Akiem Hicks with the Regina Rams in 2011 and with the CFL's Chicago Bears in 2016, when he had seven sacks.
There are 27 football-playing universities across our country. There are also, give or take a special teams selection, 27 spots to fill when an all-star team is chosen.

A fun writing exercise — read: it's summer and there's not a lot going on — was hatched from that numerical coincidence. Pick an all-star team drawing from the past 40-some years of the university game while using only one player from each team. No loading the lines with Lavals (any number of CFL all-star linemen), or stacking the team with 'Stangs (do you pick two-time Hec Crighton Trophy winner Tim Tindale who went on to NFL glory with the Buffalo Bills or record-setting receiver Andy Fantuz, who won a receiving title in the CFL?)

Talk about a Sophie's Choice, although this does not purport to be some all-time all-star team. Leaving out defunct programs (or the departed, hey there Simon Fraser) means being unable to select a legit legend such as Tony Proudfoot, since he played at the University of New Brunswick.

Another controlled variable was confining choices to a loosely defined modern era. A hard-line historian type would say the modern era begins in 1965 with the establishment of the Vanier Cup. Or 1967, the centennial year, when the format went from an invitational to a four-team playoff, 47 years before the U.S. finally got one. As a habitual goalpost-mover, I'll slide the start of the modern era to some point around 1971, when the Old Four (Queen's, Western, McGill and University of Toronto) was phased out and the current four-conference alignment began taking shape in earnest.

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