Football: Seventh time lucky with the CIS-FRC Top 10 ballot

Please, no wagering. Here are our contributors' contributions to the FRC CIS Top 10 ballot.

Neate Sager's ballot (each team's rank in the Oct. 12 CIS-FRC poll in parentheses):
  1. Laval (6-0 QUFL) (1) — The last unbeaten team. Bruno Prud'homme seems to have settled in as the QB, is it fair to say?

  2. Regina (5-1 CW) (4) — Have Canada West's best body of work to date. Facing Calgary at home followed by a regular-season ending road trip to face Saskatchewan will indicate whether the Rams are for real.

    In case anyone needs some point differential reminders: The Rams lost to an Erik Glavic-less Calgary by three and beat the Huskies by 11.

  3. Saskatchewan (4-2 CW) (8)— Games later in the season should be weighted higher. Saskatchewan (combined: 69-26) and Western (61-18) have the same combined winning margin in their past two games vs. real teams.

    The Huskies beat better teams (Alberta, Calgary opposed to Guelph, Queen's) and its road win was more authoritative.

    Worth noting, Western scored more second-half points in its 76-0 win over York than Saskatchewan did when it mauled Manitoba 64-3 a couple weeks ago. (Point being, with comical blowouts, just consider the first 30 minutes; Western scored 45 in the first half on Saturday and Sask. put up 44 in that game.)

  4. Western (6-1 OUA) (3) — Up one rung from where yours truly had them. Not Greg Marshall's best team, but one of his best coaching jobs. The John Surla-led defence helped them move up while the rest of the OUA takes turns messing up.

    Ontario-centric voters will put the 'Stangs in the 2-spot.

  5. MontrĂ©al (5-2 QUFL) (7) — The PEPS factor alone cannot account for a 55-point point difference in the Carabins' and Gaiters' losing margins vs. Le Grand Machine Rouge, can it?

  6. Bishop's (5-2 QUFL) (5) — 62 to zip at Laval; did the Quebec team with Western's colours provided a harbinger of what faces the Yates Cup winner in the Uteck Bowl?

  7. Calgary (4-2 CW) (2) — Four-spot drop from my ballot last week after a second decisive loss to Sasky.
  8. Ottawa (6-1 OUA) (6) — Have some control over their playoff opponent, since Guelph needs to win to ensure itself home field for the Oct. 30 quarter-final, likely vs. Laurier.

  9. McMaster (6-2 OUA) (9) — Showed Ottawa it is not that hard to win at Varsity Centre. The result (Marauders win 40-21, scoring 30 unanswered) at least showed Toronto is getting tougher on the fast track at home.

    The Marauders, like the top two teams in the OUA, get benefit of a bye before hosting a playoff game.

  10. Laurier (3-4 OUA) (NR) — Playing decent football and can still earn a home playoff game despite Peter Baxter's reluctance to read the rules. Showed a killer instinct vs. a fragile Queen's team.

Thanks for your consideration.

Andrew Bucholtz's ballot: (last week's rankings in parentheses)

1. Laval (1)
2. Regina (3)
3. Western (4)
4. Saskatchewan (6)
5. Montreal (8)
6. Ottawa (7)
7. Calgary (2)
8. Bishop's (5)
9. McMaster (9)
10. Sherbrooke (NR)

Rationale: Calgary's loss to Saskatchewan sees them fall and the Huskies rise. Saskatchewan's been very good at times, but I can't put them ahead of the more consistent Regina or Western teams just yet; they may get there before too long, however. Bishop's was expected to lose to Laval, but not 62-0; that pounding sees them swap places with Montreal, who took care of business against McGill. Ottawa, on a bye, gets a slight bump thanks to Calgary's loss, but I don't want to put them too high thanks to their loss to U of T last week; I have more faith in the teams above them. McMaster holds steady in the nine spot with a decent win over Toronto, while Sherbrooke replaces Concordia thanks to their overtime win over the Stingers.

Jared Book's ballot: (last week's rankings in parentheses)

1. Laval (1)
2. Regina (4)
3. Saskatchewan (7)
4. Calgary (2)
5. Montreal (6)
6. Bishop's (3)
7. Western (5)
8. Ottawa (9)
9. Sherbrooke (8)
10. McMaster (10)

No new entries this week, just some shuffling. Laval is self explanatory. Regina is CW's top team, and leapfrogs Calgary and Bishop's into the 2 spot. Saskatchewan makes the biggest jump because they have beaten Calgary twice, and I still have Calgary ahead of the Quebec and Ontario teams for now. Montreal moves up one, not so much for their win over McGill but for being much closer than Bishop's was against Laval. Bishop's stays ahead of Western in the Quebec grouping. Western drops because I still like the CW and QUFL teams better than the OUA teams. Ottawa I feel is slightly more impressive than Sherbrooke thus far, flipping them and McMaster stays put after a bit of a scare from Toronto.
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  1. Why is it "worth noting" that Western ran up the score on York more than Saskatchewan did against Manitoba?

  2. The point was that people start to look at margins of victory when they make comparisons. They should really only look at the first half for such comical mismatches, i.e., when the starters were in, before the score got really embarrassing.

    I am willing to bet few Top Ten voters could tell you how many points were scored in the first half of those games.

    Saskatchewan scored 44 in the first half vs. Manitoba and put it on autopilot, Western scored 45 in the first half vs. York.

    Each presumably put it on autopilot and tried not to humiliate its opponent.

    The point was that people should not use a 76-0 win to push Western up higher in the rankings anymore than if it had been 56-0, or 76-14. I honestly believe Western tried to taper off (and three TDs were pick-sixes, although since the CIS website has no stats, I don't know when those occurred).

    For games like that, just look at what it was after 30 minutes. Take Boise State last weekend; it beat San Jose State 48-0 after scoring 41 in the first half.

    It could have run up the score, impressed people, maybe raised the ire of some others. It did not.

    That is why it is worth noting. And I do not recall saying Western "ran up the score on York," as you put it.

  3. Okay, I agree that people shouldn't judge teams strength based on what happens after they're up by 5 or 6 TD's. I thought you were implying the opposite.

    If you don't think 76-0 is running up the score, I don't think I can convince you, but all four of Westerns 2nd half TD's were on offense. Boise State is a classy football program.

  4. Steve,

    Thanks ... personally, I am just reluctant to accuse anyone of running up the score unless I followed the bulk of the game live.

    I recall a few years back Ottawa beat Toronto 59-23, during the depths of the Varsity Blues' losing streak. Ottawa completed a 50-yard bomb late in the game and I made a snarky comment about it on Out of Left Field and was rightly called out for it ... it was a broken play on which the QB scrambled and threw deep.

    I don't know enough whether Western piled it on ... if you put second- and third-stringers (such as the true freshman quarterback, Ben Rossong) in the game, call basic plays and they still move the ball, what can you do?

    It would be great if a former coach published guidelines on what to do in that situation. A CIS team is limited in what it can do ... people on the dot-org were griping Queen's still had starting O-linemen on the field in the fourth quarter when it beat Toronto 66-1. Well, teams only dress 6-7 OLs, and five have to play, so you can't pull them all.

    A couple principles I have in mind for blowouts.

    -- Get the quarterback out of the game, depending on his experience and the team's depth, before 10 minutes remain.

    -- No deep passes into the end zone. If you get inside the 30, try to move the ball with rushes and quick, short passes until you're inside the 10.

    -- Don't kick field goals. Run the ball on anything less than a third-and-5. (But don't do what Jeff Fisher did on Monday Night Football yesterday and have your starting tailback in so he can get a shot at a cheap 100-yard game.)

    -- No big blitzes, except for a run blitz in a short-yardage situation.

    -- No gadget plays. Although using that time to try something new that's a more conventional play is cool.

  5. I just didn't see the game live, so I am in no position to comment. Unless Western was throwing deep into the end zone with 2 minutes left ...

  6. I just realized you're implying that Manitoba isn't a real team. Ouch! I don't agree. Canada West is just a very tough conference.

  7. I don't believe I said that, either. They're not on a York level. However, it is tough to call yourself a team you're down 44-0 at half (or 43-10, but Queen's and Manitoba will play and win again).