Today we will be recapping a pretty tame week of University football overall. I will try and nail all the big time games and moments, however if I miss anything hit me in the comments and I will agree or disagree as vehemently as I possibly can. Let’s jump in.
The best teams were exactly that this weekend… the best. Western, Queens, Montreal, Laval, Saskatchewan and St. Francis Xavier all won big, no scratch that, won HUGE. Those six teams combined for a winning margin of 218. Just insane. The only two of my self proclaimed “Big 8” that didn’t blow out their opponent were Regina and Ottawa, who both still nabbed wins.
These eight teams have pulled away from the pack in terms of quality wins and just overall skill shown. That’s not to say a few teams couldn’t break into this group, (looking at you Alberta, Mount Allison, Carleton, Sherbrooke) but as of right now the powerhouses remain the powerhouses and they proved why this week.
Canada West Truthers
OUA got the big scorers, RSEQ has heavy hitters in Laval and Montreal, AUS has, uh, fun? Canada West has the best mixture of quality games, strong teams and competitiveness. It also has what some might say (myself included) is the best team in the nation, the Huskies of Saskatchewan. Between them, Regina, Alberta, Manitoba and even UBC, the Canada West has the most competitive teams top to bottom.
Calgary is the weak link here, however, they have been in some close games already this season. As a football fan, I want close games (unless Kansas City Chiefs and the Stamps are playing,) and this is the best conference for that, Go West, don’t tell Ontario I ranked them second in something.
ST. FX Defense and Special Teams
The X-Men are rolling. They took on their biggest challengers on the AUS circuit over the weekend in Mount Allison and vanquished them 26-7. A large part of that was their defense and kicking efforts. They were able to sack the Mount Allison quarterback duo Justin Vogels and CJ Valenti seven times, and hold strong running back Brandt Burzuk to 52 yards rushing. Ben Hadley continues to be one of the stronger kickers in the nation, knocking down two field goals on the day.
The X-Men really have something here. They are tied for 3rd in the nation for least points allowed, at 45. Quarterback Silas Fagnan continues to put his team in a position to succeed, throwing for 304 yards and two touchdowns against Mount A. Don’t sleep on this team. (Or do, the best AUS teams always get slaughtered. Oh well.)
Fringe Top 10 Teams Needing a Win to Stay Alive
Entering the fifth week a few fringe teams needed a win to keep their season on track. (Sorry Guelph, not you guys.) Toronto, Carleton, and Manitoba all managed to get it done, and rather convincingly. While not the biggest tests, a loss this week would have been a big top 10 eliminator.
Good Game Enthusiasts
62-11. 39-7. 46-4. 60-14. 66-3. As I touched on already, the blowouts this week were numerous. While that was awesome in term sof separation, watchability suffered. 66-3 and 62-11 are just cruel. What predictable bottom feeders were on the end of those? Waterloo and… Guelph? Alrighty then. Thankfully, the Western games kept it fairly close, Laurier battled Ottawa to the last minute, and Mount Allison and St. FX engaged in a defensive game that didn’t feel like a blowout.
Yeah, I’m giving these guys the loser tag. “But Riley, they won by a touchdown how does that make them losers?” Because of what we talked about in the winners section. Manitoba, Carleton and Toronto all won in convincing fashion. All the teams ahead of the Rams destroyed their opponents. Ottawa played a very underrated Laurier side and grabbed the win.
Regina felt the most stagnant this week, playing a tough-ish UBC team who only has one win. And they were outgained on the day, and in some ways outplayed. Now a win is a win and I don’t believe that Regina deserves to drop in the ranking much. For this week though, losers they are.
Failing Expectations with the Guelph Gryphons
At the beginning of the season, the OUA took a fan power rankings poll. Western was predictably 1st, Queens was a bit surprisingly 3rd. Who split them up the middle? Guelph Gryphons ladies and gentlemen. Since then they have posted a conference worst 1-4 record, have given up the most points in Canada with 205 points scored against them, and their only win is against a fellow bottom feeder, Waterloo.
What went wrong? Well to begin with they were probably overvalued anyways. The defense has been abysmal. They’ve allowed over 34 points in four of their five games. While they score at a decent clip, it is far too low for a contending team, especially one with an average defense. Much less one as bad as the Gryphons. Poor Guelph. They’ll always have the pre-season poll.
Anyone in Quebec not named Laval or Montreal
The one team league became a two team league and it has stalled out again. No disrespect to Sherbrooke who is mounting a decent campaign, but these two teams are on another level simply put. and showing no signs of slowing down. Will be exciting to see these guys do battle for the next decade at least.
That is all from me this week on U Sport football, we have the Panda Game and some exciting matchups to look forward to this upcoming weekend!
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