2015 CIS Football Preview: AUS Conference


The East Coast conference is an interesting one as there are only four teams in the entire conference and almost every team has had their turn at the top.

It is a conference where the oddities of the university game are on full display as every team has struggled to find a long time of dominance.

Although they have not been able to extend winning streaks as long as some of the more recent dominant teams the AUS have seen one team prove to be dominant more often than not.

The Saint Mary’s Huskies have been the most consistent of any of the four teams in the AUS but recently it has not been their time.

It is a unique part of this conference as the success of the Huskies program is somewhat of an anomaly in a conference that only has four teams.

University football is always a unique thing to deal with as with every other team there is only a set number of years before the recruiting class is gone.

In the Atlantic conference everything comes a little bit tougher though as their pool of talent is far less than that of the bigger conferences.

The majority of recruiting is done in the region that the conference or the school represents as they focus on local players more than those that have to travel.

There are always the players who will travel out of their province or their region but more often than not teams are made up of more local talent.football-sidebar

In the AUS the region is much smaller than the rest of the conferences as they look to some of the smallest provinces.

So many of these teams are forced to look outside of their own region and to other places throughout the country to find their talent.

Much of that talent comes from Ontario and only the best teams recruiting from these areas as well as their own can survive in this conference.

The Huskies have been the most successful at loading their teams with talent but recently that dominance has gone away.

The Huskies last won the Jewett Trophy in 2010 which ended up being the end of a four-year run as the best team in the AUS.

That came to an end in 2011 when the Acadia Axemen took over and won the Loney Bowl for the first of two straight years.

The Mount Allison Mounties have been the team to watch over the last two years though earning their spot in the CIS playoffs in both seasons.

The Huskies were the team to beat for years and could be again as they try to get back to that as they head into another season with the hopes of becoming the champions for another year.

Meanwhile the Mounties are themselves trying to become the new dominant team while the rest of the conference tries to get their own chance in the CIS playoffs.

It may be a small conference in the East Coast but at any point any of these teams can emerge as the champion and represent the Maritimes in the CIS playoffs.

AUS Team Previews
au-axemen.fw Acadia Axemen
2014 Record 3-5 (Lost in AUS Semi-Finals)
Strength The sideline leadership is some of the best in the CIS
Biggest Question Can the youth movement work for this year?
Player to Watch Drew Morris, LB (61 tkl, 0.5 sck, 0 FF, 1 INT)
The Axemen went from a dominant team to struggling to find the playoffs as their leaders left for the CFL. Now the Axemen are committed to the youth movement as their recruiting class seems to be an important one where many of the newcomers will have an immediate impact. That could mean issues for the Axemen as they will once again struggle to find the playoffs.
mau-mounties.fw Mount Allison Mounties
2014 Record 8-0 (Lost in Mitchell Bowl)
Strength The core of the leadership group remains
Biggest Question Can they overcome their defensive losses?
Player to Watch Chris Read, RB (173 att, 987 yds, 5 TD, 3 F)
The Mounties are the kings of the east and have been for two years as they get used to being the best in the AUS. Still they will see a number of their defensive stars from the nation’s best group leave as new players will need to step up. The core group remains though and so they seem to be set for a three-peat as long as they can avoid any trap games.
smu-huskies.fw Saint Mary’s Huskies
2014 Record 0-8 (4th in AUS)
Strength The young team has another year under their belt
Biggest Question Can they overcome the loss of their defensive leader?
Player to Watch Matt Delmas, DL (32 tkl, 8 sck, 0 FF, 0 INT)
Last year the Huskies went into the season with a lot of young talent and it showed with a winless season. The Huskies are not used to that and now they will have to overcome another major loss in Jonathan Langa, CIS’s leading tackler, to get back to their winning ways. The Huskies go in with a little more experience than last year but there are more struggles ahead.
stfx-xmen.fw StFX X-Men
2014 Record 4-4 (Lost in Loney Bowl)
Strength They have one of the best scoring defences in the CIS
Biggest Question Can a young offensive line hold up?
Player to Watch Paolo Edwards, DB (14.5 tkl, 0 FF, 4 INT, 2 TD)
The X-Men were not expected to make their way to the Loney Bowl last year but behind the strength of one of the nation’s best scoring defences. Now that good defence returns relatively intact with Paolo Edwards leading the way. They will need to answer some questions on offence but another playoff appearance could be on the way.

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