Well here we are, everyone has started their season and, while some things look like they will never change some other things look like they have really turned a corner. Before I jump into my top ten, a few thoughts on the conferences so far;


OUA
-We might set a record this year for most futile offenses among the playoff contender. Ottawa, Mac, Carleton, Queens, have all looked abysmal in their games so far, while Guelph went from a dog's breakfast against Ottawa to very competitive against Western.
-The defenses look pretty solid but of course the offenses have looked so bad it's hard to judge.
-Waterloo deserves a thunderous round of applause for putting the hard work in during the off season to get them off to an amazing start. While they played two bottom feeders they had a solid win over Windsor and a slapping of York. Do any of the Waterloo fans feel nostalgic watching the Warriors run the option all over the opposition?
-Craney needs to be fired now, like right now, like right this second. It is inexcusable how bad York is this far in to his tenure, a team who has put in 1 great off season just blasted his team. Maybe the Q people can help me with this question... With McGrath (who has been denigrated badly by former players of his to me) and Craney as the coaches Con U was very successful, almost knocking off Laval in a couple Dunsmores. How did that happen, seeing as how they have preformed since?
-Sheahan and Sumarrah also look to be on the chopping block for this year. Queens has dropped back to back games in BRUTAL fashion, completely crapping out with the lead right at the end. That 2009 Vanier was great but we're 8 years removed and I am very confident in saying they do not make the playoffs this year. The Ravens have a ton of vets (though lost their 3 most important in Behar, Adeleke, and Mills) and just scored more points on themselves than on their opposition in a loss to Mac.


The Q
-As usual the Red and Blue giants are on top and figure to stay that way, the only questions is who will be the champ between those 2
-Con U's differential against U de M (18 points) was not too bad but Laval blasted both Sherby and McGill. I assume we are in for a season of comfortable wins/blowouts for the top two against the bottom 3 leading us all the way in to the Dunsmore

CW
-Regina looks to be the top dog as of now, they already had the offense and I think I saw someone on here say their front 7 is much improved? If the defense can back up that aerial attack they are a potential Vanier champion.
-Calgary had an odd pre-season result and then a typical beating of Alberta. I don't take too much from pre-season so I would say those two are the top dogs as of now.
-Sask pulled off a gutsy win over Manitoba and UBC lost handily to Regina, I think those two duke it out for 3rd place.
-Manitoba is a dark horse and Alberta is just Alberta, nothing more


AUS
-Bishops lost by 17 in their first game.... ouch. Changing conferences to be more competitive sucks when your first game is a 3 score loss. They have time to make that up especially since you only need to be in the top 60% to make the playoffs but it would be sad to see them finish without a berth.
-Is SMU back? A nice opening win has the Sea Dogs hoping, it would be nice for nostalgia's sake to see.

Top Ten

The Easy Part

1. Laval- A pretty easy choice. They won the Cup with a young team and they are the best program in the country. Last year or the year before I said that I thought we had seen the end of the absurdity of Laval's dominance, now I am not so sure. They won't be tested in-conference aside from Montreal and then the CW rep. Could anyone tell me, is CQ or Q home this year for the bowl game?

2. Montreal- Not as easy as the Laval, I thought of putting a CW team here but I feel this makes sense for now. Prior to their Dunsmore and Vanier win I always thought it was bluster that any team in the Q could seriously challenge Laval but they have proved capable. The Q season all comes down to these two and whoever makes it out has a great chance at being the Vanier champ.

3. Regina- Last year they surprised everyone and came out firing, ultimately bowing out in the semi's. Teams often cannot win the big games until they've at least been there, now they know what it feels like to be in a playoff game and a slugfest. As I mentioned earlier I believe a CW fan (Ram Boy maybe?) said their front 7 has improved dramatically, if that is the case then they are a truly dangerous team. Navigating the pitfalls of a CW schedule is one of the hardest feats in the country (it has nothing on a 3rd place Q finish the year before though) so they'll be tested early and often but they could be special.

4. Calgary- I don't hold stock in exhibition games aside from showing young struggling team's improvement so I'm not worried about their trouncing by Regina. They did what they were supposed to do against Alberta and, aside from Laval, are the most battle tested team in the country. Same as with Regina, they will be tested regularly in-conference.

5. Western- I thought of dropping them lower after a close win over Guelph but I think that game will show, by the end of the season, more that the Guelph performance against Ottawa was an anomaly than anything. I certainly don't have them in the same class as Laval or Calgary, or even U de M, but in what looks to be an especially down year for the OUA they are the heavy favorite for me. I just don't have any faith in them to win out of conference, though they will likely beat the AUS rep and get hammered by the winner of the CW/Q semi.

The Hard Part
-Nobody really stands out here. The choices are between undefeated OUA teams who look awfully one dimensional (Mac, Ottawa), undefeated SMU, Sask, and Laurier with wins over FX, Manitoba, and Toronto but who knows how good those opponents are (aside from Toronto who we know is bad), winless teams (Guelph, UBC) with losses to either conference favorites or at least playoff teams, or Con U with their 1-1 record and a respectable 18 point margin loss to U de M. Since it is a pick em I'll go with;

6. Laurier- I have them here as they have no losses and did what they were supposed to do against a bad Toronto team. Also because I think they have one of the best young coaches in the country and they were Yates champs last year. That being said I think the OUA might be a one (purple) horse league this year.

7. Saskatchewan- As the fans on this forum have said over and over, the Dogs have been hard to trust since the mid/early 2000s BUT they have a new coaching staff so maybe that will wake them up. This team is a sleeping giant, one of the blue bloods of CIS football in a region where canadian ball really is the first love. I wonder if they'll stay here for the long haul but here they are for now.

8. Ottawa- Their offense has looked atrocious but they have found a way to win at home and on the road. I was prepared to say Guelph will have a bad season but they fought hard with Western so I think Ottawa caught them at a good time to get a win. They'll certainly need to improve their offense to have anything more than a reasonable campaign but they are undefeated for now and they'll stay that way as they have York next week.

9. SMU- Are you watching Marton? The obligatory #9 spot goes to an old friend who might be back from the dumpster. They knocked off last year's conference champs and I think they have a solid coach in Colzie. It would be nice to see the Huskies back in the mix, fingers crossed.

10. Con U- They beat Sherby in a tight one and 18 points is not a bad margin to lose to Montreal by. That being said, as soon as UBC, Guelph, Mac, or Carleton show me something they can jump the Bees.

Why Teams Were Left Off
-Mac: They are 1-0 but that Carleton win was so damn ugly I just couldn't do it. If they were 2-0 maybe they would be in place of Ottawa but an unbalanced schedule will do that in a weekly ranking system
-Carleton: That Mac game was an exercise in futility, can anyone tell me where the hell Michael Arruda is? I was under the impression he was a highly touted 22 year old CEGEP MVP with a year in the Carleton system, the guy wearing his jersey looks a shell-shocked rookie from a mid level High School in a small Ontario town.
-Guelph: They lost two tight games to a playoff team (Ottawa) and the probable OUA champ (Western) but they lost them all the same. Winless cannot be in the top ten.
-UBC: See Guelph
-Mount A: I need a win over FX, SMU, or a Q interlock win to believe anything.
-Waterloo: Yes I know they are undefeated but only against two bottom feeders. If they get a win over even a mid-level OUA team I will happily put them on the list.