The Road to Vanier 2011

The Vanier cup will make an interesting trip this year as it will begin to tour along with the Grey Cup. The first stop in this new deal will be in Vancouver the day before the Grey Cup in the newly renovated B.C. Place. It will be the 47th time the trophy is handed out. Last year the game was played in Quebec City at PEPS Stadium on the campus of Laval University. It became a big advantage for one team as the Laval Rouge et Or faced off against the Calgary Dinos. Laval was undefeated at home and riding a major winning streak at PEPS stadium. Meanwhile Calgary was making their second appearance at the Vanier Cup in just as many years. In 2009 Queen’s was able to get past Calgary to win the Vanier giving the Dinos motivation to get past the undefeated Rouge et Or. Meanwhile the Rouge et Or were disappointed last season when they had hoped to play at home at PEPS Stadium in 2010, it was given to PEPS Stadium twice, but were beaten by the Queen’s Golden Gaels before they could get to the finals. In 2010 these two teams met and Laval continued their dominance over the league. In a snow filled stadium Laval won their 6th Vanier Cup by a score of 29-2 and are hoping to do the same this year.

Hardy Trophy

The CanWest Conference has sent a representative to the Vanier Cup twice in the past two years and they are hoping that nothing will change. Although this year it might not be the usual cast as the Calgary Dinos may struggle to get back to the Hardy Trophy. My predictions are that Regina, Calgary, Alberta, and Saskatchewan will all make the playoffs this year. Throughout the playoffs it will be tough as all of these teams are only getting better but I believe that there are two teams that stand out. The Alberta Golden Bears seem to be making big improvements in their program and I believe that they have the potential to take advantage of this in 2011. I believe Alberta and Saskatchewan will face off for the Hardy Trophy this year but I believe that Saskatchewan’s defence will be able to shut down Alberta as the Huskies will go on to the Mitchell Bowl.

Hardy Trophy Prediction:

Saskatchewan Huskies 17 – 10 Alberta Golden Bears

 

Yates Cup

The OUA has traditionally been a very strong conference and 2011 is no different as they have a number of teams that have a chance at the Yates Cup. This includes the always strong Western Mustangs who look to make another run into the Vanier Cup playoffs. My predictions say that the six teams that will make the playoffs will be the Western Mustangs, Guelph Gryphons, McMaster Marauders, Ottawa Gee Gees, Laurier Golden Hawks, and the Toronto Varsity Blues. I think that the two strongest teams in this group will be the Western Mustangs and the Guelph Gryphons. Western has simply reloaded to remain a strong team and with another year under many players belts they will give a challenge to anyone. Guelph has seemed to be the most improved team for 2011 and they will also be able to make a good run. In the end I believe the Western Mustangs will use their experience in a tough last game that will launch them into the Vanier Cup playoffs.

Yates Cup Prediction:

Western Mustangs 28 – 27 Guelph Gryphons

 

Dunsmore Cup

The RSEQ is boasting one of the best teams in the recent history of the CIS with the Laval Rouge et Or as the defending champions. There has not been another RSEQ champion for the past 8 years as Laval has dominated all competition. They have also regularly been favorites for the Vanier Cup. The Big Red machine does not look to be slowing down anytime soon but they may not be as dominant as they have been. My predictions show that Laval will make the playoffs again along with the McGill Redmen, Montreal Carabins, and the Sherbrooke Vert et Or. Laval looks to be the class of the division again and will most likely make the finals. Meanwhile a new face will turn around from last year as McGill seems to have made a leap forward and could make it to the Dunsmore Cup as well. Laval will probably extend their winning streak to 9 Dunsmore Cups as they just seem too strong again this year.

 

Dunsmore Cup Prediction:

Laval Rouge et Or 31 – 21 McGill Redmen

 

Jewett Trophy

The AUS has been a small but strong league with the St. Mary’s Huskies being one of the best teams in the CIS for many years. This year the AUS has a small shift in place as St. Mary’s will remain strong but they could see a challenge. My prediction says that StFX will be the only team out of the playoffs this year as St. Mary’s, Mount Allison, and Acadia will make the playoffs. St. Mary’s will most likely get the top spot and will earn a bye into the Loney Bowl to play for the Jewett Cup. Meanwhile a much improved Mount Allison team will repeat their performance of last year and earn second place. I believe Mount Allison has improved enough to get into the Loney Bowl and play in a tight game for the Jewett Trophy. St. Mary’s will have an inexperienced team and I believe it will show against Mount Allison as the Mounties take their chance to earn the Jewett Trophy for 2011.

Jewett Trophy Prediction:

Mount Allison Mounties 28 – 27 St. Mary’s Huskies

 

Uteck Bowl

This year the Uteck Bowl will be between the winner of the Yates Cup (OUA) and the Loney Bowl (AUS) for a chance to play in Vancouver for the Vanier Cup. It seems as though the two main competitors will be two teams that fought their way to the semi-finals. In the two most competitive leagues the Western Mustangs and the Mount Allison Mounties will move on for a chance to make an appearance at the Vanier Cup on Vancouver. Although Mount Allison will take down the power of SMU it seems that Western will be too much for them. Western will make another appearance at the Vanier Cup as they look to expand their record 12 titles.

Uteck Bowl Prediction:

Western Mustangs 21 – 14 Mount Alison Mounties

 

Mitchell Bowl

The Mitchell Bowl will be between two of the better conferences in recent years as the winner of the Dunsmore Cup (RSEQ) will take on the winner of the Hardy Cup (CanWest). The two schools involved will be very strong as the defending champion Laval Rouge et Or will take on the Saskatchewan Huskies and a great defence. Laval is looking to repeat as champions and judging by their skill on the field it is not far off to think that they will make another appearance in the Vanier Cup. Laval seems too strong and although they will not dominate the Saskatchewan Huskies I still believe they will win the Mitchell Bowl this year.

Mitchell Bowl Prediction:

Laval Rouge et Or 28 – 21 Saskatchewan Huskies

 

Vanier Cup

Finally we get to the big game that will take place on Grey Cup weekend and will be between two of the major traditional powers in the CIS. On one end the Western Mustangs have the most Vanier Cup victories in the long history. Meanwhile Laval has been taking over the spotlight in recent years winning 5 of the last 8 Vanier Cups. This year I believe that these two teams will face off as the old power and the new power will fight it out. Although Western seems to have a strong team I think that Laval will take the game but will not have the easy time they have in the past. Look for a repeat champion in 2011 as the Rouge et Or look too strong to not repeat as the Vanier Cup Champions.

Vanier Cup Prediction:

Laval Rouge et Or 31 – 28 Western Mustangs

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