Football: Our staff's Top 10 FRC-CIS picks

It's the return of an old CIS Blog tradition, with some of our staff members who vote in the weekly Football Reporters of Canada-CIS Top 10 poll posting and defending their ballots. See the CIS site for the poll resultsHere's how we voted following Week One's CIS football action, which included OUA blowouts and a Canada West upset:

Neate Sager's ballot: 

1. Mac - until proven otherwise in a meaningful game.
2. Laval - Strong start vs. improving McGill.
3. Calgary - Nice start for Eric Dzwilewski with 307 yards vs. Regina. Crazy to see the Dinos pass more than they rush.
4. Montreal - Alexandre Nadeau-Piuze passed for 401 yards vs. Sherbrooke, which used to be a month's worth of yards for Les Bleus quarterbacks. Maciocia!
5. Queen's - Put away York early, saving themselves for Laurier, which apparently decided to save all of its offence for the last 7 games.
6. Windsor - Some of Austin Kennedy's touchdown passes vs. Ottawa looked like what happens when a team runs through a new play "against air."
7. Western - Probably a good bet to snap U of T's shutout streak this Saturday.
8. Saskatchewan - Good bounce-back by blanking Alberta in their Canada West opener.
9. Acadia - The over/under for Rod Black references to Kyle Graves attending the Alouettes training camp if Acadia makes the Uteck Bowl is 43.5.
10. Manitoba - The Bisons-'Birds game had 549 rushing yards and a punt return touchdown. They did know they were permitted to tackle, correct?

Rob Pettapiece's ballot: 

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

Commentary: For philosophical and practical reasons, I don't think it much matters who's on this ballot beyond the top six, so everything that follows is just about rearranging the lower half and isn't all that crucial in my mind. UBC stays put (I had them 8th last week) because I don't think the Manitoba loss is a death knell by any means. I expect Manitoba to get more than a few votes, and UBC to drop off entirely, simply because a lot of voters (in my opinion) reduce their decisions to "win = move them up, loss = move them down", which is far too simplistic a thought process. In most cases, the first games of the season didn't change my list too much, other than dropping Guelph (who were only 10th) and adding Acadia (who haven't played a real game yet but were on the bubble). 

Andrew Bucholtz's ballot: 

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

Commentary: My rationale's generally going with who looks the best right now while still keeping the long term in perspective. For example, Manitoba isn't vaulting in yet, and they wouldn't pass UBC even if they did). Thus, McMaster and Calgary recorded better wins than Laval, so they move up because I considered the top three to all be close, but the Rouge et Or stay ahead of the Carabins despite Montreal's better win because I think they're better overall. Montreal, Windsor and Saskatchewan all move up a slot thanks to UBC's loss; didn't see any reason to rearrange them. The Thunderbirds fall from #4 to #8 for what I consider a pretty bad loss. Queen's looked better than Regina this week, so they vault ahead. Regina's loss wasn't terrible, so they stay Top-10, but Mustangs move ahead of them. I don't see a reason to put Acadia in just yet, especially as they haven't played a regular-season game, but they're a strong bubble team.

Kevin Garbuio's ballot:

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

Commentary: Picking the top five was fairly easy for me. I was impressed with what McMaster did to Guelph, and they proved why they are the unquestioned favourite for the Vanier Cup. I like Montreal and think they have their best chance in years at winning the Dunsmore Cup due to their talented offence and great coaching. Acadia at six may be a homer pick to some (I am an Acadia football alumnus) but what they did in the first quarter vs. X in exhibition was impressive, and I think they are underrated. I had Windsor at 10 last week, and I expected them to beat Ottawa but not by such a wide margin. Austin Kennedy could be a Hec Crighton candidate this year if he wasn't in the same conference as Kyle Quinlan. As for out West, I thought Manitoba should have been in the preseason top 10, but I did not expect the Bisons to run all over (pun not intended) UBC like they did. Saskatchewan was expected to blow out Regina; I still think this will be a down year for them.

Thoughts? Your own picks? Leave them in the comments. 
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  1. 1. McMaster - they dominated and didn't play their best. Their defense is as good as their offence.
    2. Laval - Have some work to do. The OLine is fortunate to have a few easier games to gel and Grenon wasn't great but they always find a way to win.......well almost always.
    3. Calgary - I would have moved them up a spot but then I'd have to justify moving Laval down a spot which inevitably leads to comparing them head to head and everyone knows that story.
    4. Montreal - I like this team a lot and they may be playing at home through the Q playoffs. I'll wait until they meet Laval before moving them up.
    5. Windsor - may not be as good as the score indicated but I thought this was going to be a close game. Some should remind Etch they've thrown at the other teams he was at.
    6/7.Queen's or Western - It won't be long until they get ranked based on head to head play.
    8. Saskatchewan - If they win again this week they probably deserve to be moved up a bit.
    9. Manitoba - I have them picked to upset Sask.
    10. Acadia - They're undefeated :)

  2. The CIS Blog's contributers and DSquared clearly have not seen the definitive week-one assessment of the Stangs, ;-)

  3. I saw it SFHS, read it from the .org site. While it's well written I don't see in any way how Waterloo can be an accurate barometer for guaging Western's running backs.

    I think I'll wait until after week 3 before commenting how effective the Western run game is.

  4. Just adding a little heat to season.

  5. OUA clearly has 4 very decent teams this year with Mac, Windsor , Queen's and Western the top teams.. Still very , very early and Marauders really the deepest and battle proven in big games against other conferences in playoffs. Historically, it has been the team that is best in their last 3 or 4 games before playoffs that eventually take Yates Cup.

    This year may be one of the worst in lopsided scores and I hope that Windsor is kind on Guelph to make sure we don't start seeing 40 and 50 point margins on a regular basis.