2013 CanWest Playoff Preview

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In the CanWest this year it was a lot of the same story as one of the Big Four teams would return to the top. The Calgary Dinos have won the Hardy Trophy for the last five years and have been the most dominant team in the West. They would once again see themselves at the top of the CanWest standings as they go for their sixth straight title. This year their dominance was not as for sure as it used to be with some big players leaving the program including star running back Steven Lumbala. They seemed to be a team that might be in transition especially when it came to the fact that they were just getting by the 5 year mark. For teams in the CIS there is a 5-year window where teams have one recruiting class. If this class is a particularly good one they can find some very good freshman to play immediately. These freshman have five years of eligibility until they are forced to leave the program and move on to another level. Once these five years are up a good recruiting class is finished and a team may be left with a team full of players that might not be as good. The best teams are the ones that can overcome this five-year mark and continue to be dominant. If a team can do that they are clearly a team that knows how to recruit and develop players and continue to win games. There are only a handful of teams that have been able to do that and one of them is in the CanWest conference. The Laval Rouge et Or and the Calgary Dinos are the two most dominant teams in the CIS with the Rouge et OR coming out on top in the dominance category. The Dinos are hoping to keep pace with the Rouge et Or as they are hoping to win their 6th straight conference title as opposed to the 10 straight the Laval Rouge et Or have won. The Dinos are back on top this year and will be the team to beat once again as they would easily get past the rest of the conference as they would take the top spot once again. They would take out any challenger they had and would finish with an unbeaten record. As they go into the playoffs there is not much to say that they will lose now before they get to the National Playoffs but a few teams will try to change that. The Manitoba Bisons have taken their program growth to a new level this year and will be looking to be that team that beats the Dinos. The Bisons would lock into a season long battle with the Saskatchewan Huskies for second place and a home playoff game. They Bisons would win the battle as they would take the home playoff spot and get a chance to move to the Hardy Torphy with a home game. The Saskatchewan Huskies would take third place after losing the battle with the Bisons. Still they would see a resurgence in their program after years of losing out to the Dinos. The Huskies were the Dinos before the 5-year rule of Calgary and they are looking to get back to that time in their history. They have slowly come back and are looking better every year and now are trying to be the team that unseats the champions even if it comes from the third place spot. In one of the toughest spots are the UBC Thunderbirds as they are in fourth place and will get the toughest road to the Hardy Trophy. Taking on the Dinos in the first round is not a way they want to start but after a comeback season they are hoping that momentum will carry them through. After making the playoffs in 2011 and looking very good the 2012 season was a massive disappointment for the T-Birds as they missed the playoffs. Now they are back and hoping to build on a good season to move on to the Hardy Cup. The CanWest has one clear ruler right now with the Calgary Dinos ruling for the last 5 years. They are looking for their sixth straight now while a target is on their back by every other team but will the dominance continue.

 

1. Calgary Dinos
Strength: Dominant Team (They are one of the best teams offensively and defensively in the CIS)
Weakness: Penalty Troubles (They have the most penalty yards in the CIS)
What They Need to Do:
Stay out of penalty trouble and play their game that has won them 5 straight Hardy Trophies

2. Manitoba Bisons
Strength: Offence (They are the 4th ranked offence in the CIS)
Weakness: Discipline (Behind Calgary they have the most penalty yards in the CIS)
What They Need to Do:
Stay disciplined and use their offence to get ahead early on teams

3. Saskatchewan Huskies
Strength:  Taking the Ball away (They are ranked 5th in interceptions and 8th in fumble recoveries)
Weakness: Offence (Ranked 11th in the CIS and might not be able to keep up)
What They Need to Do:
Win the turnover battle and give their offence every opportunity to put up points 

4. UBC Thunderbirds
Strength:  Rushing Offence (Ranked 4th in rushing in the CIS as they dominate on the ground)
Weakness: Turnovers (Ranked 23rd in Interceptions and Fumbles in the CIS)
What They Need to Do:
Grind out the games on the ground and keep the ball out of the hands of the opposition

 

Prediction

Semifinals:
Calgary Dinos 42 – 24 UBC Thunderbirds
– The Thunderbirds may be able to put up some points in this game with a good running attack but the Dinos are just a better team overall and will dominate the game moving on to another Hardy Trophy

Manitoba Bisons 34 – 21 Saskatchewan Huskies
– The huskies are a great team and they will put up a fight but their offence will not be able to keep up with the Bisons and they will fall once again to the team that beat them for second place while the Bisons will move on to the finals

2013 Hardy Trophy:

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Calgary Dinos 42 – 34 Manitoba Bisons
– Both teams will be sure to get into penalty trouble as they are the two worst teams in terms of penalties in the CIS and in a tighter battle than the Dinos are expecting but in the end it will be another Hardy Trophy for one of the most dominant teams in the CIS

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