TORONTO (U Sports) – The Laval Rouge et Or top the U Sports football national rankings for the second straight week, but the powerhouse from Quebec City still trails the No. 2-ranked Montreal Carabins by a slim margin in the RSEQ race heading into the final weekend of league play in La Belle Province.
Laval (6-1) earned 23 of 30 first-place votes – two more than a week ago – and 293 points in the latest Football Reporters of Canada poll, while archrival Montreal (6-1) merited five first-place nods and 273 points to remain comfortably in second position.
The remaining first-place votes went to the No. 3 Western Mustangs (7-1), who also held on to their previous spot thanks to a 243-point tally.
Rounding out the ninth Top 10 of the campaign are the No. 4 McMaster Marauders (6-2 / 155 points / up one position), No. 5 Calgary Dinos (5-2 / 153 / down one), No. 6 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (7-1 / 153 / up one), No. 7 Regina Rams (5-2 / 141 / up one), No. 8 Carleton Ravens (6-2 / 128 / down two), No. 9 Ottawa Gee-Gees (6-2 / 39 / no change), as well as the previously unranked Saskatchewan Huskies (4-3 / 36) at No. 10.
Laval and Montreal both dominated their penultimate regular season contest this past weekend, defeating Bishop’s 44-0 and Sherbrooke 30-5, respectively. First place in the RSEQ conference will be decided on Saturday when the Rouge et Or travel to Sherbrooke to face the Vert & Or (3-4) and the Carabins make the short trek to McGill to battle the Redmen (4-3).
Should both teams end up with identical records, points allowed will be used as the tie-breaker since the old foes were an even match in two head-to-head confrontations. Montreal currently holds a slim advantage in that department (72 vs. 77), and also holds a slight edge in the next tie-breaker, points scored (283 vs. 275).
In the OUA, the much-anticipated battle for first place, Saturday in London, lived up to the billing as Western beat McMaster 19-18 to earn a well-deserved bye in the first round of the conference playoffs.
The other first-round bye went to Laurier, which clinched second place ahead of McMaster thanks to a 38-9 defeat of Windsor. Carleton easily downed Waterloo 43-15 to finish fourth, while fifth-place Ottawa wrapped up league play with a thrilling 42-41 overtime win at Queen’s.
In Canada West, Regina is back in the driver’s seat following a 35-33 home win over UBC combined to a Saskatchewan upset of Calgary, 38-35. The Rams and Dinos both sit at 5-2 heading into their final conference games but Regina holds the tie-breaker thanks to a 32-27 head-to-head victory on Sept. 23.
The Week 10 schedule is highlighted by the start of the OUA playoffs and the end of the regular schedule in the three other conferences.
Saturday’s OUA quarter-finals see Carleton host Ottawa at 1 p.m. (OUA.TV) in a rematch of the annual Panda Game won by the Ravens, and McMaster host defending conference champion Guelph at 4 p.m. (Cable 14 & OUA.TV).
Regular season finales featuring Top 10 teams include Alberta at No. 10 Saskatchewan on Friday night (7 p.m. CST, Shaw TV/Access & CanadaWest.TV), as well as the following Saturday matchups: No. 1 Laval at Sherbrooke (2 p.m., TVA Sports), No. 2 Montreal at McGill (2 p.m., StretchTV), No. 5 Calgary at UBC (5 p.m. PT, CanadaWest.TV), No. 7 Regina at Manitoba (8 p.m. CDT, CanadaWest.TV).
NOTES: Sportsnet and TVA Sports are once again the official broadcasters of the U Sports football semifinals and final in 2016… The ArcelorMittal Dofasco Mitchell Bowl (AUS at Canada West) and the Uteck Bowl (OUA at RSEQ) are set for Saturday, Nov. 19, while the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup follows on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. ET at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont…. For all the information on the 52nd Vanier Cup (including tickets) visit vaniercup.com.
FRC – U SPORTS FOOTBALL TOP 10 (#9):
Pts (1st place) Last week
1. Laval (6-1) 293 (23) 1
2. Montreal (6-1) 273 (5) 2
3. Western (7-1) 243 (2) 3
4. McMaster (6-2) 155 5
5. Calgary (5-2) 153 * 4
6. Laurier (7-1) 153 7
7. Regina (5-2) 141 8
8. Carleton (6-2) 128 6
9. Ottawa (6-2) 39 9
10. Saskatchewan (4-3) 36 NR
* Calgary edges Laurier for 5th place thanks to a greater number of higher-placed votes
Other teams receiving votes: StFX (34), UBC (2).