OUA Gameday: Week 1

Today is the start of another season of OUA football action. Last year, we saw the season conclude with a final second field goal giving the Western Mustangs the Yates Cup at the hands of the Ottawa Gee-Gees. This year’s OUA battle looks to be wide-open but the picture will become a little clearer starting this afternoon with the first slate of OUA football games for 2011.

Toronto Varsity Blues at Windsor Lancers [1:00 PM]

If they want to make the playoffs this season, the Blues can’t lose to the Lancers like they did last season. The Blues went 3-5 last season but fell short of the playoffs on a tiebreaker with Queen’s. If they had beaten Windsor, they would’ve made the post-season only two seasons after ending their seemingly endless losing streak. They can make the playoffs this year but they need to start by exercising the demons of last season. As for the Lancers, it’s the start of a new day in Windsor. Head coach Joe D’Amore can go a long way in making people forget the Morencie era by starting his tenure with a win.

Pregame Coverage:
Lancer Veteran Lefaive Takes Pulse Of Team (Windsor Star)

Broadcasters:
TV: TV Cogeco 11 (Windsor)
Radio: CJAM 99.1 FM (Windsor)

Ottawa Gee-Gees at Guelph Gryphons [1:00 PM]

Apparently most of the football media thinks I’m insane for rating Guelph as the #4 team in the OUA. If you rank the OUA contenders based on the votes in this week’s CIS Top 10, Guelph is 6th-best heading into the season behind both Ottawa (4th-most voting points of OUA teams) and Queen’s (ranked 5th of OUA teams receiving votes). Guelph may not have an all-star leading the running game but I’d rather have a competent QB and RB by committee than a team that lost its Hec Crighton winning QB and best receivers to graduation. I think you have to give Guelph the edge in this one solely based on who’s under centre.

Broadcasters:
Online: SSN Canada

#10 Laurier Golden Hawks at York Lions [1:00 PM]

I spent a month at York University this summer. I had been there once back in 2008 to call a Mustangs/Lions game but forgot that the campus was in the middle of nowhere. All I could remember was that there were more Western fans there than York fans, there wasn’t enough room in the press box for a broadcaster so we were stuck outside, that we were put underneath a PA speaker and I suffered permanent hearing damage as a result of the game host cheerleading/yelling into the microphone for three-straight hours. Anyway, Laurier should massacre York. It’s a matter of how badly and how many points York can put on the board.

Pregame Coverage:
Golden Hawks Pivot Aims To Leave A Mark (The Record)

Broadcasters:
Online: SSN Canada

#3 McMaster Marauders at Queen’s Gaels [2:00 PM]

I think this one is a pretty safe call to be the game of the week. Mac has to be looking at the Yates Cup as the goal for the season. Anything less would be a disappointment. Queen’s is looking to build on last year’s rebuilding effort. A home playoff game should be their goal for this year. So in the first week, we’ve got two top four contenders doing battle. Mac is ranked third in the country but Queen’s has two things going for it: 1) They’re playing at home and Richardson Stadium is one of the toughest places in the province to play, and 2) Anything can happen in the OUA. The Marauders have to be considered the favourite but the Gaels definitely have some upset potential here.

Broadcasters:
Online: CHML 900 AM (Online Only)
Radio: CFRC 101.9 FM (Kingston)

Waterloo Warriors at #2 Western Mustangs [7:00 PM]

The first Western home game has been scheduled around getting the frosh out to the game so we’re likely to see a 10,000 strong crowd at TD Waterhouse for this game. That’s a hell of a way to welcome back the Warriors to the OUA. I don’t think we’re likely to see too much of a game here. This one will really be a practice for both teams. Western will be able to ease into the season, assuming they don’t completely overlook the task at hand in this game. Waterloo will just be trying to come together as a team in their first actual game in 22 months.

Pregame Coverage:
Missing Mustangs A Shocker (London Free Press)
Warriors Ride Again (London Free Press)

CIS/OUA News and Notes
This news is a couple of months old but the Carleton Ravens are coming back. Using a funding model similar to Laval, where most of the money comes from alumni donations and business sponsorships, they’ll return to action for the 2013 season. The required start-up funding of $5 million was raised (mostly for an upgrade of Keith Harris Stadium on the Carleton campus) and now they just have to worry about the $800,000 in estimated annual operating costs. Here’s hoping that they can eventually add a trophy to the cabinet in addition to their 1985 Dunsmore Cup.

CIS Football Rankings
1. Laval Rouge et Or
2. Western Mustangs
3. McMaster Marauders
4. Calgary Dinos
5. Saskatchewan Huskies
6. Regina Rams
7. Montreal Carabins
8. Sherbrooke Vert et Or
9. Saint Mary’s Huskies
10. Laurier Golden Hawks

2010 OUA Regular Season Standings
1. Ottawa Gee-Gees (7-1)
2. Western Mustangs (7-1)
3. McMaster Marauders (6-2)
4. Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks (4-4)
5. Guelph Gryphons (4-4)
6. Queen’s Gaels (3-5)
7. Toronto Varsity Blues (3-5)
8. Windsor Lancers (2-6)
9. York Lions (0-8)

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