CIS Football Report (Week 1)

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For the majority of the country the CIS season is still a week away as the Labour Day weekend will be a big one for Canadian football.

Not only does it feature some of the best rivalry games in the CFL but the RSEQ and CanWest conferences begin their seasons.

The road to the Vanier Cup is not an extremely long one but it is a twisting road. Every team has a chance when the season starts and it only takes a few good wins to get the ball rolling.

For CIS fans in Ontario this week was the official start of the season as ten teams got the chance to get a good start to the season with the first official regular season games of the year.

It the classic CIS start to the season as the OUA needs to start early in order to run through their season.

They are the largest conference in the country with a total of 11 teams and so they take a little more time to determine their champion.

The rest of the country is just waiting to get going but for now the OUA was the focus. In the first weekend the old powers were at it again and the division throughout the conference was shown in a very real way.

The Guelph Gryphons, Western Mustangs, and McMaster Marauders didn’t just win their opening games but they easily won those games.

It has become a theme among the conference as the teams that have been dominant remain dominant throughout every season.

The Marauders, Gryphons, and Mustangs have all been at or near the top of the division in the past few years.

Meanwhile their opponents in the Windsor Lancers and Waterloo Warriors have remained at or near the bottom of the division year after year.

The division between these programs is seen constantly and when it begins it is usually very hard to stop.

The main reason being that recruiting is the lifeblood of university sport and it can be a lot tougher or easier depending on where you finish.

The fact is that programs need to be good at recruiting in order to continue to find the best talent they can to continue to put together a team that can compete.

The unfortunate part for many is that one of the biggest requirements for many of the best players is to play for a winning team.football-sidebar

It makes sense in the fact that many of the best players have consistently played on the best teams throughout their football careers.

Why then would they choose to go to a school where they play the regular season and have nothing else?

The answer is that they wouldn’t as the best players available want to play for a winner. They want to play for a team that is going to give them a chance to play for the Vanier Cup.

It is not the only recruiting requirement as the level of education, the school environment, particular school programs, or the closeness to home can all influence a player’s decision to go somewhere.

More often than not though a winning program can influence the choice by constantly competing for conference title.

That is what Western and McMaster have had in recent years while Waterloo and Windsor have had to deal with the opposite.

It translates into a bigger talent pool for the top teams and the bottom teams having to make do with who they can get.

It takes something special to break out of that pattern and whether it is a new coach or good season it is hard to see when it might come.

For now it seems like the top teams are once again taking advantage of their winning ways with great talent on their teams as they showed their teeth in their first week while the bottom teams suffered to start off their seasons in a bad way.

With one week in the OUA is already underway and the RSEQ and CanWest conferences are ready to join them on Labour Day weekend.

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Key Scores:
Queen’s Gaels 34 – 24 Carleton Ravens
– It was the closest game in the first weekend for the OUA as the Gaels got a challenge from the Ravens in their home opener and although the Ravens showed some signs of promise they fell just short at the end of the game

Laurier Golden Hawks 38 – 21 York Lions
– The Lions are trying to get at least a few wins this season after years of coming up with bad records and so far their quest is not successful as they just couldn’t get started fast enough to challenge Laurier

Western Mustangs 76 – 7 Windsor Lancers
– The Mustangs were at it again in the first week showing that they are here to win the OUA this year making a statement by putting up 76 points against the Lancers who could only manage one touchdown in the opener

McMaster Marauders 55 – 33 Toronto Varsity Blues
– The Marauders had a good day but what might have stood out more is the fact that the Varsity Blues put up 33 points against the Marauders and that could mean that Toronto is ready to compete or that the Marauders might not have as good a defence as once thought

Next Week:
Manitoba Bisons vs. Saskatchewan Huskies (Friday September 4th; 7:00 pm CST)
– The CanWest conference begins their season as the Bisons and Huskies kick off the long weekend with an important game between two teams that have hopes of winning the conference this year and this game could make the difference for either of them

Montreal Carabins vs. Laval Rouge et Or (Saturday September 5th; 7:00 pm EDT)
– The Montreal Carabins beat the Rouge et Or last year twice including the Dunsmore Cup and Laval is looking for revenge as they start the season trying to get a leg up on what is sure to be a tight season-long battle

Waterloo Warriors vs. Carleton Ravens (Sunday September 6th; 1:00 pm EDT)
– The Warriors are trying to recover from a bad loss against the Guelph Gryphons in their first game as they take on the Ravens but the Ravens showed that they are ready to compete this year and will attempt to get their first win of the season

Queen’s Gaels vs. Ottawa Gee Gees (Sunday September 6th; 1:00 pm EDT)
– The Gaels took their first win of the season but it was a close one and now they try to take on the other Ottawa team as the Gee Gees begin their season with their first game as they try to get off on the right track

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