xavier through their years at SMU to 2006, when Nill left for Calgary — sat a metre apart Thursday at the Tower in Halifax.

"They were separated by the Uteck Bowl and a layer of frost that may have thawed slightly with a handshake, a smile or two and a chat, but it’s more of a truce than a permanent end to hostilities.

" ... (Calgary QB Erik) Glavic has been repeatedly questioned about his reasons to leave and has never cracked, which explains why the Huskies have been unable to move on completely. He says he approached Nill after last season to discuss a possible transfer and Nill told him to carefully weigh his decision, but he would be welcome with the Dinos if that’s what he chose.

"'I have my reasons, some of them personal,' he said. 'When I conferred with my entire family, we agreed that this was the best move for me.' "
Picture fans sounding like Peter Griffin standing outside a stem cell clinic: "Why are we not showing this live on national TV?"

The drama has overshadowed the nuts-and-bolts football analysis, understandably. Coordinator Danny Laramee's Saint Mary's defence is deep and physical. It has not seen an offensive arsenal like Calgary's, but has the benefit of knowing a hundred times more about Glavic than an AUS team typically would know about the opposing QB during preparation for a national semifinal. They've got the films from 2006 and '07.

The question on the other side of the ball with Saint Mary's sophomore QB Jack Creighton is how much rope Sumurah will give him. As a general comment, it's a give-and-take with a less experienced passer. Putting parameters on him can play into a defence's hands if they know there are certain throws they don't have to defend. (Queen's in 2006 was a classic example, when they had then-sophomore Dan Brannagan throwing passes that went 40 yards horizontally and three yards vertically.)

The Uteck is going to boil down to whether the SMU's defence can limit Glavic and make it possible for Creighton to have his star-is-born moment. People should be excited for the possibility. You know about Creighton's daddy being a former NHLer of note, you might know his high school teams at Port Colborne Lakeshore won regional titles in Ontario, he and Ottawa's Bradley Sinopoli, among others, are the next wave of good CIS pivots. Ruling out the possibility of him busting out seems kind of foolish.

In short, these teams are a study in contrasts. Based on its D, running game and special teams, SMU should be a slight favourite, plus it is playing at home.

(For what it is worth, Canada West teams are 3-1 in national semis held in Halifax since 1993, but beware of small sample sizes!)

CIS reality show still packs drama (Chris Cochrane, Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
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  1. I think SMU will win a tight one (both great teams no matter who wins or loses). SMU also recruited another stud QB out of Ontario (Mack Blewett) who 6'5" with a great arm and running ability (he has been likened to Erik Glavic in the way he plays). The future looks bright for SMU at QB for years to come.

  2. I think in some goofy way Queen's relishes being the 'dog in this match against Laval. First time I can recall in a playoff match since 2006 against McMaster that Queen's was officially the underdog.

    Queen's came back on Mac in 2006(Marauder's laid total egg in second half- not likely to happen by Laval this year) and won a game they shouldn't have with a sophmore QB(Branagan playing in front of family at Ivor Wynne in Hamilton). Sat behind Queen's bench that game and saw a very persuasive Pat Sheahan.

    The two difference makers for Queen's this year besides experienced players that have seen agony in premature exit in previous years is a corps of receivers that run well on the turf after the reception, and a defence that at least last year was extremely stingy. They have been capable all year of being equally stingy on the D but not shown it (or forced to with a busy offense).

    Thirty points wins this game(assuming defensive holding) by either team. Can't wait. Unavailable to watch game as presently out of country(deferred trip to attend Yates though) but will listen to feed by Queen's radio and various blog commentaries.

  3. How did Saint Mary's end up getting two great QB's from Ontario in back to back years?