CIS Preview: Road to the Vanier Cup

The CIS is one of the two college football leagues in North America although it rarely gets noticed. The NCAA is the one league that overshadows the CIS every year as they are bigger and have a lot more money. The TV deals are larger and the players are the future of the NFL in the NCAA with college football bigger in many places than professional football. Even with all of this the CIS has one thing that many people in the NCAA wish they had. That is a playoff system that determines the best team through gameplay rather than a ranking system determined by a computer. This year the NCAA decided to try a new system out and it looks a little like the CIS system that has been in place for years. The CIS system is a simple one as teams concentrate on their own conference throughout the season. Each conference has their own playoffs with anywhere from three to six teams participating. As the conference playoffs get underway teams all look for a chance to play for the conference title. Each conference has their own title with a storied history as teams look to win the Jewett Trophy (AUS), Dunsmore Cup (RSEQ), Yates Cup (OUA), and the Hardy Trophy. When all the dust is settled four teams emerge as the best teams in their region and move on to the national picture. Here these four teams face off in either the Mitchell Bowl or the Uteck Bowl, based on a rotating schedule, to have a chance at the national title, The Vanier Cup. It is a system that attempts to weed out the weak teams in the league and bring the two best teams to the biggest game of the year. Last year that is exactly what happened as the McMaster marauders beat the Laval Rouge et Or in one of the best games in the history of CIs and maybe even north American football. This year the CIS hopes for a repeat as they will travel to Toronto and hope to get everyone excited at a celebration of Canadian football before the 100th Grey Cup. It will be a hard task to match the excitement of the 2011 game but there will be plenty of teams capable of it in the 2012 season.

 

Uteck Bowl:

 

 

 

 

The Uteck Bowl began in 2003 and is a part of the reorganization of the CIS during the early 2000s. There is still plenty of history behind the bowl though as it replaced the Churchill Bowl as one of the two semi-final bowl games in the CIS. In 2012 the matchup will be the RSEQ champion against the AUS champion with the RSEQ champion hosting the game. Using The Sport Addiction RSEQ Conference Preview and the AUS Conference Preview the two teams likely to face off for the 2012 Uteck Bowl will be the Laval Rouge et Or and the Acadian Axemen in a matchup of the biggest program in the CIS against one of the smallest programs. Both teams will be familiar foes as they will face off during the regular season in the crossover games. That game could go a long way in determining the outcome of this semi-final. The Laval Rouge et Or are a team looking to continue their dominance in the CIS. After making the Vanier Cup finals in the last three seasons and will attempt to make it 4 years. They are a strong team this year with a very good defence but their offence has suffered some big name losses. Meanwhile in the East the Acadia Axemen are looking to be the repeat champions of the AUS conference and move one step further than they did last year. Led by QB Kyle Graves the Axemen are looking like a strong team this year with a number of good veterans at the helm. It will be a classic matchup of David vs Goliath with the Laval Rouge et Or looking to stomp out the little guy. The prize for the winner will be a trip to Toronto during the 100th Grey Cup festival for a shot at the Vanier Cup.

 

Prediction:
Laval Rouge et Or 28 – 14 Acadia Axemen
– At the heart of this game will be the fact that despite having Kyle Graves under centre the Laval defence will be too good for the Axemen to beat as they will wear them down and likely will not suffer too much going into the Vanier Cup

 

Mitchell Bowl:

 

 

 

The Mitchell Bowl began in 2002 and is a relatively young trophy for the tradition of the CIS league. There is still plenty of history behind the bowl though as it replaced the Atlantic Bowl as the semifinals of the Vanier Cup. After years of teams playing in Atlantic Canada against the AUS champion the CIS changed their format creating the Mitchell Bowl that would move around and feature different matchups every year. The 2011 Mitchell Bowl was the home of what had become a classic matchup between the Calgary Dinos from the CanWest conference and the Laval Rouge et Or from the RSEQ Conference. The Rouge et Or won that game to go on and barely lose the Vanier Cup. Tjhis year the Mitchell Bowl will feature two of the largest confernces as the OUA, the most teams, takes on the CanWest, the most land. Judging by The Sport Addiction CanWest Conference Preview and the OUA Conference Preview the two teams representing these conferences will be the Calgary Dinos and the Ottawa Gee Gees. Both teams are traditional powers but one is an up and comer while the other is a win right now team. The Calgary Dinos have been that win right now team making it to the Vanier Cup in two of the last three years. They are a strong team again this year as they look to a veteran group to bring them back to the Vanier Cup. Meanwhile the Gee Gees will be coming out of one of the most competitive conferences in the CIS and will be battle tested by the time they get to the Mitchell Bowl. They will still need to take on a very tough team in the Dinos as the Gee Gees will need to play a great game to win. Ass both teams face off the reward will get more realistic while the loser will have to go back to the drawing board for next year. Both teams are hoping that they become the ones with the realistic dream of entering Toronto in a very exciting time for Canadian Football.

 

Prediction:
Calgary Dinos 32 – 27 Ottawa Gee Gees
– The Dinos are simply the better team in this matchup with plenty of experience in big games to help them through and although it won’t be easy to take out the Gee Gees they will still come out on top

48th Vanier Cup:
Calgary Dinos 28 – 27 Laval Rouge et Or
– The 2011 Vanier Cup will be a hard one to beat but a rematch of the 2010 Vanier Cup could come at least close as the Dino look for revenge against the Big Red Machine and with Laval having a questionable offence the Dinos will take advantage winning the 48th Vanier Cup

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