Football: FRC-CIS picks, where one of our voters dissents on McMaster

Following Week Three's action, which included Calgary romping over Manitoba and Queen's taking down Western, here are the latest Football Reporters of Canada-CIS Top 10 poll ballots from some of our staff members who vote in it. See the CIS site for how the poll turned out. You can find our ballots from after Week One here and from after Week Two here. Interestingly enough, one of our voters was the only one to break from the herd and choose someone other than McMaster as #1. Read on to find out who...

Evan Daum's ballot: 

1. McMaster - 45-16 this past weekend, undefeated and defending national champions. Until they lose, they're the cream of the crop.

2. Laval - I'm a holdout of sorts on the Rouge et Or. I've had them pencilled in at No. 2 all year, and they'll remain there until they lose, or win a tight one against a far inferior opponent.

3. Calgary - They passed a good test this weekend in Winnipeg against the Bisons and should be able to get past a disappointing UBC team this weekend on the road.

4. Montreal - Ranked No.3 in the only poll that matters, but I still don't know if this team is truly better than Laval. Until October 7th rolls around, when the they play the Rouge et Or, we likely won't know.

5. Queen's - Chance to make some real noise this weekend when they get the Marauders. Could cause a big shakeup in the poll if they pull off the upset.

6. Western - In the No. 6 hole thanks in large part to the fact the trio of teams behind them have proven to be good, albeit not great. I'll avoid the Western Canadian bias and give the benefit of the doubt to the Mustangs.

7. Saskatchewan - They beat UBC over the weekend, but then again everyone has so far this season. They should be in for all they can handle this weekend against a solid Regina team.

8. Manitoba - Came back to Earth thanks to a loss to the only team you need to know in Canada West. They're still playing good football and should be able to handle an Alberta team that enters their meeting this weekend in Winnipeg on a 12-game skid.

9. Regina - It took until the fourth quarter against Alberta for the Rams everyone thought made the trip to Edmonton to show up, but a 31-17 win has this squad positioned well for the final game of the first half this weekend.

10. Acadia - The only AUS team inside my top 10. Could've been Sherbrooke this week, but likely won't be next.

Kevin Garbuio's ballot: 

1. McMaster
2. Calgary
3. Montreal
4. Laval
5. Queen's
6. Western
7. Saskatchewan
8. Manitoba
9. Regina
10. Windsor

Rationale: McMaster and Calgary will be my 1-2 until they lose. Both are undefeated in strong conferences, and even when they face weaker teams, they win the way top teams should. I like Montreal ahead of Laval because the Carabins have dominated opponents, while Laval still hasn't put together a full 60 minutes despite being 3-0. Queens is ahead of Western because of the win but I didn't drop the Mustangs too far as they played well on the road at a tough stadium. Unfortunately for them, they may have to go back to Richardson Stadium because of this result. Saskatchewan and Regina move up because of their wins. Manitoba stays put because of their body of work and they played Calgary tough until the second half. I put Windsor in because I really like this team despite what happened vs. Guelph. It was a toss up between them, Acadia and Sherbrooke. I think Windsor still has a shot at hosting a playoff game and maybe reaching the Yates Cup.

Andrew Bucholtz's ballot: 

1. Calgary
2. McMaster
3. Laval
4. Montreal
5. Queen's
6. Regina
7. Saskatchewan
8. Western
9. Manitoba
10. Concordia

Rationale: Well, I wasn't expecting to be the only voter to pick Calgary over McMaster this week, but if my ballot's unconventional, I'm fine with that. The Dinos and Marauders were both impressive, but Calgary dominated a decent Manitoba team (33-12) while Mac beat up on a struggling Ottawa one (45-16). It's not the Marauders' fault the schedule put them against the Gee-Gees here, and you can certainly make a good argument for leaving Mac #1 out of inertia, but I tend to do these ballots based on a combination of who's looked the best this week, in the season to date, and with a view to long term. Calgary and Mac have similar long-term outlooks (at this point I'd give the Dinos a slight defensive edge, the Marauders a slight offensive one), but Calgary's beaten better teams, and the big road win this week bumps them on top for me. It's no real slight against McMaster, though, as these teams are very close in my mind.

As per the mid-ballot, Laval recorded a nice dismantling of Acadia (31-7), but I've never really bought the hype about the Axemen, so that's not enough to vault the Rouge et Or above the Dinos or Marauders for me. It does keep them above Montreal, though; the Carabins may have pounded Bishop's 45-15, but Laval had a better win this week, and I'm still slightly higher on them long-term despite less-than-dominant early showings. Still, if the Carabins aren't top-tier just yet, they're not far from it. Queen's notched a solid 18-11 win over Western, but that was at home, and I'm not convinced they should move even higher just yet, as there were a few issues on display. They stay at #5 on my ballot.

Bottom half of the ballot: Regina and Saskatchewan are pretty close, but the Rams were more dominant this week (31-17 over Alberta) and have a better loss (to Calgary rather than Manitoba), plus they beat UBC by 29 earlier in this season (although that was at home). Saskatchewan beat UBC 39-34 on the road this week, which was a good win, but a little close against a struggling Thunderbirds' squad. Western's the most impressive Top 10 losing team this week for my money, and they'd be higher in a week where more of the top 10 stumbled. The Mustangs hung in there well on the road against Queen's despite a bad day for the passing offence, and they also do have a very nice point differential on the year (127-35). However, there are questions about if they need to put more focus on the passing game than they have in the past. As per Manitoba, a 33-12 loss at home definitely hurts, but it was to Calgary. I don't really like most of the options at #10; Windsor has a lot going for it, but the Guelph loss was brutal. I still don't buy Guelph as a good team, so they're not getting the slot, and their less-than-great play also drags down Windsor. Alberta and UBC are 0-3, so they're not getting in, and I'm not voting AUS after their week of Quebec beatdowns. I decided to go with Concordia, which got plastered by Montreal earlier, but recorded a nice 41-20 win over St. FX this weekend. Can't say I'm entirely sold on the Stingers, but they seemed like the best option remaining.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and your own Top 10 picks in the comments.
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