Football: Taking a look at the playoff picture

When I talked to Stingers head coach Gerry McGrath after his win last week over the McGill Redmen, he all but admitted that he was looking at the playoff picture in week three. "We knew whoever lost this game would have an uphill battle to make the playoffs," he said.

There are still five games left in the new QUFL regular season, and while there seems to be a gap between Bishop's and Concordia and Sherbrooke and McGill, that isn't necessarily the case.

You see, when taking a look at the remaining schedules of all the teams, there is one team with a distinct advantage, but it remains to be seen how that will affect the playoff picture.

The Sherbrooke Vert et Or are 1-3, with their only win coming at home against Mount Allison. But, in their three losses they have only faced UdeM and Laval twice. The hard part of their schedule is now over, having faced the No. 1 and 3 teams in the country.

Their remaining schedule? 2 games home and away against Bishop's and McGill and at home against Concordia. Their playoff fate is still very much in their hands.

Their remaining schedule of 8-12 is the easiest in the conference. By a long shot. All other teams face at least a 11-5 schedule. That doesn't mean Sherbrooke will win both games against McGill and coast to the playoffs, it's just something that teams should look past their 1-3 record and see why they are getting Top 10 votes.

Here are the remaining schedules for the other teams in the conference:

Laval: vs CON, @ MTL, vs BISH, @McG, @ CON (11-5)
Montreal: @ BISH, vs LAV, @ McG, vs CON, vs BISH (12-8)
Bishop's: vs MTL, @ SHE, @ LAV, vs SHE, @ MTL (14-6)
Concordia: @ LAV, vs McG, @ SHE, @ MTL, vs LAV (13-7)
Sherbrooke: @McG, vs BISH, vs CON, @ BISH, vs McG (8-12)
McGill: vs SHE, @ CON, vs MTL, vs LAV, @ SHE (12-8)

Players of the week
Offence: Rotrand Sene, MTL had 202 yards running on 22 carries. He had his third straight QUFL player of the week and third straight 200 yard game in the come from behind victory against McGill.

Defence: Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, LAV had four tackles and two sacks in the win 23-7 over Sherbrooke.

Special Teams: Josh Maveety, BIS had three field goals and a key single on a kickoff which provided the margin of victory against Concordia.

1. LAVAL 4-0
3. BISHOP'S 3-1
6. McGILL 0-4

The Week Ahead:
Sherbrooke (1-3) @ McGill (0-4), Saturday 1pm [TV/Webcast: Radio-Canada, Webcast: SSN]
No. 3 Montreal (4-0) @ No. 8 Bishop's (3-1), Saturday 1pm [Webcast: SSN]
Concordia (2-2) @ No. 1 Laval (4-0), Sunday 1pm

Radio-Canada wishes they were at Bishop's this week, but Sherbrooke-McGill should at least be a close game. Concordia makes their visit to Laval and have to hope that Robert Mackay has recovered from the post-concussion syndrome that has kept him out since the season-opener against Bishop's, as that may be the only way they could knock off Laval.
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  1. You should have asked Coach McGrath if he stands by his prediction of 7-2 for the Stingers with two losses already and five games to play including two against Laval!...

    Because of what you explained and the fact Sherbrooke fared relatively well against Laval and Montréal, I believe the Vert & Or will make the playoffs. And therefore that Concordia is in danger of missing them.

    The Stingers will need much more than Mackay back to knock off Laval this Sunday, including a running game and a much stronger defense!

  2. I meant that Mackay had to be healthy to have a chance... I don't think just because he's in that they will win.

    As for Sherbrooke, they have a history of losing games they have to win so it will be interesting to see how they deal with the expectation to win down the stretch.

  3. The Stingers need a lot of things...but who cares, what the QUFL needs is another French school to start a football program so the Q starts to gain at least a semblance of competitiveness.

    Talking about the Q playoffs is utterly pointless as everybody has known since April that Laval would win the Dunsmore.

  4. @Brumus: I am with you ... actually, what we also need is a 9-game reg-season (following the QUFL's lead) and a four-week national championship. Imagine if you got an all-Quebec Vanier Cup!

  5. My comments above aren't flippant; the last eight years in the Q (the next eight years too?) make the Pete Carroll-era Pac-10 seem wide open in comparison.

    Look, Laval has a huge base to recruit from: if you're a top-notch player who doesn't speak passable English (especially if you live outside Montreal), you have exactly ONE school on your list. That's the reality of Laval's "recruiting." (And if you're an all-star high schooler in Ontario, how many schools will be knocking on your door?)

    Adding another French team won't end Laval's tiresome dominance overnight, but it will chip away at their depth -- an often-overlooked factor in their success.

    (Oh, and Quebec has the feeder system to easily support another Francophone program.)

  6. Brumus, I agree another Francophone program should be added in the QUFL but where? UQAC recently said they're not interested, UQAM have more urgent issues to deal with (including a huge debt, a leftist management not interested in varsity sports, no stadium and no room to build it), UQTR never expressed any kind of interest and the other universities are too small.

    And BTW, "if you're a top notch player who doesn't speak passable English", you still have THREE schools on your list: Laval, Sherbrooke and Montréal. If Sherbrooke and Montréal are not on your list, then I don't see why Trois-Rivières or Chicoutimi would be.

  7. That's just it. I wouldn't say that Laval dominated. They had a few very close games with Concordia over the years, and Montreal did as well.

    Admittedly, Concordia is going through a rebuild but it is THE PLAYERS who need to want competitive balance like Sylven says. If you're being recruited to Laval, Sherbrooke and Montreal (using the French schools as an example), would you rather be a second-string at Laval, or have the chance to beat Laval at the other two schools?

    That's the thing with College athletics. They are all free agents. Would they rather go to the champion or would they try and dethrone the champion. Maybe it is UdeM and Sherbrooke who are not recruiting that way, but that is what I would do. I would ask the player if they want to beat the best, or be a backup on the best team. Give Laval credit, but still, Montreal and Sherbrooke HAVE to take some of the blame in your example and even then, I think Bishop's is doing the best job in the Q at recruiting.

    Concordia was a Liam Mahoney interception in the end zone away from beating Laval at PEPS in the Dunsmore two years ago when no other team held them within two touchdowns. They are in a down cycle right now, but there is no reason to believe they and Bishop's will get to a place where it will be competitive.

  8. Jared, you actually prove my point that the Q is an utterly predictable one-team league: a SINGLE semi-close final in eight years is not proof of a healthy, competitive league. Quite the opposite.

    Sylven, your excuses for why UQAC, UQTR et al can't field teams (debt, non-supportive administrations, etc.) are all problems many other schools with football programs face. If Bishop's can field a competitive team, no reason UQTR couldn't. If small areas (population wise) like the Maritimes can have four football programs, no reason the Q can't have at least four or five French programs.

    Many Laval fans are quick to lecture other schools on implementing the so-called Laval model, yet, when asked why another Quebec school isn't launching a football program, turn around and offer up excuses as to why it can't be done.

  9. Jared, I do agree with this point you make:

    "...but there is no reason to believe they [Concordia] and Bishop's will get to a place where it will be competitive."

    Harsh, but true.

  10. @Brumus - Sherby has implemented the Laval model in the Q... They did the playoffs twice since 2003, never been to Dunsmore final...

    As for the complete domination of Laval, you should have been at the Cepsum last year, or if God wants, next Saturday. You can be sure that the Carbs are gonna give the Rouge & Or a good competitive football game.

    In 2009, Mtl had a better recruitment than Laval, last year (2010) was Laval, be we were a close second ,especially when we know that some commited players to other teams will probably transfer to Mtl in 2011.

    I think you should meet with coach Santerre & Constantin, you'd learn that nobody think they are sure to win...

  11. Brumus, I'm not offering excuses why other Québec universities can't launch football programs, I'm just giving you straight facts: Although I would like it, UQAC, UQTR and UQAM are not lauching football programs and visibly have no intentions to, unfortunately. If you're not satisfied with their AD's reading of the situation (if the Maritimes and Bishop's can do it..., arguments with which I agree BTW), go and tell them! They are the ones who make decisions, not Laval fans!

    And as Deuxfans mentioned, the so-called Laval model is not a miracle solution to win Dunsmore Cups. Quick correction however, no team in the QUFL was nowhere near Laval this year in terms of recruiting. But you're right Montréal's 2009 recruiting was better.