2015 OUA Playoff Preview

yates_cupThere was one big question when the CIS season kicked off, could the changing of the guard continue throughout the league.

In 2014 the RSEQ and CanWest conferences saw massive changes at the top eliminating two of the longest reigning champions in CIS history.

The AUS kept the same champion but as usual it was only a two-year stretch and nothing major.

The OUA was the conference that continue to see the dominant teams rise to the top but, like in most things, it did this in a different way.

The OUA is the largest conference in the CIS with more football programs than any other region of the country.

As a result it is almost impossible to have one dominant champion at the top for a long time.

Still there is dominance at the top of the conference as only two teams have won the Yates Cup in the past five years.

The McMaster Marauders and Western Mustangs have been the only two teams with any major success in the OUA over the past five years despite new teams and strong regular season teams giving them a challenge.

Entering the season many wondered if they could continue that dominance in what many were hoping would be a new era of parity.

The answer came fairly quick in 2015 as the Western Mustangs were unbeatable from the very start.

They went into the season against two fairly weak teams to start off the year and showed their power.

They put up over 70 point against York and Windsor and ended the season without a loss and not even a close game to speak of when the season ended.

That included their final game against the Marauders who did not have their usual dominance throughout the season.

They dropped two games and were forced into the third place spot although they had few issues in the wins that they did get.

The Marauders were once again a team to beat this year but their usual dominance took a hit thanks to another usually dominant team.football-sidebar

The Guelph Gryphons have been one of the best regular season teams in the past few years competing with the two champions every year.

When it comes to the playoffs though, they tend to disappear and after another good year, where their only loss came at the hands of Queen’s, they hope to change that.

Behind these great teams there are the other teams that all have a shot at challenging for the title but will need to have a great playoffs to do so.

The Queen’s Gaels were not necessarily dominant this year but the team that accounts for the only Yates Cup title not owned by Western or McMaster in the last eight years is looking to make some noise.

They beat the Gryphons during the season and have the capability but need to have everything working.

The Carleton Ravens are new kids on the block in their third year of the program.

They haven’t had a great time against the top teams this year and have shown what the talent gap is but they are sure to put up a fight in their first playoff appearance since returning to the CIS.

The Laurier Golden Hawks snuck into the playoffs after a winless September put them in a race for the last spot.

October was far better as they picked up three wins, including one against the Gaels, to earn their way into the playoffs.

There has clearly been a gap throughout the regular season and through the last few years between the top teams and the rest of the teams.

It could happen again this year as the top teams are very good while the rest of the teams are good but might not be at the same level.

In single-elimination games anything can happen though and that hope of a surprise winner is still out there as the playoffs begin with six teams looking to represent Ontario in the Mitchell Bowl.

wu-mustangs.fw gu-gryphons.fw

They average just over 61 points every game and allow just under 14. It is a dominant team but they have given the ball up more than a few times this year.

Their defence is one of the best and is led by one of the best rushing defences in the OUA. They may struggle in field position with the worst kickoff return average.

mcm-marauders.fw qu-goldengaels.fw

Right behind the Mustangs is the Marauders in terms of offence as they put up plenty of points. They are great in preventing yards but not preventing scoring.

They are a balanced team that is as good through the air as it is on the ground. Their defence is their weak point allowing the second most points in the OUA.

cu-ravens.fw wlu-goldenhawks.fw

When given a chance they score with a perfect redzone percentage. Their pass defence could be their downfall as they rank among the worst in the OUA.

Their defence leads the way as one of the top scoring defences in the league. Their run offence is no slouch either but they lack in a big passing game.


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