2013 RSEQ Playoff Preview

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When you talk about dominance in the CIS there is one conference and one team that comes to mind immediately. The Laval Rouge et Or have been the most dominant team in the CIS for the last ten years. There has never been a team that has been able to assert their dominance as much as the program from Quebec City. It is a story that is almost unheard of in college sports as the Rouge et Or would only begin their program in 1996 and quickly became a force in the league. Glen Constantin would take the program from an expansion team to a national powerhouse in a very quick time. Generally expansion teams slowly move their way up to becoming a challenger and may take a long time before they can actually challenge for a championship. It takes the team a while to be a champion and it takes them even longer to become a dominant champion. With college football teams can take a while to develop because there are so many things these programs need to be good. First they need a number of recruiting classes to give them a mix of veteran and young players that can put pieces together. Generally the first few recruiting classes can be less than desirable because the program has yet to be developed. These teams need to be trusted to get a good recruiting class and players find it hard to trust teams when they have yet to accomplish anything. Many players want to go to a programs where they can win championships and get the best shot at making it to the next level. The new programs are not the types to do any of this and so they suffer. Then the Laval Rouge et Or would buck the thought that expansion programs could not get the best players. It was a rapid climb for the Rouge et Or as they would win their first Dunsmore Cup in 1999 only three years after their program began. Then four years after their first championship the Rouge et Or would take their development into a new level. Only 8 years after the program began the Rouge et Or would win the first of what would end up being 10 straight Dunsmore Cups. Now Laval is in the midst of the longest streak in CIS history as they have won 10 straight championships and this year they will be going for their 11th straight. They have given every reason to expect that they can do it again this year. They are first place once again this year in the RSEQ and have put together yet another undefeated season. No team really came close to beating Laval this year and it has not inspired a lot of confidence in the rest of the conference. The team that many would see as the only true test for Laval would not have the season they were hoping for this year. The Montreal Carabins have been the only team to actually challenge the Rouge et Or in the last few years. They have been able to beat Laval on occasion in the regular season but they have not been able to do that in the playoffs. They now sit in third place this year and are hoping that a less than great season will not translate to a less than great playoffs. Ahead of the Carabins this year is one of the bigger surprises of the season with the Bishop’s Gaiters taking second place. The Gaiters were not expected to be a great team this year but behind the arm of now single season passing yardage record holder Jordan Heather they put themselves into the conversation. Filling out the playoff picture will be last year’s runner up the Sherbrooke Vert et Or who will have a tough road ahead of them. They are looking to shock the CIS and eliminate the Rouge et Or in their first game of the playoffs but will have a far hill to climb to do it. Sherbrooke would make it into the playoffs on the last week and are now just hoping to stay afloat among the great teams in the RSEQ. The conference has some of the best teams in the CIS the only problem is that they are all under the rule of the best team in the CIS. The Laval Rouge et Or are the team to beat in this conference and in the CIS as they will either win the conference or will be at the losing end of the most shocking upset in the CIS. It is Laval’s conference to lose this year as they are the kings and the rest of the teams are looking for the upsets as the Dunsmore Cup is up for grabs once again.

 

1. Laval Rouge et Or
Strength: Dominant Mentality (The confidence is high as they have won for the last 10 years)
Weakness: Thinking too far ahead (If they think they can walk through the RSEQ they may get caught)
What They Need to Do:
Be themselves and continue to dominate through the playoffs

2. Bishop’s Gaiters
Strength: Passing Offence (Jordan Heather is the best QB in the CIS)
Weakness: Rushing Offence (If the passing game can be shut down there is nothing to fall back on)
What They Need to Do:
Keep the ball in Jordan Heather’s hands and let him carry them to the national playoffs

3. Montreal Carabins
Strength:  Defence (Second to only Laval in points allowed per game and first in sacks)
Weakness: The Season (Going into the playoffs in third instead of a sure second is a shock)
What They Need to Do:
Forget the regular season and use their defence to keep teams in check

4. Sherbrooke Vert et Or
Strength:  Rushing Offence (Control the game with some of the best time of possession)
Weakness: Special Teams (Their special teams will not help them with their field position)
What They Need to Do:
Embrace the role of the underdog and go into games with nothing to lose

 

Prediction

Semifinals:
Laval Rouge et Or 38 – 14 Sherbrooke Vert et OR
– The Rouge et Or are far from an offensive powerhouse as they have not put up the massive points but their defence has been their saviour and has led to an undefeated season and it will lead them to another win in the semi-finals

Montreal Carabins 24 – 21 Bishop’s Gaiters
– The season wasn’t great for the Carabins but it doesn’t change the fact that their great defence will shut down the Gaiters rushing offence completely and will put a lot of pressure of Jordan Heather to make sure he is not comfortable enough to get in a groove

 

2013 Dunsmore Cup:

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Laval Rouge et Or 38 – 28 Montreal Carabins
– The Rouge et Or are the class of the league and barring a massive upset they will once again win the Dunsmore Cup by using their offence to shut down the Carabins who will once again fall short of beating Laval and taking home the Dunsmore Cup

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