One of the most interesting CIS clashes of this weekend sees the Calgary Dinos hosting the Saskatchewan Huskies tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. local/6 p.m. Pacific), and it's one we're going to be live-blogging. It's the first regular-season clash for both sides, who might just be two of the best teams in the country. They're certainly two of the highest-ranked teams; Calgary was ranked first in the preseason FRC/CIS Top 10, while Saskatchewan was third; they were first and second respectively in our Fans' Top 10; and the Huskies are currently leading our "Vanier Cup winner" poll.
Still, those rankings don't always reflect true performance; No. 9 Western beat No. 6 Laurier 46-1 this week [Arden Zwelling, The Western Gazette], after all. Many observers are expecting this clash to be closer, though. Unlike Laurier's attempt to find their way with American quarterback Shane Kelly, who was 7-for-18 [Andy Watson, WesternMustangs.ca] in his first taste of CIS action [Justin Fauteux , The Cord], the Huskies and Dinos both feature experienced CIS pivots who are among the country's best. Two-time Hec Creighton Trophy winner Erik Glavic, who was named the top CIS player in 2007 with Saint Mary's and in 2009 with the Dinos, will be leading Calgary's quest to get back to the Vanier Cup this year. One of their main challengers may be the Huskies, though, who are led by another fifth-year pivot (and a burgeoning Twitter superstar) in Laurence Nixon.
The Canada West champion possibly has the easiest path to the national title game this year, as they'll host the AUS champion; the OUA champion has to travel to Quebec. First, though, they've got to win their own conference. That may well come down to a Calgary - Saskatchewan final, and tonight's game could be a preview of that. Come join Evan Daum (on location in Calgary) and myself (watching via Shaw TV from B.C.) along with other CIS Blog staff for tonight's coverage live at 9 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Mountain/6 p.m. Pacific!