2015 CIS Football Preview: Can Change Continue to Rule?

DCC141129090_Vanier_CupThe CIS has been a league where top teams have continued to dominate their respective conferences without much room for new teams to make an impact.

It has led to some interesting conference battles as multiple teams tried to unseat the champions.

Although some of the conference races did get exciting they all seemed to end in the same way as the same teams moved on to the national championship race.

The only conference that was somewhat immune to the long rule of one team has been the OUA where multiple teams have taken home football’s oldest trophy.

Despite the fact that new teams have won the Yates Cup in recent years there have still been a few teams that have taken home more than the rest.

The Western Mustangs and McMaster Marauders have been the champion in all four years before the 2014 season.

The dominant pair of teams represented the dominance that had been surrounding the rest of the country as they continued to be the teams to beat.

In the AUS the dominance was not nearly as widespread either with certain teams going on runs but none representing a very long period of winning.

Before the 2014 season the Acadia Axemen and Saint Mary’s Huskies had won six of the last seven Jewett Trophies.

Where the dominance was in full view was in the West and Quebec where two teams accounted for long winning streaks.

In the CanWest conference the Calgary Dinos were constantly fending off challengers as the reigned for six years at the top of the conference.

There were plenty of challengers as the Dinos faced a different team every year and yet no team could unseat them as champions.

Then there was the RSEQ where the Laval Rouge et Or held the Dunsmore Cup for 11 straight years.

They were the football machine and not one team seemed to be able to beat them whether in the regular season or the playoffs.

A shift started a few years ago though as more teams seemed to have a shot at taking down these top teams as their dominant runs throughout the regular season began to end.

The Rouge et Or started to see their undefeated regular seasons end while other teams were beginning to see challenges from other teams.

It all came to a head in 2014 as the dominance of the biggest teams in the CIS ended with some of the most surprising finishes in league history.

The OUA and AUS saw a continuation of their patterns with the Marauders taking home the Yates Cup and the Mount Allison Mounties winning the Jewett Trophy, their second in a row.

The CanWest and RSEQ conferences saw their time change forever as the Manitoba Bisons beat the Calgary Dinos for the Hardy Trophy.football-sidebar

The Bisons became the first team in seven years to take home the Hardy Trophy and it changed the face of the CanWest conference as a new champion finally reigned.

The Montreal Carabins did the same but beat the most dominant team in CIS history by taking out the Laval Rouge et Or for the Dunsmore Cup.

It was the end of a reign that lasted longer than a decade and also ended any hope of the Rouge et Or winning their third Vanier Cup in as many years.

The national playoffs became that much more interesting as the Marauders and Carabins met in the 50th Vanier Cup as one dominant team met a new champion in a special game.

In the end it was the new champion that found themselves at the top of the CIS as the Carabins took home the Vanier Cup, the first in school history.

The Carabins taking home their first Vanier Cup could be a one-year thing as they may have just found the right group at the right time and taken full advantage.

Then again, it could mark the beginning of a change in the CIS where no one team will put together as dominant a run as Laval or Calgary did.

Not everything will be answered in 2015 but this season will go a long way to figuring out what type of landscape the CIS now has.

Will it be one where new teams begin to rule and new dynasty’s are created or will the old dominant teams return with a vengeance?

As the season is set to begin plenty of teams are looking to the example of Montreal to make their own run at the Vanier Cup as they saw last year that any team can win with the right combination.

These will try to continue the changing of the guard while the dominant teams attempt to continue doing what they have done for the better part of this decade as the 2015 season could be a massive shift in the CIS.

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