Football Top 10: Western takes over No. 1; Montréal tops my ballot ... #UAgree

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.

Montréal is going into its bye week with a complete set of wins over the rest of the RSEQ, none of which involved actually leaving their home city:

  • 10-3 win at Concordia, 18-9 home win against Sherbrooke, 34-4 win at McGill, 23-18 home win against Laval

Western, the team everyone loves to hate for running up the score, has won all four of their games by 13 to 17 points.
  • 32-19 win at Laurier, 40-23 home win against Queen's, 34-17 win at McMaster, 40-23 home win against Carleton.

In other words, the choice was between two 4-0 teams with one really impressive victory and a light travel schedule that would make a Canada West athletics administrator weep bitter tears. Ultimately, a love for big shiny things won out, so I settled on Montréal at No. 1.

If only we had interlock. If only Kirk Cousins didn't force throws into double coverage on first and goal.
  1. Montréal (4-0 RSEQ). Exactly 28 days until they play their next meaningful game, which would be the return match against the Rouge et Or in Ste-Foy. Win or lose by four or less and the Carabins would host the Dunsmore Cup. Question: do they want to? We all remember how it turned out in 2016. And in 2004. 
  2. Western (4-0 OUA). Chance for a statement win at Guelph on Saturday in what stands as a potential Yates Cup preview. It would make a great game for TV, but there's 5.2 billion reasons why we're not seeing it.

    The four teams Western has defeated, by the way, have a combined record of 6-9.
  3. Laval (2-1 RSEQ). Gave up 14 points off turnovers in fewer than 2½ minutes at Montréal and had to play uphill all day. The Rouge et Or still haven't lost a league game to anyone other than Les Bleus since 2003.
  4. Calgary (3-0 CW). They humoured UBC for about 25 minutes, then  scored 37 points in the following 20 minutes. It ended up with a 47-13 scoreline, which confirmed the Dinos and Adam Sinagra are potent and UBC is really, really bad. It is hard to reward a team that played down to the competition for a third of the game.
  5. McMaster (3-1 OUA). The Marauders had their second game where the opponent's only touchdown came on a return.
  6. Saskatchewan (2-1 CW). That's just good trolling by the Huskies defence. They should get an extra point for that.
  7. Guelph (3-1 OUA). Getting outgained by 50 yards per game but being 3-1 is on-brand for the ever-opportunistic Gryphons.
  8. Ottawa (2-1 OUA). Scoring 22 unanswered to win creates an afterglow but voters have to look at why the team was in such a predicament. The Gee-Gees defence is going to keep them in games, but 150 yards' total offence is troubling. I may have them too high.
  9. Alberta (2-1 CW). The Golden Bears' Brad Launhardt took his offence 75 yards in 33 seconds on the winning drive against Manitoba.
  10. Manitoba (1-2 CW). Have been in every game during a challenging early schedule. Change one play against Alberta and they are 2-1.
  11. Toronto (2-1 OUA). The Varsity Blues last defeated Queen's in 1975; fully expect that to change on Saturday, since they have an offence with Clay Sequiera and the Gaels haven't found much of an identity.  
  12. Acadia (3-0 AUS). The Axemen and Hunter Guenard are averaging 52.7 points after three weeks. That 2001 Saint Mary's team averaged 60, so Acadia actually has to step it up to threaten that mark.
  13. Sherbrooke (1-2 RSEQ). The Vert et Or make an appearance since they defeated McGill in what looks like an ugly conceded-safety and field-goal fest, where 56 of the 75 yards that Sherbrooke's last-minute winning drive covered came via McGill penalties. Sherbrooke has also had in a respectable showing against Montréal.
  14. Waterloo (2-1 OUA). Have a lot to prove at Carleton on Saturday. The Ravens love to run the ball between the tackles and Guelph wore out Waterloo in the rushing phase last Saturday. Tre Ford, Tyler Ternowski and Dion Pellerin are a great set of triplets, but they don't play defence.
  15. Saint Mary's (2-1 AUS). Second guesses based on the boxscore are a fool's paradise. But amateur game theorists probably saw how it slipped away from Saint Mary's, who led Acadia for about six minutes in the third quarter on Saturday. The Huskies failed on third-and-1 in their own zone and Acadia went back in front on a Guenard touchdown pass two plays later. Saint Mary's had third-and-1 again on the next possession. So they punted and gave up a big return. They didn't score again.

    The dollar-store psychology is pretty obvious: it didn't work the first time, so don't risk it again. The first instance doesn't dictate the second, though.
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