As each CIS football team is officially eliminated from playoff contention, we'll reflect on what they did this year and compare their results to our expectations.
Here's a look at our second team to be eliminated from the playoff picture, the Alberta Golden Bears who dropped a 48-20 decision to Manitoba this weekend to seal their fate.
Per-game stats (as of time of elimination):
Points for: 16.3
Points against: 41.2
Passing yards: 201.5
Rushing yards: 111.8
Passing yards against: 255.0
Rushing yards against: 261.3
Looking back at our preview questions:
Q: Will an offensively-minded head coach help the Bears move the ball consistently and keep the defence fresh?
A: Alberta certainly didn't move the ball effectively this season, with turnovers yet again being a major problem for this offence. The Bears at the time of elimination sit last in the conference in three of four major categories (scoring offence, rushing offence and total offence). Head coach Jeff Stead saw the offence sputter for the most part through six games, with the team scoring more than 20 points only once. When all their offensive woes are combined, it meant a lot of tough situations for the defence.
Q: QB Julian Marchand reach his potential as an athletically gifted athlete?
A: Marchand simply didn't pan out as a CIS quarterback. After a great junior career with the Calgary Colts, Marchand came to Alberta with high expectations, but couldn't reach his potential during his time at the U of A. He showed glimpses of what he could do early in his career, but as a starter the last two seasons he couldn't reach the next level. His 10 interceptions after six games are the most in the conference, meaning he very well could lead Canada West in that category for the second straight season.
Q: How will the Bears fill the gap left by kicker extraordinaire Hugh O'Neill?
A: Steven McCaffrey a true-freshmen out of Henry Wise Wood HS in Calgary had a solid rookie season for Alberta, and should give them a very capable kicking option for years to come. HIs 35.7 yard average on punts is middle of the pack in the conference, but he's shown the potential to develop those skills. He's only had four field goal tries this season, hitting on three of them, and has nailed all seven point after attempts he's tried. All and all the kicking game didn't hurt this team this season, and McCaffrey will only get better from here.