CIS Football Report (Bowl Week)

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The world of university football in the past few years has been all about the adjustment from the dominant era to a much more even period.

Every conference was going from a time where one team ruled almost every year to a period where new teams were making their mark much more often.

It created much more competition in every conference as even the conferences where team remained near the top they at least had someone to fight with them for their conference titles.

In the last two years, the CIS had seen two teams win the Vanier Cup that surprised everyone as the UBC Thunderbirds won in 2015 with their last time coming in 1997 and the Montreal Carabins winning their first ever in 2014.

It is what seemed like the start of a new era of university football in Canada and it was great for everyone as more interesting matchups continued to come.

This year though the season seemed to be more of a battle between these new teams and the old guard in every conference.

In particular, there were two conferences at the head of this change as the CanWest conference and RSEQ conference were the two conferences with the most dominant runs.

In the west, Calgary had won six straight conference titles while in Quebec Laval had taken eleven straight titles.

Both represented the best programs in the country and in the midst of their streaks it seemed like nobody was going to beat them.

Then came 2014 when both of the dominant teams lost in the finals of their conference allowing two new teams to shine.

Manitoba and Montreal had ushered in a new era where dominant teams were no longer going to walk into the Canadians playoffs.

Now they had to fight and for two straight years, the old guard dropped their championship games.

It almost looked like the start of a big shift in the CIS and it was exciting as everyone wondered what could happen this time around.

The whole season saw those dominant teams remain at the top of their conferences, much like they had been in seasons past, with other teams finding their way to the top.

When things started to get much more important and the playoffs began though these new teams began to fall off quickly.

It was almost like the pressure of the big stage began to get to these new programs that had not experienced the success.football-sidebar

The old guard just took it in stride as they were not satisfied with just a conference title and every that was on the roster knew that the real goal was to take the Vanier Cup.

The dominant teams may not have had their expected regular seasons with a few of the newer teams making their names known but when it came to the big games they got the job done.

The Calgary Dinos were able to get some revenge in the conference finals when they beat the 2015 champions the UBC Thunderbirds to take another Hardy Trophy.

They then moved into familiar territory in the Mitchell Bowl they took on the two-time AUS champions in the StFX X-Men.

It was a chance for them to get back on the national stage and finish as their dominant era in the CanWest never resulted in a Vanier Cup title.

They took care of business in a big way for the semi-finals as they easily got past the X-Men 50-24 sending a message to everyone that they were ready to compete this year and take that elusive Vanier Cup.

On the other side, it was the Rouge et Or looking to get back on the national stage after two straight years losing to Montreal in their conference finals.

They did get by their rivals and into the Uteck Bowl where they took on one of the few surprises this year, the OUA champion Laurier Golden Hawks.

The Rouge et Or wouldn’t be denied their chance to get back to the Vanier though and they strolled by the Hawks 36-6.

In a season where the unexpected was becoming the expected the bowl week brought about a familiar match-up.

Two of the most dominant teams over the last decade have found their way back to the biggest game on the national stage.

Just as it seemed like parity was going to rule the day throughout the league it is two dominant teams left standing with one game to go and a familiar match-up left for the 2016 season.

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