In all honesty, nothing really feels better than "I told you so."
"I told you so," I say, when I accurately predict the immediate sequence of events on the TV dra-medy we are watching at home. It bursts forth again, with a gleeful cackle, when it does take only one trip to get all the recycling to the basement, and I can dance condescendingly in a pool of your previous doubts. And those four little words -- those four, glorious, fabulous words -- burst forth, once more, when I see the scores from this past weekend's powerhouse match ups.
Oh, hey guys. Remember last week? Remember that thing I said? Yeah. I told you so.
In the words of the eternal divas, "Excuse me, darling, let me quote myself."
"Yes, I think the rankings are pretty solid as is, and seeing them virtually unchanged from the previous week only serves to solidify my opinion. Do I think they might change significantly before the end of season, however? Absolutely. At they very top, perhaps not; through the middle and latter portions, yes, it's a distinct possibility. After all, even if top 10 teams aren't playing each other much, the rankings still come down to a coach's vote, and if you throw in a few commanding W's (or maybe an upset or two) then I see potential for at least some fear (if not more) moving through the ranks of the upper crust."
On Friday alone: unranked Brock upset #3 (now #5) Western, behind an enormous 27-point performance by Whitney Gorges; 8-12 UFV took Winnipeg into overtime; and the TRU WolfPack (of all people) took another (yes, another!) win off of UVic, despite not posting more than 15 points by any player during the game.
As for Saturday? The 7-13 Wolfpack are now 9-13, thanks to another win off the Vikes (and another very low-scoring game); UBC came within 6 of Regina; and a total of 6 teams eked out wins by less than ten points, with two of those reaching margins of two or less.
You see, the apocalypse is coming, my childr-- I mean, the national tournament is fast approaching, and people are pulling out all the stops to succeed. This is magnified, of course, by the significant change in playoff structures: as is clinically detailed on the CIS website, the journey to the national tournament (let alone the Bronze Baby once you get there) is much harder than it ever has been. Teams are scrabbling for wins, splits, and rankings, clawing desperately at any last edge they can find in this final three weeks of league play. Now, with the new setup, they pretty much have to -- the chance of them using that edge to gain a berth is a difficult and (in most cases unlikely) endeavour, so everyone's chomping a little harder at the bit than they might have in previous years.
Let me put it simply: as Windsor is hosting, they get an automatic berth (that's standard). As well, the four champions of each respective region will make it to the tournament, which drops us down to three spots. Of those three spots, though, the "rest" (from second place in each conference to as far down as fifth in the OUA and Canada West) now have to duke it out to win their respective spot over everyone else clawing it out in the middle ranks.
No more wild cards; no more mulligans; no more stumbling your way through playoffs and still making it into the tournament. You can't show up to nationals with a bronze regional medal around your neck anymore, because it's simply not possible -- that's no longer how things work. What you do need to do, however, is take as many wins off bigger fish in your conference (if you're one of the smaller ones) as you can in these last few games, and hopefully your playoff results will get you a qualfying spot in your region (although your road from there will be the last thing from easy).
And so, we wait, grasshopper, and see how things unfold. Only three more weeks left, and already the fish -- big and small -- are feeling the heat. Who will come out on top? As of right now, few can say. One thing will remain true, though, as February draws to a close: the effort (and likely the upsets) will not stop. After all, in the words of the famous zen master, "There is no try, there is only do." So, do as much as you can, Luke Skyw-- I mean, keep fighting, all you people... it's not over till it's over (and you've got a few steps still left to take).