CIS Football Report (Conference Finals)

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I have said many times before that winning consistently in college football is the hardest thing to do because of how teams are made. In college football teams are only together for a limited time as they come in to the school and then graduate. In the CIS there are only a maximum of 5 years for every player to play on any team as after that they no longer have eligibility. This makes it extremely hard for teams as they can have a good recruiting class that will likely take at least a year if not two to begin playing to their potential. Then by the time they reach their potential the class will only be around for another two or three years. As you are building your team so is everyone else and anything can happen in any game. If your team is good enough to win it all but loses a playoff game on an off day that year is lost and you have one less year to achieve the ultimate goal. It is a rough business to be in and it is also what makes university football so exciting. It could be anybody’s year and there is no way to predict who can win the conference and eventually the Vanier Cup. That is the usual wonder of University football but there has been a change in the last two years. This year there will be no new teams in the national playoffs and that is a first in the history of the CIS. Never before have the exact same teams made it in to the national bowl games in consecutive years. It is a new era where the top teams seem to be separating themselves from the rest of the pack every year. There are two programs that can be considered true CIS dynasties while the other two are at the start of what could be a dynasty. This past weekend these four teams all walked through their final conference games, some had a bit harder of a time, to once again make the national playoffs for their chance at the Vanier Cup. In the West the Calgary Dinos took on the only team to beat them all year in the Regina Rams for the Hardy Cup. It started out a little shaky for the Dinos as they were challenged for the entire first half as the Rams kept it close heading into the locker rooms. The Dinos then looked to Steven Lumbala to lead them on the ground as he ran for 251 yards to help the Dinos to another win and a 5th straight Hardy Cup. Meanwhile the top team in the country went to work in the OUA finals for the Yates Cup against the Guelph Gryphons as they looked to show that they were the best team in the country. The game was never really in any question as the Marauders were ahead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Behind the arm and leadership of Kyle Quinlan, 265 yards and 2 TDs, the Marauders easily won their second Yates Cup in a row and are still in line for a repeat of the Vanier Cup. In Quebec the story was the same as the last 10 years. Laval once again had not problem repeating as the RSEQ champion. The only team to beat them this year was eliminated in the semi-finals and so the Rouge et Or would take on Sherbrooke. It was not a great matchup as Laval one once again walked through their conference for another championship which would mark their 10th straight championship. In the AUS the Acadia Axemen had the toughest time repeating as champions when they took on the Saint Mary’s Huskies. It was the second year in a row that both teams would face off for the Jewett Trophy and yet again the Axemen came out on top. It was not easy as the offence was lacking from Kyle Graves but adding score after score and a good defence ended any hope for the Huskies. With all four teams back in the national playoffs the era of the fab four may just be starting or it could be just ending. One thing is for sure as all four teams will be out to earn a spot in the Vanier Cup and will give everything with only one game standing between them and a trip to Toronto. It will be another great year of playoffs as there will only be one more week before the biggest game of the year.


Conference Finals:

Hardy Cup:
Calgary Dinos 38 – 14 Regina Rams
– The Rams were hoping to break the streak of the Calgary Dinos and they looked to be doing just that as they would not let the Dinos get anything on offence until Steven Lumbala got going and put the game out of hand in the fourth quarter for the Dinos’ 5th straight Hardy Cup


Yates Cup:
McMaster Marauders 30 – 13 Guelph Gryphons
– The Marauders proved their billing as they were the top team in the country going in to the playoffs and showed that they were the best as they easily got past the Gryphons thanks to Hec Creighton Nominee Kyle Quinlan


Dunsmore Cup:
Laval Rouge et Or 40 – 17 Sherbrooke Vert et Or
– There was little doubt that the Rouge et Or would win this game as they continued their dominance of the RSEQ winning their 10th straight Dunsmore Cup and continuing their reputation as the most dominant program in the country


Loney Bowl:
Acadia Axemen 17 – 9 Saint Mary’s Huskies
– The Huskies looked like they were finally putting things together near the end of the season and could have challenged their rivals in Acadia for the Jewett Trophy but it wasn’t to be as Acadia proved their top ranking in the AUS and moved on to the national playoffs


National Semi-Finals:

Uteck Bowl:
Acadia Axemen vs. Laval Rouge et Or (November 17th; 1:00 pm EST)
– The Axemen are a good team and are looking for a chance at the Vanier Cup but they will have to go through the 10 time RSEQ champions and a team that beat them 31-7 earlier in the year as Laval is looking to get back to the finals once again this year


Mitchell Bowl:
Calgary Dinos vs. McMaster Marauders (November 17th; 4:00 pm EST)
– One of the most dominant teams in the last five years meets the most dominant team this year as the Dinos travel to Hamilton to play McMaster for another chance at the Vanier Cup while the Marauders are simply looking for the repeat

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