2015 CIS Football Preview: RSEQ Conference

rseq-preview.fw

The RSEQ has been one of the most boring conferences in the history of the CIS as there has rarely been much competition at the top.

For the better part of a decade the Laval Rouge et Or were the team to beat and not only in their own conference.

It was the most dominant showing by any team in the history of the CIS as for 11 years the Rouge et Or owned the Dunsmore Cup.

In that time they also won a total of seven Vanier Cups including a two-year reign as the nation’s best team heading into the 2014 season.

The Rouge et Or were the epitome of the perfect program in university football as they never seemed to falter.

It was a constant battle for every other RSEQ team to find their way to the national playoffs as they could never find their way to the RSEQ championship.

It wasn’t even limited to the playoffs either as the Rouge et Or won every game in their conference going undefeated.

For a team that only began their program in 1996 the success of the Rouge et Or has been unprecedented and may never be matched before.

The question in every season seemed to be whether or not the Rouge et Or could continue their dominant run or if someone was finally going to unseat them.

For the few years leading up to 2014 it seemed like there was only one team ready to take that role as the Montreal Carabins continued to challenge them.

It started with the Carabins finally pushing Laval in close games until they began beating them in the regular season.

Despite the success the Carabins still couldn’t get past the Rouge et Or in the Dunsmore Cup losing to Laval three times from 2009 until 2013.football-sidebar

That all changed last year when the biggest shift in the CIS finally happened and the Montreal Carabins beat the Laval Rouge et Or, 12-9 to take the Dunsmore Cup.

It was the first time in 12 years that a team other than Laval had won the Dunsmore Cup and for the first time in just over a decade a new team was ready to represent the RSEQ in the national playoffs.

Montreal did that in a big way as they found their way to the Vanier Cup and beat the McMaster Marauders for the school’s first ever Vanier Cup.

It was a crazy year in Quebec football but that year is gone and the new year is ready to begin with one major question looming over everyone in the conference.

Was Montreal’s win a change in the make-up of the RSEQ or was it just a one year anomaly that will be over after the 2015 season?

The Carabins hope to launch their own time of dominance while the Rouge et Or are not ready to lay down for anyone.

The RSEQ is the biggest representation of the 2014 season beginning to be a new age in the CIS but without another interesting season in 2015 it will just end up being another odd year.

This year will be an important one for not only Quebec football but also for the CIS in general as the most dominant Canadian school ever could return to the top.

Then again they might find that their dominance is over and parity might begin to rule the RSEQ as a new season means a new opportunity for every team.

RSEQ Team Previews
bu-gaiters.fw Bishop’s Gaiters
2014 Record 1-7 (5th in RSEQ)
Strength A young offence has another year under their belt
Biggest Question Can a young defence step up?
Player to Watch Vincent Davignon, RB (48 att, 271 yds, 0 TD, 0 Fum)
The Gaiters are in an interesting place as 2014 saw them lose a lot of offensive stars and this year the same can be said for the defence. Losses on the defensive side of the ball will hurt their chances while the offence goes into another year with a little more experience. The Gaiters have at least another tough year to go as the playoffs might be out of the cards this year.
cu-stingers.fw Concordia Stingers
2014 Record 5-3 (Lost in RSEQ Semi-Finals)
Strength The new attitude brought in 2014 is working
Biggest Question Can that new attitude translate into wins?
Player to Watch Mike Charland, LB (53.5 tkl, 0 sck, 2 FF, 1 Frec)
Much like the Gaiters the Stingers went through a number of major changes in 2014 including a brand new coaching staff. That staff has brought a new attitude and new recruiting strategy that has the Stingers on the right track. Still they have an inexperienced team and may go through some issues this year and will have to fight to make the playoffs.
ul-rougeetor.fw Laval Rouge et Or
2014 Record 7-1 (Lost in Dunsmore Cup)
Strength It is the best program in the CIS
Biggest Question Can they overcome the shock of 2014?
Player to Watch Hugo Richard, QB (65.4%, 2,578 yds, 22 TD, 4 INT)
It is an unfamiliar position and could shock the Rouge et Or into some issues in the coming years as they lost for the first time in twelve years. The return of CIS leading passer Hugo Richard and the stability of the program as a whole is enough to instill confidence though. Returning the playoffs is almost a guarantee while another championship is a good bet.
mu-redmen.fw McGill Redmen
2014 Record 0-8 (6th in RSEQ)
Strength They have one of the best defensive players in the CIS
Biggest Question Can they break through the losing culture?
Player to Watch Karl Forgues, LB (74.5 tkl, 8 sck, 2 FF, 1 INT)
The Redmen have not had a lot of success in recent years and they continue to struggle to find their way back to the playoffs. This year they enter the season with a young team while a few veterans leading the way. Their defence is led by one of the best linebackers in the CIS in Karl Forgues who will try to lead to success but the playoffs are a distance away.
uofm-carabins.fw Montreal Carabins
2014 Record 7-1 (Won Vanier Cup)
Strength They now have Laval’s number
Biggest Question Was the 2014 season a fluke?
Player to Watch Gabriel Cousineau, QB (71.9%, 2,311 yds, 14 TD, 3 INT)
The Carabins are themselves in a new position as the team that challenged the kings of the conference finally beat them. The issue now is whether or not they can repeat that performance with the loss of a number of key players and everyone now looking at them. The Vanier Cup champions are still a good program and they won’t fall too far but a repeat is going to be tough.
su-vertetor.fw Sherbrooke Vert et Or
2014 Record 5-3 (Lost in RSEQ Semi-Finals)
Strength The team is a good mix of vets and rookies
Biggest Question Can they finally get over the hump of the top two?
Player to Watch Jeremi Roch, QB (60.1%, 2,317 yds, 11 TD 6 INT)
The Vert et Or used to be the team challenging the Rouge et Or at the top but they could never get it done. They try to do just that this year though and will return their biggest weapon in the second leading passer in the CIS, Jeremi Roch. The Vert et Or seem ready to at least take a shot and will make the playoffs again but a championship seems out of reach.

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