CIS Football Season Review

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Football is the crown jewel in the CIS crown as one of the biggest sports in the CIS calendar and this year did not disappoint. With the future of the Canadian game playing throughout the season the Canadian football fans got to see what was to come. The season was a wild one with no team ending the season undefeated. There were the typical powers that continued their reign in the conferences and there were surprises of teams that hope to be the new powers. There were new stars born and old stars looking to make an impression on the CFL scouts before the CFL draft next year. Most teams will go back to the drawing board this offseason and recruit for a new year that they hope works out better than this year. With the playoffs done and the Vanier Cup less than a week away there may be a new champion in the CIS. The Laval Rouge et Or will try to repeat while the McMaster Marauders will look to become this new champion. As the season has wound down it is time to look back at the season that was in Canadian University Football.

 

CanWest Conference:

The CanWest conference had put a team in the Vanier Cup the past two years but this year they came one game short. The conference saw much of the same players yet there was one surprise for everyone in the CIS. The Alberta Golden Bears and Manitoba Bisons did not have the seasons they wished to have this year. After a great year in 2010 the Alberta Golden Bears were hoping to make it three years in the playoffs. Instead the Bears failed to win a game all season and finished in last place. The Manitoba Bisons lacked experience but managed to win 3 games this year finishing just out of the playoffs thanks to a last week loss to the Regina Rams. The Rams took their returning players to a playoff spot but barely got their winning their last game in the season to get the last playoff spot. The division between these three bottom teams and the three top teams was very big as the top three teams made it clear that they were the ones to beat. The Saskatchewan Huskies were one of these top teams but they did not have the game they were hoping for. The Huskies were trying to take back the top spot but could not get past Calgary and ended their season in third place. A big reason for this was the success of a very surprising team in the CanWest Conference. The UBC Thunderbirds finished in last place in 2010 and were not expected to improve much this year. They proved everyone wrong and followed standout QB Billy Greene to a 6-2 record and second place in the conference. Then there was Calgary who was clearly the best team in the CanWest conference only losing one game all season against the UBC Thunderbirds in the last week of the season. They did this to the surprise of the some as they had lost most aspects of their passing game. Eric Dzwilewski filled in for the departed Eric Glavic and had a great season guiding the Dinos to the top spot and a #2 ranking at the end of the season. In the playoffs the Dinos continued to dominate as they rarely saw any team come close to beating them. They took their great season to yet another Hardy Cup winning their fourth straight. They then moved on the Mitchell Bowl where they faced a familiar foe in the Laval Rouge et Or who they had lost to the previous year in the Vanier Cup. They lost again to the Rouge et Or as another great season ended without a national championship as they look to improve yet again and win a Vanier Cup next year.

 

OUA Conference:

The OUA has been one of the strongest conferences in the CIS with some of the top ranked teams in the nation. This year was not different as the OUA saw three teams ranked in the CIS Top 10 at the end of the year. With the largest Conference it was obvious that some teams would not be the best with strong competition. This included the Waterloo Warriors who started their first season since having their team suspended in 2010 and could not get a win all season. The Toronto teams also disappointed again with York only earning one win all season and the Varsity Blues missing the playoffs again although they did look better and got on TV for the first time in years. The Guelph Gryphons were a big disappointment as they could not build on their success in 2010 as they finished in 8th place and far out of a playoff spot with many thinking that they would be a for sure playoff team. The Laurier Golden Hawks had a good season but not spectacular as they barely took a playoff spot away from Toronto but did not last long in the playoffs. The Windsor Lancers surprised many people with a great season that saw them take a playoff spot and win their first playoff game against Ottawa. They could not continue their great season losing in the OUA semi-finals. The defending top team in the OUA was the Gee Gees but after the loss of their QB they could not repeat their performance. They still managed to earn the 4th place spot in the OUA but they could not get past the playoffs as they lost in the first round. Queen’s on the other hand rode a late season streak to 3rd place in the OUA and looked to repeat their unlikely season of 2009. They made the semi finals but lost to their archrivals as they came up just short of winning another Yates Cup. The top two spots got a first round playoff bye as Western and McMaster got the 1st and 2nd place spots. The Mustangs were considered one of the best teams in the CIS as they finished in 3rd spot in the CIS rankings. McMaster on the other hand finished in the #4 spot with the top ranked offence in the CIS behind Kyle Quinlan and Michael DiCroce. These two met in the Yates Cup final as Western looked to repeat as champions. The Marauders were able to beat the Mustangs and earn their Uteck Bowl Berth. In the Uteck Bowl the Marauders took on the Acadia Axemen from the AUS. McMaster got by the Axemen and will now go on to play in the 47th Vanier Cup as they represent the OUA in the championship game.

 

RSEQ Conference:

The RSEQ has been the toughest division to win over the past 9 years as one team has continued to dominate. The same remained again this year as the conference was dominated by the Big Red machine. McGill was the other red machine but not nearly as big as they failed to win a game all season. McGill was hoping for a good season with more experience under their belt but they failed to meet expectations as they finished last and out of the playoffs again. Bishop’s had a good season last year as they impressed everyone and would try to do the same this year. They couldn’t match their performance managing three wins and lying just outside of the playoffs. Meanwhile Concordia was the biggest surprise this year as they improved from last year. The Stingers were able to secure a playoff spot ahead of Bishop’s as they broke through. They could not do much as they faced the best team in the RSEQ and lost by a landslide in the playoffs. The next team fared better as the Montreal Carabins looked to end their archrivals rein in the conference. The Carabins looked to their new coach, Danny Maciocia, and their star running back Rotrand Sene to help them do this. The Carabins tried to improve on their second place finish but they could not overcome a number of infractions in the season. After a win was taken away and then given back for playing an ineligible player Montreal also lost another player due to steroids. They still got through the season but ended up in third place where they went on to play another powerhouse in the RSEQ. The Sherbrooke Vert et Or have seemingly been one of the few teams that has given their archrivals a challenge. The challenge has not been great as they have not been able to take out the top team but have been able to get into the playoffs for the last few years. Behind the play of their star wide receiver and potential CFL first round draft pick Simon Charbonneau-Campeau the Vert et Or took second place away from the Montreal Carabins for a home game in the playoffs. They would face Montreal in the playoffs and could not get past them as they were eliminated in the first round. While the rest of the RSEQ was looking for the opportunity to face the beast of Quebec the beasts themselves were cruising through their season. The Laval Rouge et Or finished the season ranked #1 again this year in the CIS as they lost one game all season but remained strong against every other team. Laval would lean on their QB Bruno Prud’homme and their star running back Sebastien Levesque and finish in first place yet again as it has now become a tradition to see Laval at the top. They moved on to the playoffs to bowl over Concordia and do the same to Montreal for their 9th straight Dunsmore Cup continuing their dominance. They then moved on to a rematch of the Vanier Cup against the Calgary Dinos in the Mitchell Bowl. Another convincing win gave them the opportunity to play in the Vanier Cup to defend their CIS title and attempt to break a record for most Vanier Cups with 7.

 

AUS Conference:

The smallest conference in the CIS gets little respect as they are rarely ranked high even if they have a number of good teams. This year they did not have a major competition as the two usual teams battled it out for the title again. The other two teams were easily beat with the two powers taking over. One of these weaker teams was the Mount Allison Mounties who were looking to build on a very successful season last year. The Mounties had finished second last year with an inexperienced team and were hoping to challenge the traditional powers with one more year of experience. They could not do this as they could not come up with a win the entire season and finished last and missed the playoffs in a step backwards. Another team that had a disappointing season was the StFX X-Men who have seen their successful years fall behind them. The X-Men barely squeaked by the Mounties for the 3rd place spot and the last playoff spot. The X-Men only mustered two wins all season as they took the last playoff spot and would have to play one of the two powers in the conference. They would take on the defending champion Saint Mary’s Huskies in the playoff as the Huskies had fallen one spot. The Huskies were the 4-time defending champions of the AUS and had been at the top of the league every year. This year it was not to be as they lost out on the top spot to their longtime rivals from the Bay. The Huskies were still strong though as they took on the X-Men and beat them easily to enter the Loney Bowl against their archrivals. This rival was the Acadia Axemen who had a great season that saw them take the top spot in the league from the Huskies. The Axemen were able to challenge for the Loney Bowl this year which has continued a trend. Acadia and Saint Mary’s have won the Jewett Trophy for the last 14 years, the majority of them going to the Huskies. The trend continued but Acadia was able to end the 4 year reign of the Huskies this year beating the Huskies in the Loney Bowl to earn their 12th Jewett Trophy. They moved on to the Uteck Bowl in Moncton and played the top ranked offence of McMaster. After a quick start they could not beat the Marauders as they will try again next year to stop the Huskies and win a Vanier Cup.

 

2011 Season Awards

Hec Crighton Trophy (CIS MVP)

Billy Greene, QB (UBC) [CWUAA]

59.8% cmp

2,558 yds

319.8 ypg

20 TD

4 INT

 

Runners Up:

– Kyle Graves, QB (Acadia) [AUS]

– Simon Charbonneau-Campeau, WR (Sherbrooke) [RSEQ]

– Michael DiCroce, WR (McMaster) [OUA]

 

Presidents’ Trophy (CIS Defensive MVP)

Max Caron, LB (Concordia) [RSEQ]

78.5 tkl

3.5 sck

5 INT

3 TD

2 FF

 

Runners Up:

– Tom Labenski, LB (Acadia) [AUS]

– Ryan Chmielewski, LB (McMaster) [OUA]

– Sam Hurl, LB (Calgary) [CWUAA]

 

J.P. Metras Trophy (CIS Outstanding Lineman)

Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, DE (Laval) [RSEQ]

13.5 tkl

7 sck

1 INT

1 TD

1 FF

 

Runners Up:

– Jake Thomas, DT (Acadia) [AUS]

– Osie Ukwuoma, DE (Queen’s) [OUA]

– Akiem Hicks, DE (Regina) [CWUAA]

 

Peter Gorman Trophy (CIS Rookie of the Year)

Tyler Varga, RB (Western) [OUA]

135 rsh

799 yds

5.9 avg

15 TD

0 F

 

Runners Up:

– Jacob LeBlanc, DT (Mount Allison) [AUS]

– Jeremi Doyon-Roch, QB (Sherbrooke) [RSEQ]

– Jordan Arkko, OL (Saskatchewan) [CWUAA]

 

Frank Tindall Trophy (CIS Coach of the Year)

Jeff Cummins (Acadia) [AUS]

 

Runners Up:

– Andre Bolduc (Sherbrooke) [RSEQ]

– Joe D’Amore (Windsor) [OUA]

– Shawn Olson (UBC) [CWUAA]

 

Russ Jackson Award (CIS Top Student Athlete)

Dillon Heap, WR (Laurier) [OUA]

40 rec

625 yds

3 TD

10.07 GPA (Business)

 

Runners Up:

– Andrew Frazer, DL (Acadia) [AUS]

– Austin Anderson, K (McGill) [RSEQ]

– Brett Jones, OL (Regina) [CWUAA]

 

Gino Fracas Award (Volunteer Coach of the Year)

Brian Cuff, Ass. Coach (Guelph)

Comments
One Response to “CIS Football Season Review”
  1. Sarah says:

    More emphasis on Queen’s! or Mcmaster. Also add a poll on who will win the Vanier 🙂

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