Football: Top 10, Conference Championship Saturday edition

First things first, while the revolution will not be televised, our national championship game will be, on an MBN, so hurray!

And now the national ballot. Acadia is No. 4.

On (the KISS) principle, I opted to only rank the 15 teams that were extant last weekend.

It would take forever to audit this statement, but the relative parity this season has been wild, making the weekly vote a challenge. But consider the fact that three teams that finished below .500 and/or out of the playoffs had a positive point differential.
  • Laurier, +57. The Golden Hawks ended up playing left out after finishing seventh in OUA.
  • Mount Allison, +33. All of the Mounties' six defeats this season were by 10 or fewer points. Naturally, they won by at least 11 every time during their three-win hot streak that salvaged their season. 
  • Regina, +22. The Rams finished 3-5 but actually outscored their opposition after blowing out Manitoba in their finale. Both Canada West semifinalists were in the red in points-for and against. If you wondered how Regina was ranked No. 10 after their season finished, there's your answer, Fishbulb.

Conversely, four teams, including one still alive, were in the red.
  • Bishop's, -60. A bit misleading since Cherif Nicholas' Gaiters lost by 40 at Acadia in their too-early Aug. 24 opener, and also had a three-touchdown defeat at Mount Allison when they were already assured home field for the Atlantic semifinal.
  • Alberta, -34. Resilience and resourcefulness in September, regression once the first snow flew in October.
  • Carleton, -33. Those Ravens were one punt protection away from going to Western for an OUA semifinal.
  • Manitoba, -22. Have to love the Bisons going for two and the win at Calgary after connecting on a tip-drill Hail Mary pass with no time left. Sports are in the experience business and that goes for the competitors too, so far better to put it all on one play than the arbitrariness of the mini-game format in overtime.

Here is what I sent in.

  1. Western (8-0 OUA, hosting Yates Cup) — The Mustangs' margin of victory in the regular season over the last seven seasons, counting back from this fall: 14.5, 36.9, 35.1, 30.6, 35.5, 32.9 and 36.3 back in 2013, the last time they had to go out West for the Mitchell Bowl — and got pumped 44-3 by Calgary.

    They have been pushed more this season and that might work in their favour on Nov. 16, if they get by McMaster.
  2. Laval (7-1 RSEQ, hosting Dunsmore Cup) — Three wins from from Vanier Cup No. 11. Book it. Quebec goes down east for the Uteck Bowl and Laval, again, is hosting our national championship.
  3. McMaster (6-2 OUA, at Western for Yates) — First year of Ptaszek 2.0 and Mac are heading to London for the Yates, just like they did during the Marauder Autumn in 2011.
  4. Montreal (6-2 RSEQ, at Laval for Dunsmore) —Well, Les Bleus are known to win a Dunsmore on the road.
  5. Saskatchewan (5-3 CW, at Calgary for Hardy Cup) — Better point differential than the Dinos, whom they defeated a month ago. Everyone and their bot army seems to think Calgary can be had, and that Ontario's best team can get to the Vanier through a western semifinal. Laval did that in 2010 and '16, but Ontario teams have lost 13 consecutive semifinals in Western Canada dating to Queen's in 1968.
  6. Calgary (6-2 CW, hosting Hardy Cup) — Only the Dinos know how they'll respond to the narrowest of escapes against Manitoba. Some teams will react to that by retrenching and rolling and sometimes it lays bare that they've vulnerable.
  7. Manitoba (4-4 CW, eliminated) — So Brian Dobie is the new Tom Osborne.
  8. Acadia (8-0 AUS, hosting Loney Bowl) — Eighth seems like an appropriate place for the monsters of the Maritimes. Consider it an allusion to our crying need for an eight-team Vanier Cup tournament, although six teams would be a compromise.
  9. Guelph (6-2 OUA, eliminated) — Year 1 for Gryphons coach Ryan Sheahan ended the same way that his father Pat Sheahan's first season in OUA with Queen's did in 2001. Required a last-minute touchdown to escape from a quarterfinal game at home, followed by a loss to the No. 2 seed in the semifinal.

    The difference? Sheahan the Elder navigated a conference change after the dissolution of the old O-QIFC, where Queen's had only six wins in its final three seasons (including Pat's first in 2000). Ryan Sheahan took over a perennial top-four team.

  10. Waterloo (4-4 OUA, eliminated) — The Warriors almost upended like Western like it was 1999, falling 30-24 in the semifinal. The Mustangs' depth just allowed them to control the margins: getting a takeaway to squelch a Warrior fumble in the score zone; a 54-yard kickoff return immediately after a go-ahead Waterloo TD; and those two interceptions by all-name team frontrunner Kojo Odoom, including one he housed to create a 13-point lead.

    Tre Ford is heading into his fourth season and CFL draft year. Will be interesting to see whether Waterloo has the supporting cast synced up with their lodestar in 2020.
  11. Alberta (4-4 CW, eliminated) — Predictably regressive actions and outcomes from Alberta, who knew? The Golden Bears won four in a row by an average 6.5-point margin. Then they lost four in a row to fall short of the Hardy.
  12. Bishop's (4-4 AUS, at Acadia for Loney Bowl) — Other than the Acadia-aligned, who is not cheering for the Gaiters in their first trophy game since 1994?
  13. McGill (3-5 RSEQ, eliminated) — A greater mind could come up with some complicated simile between the Quebec conference and the results of the federal election. Both had the red team that no one wanted to win; the blue team with all the money and none of the charisma, and the alternatives that are all claiming victory in the harsh face of reality-based outcomes.
  14. Concordia (2-6 RSEQ, eliminated) — Is Sherbrooke, which beat Montréal but missed the playoffs, the Green Party or the Bloc Québecois in this?
  15. Mount Allison (3-5 AUS, eliminated) — Nice character to rally from an 0-4 start.
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1 comment:

  1. Re: Bishop's - "when they were already assured home field for the Atlantic semifinal."

    That wasn't the case. Had Mount A beat Acadia in the last week of the regular season, Mount A would have hosted the AUS semi. Had both Mount A and SMU won that week, Bishop's would have been out entirely.