Back and forth, back and forth for a good solid hour over whether Montréal vaults to No. 1 for beating Laval, or Western goes up a notch after another clinical TKO of an OUA middleweight. At least it takes your mind off self-flagellating over why you ever talked yourself into believing in Kirk Cousins.

This is where we are information-poor due to the aversion, skittishness, fear of the unknown, that has stood in the way of having interlocking play during the regular season. Without it, there is really no way to compare conference quality between central Canada's two solititudes in September and October, when it's actually needed. Whose play to date looks more impressive, really?

The national poll went with Western No. 1, then Montréal, Laval and Calgary. Five of the top 10 slots are occupied by OUA teams, which might seem bad for optics, but there is also some vote-splitting since there is so much parity among six or seven teams in the conference.

My ballot and specious reasoning is below the jump.

Right back where we started from — Laval, Western and Calgary 1-2-3 on our ballot, in keeping with the national consensus.

It is great fun to harsh on the traditional heavyweights and over-reward teams early in the season, but the hierarchy is setting.

An adjustment to slotting 15 teams involves starting with a mini-power ranking with each conference — the top six from Ontario, best four out of Canada West, two or three from Quebec and two from down east in AUS. Here's how it would seems to shake out.

  • AUS — Acadia, Saint Mary's
  • Canada West — Calgary, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta
  • OUA — Western, McMaster, Ottawa, Guelph, Toronto, Waterloo
  • RSEQ — Laval, Montréal, McGill

That gets us to the following ballot
  1. Laval (2-0 RSEQ). Just hurry up and get to the mutually assured destruction between the Rouge et Or and Les Bleus this Saturday.
  2. Western (3-0 OUA). They still scored 34 points at McMaster, despite not having a single play go longer than 23 yards. Carleton, which has been a tough matchup for the Mustangs, is in London this week.
  3. Calgary (2-0 CW). Lone Canada West team to hit the quarter-pole at 2-0.
  4. McMaster (2-1 OUA). The only passing TD the Marauders have allowed came on a play-action pass on the first snap after a sudden change in their zone. Only a one-spot drop after they made Western earn their victory.
  5. Montréal (3-0 RSEQ). The Carabins ended a drought of 33 possessions without an offensive touchdown during their cross-town takedown of McGill. We are supposed to believe Anthony Calvillo and his quarterbacks have no language barrier. 
  6. Manitoba (1-1 CW). That win against Saskatchewan could prove to be anomalous over time, since they were plus-7 on takeaways. The Bisons and quarterback Des Catellier will need to show they can march the ball 70, 80 yards on the regular.
  7. Ottawa (1-1 OUA). Have already thrown a season's worth of interceptions — nine — in two weeks. Once they figure it out, they will be dangerous. The Gee-Gees rate higher than Guelph since their 13-point margin of defeat at McMaster was less than the Gryphons' 15-point margin when they hosted McMaster. Last year was last year; don't tell ELO, though.
  8. Saskatchewan (1-1 CW). Left the U of S on my Sept. 2 ballot despite their 24-point margin of defeat at Manitoba, since they moved the ball but had some serious stepondickitis with all the turnovers. The response was a 40-7 win against UBC, whose decline makes the Independence Pirates look like a model of stability.
  9. Guelph (2-1 OUA). The official stats do not credit Clark Barnes, Guelph's Frosh Flash, with the first of the three kickoff-return touchdowns he has torn off is as many weeks. But it happened. There was video of it on the internet.

    Guelph hosts Waterloo and Tre Ford in a playoff rematch on Saturday. Off to Costco for the popcorn!
  10. Alberta (1-1 CW). Tough call here between the gritty Golden Bears who eked out an 18-17 win at Regina, either of the OUA's fireworks shows at Waterloo and U of T, or Acadia, who has grilled 50-burgers in both of their games. Good thing we're ranking 15 teams so it's not the "all" of one 10th-place vote or nothing. I put an ineffable value on road wins, especially in Canada West, so the Golden Bears have shown they're entitled to their innings.
  11. Toronto (2-1 OUA). Our Sager-sense says the Waterloo Tres will get more voter support than the Toronto Clays due to the Warriors' narrow (33-30) head-to-head win in Week 1.

    However, from the way-too-early opener to Week 3, teams go through a development that's more rapid than that of a small child. That game was Toronto's first in a new system under offensive coordinator Tom Denison. And Toronto winning 38-34 at Laurier last week looks slightly more earned the Waterloo's similar last-minute 45-42 win at Windsor, since the Varsity Blues were facing a legitimate defence.  
  12. Waterloo (2-1 OUA). What is the soaked-in-confirmation-bias justification for saying that, Super Chief? Well, the way both of these Air Raid attacks are getting their yards raises questions. Toronto and Clay Sequiera won the game within the game in the passing phase, averaging 10.1 per attempt to Laurier's 8.0 while their defence housed an interception. They rushed sparingly.

    With Waterloo, on the other hand, more than half of their yardage came on the ground, where they rushed for 335 yards at 12.4 per clip. A lot of that could be on the quality of the defence they faced; remember Windsor allowed a Western back to set a rushing record last season while playing less than three full quarters.
  13. Acadia (2-0 AUS). The 10 through 13 slots are fairly interchangeable. Acadia gained more yards rushing than St. FX's entire offence did last Friday.
  14. Saint Mary's (2-0 AUS). Best wishes for the Maritimes as Hurricane Dorian does its thing.
  15. McGill (1-1 RSEQ). Quebec's third-best team played its second-best and lost by 30 points. Insert the Pam Beesly-Halpert "YEP" gif.
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