2013 AUS Playoff Preview

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The AUS conference has never been the most powerful conference in the CIS as they have fallen behind the bigger conferences. Still the AUS contains teams that exude the true east coast mentality. They never give up and they continue to fight even though the odds are against them and they always seem to be able to keep people wondering if they could bring an upset. They have had moments where they have been at the top of the CIS football world and won the Vanier Cup but recently it has not been in the cards for them. The last two years would see Acadia win the AUS conference and the Loney Bowl only to fall far short of in the bowl games. They would advance to the Uteck Bowl for two years and would lose both games to eventual Vanier Cup champions by a combined score of 87-28. The Axemen were clearly out of their depth when it came to the national playoffs and it is becoming a theme for the conference. The AUS has not been to a Vanier Cup since 2007 when the Saint Mary’s Huskies and lost to the Manitoba Bisons. The Huskies are once again back at the top of the conference and are hoping to be the next team to move on to the Vanier Cup from the AUS. It is not an easy road though as they are a conference that is still in transition. The AUS showed signs of how they might be in the national playoffs during their crossover games this year. The AUS would lose three of its four games against the RSEQ with the only win coming against the Concordia Stingers who were one of the worst teams in the RSEQ. This year the AUS is hoping that all of that will change when they get there and three teams are looking to be the ones to prove that he they can hang with the big conferences. The Saint Mary’s Huskies regained the top spot in the league this year after two years of taking a backseat to the Acadia Axemen. They will be the frontrunners in the AUS playoffs but they are far from guaranteed the Jewett Trophy. The Huskies barely took first place this year and stumbled to start the year until finally stringing together some wins to get the top spot. Right behind them will be one of the more surprising finishes in the CIS as the Mount Allison Mounties finished in second place. The Mounties looked to be destined to finish out of the playoffs once again this year with a bad start to the season. Then they would rattle off three key wins and catapult themselves into the second place spot. They will be looking to carry that momentum into the playoffs and are hoping to shock everyone by earning a spot in the national playoffs. The Mounties are the underdogs despite being second place and they are hoping to surprise some teams this November. Shockingly in the third place and almost out of the playoffs was the team that had dominating the conference for the last two years. The Acadia Axemen came very close to missing the playoffs this year but they would hang on and earn the final spot. They are looking to win their third straight Loney Bowl and now that they are in they have a shot. After struggling throughout the year the Axemen are hoping that they can right the ship in the playoffs and once again make it through the AUS. The AUS playoffs could be the best set of playoffs this year as all three teams are extremely close. It is a very hard race to predict as no team is truly dominant while no team is a pushover. It will be a great fight to the end with one team coming out on top and looking to change the perception of the conference. Whoever does come out on top will have some work to do as they take on the winner of the RSEQ which is not an easy way to try to prove that the conference is ready to win another Vanier Cup. There will only be one winner though as the AUS will go through their playoffs with a great couple of games in the near future.

 

1. Saint Mary’s Huskies
Strength: Defence (Ranked #4 in the country for point allowed per game)
Weakness: Offence (Ranked 26th out of 27 teams for points scored per game)
What They Need to Do:
Lean on their defence to limit other teams to enough points that their offence can overcome

2. Mount Allison Mounties
Strength: Streaking (They have won their last three games including a win over the Huskies)
Weakness: Passing Offence (Ranked among the worst in all major passing categories)
What They Need to Do:
Do not get overwhelmed by the moment and remember their wins over the best teams in the AUS

3. Acadia Axemen
Strength: Defence (Ranked #2 in the country in total defence)
Weakness:  Passing Offence (Ranked among the bottom of the CIS for passing yards per game)
What They Need to Do:
Remember that they are the defending champions and use their defence to dominate teams

 

Prediction

Semifinal:
Mount Allison Mounties 28 – 24 Acadia Axemen
– Expect a defensive battle as both teams are not known for moving the ball very well and they will not score a lot of points but they will fight a very tough battle to win the chance to play in the Loney Bowl with the Mounties taking their hot streak to the semi-finals

2013 Loney Bowl:

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Mount Allison Mounties 24 – 21 Saint Mary’s Huskies
– The Huskies may be the top team in the AUS but they are far from guaranteed their spot in the national playoffs as they are not a dominant team the Mounties will prove that as they will go a perfect 3-for-3 this season against the Huskies although it will be a tough fought battle

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