Football: Vanier Cup required reading

It’s the biggest day of the year for CIS football, and by the end of the night we’ll either have a new leader in all-time Vanier Cup wins or a school taking home the national championship for the first time ever. To get you primed for the big game, here’s all the required reading on tonight’s Vanier Cup matchup between the Laval Rouge-et-Or and the McMaster Marauders. We'll be live-blogging it here in conjunction with 55-Yard Line, so swing by at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Friday night for that!

- In hopes of extending his football career into the CFL, McMaster star linebacker Ryan Chmielewski made the move this season to the weakside position, away from the middle, where he’s been a perennial All-Star. Not only did it land him OUA Defensive Player of the Year honours, it helped his team – rookie linebacker Aram Eisho has been a revelation after taking over his old job. The Spec’s Larry Moko has the details on the last game of ‘Chummer’s’s CIS career.

- Here’s a good rundown on Laval’s vaunted model of sponsorship and administrative independence. I don’t think too many people around Mac feel bad for the football team having a quarter of Laval's budget, though. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard a varsity athlete complain about the football players getting free leukotape…

- More Spec: Scott Radley has the story on how one ill-fated interception ruined a great shot for Mac to win its only Vanier Cup in 1967. If someone throws a pick in this situation today, it might break Twitter.

- Radley again, this time with the story of how Vern Lucyk, Mac’s star running back in their 1967 Vanier Cup appearance, left that game at halftime to get married. Again, Twitter would explode.

- One more time from the Spec, as Moko talks about the impact rookie running back Chris Pezzetta has made in the second half of the season. Awful headline pun alert.

- Did Mac coach Stef Ptaszek jinx his team? If an Ontario team wins the Vanier every four years to show parity, things might not be on his team’s side tonight.

- Can Sebastian Levesque learn to become versatile enough to earn a CFL shot? He’s going to find out this spring as he hopes to get drafted and keep playing football.

- McMaster defensive back Allan Dicks will be the only British Columbian taking the field at BC Place tonight. He might be the smallest guy in the game, but he did have arguably the two biggest open field hits in the OUA this season.

- In case you’ve been living under a rock, Kyle Quinlan was suspended for three games for an incident at a campus bar, after which charges were laid against him for assaulting a police officer. CHCH has the story on how it hasn’t derailed his season. Also, get ready to hear this story approximately 400 times.

- Shameless self promotion: There are a few relevant tidbits in this article I wrote for the McMaster Silhouette and the CUP wire.
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