2019 U Sports Football Preview

VC_(Main)-1040xThings seemed to be shifting for U Sports Football as the era of dominance looked like it was about to end.

In the Mid-2010s the conferences finally saw some competition against the best teams in the country.

Laval was finally being pushed after a decade of dominance in RSEQ as the Montreal Carabins were proving that other teams could compete.

The Calgary Dinos were seeing teams spring up almost every year with UBC, Regina and Manitoba all making it a competition in CanWest.

Laurier had finally unseated the powerful Mustangs on top of the OUA and lifted a new program to the forefront of the biggest conference.

Everything was beginning to look closer to the AUS where parity is commonplace as no one team has been able to hold serve for all that long.

It all seemed to be headed in the right direction as teams were finally beginning to make a game of it and making the regular season something to watch.

If that could continue things would begin looking up for U Sports as it would finally begin to see some competition making it a brand of football to watch.

2017 brought a swing back to the old ways though as the big three remained at the top of their respective conferences.

All of them moved on into the national playoffs with Western and Laval taking their great seasons to the Vanier Cup.

It was a common theme before the mid-2010s and it was back for another year but there was still that hope that those teams who pressed them in recent years were going to be back.

2018 offered much of the same though as the big three were back on top for yet another year and for the second straight year Laval and Western faced off in the Vanier Cup with the Rouge et Or taking their 10th National Championship.

It was a step back in the path of U Sports Football as they were just about to head into a new era of competitiveness.

That competitiveness is the thing that will help U Sports Football become something bigger than it is right now.

The inability to gain traction in so many communities only hurts the league as a whole and with the best talent having only a few choices if they want to win it is making it difficult for the league.football-sidebar

Without that competitiveness nobody is willing to watch or pay attention as the chance for surprises or unpredictability is shrinking as the seasons move on.

If Calgary, Laval or Western are a part of a game it seems unlikely that they will lose that game.

Even if they do get shocked by a lower-ranked team, by the end of the year they will still likely be on top of the league.

Despite their brief “slump” the Rouge et Or have still won more national titles than any other program and they’ve only been around since 1999.

They head into every season as the favourites to win it all and without any teams to really challenge them they will always have a shot.

Although there is some love for those dominant teams and they bring with them some of the biggest fan bases it is not a good thing for the league.

Dominance is the killer of a league like this as competitiveness is what helps to build a strong league.

Fans want to see a season where there is less to predict and where anyone can win not the same three teams vying for the same title every year.

It is a shame to see it but for another year there seems to be more predictability than ever before.

Calgary, Laval and Western will be the teams to watch again as they will be the teams that will fight for the top spots in the league.

If it all goes as normal nothing will matter until the national level where a little more competitiveness comes into the equation.

Even then, nobody would be surprised if Laval and Western are in the Vanier once again this year where anyone can truly take the title.

That is where things get interesting but to have to sit through a full season just for a few games that might provide excitement is not going to help the league grow.

Fans of Canadian football can only hope that this season provides some surprises and that some new teams can make their way to the top but if things continue along the trends it could be a lot of the same this time around.

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