CIS Football Report (Week 3)

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For all four conferences the season is now officially underway as the AUS joined the rest of the league in beginning their season.

The nation’s smallest conference will not play as many games but their season will still remain as important as the rest.

One of the four teams will find their way to the national playoffs and look to take a run at the Vanier Cup.

They have finally begun their season and the entire league is now underway as the CIS season can officially be declared open.

Another league officially began their season this year as well and the connection between the two is growing stronger every year.

The NFL opened their season this week with all of the pomp and circumstance that comes with the biggest professional football league in the world.

What many of the NFL fans may not have known though is that there were more CIS graduates starting their seasons in the NFL than there have ever been before.

A total of seven players that played their college football in Canada are on NFL rosters this year.

Stefan Charles (Buffalo), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (Kansas City), Akiem Hicks (New Orleans), Tyler Varga (Indianapolis), and the veteran of the group Jon Ryan (Seattle) all start on the 53-man roster of their respective teams.

Joining them is David Foucault who will start the year on the practice roster for Carolina while Brett Jones was placed on the injured reserve for the Giants.

Last year the NFL welcomed six CIS players to the NFL as a pattern is emerging from the NFL and the CIS.

In the NFL every team is always trying to find an advantage to help them get a leg up in the run to the Super Bowl.

For many teams that means trying to find players where nobody is looking for them. That way they can find the players that are skilled enough to compete in the NFL where nobody else is looking at them.

If an NFL team can find a great player without the competition from other teams it gives them a better chance to land that player and land him at a discount.football-sidebar

That is what is happening right now as some NFL teams have gone north of the border where they are finding more talent every year that can make an impact on the team.

The movement hasn’t completely taken over quite yet as the CIS remains a difficult league to evaluate when it comes to NFL talent.

The biggest thing is that the rules are different and so many teams need to not only check the skill of the player but how will they translate to a new game.

So for now NFL teams are generally sticking to the non-skilled players that don’t need to adjust as much.

Players like lineman are popular pick-ups for the NFL but even that is beginning to change.

Varga represents one of the few CIS skilled players that was picked up by the NFL and given a roster spot.

With the Colts, a team that loves to look north of the border and has some former CFL players on the team, he hopes to make somewhat of an impression.

He will need to work to find his way onto the field but he has taken the first step in earning a spot on the 53-man roster this year.

Varga and the rest of the seven players that made rosters this year are the leaders of a new wave of players and a new era in the CIS.

The league is only getting better with players that are making a bigger impact in the CFL and the NFL.

It may be in the infancy in the NFL but the fact that more CIS graduates than ever before made rosters this year shows what could be an interesting pattern for the league.

It is a show of Canadian sport in general where Canadian teams and players are entering the national stage more often and for longer.

Sports in Canada is growing and the CIS is perfect evidence of that as they hope to continue to produce NFL and CFL players that prove that the skill in the CIS is good enough to play in the pros.

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Key Scores:
Calgary Dinos 46 – 38 Manitoba Bisons
– The Bisons and Dinos fought it out last year for the Hardy Trophy and the Bisons surprisingly came out on top but this time around the Dinos got some revenge and stayed at the top of the CanWest conference after two weeks

Acadia Axemen 31 – 15 StFX X-Men
– The AUS opened their season this week as all four teams were in action but the most important game might have been this one as both teams might be fighting for the last playoffs spot this year and the axemen took advantage to get a leg up on a potential season long battle

Laval Rouge et Or 27 – 24 Sherbrooke Vert et Or (OT)
– The Rouge et Or were coming off of a close battle with the Montreal Carabins and were hoping for an easy day against Sherbrooke but they didn’t get it as they beat the Vert et Or by a field goal in overtime

UBC Thunderbirds 27 – 20 Regina Rams
– The T-birds came into the season with a renewed attitude thanks to a new accomplished coach and after dropping their first game they came back with a win against the rams after holding them off in the fourth quarter

Next Week:
Alberta Golden Bears vs. Calgary Dinos (Thursday September 17th; 7:00 MDT)
– The battle of Alberta in the CIS gets underway as the Dinos take on the Golden Bears in a game that will determine first place for the time being as the Dinos try to continue their run as the best in the West

Regina Rams vs. Saskatchewan Huskies (Friday September 18th; 7:00 pm CST)
– It is a provincial weekend in the CanWest as another provincial CIS rivalry gets underway with the Regina Rams travelling down the road to Saskatoon to take on the Huskies in a game where one team will walk away with their first win of the season

Queen’s Gaels vs. Western Mustangs (Saturday September 19th; 1:00 pm EDT)
– The rivalries continue to the OUA where two of the oldest rival schools face off with Western and Queen’s facing off as the Gaels try to hand the Mustangs their first loss and move up in the conference while the Mustangs try to hold their lead

McMaster Marauders vs. Guelph Gryphons (Saturday September 19th; 1:00 pm EDT)
– The Marauders and Gryphons will be fighting back and forth all season near the top of the division but this will be the only time they get to face-off on the field as the Marauders try to move into the top of the league and the Gryphons try to stay at the top

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