FRC – U Sports Football Top 10 (#10): Laval tops final poll of season for 7th time in 10 years
U Sports – TORONTO (U Sports) – The Laval Rouge et Or find themselves in a familiar position heading into the playoffs – atop the U Sports football national rankings. The powerhouse from Quebec City tops the final media poll of the season for the second time in three years and for the seventh time in the past decade.
Laval earned 26 of 30 first-place votes – three more than a week ago – and 296 points in the 10th Football Reporters of Canada poll of the campaign to keep its No. 1 ranking for the third straight week. Thanks to a 7-1 mark in league play, the Rouge et Or extended to 14 their remarkable streak of consecutive regular seasons with zero or one loss, having compiled a sensational 106-9 record over that period (.922).
All other first-place nods in this week’s poll went to the Montreal Carabins (7-1), who racked up 267 points to remain in second position behind their RSEQ foes for the third week in a row.
Rounding out the final Top 10 of 2016 are the third-ranked Western Mustangs (7-1 / 235 points / no change), No. 4 Regina Rams (6-2 / 180 / up three positions), No. 5 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (7-1 / 167 / up one), No. 6 Calgary Dinos (6-2 / 144 / down one), No. 7 McMaster Marauders (7-2 / 137 / down three), No. 8 Carleton Ravens (7-2 / 128 / no change), No. 9 Saskatchewan Huskies (5-3 / 60 / up one), as well as the previously unranked St. Francis Xavier X-Men (7-1 / 27) at No. 10.
While Laval got the best of archrival Montreal in the last three national polls, the Carabins won the race for first place in Quebec by the slimmest of margins and will have the all-important home-field advantage for the duration of the RSEQ playoffs, including a potential clash with the Rouge et Or in the Dunsmore Cup final on Nov. 12.
With Montreal and Laval splitting their two-game season series with a similar point differential in head-to-head competition, first place came down to points allowed over the eight-game RSEQ schedule and the Carabins claimed their first regular season title since 2004 thanks to a 72-78 advantage in that department. The Laval defence did its part this past weekend as the Rouge et Or wrapped up league play with a 14-1 win at Sherbrooke, but the top-rated Montreal unit was even better, pitching a shutout in a 13-0 road victory against McGill.
Both teams are now set to face 4-4 opponents in Saturday’s RSEQ semifinals as Montreal hosts McGill and Laval hosts Concordia. The Montreal-McGill confrontation is televised live on TVA Sports at 2 p.m.
In the OUA conference, playoff action got under way last weekend with a pair of quart-finals that saw Carleton dominate cross-town rival Ottawa 45-9 and McMaster survive a scare to edge Guelph 17-11.
In Saturday’s Final Four round, at 1 p.m., the Marauders visit second-place Laurier, live on CHCH and OUA.TV, while the Ravens travel to London to face first-place Western, live on Rogers Cable 13 and OUA.TV.
In Canada West, one year after going 0-8, Regina completed its remarkable turnaround and claimed first place for the first time in program history thanks to a resounding 55-21 decision over Manitoba in Winnipeg. In the win, quarterback Noah Picton threw for 447 yards in less than three quarters of action to set a new single-season U Sports record with 3,174 passing yards, 12 more than the previous national standard established a year ago by two-time Hec Crighton Trophy winner Andrew Buckley of Calgary.
Calgary finished second thanks to a thrilling 41-35 overtime win at UBC, while Saskatchewan clinched third with a 48-9 defeat of visiting Alberta.
The road to the Hardy Cup begins Saturday with the Dinos hosting the Huskies at noon Mountain Time and the Rams hosting the reigning Vanier Cup champion Thunderbirds (3-5) at 3:30 p.m. Central Time. Both semifinals can be seen on Shaw TV/Access and CanadaWest.TV.
Finally in the AUS, defending conference champion StFX will enjoy a well-deserved break on Saturday while the Acadia Axemen (2-6) visit the Mount Allison Mounties (3-5) in semifinal action.
The X-Men, who had already secured their first regular season title since 1997, crushed second-place Mount Allison 65-17 in their league finale, while Acadia earned the third and final AUS playoff berth thanks to a 10-3 win at Saint Mary’s.
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 (#10)
Pts (1st place) Last week
1. Laval (7-1) 296 (26) 1
2. Montreal (7-1) 267 (4) 2
3. Western (7-1) 235 3
4. Regina (6-2) 180 7
5. Laurier (7-1) 167 6
6. Calgary (6-2) 144 5
7. McMaster (7-2) 137 4
8. Carleton (7-2) 128 8
9. Saskatchewan (5-3) 60 10
10. StFX (7-1) 27 NR
Other teams receiving votes: UBC (7), Ottawa (2), Concordia (1).
WEEK 10 RESULTS (all times local)
October 28 (regular season)
Saskatchewan 48, Alberta 9 (at Saskatchewan)
October 29 (regular season)
Acadia 10, Saint Mary’s 3 (at Saint Mary’s)
StFX 65, Mount Allison 17 (at StFX)
Concordia 39, Bishop’s 6 (at Bishop’s)
Montreal 13, McGill 0 (at McGill)
Laval 14, Sherbrooke 1 (at Sherbrooke)
Calgary 41, UBC 35 OT (at UBC)
Regina 55, Manitoba 21 (at Manitoba)
October 29 (OUA quarter-finals)
Carleton 45, Ottawa 9 (at Carleton)
McMaster 17, Guelph 11 (at McMaster)
WEEK 11 SCHEDULE (all times local)
November 5 (conference semifinals)
12:00 No. 9 Saskatchewan (5-3) at No. 6 Calgary (6-2) (Shaw TV/Access & CanadaWest.TV)
13:00 No. 8 Carleton (7-2) at No. 3 Western (7-1) (Rogers Cable 13 & OUA.TV)
13:00 No. 7 McMaster (7-2) at No. 5 Laurier (7-1) (CHCH & OUA.TV)
14:00 Acadia (2-6) at Mount Allison (3-5) (Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca)
14:00 McGill (4-4) at No. 2 Montreal (7-1) (TVA Sports)
14:00 Concordia (4-4) at No. 1 Laval (7-1)
15:30 UBC (3-5) at No. 4 Regina (6-2) (Shaw TV/Access & CanadaWest.TV)
About Football Reporters of Canada
Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) represents journalists and broadcasters in every region of the country covering U Sports Football. Since 1958, Football Reporters of Canada has been an organization of media members who have covered the Canadian Football League, serving to select the league’s outstanding players, coach-of-the-year and all-star teams through voting conducted by its members. In 2009, FRC amalgamated with University Football Reporters of Canada (UFRC) to give the organization greater scope in its affiliation with amateur and college football. FRC also works with the CFL and U Sports to establish guidelines and working conditions for the men and women who report on the game. Selected members of FRC also help to choose builders, players and media members for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
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