Is There any end to the Dominance? (RSEQ Preview)


Out of all of the repeat champions none have been more dominant than the Laval Rouge et Or who have ruled the RSEQ for 10 years. They will be going for their 11th straight Dunsmore Cup as they represent the most dominant franchise in the CIS. Laval has defied all of the odds in the CIS as they have long since lost their original recruiting class that started the run of 10 straight. They are the exception to the rule as the program at Laval has gone against any type of reasoning for their dominant streak. They have been the team that nobody wants to face and this year they are hoping to win another one and move on to a home Vanier Cup. Their dominance has not stopped at the RSEQ level though as they have won 7 of the last 14 Vanier Cups accounting for half of the championship plates in the last 14 years. The Laval Rouge et Or are a team that nobody wants to face especially anyone from the RSEQ as they have been almost unbeatable in the last 10 years. As they look ahead to the Vanier Cup there are many other teams in Quebec that are looking for their share of the wealth. The Montreal Carabins have been second place plenty of times as they have constantly taken a backseat to the Rouge et Or. They are looking to finally stop the dominance and get their own chance at the Vanier Cup. Sherbrooke is also looking to end that reign as they have come second place a number of times to Laval and would like to stop that trend. Meanwhile McGill is looking to build on their momentum from last year where they made the playoffs on a few forfeits from Concordia and Bishop’s. The rest of the conference is working to try to unseat the champions and the picture of consistency in the CIS as they will all be looking to beat Laval. The Rouge et Or are used to this target though as they have had it for years. Now they take on another year with the same attitude as always.  As the season gets started can anyone beat the Laval or will it be an 11th straight Dunsmore Cup for the Rouge et Or? The season will begin and the Rouge et Or will once again be favorites but plenty of teams will be there to end their reign.


Bishop’s Gaiters


The bishop’s Gaiters seemed to be on their way to a playoff berth in 2012 until a common occurrence would happen again. The Gaiters would self-disclose the use of an ineligible player for two of their games in 2012 leading to two forfeits. With two lost games the Gaiters would drop to 6th place in the RSEQ and would miss the playoffs. They come back in 2013 looking to make the playoffs and finally get a win after their last three trips ended in first round losses. The Gaiters are run by their offence as they would rank 3rd in the conference on offence and many of that squad will be back. Most importantly Jordan Heather will return under centre for the Gaiters after finishing in the top ten of the country in almost every major QB category. Heather will get some support from Matt Burke at running back who returns to the Gaiters after spending the start of the summer at Montreal Alouettes Camp. On defence the Gaiters will look to defensive back Ryland Smith who has the respect of his team and the experience to help this team to the playoffs. Along with Smith defensive lineman Theo Thompson and Steven McCollum will return to provide a good one-two punch up front. The Gaiters seemed to be on the rise over the last few years but there is nothing here to say they will be a power this year. Expect them to fight for a playoff spot but earning a spot is far from guaranteed.


Concordia Stingers


The Stingers would be the other team to finish much better than their record would seem as they would forfeit two games. With a 1-8 record the Stingers would have a disappointing season and finish at the bottom of the division. This year they are looking to get back to the playoffs but that could be a long road towards that. Reid Quest will lead an offence that struggled to score last year but did see some bright spots. The main bright spot on the offence was Reid Quest who showed that he has the ability to be a strong QB. Reid will have some talent around him including leading receiver Sanchez Deschamps and Shayne Stinson. Aside from that there is not a lot else for the young QB to work with. One defence the Stingers will be looking to Quinn Smith who had 7 sacks last year and will be a key part to the Concordia defence. Although there are some bright spots and some good players for Concordia there is a lot of work to do. The Stingers are not a strong team and competing with the top teams in the conference will not be easy for them. Concordia is close to a rebuild and although it does not seem like they are willing to say it they need their recruiting classes to be able to challenge. Expect the Stingers to sit at the bottom of the league again this year as they will begin to look to the future of the program.


Laval Rouge et Or


They are the dynasty not only in the RSEQ but in the CIS as they have dominated the conference and been one of the toughest teams on the national stage. With 10 Dunsmore Cup victories in the last 10 years Laval has been able to maintain a level of excellence long beyond most schools. Glen Constantin has become a legendary coach in the CIS continuing to recruit and prepare his younger talent. Last year was a perfect example as QB Bruno Prud’homme would graduate leaving Tristan Grenon to take the reins for the first time. It would not seem to phase Grenon as he would lead the Rouge et Or to the Vanier Cup and get revenge on the McMaster Marauders. Along with receiver Guillaume Rioux and running back Maxime Boutin the Rouge et Or will look very familiar on the offence. On defence the story is much the same as the majority of the defence will return but some of their biggest playmakers will be gone. Frederic Plesius and Arnaud Gascon-Nadon will no longer be with the team leaving Mathieu Masseau and Jean-Alexandre Bernier to fill some big shoes. Time and time again the Rouge et Or have shown that filling those big shoes is no problem. The Rouge et Or may see some changes this year but there is no evidence to show that changes make a difference for them. The Rouge et Or are on their way to another Dunsmore Cup and possible another Vanier Cup but there is always room for an upset, however unlikely.


McGill Redmen


The McGill Redmen had a great year last year if you just look at how long their season went as they would make the playoffs. It was less than convincing though as the Redmen would get to the playoffs with a 2-6 record thanks to the teams behind them forfeiting games. When Bishop’s and Concordia forfeited their games it pushed the Redmen to the fourth place spot giving them a chance to play in the playoffs. When they got there they were outclassed by the Laval Rouge et Or proving that they still had a distance to go to compete with the best. This year they will be looking to Jonathan Collin to lead the team on offence but his job is not necessarily safe. The Redmen have been looking for consistent play under centre and if Collin cannot pull it off Dallon Kuprowski is waiting in the wings to take over. The loss of Shaq Johnson will be a big blow to the program as the CIS rookie of the year will no longer be with the Redmen transferring to Western this year. One defence the team is looking at a young squad with limited experience that could make them a liability this year. They will be led by defensive back Mattey Ossom and defensive lineman Tyler Lavin-Booth. The Redmen may not be the worst team in the RSEQ but they are not the playoff team that some may think they are after last season as they will sit outside the playoffs once again.


Montreal Carabins


The Montreal Carabins have been the biggest competition to the Laval Rouge et Or as they have been a great team for the last few years. In any other conference the Carabins would have won the championship multiple times. Last year they would finish second but lose in the first round of the playoffs to Sherbrooke. It was a disappointing end to a season that has gone down as one of the best in program history. This year they will look to a defence that was ranked #1 in Canada allowing only 102 points all year while dominating the line. A big part of this defence will be Jean-Samuel Blanc who would earn an RSEQ record 12.5 sacks last year. Blanc will be joined by a number of veterans form a great defence last year including defensive leader safety Byron Archambault and interception leader Anthony Coady. The offence will miss their starting QB Alexandre nadeau-Piuze as they look to move on from the man with all of the records for the team. Gabriel Cousineau will likely take over trying to fill the shoes of a great QB but he will have a lot of help. For one Mikhail Davidson is back to lead the receiving corps while the offence overall will be led by one of the best running backs in the CIS Rotrand Sene. The Carabins have been the only team to challenge the Laval Rouge et Or and they will do it again although getting over the top will be a big hill to climb.


Sherbrooke Vert et Or


The Sherbrooke Vert et Or are the other team that has a chance of challenging Laval this year after surprising everyone last year. They were expected to make the playoffs but when they beat the Montreal Carabins in the first round everyone took notice. They would not put up much of a challenge for the eventual champions but with their playoff win they showed that they are serious about competing in the RSEQ. Last year David Lessard took over the reins of the program and would help the Vert et Or to another playoff berth. The team will rely on their offence led by one of the top QBs in the RSEQ in Jeremi Doyon-Roch who matched up with Sebastien Blanchard all last season to make a potent passing attack. Both are back and will look to take another year of experience and be a force in the passing game. On defence the Vert et Or will look to an experienced defensive backfield to continue playing consistently. Led by Alexandre Branco and Jean-Philippe Dupuis the defence is not dominant but they play well enough to give their offence a chance to win the game. The Vert et Or are not at the same level as Montreal or Laval but they are very close and this could be the year they prove that they belong. Last year was a great success and another battle for second place and a berth in the Dunsmore Cup is not out of the question for this powerful offensive team.


1. Laval Rouge et Or
2. Montreal Carabins
3. Sherbrooke Vert et Or
4.  Bishop’s Gaiters
5. McGill Redmen
6. Concordia Stingers


Dunsmore Cup:


Laval Rouge et Or
– They may be pushed and may even lose a game to Montreal but betting against the Rouge et Or to win the Dunsmore Cup is not a smart move as the last 10 years are enough to convince me that they will keep the streak going

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