CIS Football Report (Semi-Finals)

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Things are starting to get exciting as the CIS national playoffs aren’t too far off now with the Vanier Cup coming into sight for a number of teams.

First things first though and that was the conference semi-finals which got underway this week.

Every conference entered the playoffs this week with teams looking to take their spot in the national playoffs.

In every conference, there were some familiar names involved this week and in some, there were some lesser known teams looking for their time to shine.

The CIS has come a long way in only a few years and there is plenty to go with U Sports in the future.

In football, that means that the league has come from being controlled by a few teams to seeing a number of new teams take over and make their names known.

It has been taking that path in the last few years as Montreal and UBC are the last two Vanier Cup champions after years of seeing Calgary, Laval, and Western rule over the national and conference stages.

These teams made things interesting in the national playoffs as there was no guarantee who would win but when it came to their conferences it was almost automatic for years.

In fact, Calgary and Laval put together championship streaks that lasted the better part of a decade.

Both of those streaks ended in the last few years as Montreal beat Laval to be the first Dunsmore Cup champion not named Laval since 2002 when they beat Laval in 2014.

Manitoba ended a six-year streak by Calgary and UBC started a new streak of Calgary losing two years in a row when they won the Hardy Trophy in 2015.

The dominance had ended in Quebec and in the West leading to some interesting playoffs with teams that had not been used to being there.

UBC and Montreal won the last two Vanier Cups despite not being in the national playoffs for years.

For university football fans in Canada, the hope is that those new teams can be the teams to win the next Vanier Cup and keep that streak going.

It makes everything better because when an unexpected team wins it makes things more interesting for every fan.

The problem is things have begun to settle down throughout the country and things are looking a lot more familiar than they were in the last few years.football-sidebar

The Dunsmore Cup involving Laval and Montreal is literally becoming an annual event and that hasn’t changed in 2016.

This year will be the fourth straight year that these two teams have faced off for the top prize in the RSEQ.

The last two years were Montreal’s game while the first meeting in the streak had Laval moving on.

They face off again as Montreal tries to make it three straight in the RSEQ and three straight Vanier Cup appearances while Laval tries to get back to their dominant status.

In the CanWest conference, last year’s Hardy Trophy final is back as UBC and Calgary will meet ageing with Calgary trying to end their streak of two straight finals losses.

Meanwhile, in the east two teams who account for the last three Jewett Trophies are back in the finals to earn the AUS berth in the national playoffs.

What would make things interesting is if whoever wins in the east can make a run as the AUS does not have a tradition of putting on the best shows on the national stage often becoming a footnote.

If either StFX or Mount Allison can get the win and make their way to the Vanier things will certainly be more interesting.

The most interesting game for next week will be in the OUA where a dominant team faces the biggest surprise of the year.

Western looks to take yet another Yates Cup title, what would be their 31st, while Laurier looks to shock everyone in taking their 8th total Yates Cup and their first since 2005.

Surprises could still happen this year in university football and they could keep things interesting and have another new winner for the Vanier Cup.

It will all come down to championship weekend when the conference titles are determined and the national playoffs inch closer.

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