Another week, another run at glory for our CIS "Expert" crew. With spreads in play, the gang has really started to make some interesting picks. Sager and Daum have shown the rest of us how its done - but the season is far from over and we'll take this all the way to Vanier! With the OUA season winding down this week, there are a few meaningless contests, but across the nation there is still lots of drama unfolding.
Here's the skinny:
Saskatchewan @ Regina (+7); Oct. 22 - 7pm MDT
Regina heads into the weekend after putting up a fight last weekend against UBC in a 23-16 loss, and will be looking to jump into a playoff spot, which the Rams would accomplish with a win coupled with a Manitoba loss. The offence has been all over the map recently for Regina, putting up big numbers last weekend through the air, while Adrian Charles had only 67 yards on the ground meaning it's hard to know what to expect offensively. Saskatchewan is also coming off a loss against Calgary's defence, who held the Huskies to only 74 net yards. Expect that total to improve for Saskatchewan, but not enough against a Regina team that will be in a playoff spot when the weekend concludes.
Daum’s Pick: Regina 24-21
Saint Mary's @ Acadia (+5.5); Oct. 22 - 2pm ADT
This is one of the more interesting games since, the last time these two met (8-3 win for the Huskies in Halifax in week 5), they played in a monsoon. Both of these squads have done a great job keeping their opponents from scoring, but the rest of the competition in the AUS doesn't appear to be world-beaters right now. These two are the top teams out East, and this game will decide who gets the bye week and home field for the Loney Bowl.
Both squads match up in every position with slight differences giving one team the edge here and the other there. They really kind of even out in the end. The forecast says sun on the weekend so expect a very tight contest, with scoring this time, right down to the wire. Give the edge to Acadia playing at home and with a chip on their shoulder since everyone expects another conference win for SMU. But they may not cover the spread.
Radoslav's Pick: Acadia 28-24
Western @ Queen’s (+3.5); Oct. 22 - 1pm (EDT)
Even though they have clinched their first OUA crown since 1999, and the country’s top ranking—albeit a slim one—over the Calgary Dinos, the Western Mustangs can’t step backwards as they head to the playoffs. With a bye next week, and this game against the Gaels potentially a Yates Cup preview, the ‘Stangs will be looking to refine any issues they may have.
Perry’s Pick: Western 31-27
Laurier @ Guelph (+6.5); Oct. 22; 1pm
Yes, Western at Queen’s has all the hype, but the most meaningful game in the OUA this week will be played at Alumni Stadium in Guelph. The Gryphons will need an upset win against a tough Laurier squad and hope for a Toronto win to get themselves into the playoffs. Toronto should dust winless Waterloo – but does Guelph have what it takes to knock the Hawks?
These two teams are more closely-aligned then you might think – they have similar records (Guelph 2-5; WLU 3-4) and both at times have shown they can compete against the top teams, including close games against Western. On the flip side, both have squandered opportunities which could have led them to better records. How Laurier performs offensively will be the difference in this game. If the Golden Hawks can showcase their nationally-ranked offence and keep their points per game average up (39.3 points per game – 2nd in CIS), then it’s a wasted season in Guelph – if not then Stu Lang’s pre-season voice mail greeting still has a chance at being true.
Grobe’s Pick: Laurier 36-30
Ottawa @ McMaster (-9); Oct. 22, 1pm (EDT)
The battle for the bye could turn on the diversity in each team's passing game. Grobe is no doubt wondering what an old wooden ship popular during the Civil War era has to do with CIS football and where the Gee-Gees found a trailer big enough to transport it down Hwy. 403, but there's difference in how each QB spreads the ball around. Kyle Quinlan and Mac lead the country in passing yards per game and the Gee-Gees secondary has been a hot mess since the calendar turned to October, having allowed four 30-yard-plus touchdown passes in its past two games vs. playoff teams. Quinlan and receivers Mike DiCroce, Brad Fochesato, Robert Babic and Matthew Peressini should make it a game of pick-your-poison for the Ottawa defence, which is probably going to need to pull off a few surprise blitzes to slow down the Mac attack.
Whether Gee-Gees QB Aaron Colbon matches that in a tough road enviroment remains to be seen. Last week, when second-leading receiver Bogdan Raic (19.8 yards per catch) was scratched vs. Windsor with a suspected sore hamstring, Simon Le Marquand was the only Gee-Gees wideout or slotback to catch more than two passes. Colbon had 353 yards, but that was padded by Brendan Gillanders gaining about 100 YAC on shovel passes and checkdowns. Ottawa coach J.P. Asselin went away from the pass late in the Windsor game, running Gillanders, who converted three third downs in the fourth quarter, time and again to set up Matt Falvo's winning field goal at the final gun. Mac just seems to have an edge at QB and has no mental out, since a win will keep the home for the semifinal for the first time in the Stefan Ptaszek era.
Sager's pick: Marauders 31-20
Sherbrooke @ Laval (-13); Oct. 23; 1pm (EDT)
This game is a measuring stick for the Vert et Or. Montreal beat Laval but Sherbrooke beat Montreal. Sherbrooke has a chance to get to first place. Jeremi Doyon-Roch had a tough game against Concordia and Laval is trying to get back and assert themselves as Quebec's top dog. I like Sherbrooke to keep it close and they'll have a chance but I like Laval to get the win.
Book’s Pick: Laval 21-15