#Top10VoterProblems: of Caron, Carabins, and Carletons, and Western folk playing against type

The biggest challenge this week is what to make of Carleton knocking off Western 38-31 in the nation's capital on Sunday night.

There is only one other sample (i.e., game played) for each team, one that's unflattering to Carleton (the 30-point road loss at McMaster) and one that does little for Western's case (a glorified scrimmage with Windsor).

To get granular about the Ravens' takedown, well, Carleton dominated the passing phase and also made defining plays in the rushing and return phases. Western did a lot of stuff that was either out of character for a Greg Marshall team, or just goes unnoticed when they are beating up an also-ran.

Western slotted in as a default No. 2 on my Week 1 ballot, and I omitted Carleton since frankly, I wouldn't think much of a team that expected a ranking after getting blown out in their opener. To correct for the Ravens stepping up, and Western doing a lot to un-win, it seems fair to have the Ravens above Western for one week at least.

Ravens QB Jesse Mills averaged an adjusted 9.1 yards per attempt, and the Western QBs averaged 6.2. The Ravens also had the night's two biggest explosion plays through Tunde Adeleke's 85-yard punt-return touchdown and a 74-yard rushing TD by Jayde Rowe. On Rowe's scamper, the blocking left-side linemen Nolan McGreer and K.C. Bakker and some decoying by Nate Behar eliminated the pursuit so completely that Rowe was 15 yards downfield before he confronted a tackler.

Western had two touchdowns negated by holding penalties. Those drives netted three points instead of 14.

The Mustangs' play-calling after Carleton's game-tying 10-play, 95-yard drive in the fourth quarter was also odd. They took over at their 18-yard line with 5:37 left. Anyone who has seen the movie before knew to expect the ol' ground-and-pound peregrination. Rush until the opponent loads the box and/or forces a passing situation. Instead Stevenson Bone threw two unsuccessful passes.

After the punt, the Mustangs defence, minus injured middle linebacker Jean-Gabriel Poulin, went right back out to defend a short field. Carleton covered the 49 yards in just five plays.

Ironically, Western rushed on seven of the first eight plays on their last-ditch drive, when they had less time and greater urgency. It almost worked.

Anyway, Carleton ahead of Western for this week. It felt like a big deal, that is for damn certain. Here is what I sent in, complete with record, where I placed them on the Week 1 ballot, and upcoming opponent.

  1. Montréal Carabins (1-0 RSEQ, prev. 1, host Bishop's on Friday): Les Bleus won 24-21 at Laval after trailing by a more than one-score margin deep into the fourth quarter. 
    Samuel Caron
    , the first-year starting QB, had an adjusted average of 7.4 yards per pass, which is very heady stuff in a season opener.
  2. Calgary Dinos (1-0 CW, prev. 3, host UBC on Friday): They play defensive ball games out West every so often, just to know how it feels. Calgary's Boston Rowe had 11 tackles in the 23-14 win at Manitoba. Namesake players of the week, everybody!
  3. McMaster Marauders (2-0 OUA, prev. 4, at Ottawa): Get ready for a lulu on Lees Ave.: Mac and Ottawa have an encore after combining for 99 points and 362 yards in their 2015 matchup, which foreshadowed Asher Hastings setting a record for TD passes while Ottawa's Derek Wendel set marks for completions and yards.

    Mac is only going to have a two-practice week, while Ottawa will do well to work in three.

    Hastings probably has the better receiving corps of the two record-setting passers. See above.
  4. Laval (0-1 RSEQ, prev. 4, at Concordia): The question du semaine for the Rouge et Or is how much a young team sheds any baggage from botching the endgame against the Carabins. To review, Laval was in field goal range with eight seconds left. Quarterback Hugo Richard's primary targets weren't open, and time ran out before his incomplete pass hit the Stade Telus turf.

    Laval is young, and like John Edwards presciently pointed out years ago, we have always known the age cap would catch up to them eventually. Being away at Concordia is a good segue for Glen Constantin's guys.

    Also, has everyone seen Laval's metallic gold helmets? Did they get those at Baylor University's locker room sale? That would make sense, Baylor will need the cash for a certain lawsuit.

    Laval gets the legacy benefit of the doubt.
  5. UBC Thunderbirds (1-0 CW, prev. 8, at Calgary on Friday): Quarterback Michael O'Connor's ANY/A was a meaty 8.44 yards during the home opener, as UBC put up 39 points on Alberta without a great amount of strain. One can be at least 72 per cent confident that the T-Birds are a Top 5 team.
  6. Carleton Ravens (1-1 OUA, prev. unranked, at U of T): The short week between weeks 2 and 3 in OUA is daunting for everyone. The Ravens defence was out for 76 plays against Western, so picture a take-a-number training room. That said, they held up, with Kene Onyeka having a team-high 11 tackles after shifting from end to will 'backer give Carleton more size in the front seven.

    The win overshadowed confirmation that cornerback D'Sean Thelwell has a broken collarbone and is out for the season.
  7. Western Mustangs (1-1 OUA, prev. 2, host Waterloo): Three hundred and thirty-seven rushing yards and they lost. The upshot might be that this escalates the process of switching to quarterback Chris Merchant, who produced two touchdown drives during his relief stint against Carleton.
  8. Manitoba Bisons (0-1 CW, at Regina on Thursday): Played Calgary tough, but didn't execute in the red zone. It feels better to give the Bisons credit for a competitive loss and an exhibition-game rout of UBC instead of ranking the fourth-best OUA team.
  9. Concordia Stingers (1-0 RSEQ, prev. 9, host Laval): Analysis! Samuel Brodrique is good at football. The Stingers linebacker accounted for three of the eight takeaways during the road victory against McGill.

    Concordia got away with being very pass-heavy against McGill (47 dropbacks, 17 rushes). That might not play as well against the Rouge et Or.
  10. Laurier (2-0 OUA, prev. 10, bye week): Par-uh-what? The Carleton-Western and Windsor-Guelph results sparked some tweets about the increased parity in OUA. Laurier went up and down the field on York like a CrossFitter with really bad OCD. Final score: Golden Hawks 74, Lions 3.

    Laurier backs Eric Guiltinan and Levondre Gordon each went past the 100-yard plateau in fewer than 2½ quarters.  
Dropping out: Guelph (1-1 OUA, prev. 6, host Queen's) 

The defending Yates Cup champions lost 33-29 against Windsor and newby quarterback Jalen Brady, who was playing his first full game of Canadian football. That is bad. Having a holding penalty negate a go-ahead touchdown and fumbling in the red zone on the next play is also bad. Taking an OC for excessive celebration while still trailing by a touchdown with 2:30 left is bad, too.

Windsor's Frank Renaud caused the game-deciding turnover.
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