Canada West slots into the Nos. 2, 6 and 10 spots. Calgary won by one point against Saskatchewan on Friday, but the Huskies were hella good considering that All-Canadian WR Mitch Hillis was injured and unable to play. Regina also dispatched UBC at the Thunderbirds' homecoming, so they draw in at now 10.
Fortunately for OUA, Western is at Guelph this week, which will help with the sorting job.
Slotting five OUA teams boils down to weighing Ottawa's two quality home wins (McMaster and Guelph) against Laurier's one quality road win (Carleton).
The second involves trying to size up OUA's co-leaders in all three phases. Laurier, with Kwaku Boateng, et al., might have the province's best defence, but their offence has yet to produce in the passing phase against a quality team. Ottawa's D has allowed only two TDs, one thanks to a botched long snap and the other on a late-game third-down gamble. Ottawa can also pass and rush.
As Ottawa guard/tackle Nickson Silva said of OUA this week, "Everybody has beaten somebody who has beaten somebody."
- Montréal Carabins (3-0 RSEQ, --, at Acadia): Merci beaucoup, Montréal, for showing no weakness whatsoever against the RSEQ's soft underbelly (note to self: get to gym this morning). The Carabins have not given up a touchdown in their last nine quarters.
- Calgary Dinos (3-0 CW, --, at Regina on Fri.): Calgary is struggling to finish drives, but Jimmy Underdahl dug out one with those three big gainers that set up the last-minute field goal to shade Saskatchewan 20-19 on Friday.
Next week's return trip over the border should illustrate to what degree parity exists within Canada West.
- Laval Rouge et Or (2-1 RSEQ, --, at Mount Allison): Look, it is Hugo Richard, and he is doing stuff! The Rouge et Or QB was 17-of-27 for 340 yards and accounted for all the touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) during Sunday's 41-3 shredding of Sherbrooke.
Laval probably should be No. 2, or No. 1AB. It was only a three-point loss against Montréal. We need that buffer zone in between them, though, whether it's 250 km or five metres.
- Ottawa Gee-Gees (3-0 OUA, prev. 5, at Windsor): It rained all day Saturday, which meant it was a great day if you were a duck or a running back itching to get 20-plus touches. Ottawa still tried 50 passes. That total was inflated a little by the two mini-games, but it shows why a team shouldn't change too much in bad weather.
Running back Bryce Vieira had an early lost fumble, but went for 144 rushing/receiving yards. The last 11, which came on the game's penultimate play, illustrated something interesting about coach Jamie Barresi stays with the plan.
The second OT is where focus begins to fray and coaches go for the quick knockout right after the changeover. After Guelph registered a go-ahead field goal, Ottawa had an end-zone throw broken up on first down. On second-and-10, a passing down, they had the chutzpah to run Vieira on a draw, and he made a great cut at the second level to get a first down. Then Guelph bit on a Derek Wendel pump fake, and this happened:🏈THE GAME WINNING TOUCHDOWN BY TREVOR KENNEDY! / TOUCHÉ GAGNANT PAR TREVOR KENNEDY vs @guelph_gryphons pic.twitter.com/PZAISAzqyf— uOttawa Gee-Gees (@uOttawaGeeGees) September 17, 2016
Or maybe it was not chutzpah at all. If Guelph had stuffed the run, Ottawa would have been left looking at a 42-yard field goal. Lewis Ward had already hit from 40, 51 and 39 at that end of the field.
- Laurier Golden Hawks (3-0 OUA, prev. 10, at Carleton): Hawks DB Scott Hutter hit for the cycle: intercept a pass and return it for a touchdown, recover a fumble and make the tackle to cause a turnover on downs. The fumble recovery came after Boateng jarred the ball free from Carleton's Jayde Rowe deep in Ravens territory to set up the go-ahead fourth quarter field goal in that 17-16 win.
In other words, if Hutter is not OUA defensive player of the week, I'll be irrational on Twitter for about 10 minutes. That forced fumble was also Boateng's only tackle of the game. The top-ranked CFL prospect in CIS did have two pass breakups, both on second downs. Essentially, Carleton's O-line did a pretty good job, but you're never going to contain Boateng completely.
Laurier also shut down Carleton's Tunde Adeleke, with Nathan Mesher netting 32 yards per punt in wet conditions. That will play most days.
- Saskatchewan Huskies (2-1 CW, prev. 8, at Manitoba): The U of S is for real. Running back Tyler Chow also did an admirable job of playing hurt against Calgary. And because Canada West is the way it is, it would not be shocking if Manitoba wins next week to pull level with the Huskies at 2-2.
- Carleton Ravens (2-2 OUA, prev. 4, at York): Worst case Ontario, Carleton (at York, Panda Game vs. Ottawa, hosting Windsor, bye, away at Waterloo) will finish 5-3.
The tiebreakers in Ontario are going to be a task for Solomon -- no, not the B.C. Lions linebacker, although his input would be welcome.
The Ravens have allowed 200-plus in the rushing phase in both home games, against run-heavy teams that have yet to pass very well. That is problematic.
- Western Mustangs (3-1 OUA, prev. 7, at Guelph): Rain no doubt contributed to the low score in the Mustangs' 27-13 road win against Queen's, and Greg Marshall opting to run on 54 out of 69 plays. The rushing phase is Western's identity, yadda-yadda-yadda, but a well-developed offensive is willing and able to complete vertical shots. Chris Merchant's longest completion travelled a Cato-esque 17 yards.
- McMaster Marauders (3-1 OUA, prev. 7, bye week): Marauders DB Mitch Garland returned his two interceptions 71 yards on Saturday. Waterloo's top two receivers gained 54. That happened, and we let it happen.
- Regina Rams (2-1 CW, unranked, host Calgary on Fri.): Rams alive! Defensive backs Korey Greene and Jeff Propp were in on red-zone turnovers, as UBC netted a grand total of three points from four irruptions deep in Regina territory. The two wins have been tight.
Also, QB Noah Picton and receiver Mitch Picton are cousins. Get that committed to memory.
Tough to leave out: St. Francis Xavier (2-0 AUS, away at Concordia). Two convincing wins (29-14 at Mount Allison, 37-8 against Acadia in a home opener). Jordan Socholotiuk had 24 rushes for 148 yards. Quarterback Tivon Cook (26-of-33, 274, 1 TD/1 INT) averaged an adjusted 7.9 yards per pass dropback. That is some pretty fine balance.
The X-Men get in the top 10 next week if they beat Concordia. Actually, they get in the top 10 if they have a good showing at Concordia, and we'll even throw in a Michael McDonald DVD.
Fading out? Guelph (2-2 OUA, host Western).
The Gryphons have Western and McMaster before their bye week, then are away at Laurier before wrapping with a home game vs. York. Their season is in peril, although they are two plays (the red-zone fumble that sealed the Windsor game and Ottawa's overtime winning TD) from being 4-0.
The glass half empty about the loss against Ottawa is that Guelph still lost in spite of having their main threats, RB Johnny Augustin and WR A'dre Fraser, in the lineup together for the first time. They accounted for 274 of Guelph's 353 yards, and it is tough to win with that imbalance. Again, weather was a major factor, but Guelph's only completion for more than 20 yards came on a shovel pass.
Unranked team of the week: Saint Mary's (1-1 AUS, at Bishop's). The 18-game losing streak is over and a player named Hope provided the winning margin, which is a dream come true to traditional media.
Also, while not everyone is enamoured with adidas' take on the football jersey, Saint Mary's lid game is solid. The style is the same, but with white decals on a maroon helmet with maroon facemasks.