2013 Hardy Cup Preview


The theme of dominance in the CIS can be nailed down to two conferences that have seen the same teams raise their championship trophies. As the OUA and AUS continue to exchange their champions the RSEQ and CanWest conferences have seen long reigns from their champions. The OUA and the AUS would begin to look like their neighbours but this year will see new champions rather than a three-peat for either team. In a season of change the RSEQ and the CanWest stay strong among the changes and continue to frustrate everyone in the process. In the RSEQ it is the most frustrating team in the Laval Rouge et Or who have won the Dunsmore Cup for 10 straight years. They are the most dominant team in the history of the CIS but following in their footsteps is the team from the west in the Calgary Dinos. The Dinos are currently on a 5 year winning streak in the Hardy Cup and they have rarely been challenged. The Dinos have rattled off a long winning streak in the west and if it weren’t for the Rouge et Or in Quebec they would be the most dominant team in the CIS. They have regularly expected to move on to the national playoffs which is where there runs generally stop. As they have not been able to get the Vanier Cup, thanks in large part to the Rouge et Or, they still rule over the CanWest conference and do not expect to let up this year. Finishing with a perfect record the Dinos ran through everyone in the conference and easily dispatched of their top challengers. Finishing with a record of 8-0 the Dinos were far and away the best team in the west and were considered one of the best teams in the CIS. Now they are one step away from winning a 6th straight Hardy Trophy and moving on to try to prove that they are the best team in the CIS by winning the Vanier Cup. In their way stands the only team in the last 7 years to win a Hardy Trophy other than the Dinos, the Manitoba Bisons. After a three-year stretch where the Saskatchewan Huskies would take every Hardy Trophy from 2004-2006 the Bisons would break the cycle. They would be a part of a big surprise season for the CanWest conference when they would take on the Regina Rams in the Hardy Trophy Final. Left behind would be the previous dominant team and the future dominant team in Saskatchewan and Calgary. After beating the Rams they would move on to beat Western in the national semi-finals and eventually would win the Vanier Cup against the Saint Mary’s Huskies. The Bisons are hoping that this is a sign that they will move on to the Vanier Cup once again this year after becoming the only team to beat the Dinos in the last six years. They will do so as a major underdog but would have it no other way as the Bisons are heading into a game against one of the most dominant teams of the era and looking to shock the CIS world.

They will do this with their offence in what could be a theme for the game and was a theme for the conference this year. The Bisons rank fourth in the CIS for points per game and 7th in the CIS in passing yard per game. The Bisons put up 38.8 points per game and average 319.8 passing yards per game as there is a clear goal to what they hope to do. On the ground the Bisons are a force as well ranking #2 in the CIS with 226.1 rushing yards per game. Through the air or on the ground the Bisons can punish any team and can overwhelm them quickly. They need this offensive production as their defence cannot stop teams from scoring. The Bisons got to their 5-3 record because they outscore opponents but they do it just barely. The defence allows an average of 30.5 points per game ranking them 19th in the CIS and among the bottom defences in the league. Usually this is a bad combination for a team in the championship but the Bisons will be taking on a team that is very similar to them in the Calgary Dinos. The Dinos are the only team in the CanWest conference who can put up more points than the Bisons. They rank 3rd in the CIS for points per game but are slightly behind the Bisons in their passing game averaging 317.5 passing yards per game. They are also a force on the ground where they have the best rushing attack in the CIS averaging 232.2 rushing yards per game. Like the Bisons the Dinos are not the best team on defence but in this matchup they will be the better team. They are #8 in the CIs for points allowed per game but have gone about it in a specific way. The rush defence is their saviour as they rank #9 in the CIS for rushing yards per game but when it comes to the air attack the Dinos have some trouble. Allowing an average of 320.6 passing yards per game the Dinos cannot seem to stop a good air attack. Still they are able to shut down teams and not allow them to score making sure that they are on the right side of the scoreboard. The game will likely be an offensive shootout but when two great offences face off the best defence is usually the won that will come out on top. For the Hardy Cup, that means another year with the Calgary Dinos winning their 6th straight CanWest title.

Calgary Dinos 42 – 34 Manitoba Bisons


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