Saturday, November 14, 2009. 1 p.m.
Queen's University (Golden) Gaels vs. University of Western Ontario Mustangs.
It almost makes sense that these two schools will have two teams competing simultaneously for the greatest reward possible at the provincial (Ontarian...) university level, in the Yates Cup (football) and the Turner Trophy (men's rugby). Mark your calendars, folks, because it's going to get all kinds of messy.
On the football side*, you've got two of the best teams in the country (Queen's ranked 4th, Western ranked 5th).
When they played each other during the regular season, Queen's only won by 1 point on a last-second touchdown.
Queen's quarterback Danny Brannagan and Western quarterback Michael Faulds were neck-in-neck all year for the CIS career passing yards record (Faulds eventually won, Western played the University of Toronto Varsity Blues last, Queen's played Laurier... you do the math).
On the rugby side**, you have two of the closest-matched teams in the province taking their fight to the final. In Queen's undefeated season last year, Western was the only team the Gaels failed to beat, tying 12-12. This year, the Tricolour managed a perfect season, Western being the only team Queen's didn't shellack all year (winning 13-12). For the Mustangs, that loss was the only thing between them and a perfect season, finishing 7-1. Finishing in first and second place, respectively, Queen's and Western both enjoyed a luxurious bye-week that came as a result of a league-rejigging for this season.
As far as the playoffs go, Queen's managed to beat 2008 champions McMaster Marauders in their semifinal. Western beat 2007 champions Brock Badgers. Both teams are medal-hungry, of course - Western hasn't won since 2004, Queen's since 2001. Both teams' first championships came almost at the same time as well, Western's first Turner Trophy coming in 1966, while the Golden Gaels brought home their first in 1964.
At any rate, this weekend's going to be an absolute ****-show for those of us in southern Ontario, and especially those of us who work at student newspapers in Kingston or London. Oh man.
* Which I'd imagine most readers will have read, and will read, much better analysis on.
** Which I'm assuming most don't know about
Photo credits: Football photo taken by Christine Blais, rugby photo taken by Larry Pancer