Laval Back at No. 1 in Final Media Poll

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Michel Belanger – (ISN)

OTTAWA (CIS) – The Laval Rouge et Or are back in a familiar spot this week as they were voted No. 1 in the final CIS football rankings of the 2011 season.

It marks the second lead change in as many weeks atop the Football Reporters of Canada rankings. Laval spent the first six weeks of the campaign at No. 1, the Western Ontario Mustangs took over for two polls in mid-October, and the Calgary Dinos briefly grabbed the pole last Tuesday.

Reigning Vanier Cup champion Laval (8-1) received 21 of 29 first-place votes and 278 points in the final Top 10. Calgary (7-1) follows in second position with four first-place nods from the FRC panel and 242 points, while Western (7-1) is third thanks to four first-place votes and 221 points.

Rounding out the tenth poll of the season are the No. 4 McMaster Marauders (7-1), No. 5 Sherbrooke Vert & Or (7-2), No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds (6-2), No. 7 Montreal Carabins (6-3), No. 8 Queen’s Gaels (7-2), No. 9 Acadia Axemen (&-1) and No. 10 Saskatchewan Huskies (5-3).

Laval moves up one position nationally after wrapping up conference play with a comfortable 37-15 win over Bishop’s. The Rouge et Or, who are vying for a ninth straight Quebec title, will try to extend their CIS-record home winning streak to 50 straight games on Saturday when they host Concordia (4-5) in an RSEQ semifinal. They have already defeated the Stingers twice this fall, 36-8 and 37-4.

Calgary drops one spot in the Top 10 following its first setback of 2011, a 36-23 road loss to No. 6 UBC in the conference finale for both schools. The Dinos open the defence of their three straight Canada West banners against Regina (3-5), Friday night in Calgary.

Western and McMaster switch places in the new poll, despite both teams being inactive last weekend thanks to a bye in the first round of the OUA playoffs.

The Mustangs host upstart Windsor (6-3) in an OUA semifinal on Saturday, while the Marauders take on No. 8 Queen’s in Hamilton in the other Ontario semi. Western and Windsor did not meet in the regular season, while McMaster beat the Gaels 26-2 on opening weekend.

The Vert & Or leapfrog Montreal in the rankings after defeating the Carabins 32-20 in a battle for second place in Quebec. The two rivals meet again on Saturday, this time in Sherbrooke, which will mark the first home playoff date for the Vert & Or since their return to CIS football in 2003.

UBC also moves past Montreal in the Top 10 following its huge win over Calgary. The Thunderbirds host No. 10 Saskatchewan on Saturday in their first post-season game on home turf since 1999.

Queen’s survived a scare in the OUA quarter-finals, edging Laurier 14-10. The Gaels have now won seven in a row after starting the season 0-2.

Acadia easily defeated St. Francis Xavier 34-15 in its Atlantic conference finale and now enjoys a well-deserved break until Nov. 12, when the Axemen will meet either StFX or Saint Mary’s in the AUS championship match.

Saskatchewan completed an up-and-down season with a 67-3 domination of Alberta in Edmonton. The Huskies are confident heading into their Canada West semifinal against UBC, having defeated the T-Birds in eight straight post-season games dating back to 1976.

FRC – CIS FOOTBALL TOP 10 (#10)

Pts (1st place) Last week

1. Laval (8-1) 278 (21) 2

2. Calgary (7-1) 242 (4) 1

3. Western (7-1) 221 (4) 4

4. McMaster (7-1) 190 3

5. Sherbrooke (7-2) 187 6

6. UBC (6-2) 149 7

7. Montreal (6-3) 97 5

8. Queen’s (7-2) 96 8

9. Acadia (7-1) 61 9

10. Saskatchewan (5-3) 30 10

Other teams receiving votes: Windsor (18), Saint Mary’s (4).

No. 1 Laval (8-1): Top 10 ranking: Up one position… Last week: 37-15 win at Bishop’s (3-6)… This week: Host Concordia (4-5) Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in RSEQ semifinal… Heads-up: Laval has won a CIS-record 49 straight games at home since a 14-13 conference loss to Montreal on Sept. 19, 2004… The Rouge et Or are 7-2 all-time in the playoffs against the Stingers… Laval’s last home playoff loss was against Concordia, a 29-21 setback in the Quebec semifinals on Nov. 2, 2002…

No. 2 Calgary (7-1): Top 10 ranking: Down one position… Last week: 36-23 loss at then-No. 7 UBC (6-2)… This week: Host Regina (3-5) Friday at 7 p.m. MT in Canada West semifinal… Heads-up: The Dinos are 2-2 all-time in the playoffs against Regina – all Canada West semifinals played in Calgary – including a 40-33 win in 2010, a 24-17 victory in 2008, a 39-17 loss in 2002, and a 33-32 setback in 2000… The losses to the Rams in 2000 and 2002 mark the only playoff defeats in history for the Dinos in Calgary, where they sport an all-time post-season record of 14-2…

No. 3 Western (7-1): Top 10 ranking: Up one position… Last week: Bye… This week: Host Windsor (6-3) Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in OUA semifinal… Heads-up: The Mustangs are 6-2 all-time in the post-season versus Windsor, their only two playoff losses to the Lancers coming in the OUA quarter-finals in 2003 (21-18) and in the OQIFC quarter-finals in 1975 (47-10)…

No. 4 McMaster (7-1): Top 10 ranking: Down one position… Last week: Bye… This week: Host No. 8 Queen’s (7-2) Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET in OUA semifinal… Heads-up: The Marauders are 2-2 all-time in the playoffs against Queen’s including a 40-19 OUA quarter-final win in 2010, a 32-6 semifinal loss in 2009, a 25-19 semifinal loss in 2006, and a 33-19 victory in the 2002 Yates Cup final…

No. 5 Sherbrooke (7-2): Top 10 ranking: Up one position… Last week: 32-20 win at then-No. 5 Montreal (6-3)… This week: Host No. 7 Montreal (6-3) Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in RSEQ semifinal… Heads-up: In the only previous playoff match-up between the two teams, the Vert & Or beat the Carabins 33-26 in Montreal in last year’s RSEQ semifinals…

No. 6 UBC (6-2): Top 10 ranking: Up one position… Last week: 36-23 home win over then-No. 1 Calgary (7-1)… This week: Host No. 10 Saskatchewan (5-3) Saturday at 2 p.m. PT in Canada West semifinal… Heads-up: The Thunderbirds have lost eight straight playoff games to Saskatchewan since a 36-10 defeat of the Huskies in the 1976 WIFL final…

No. 7 Montreal (6-3): Top 10 ranking: Down two positions… Last week: 32-20 home loss to then-No. 6 Sherbrooke (7-2)… This week: Visit No. 5 Sherbrooke (7-2) Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in RSEQ semifinal… Heads-up: The Carabins are 0-4 on the road against Sherbrooke since a 27-24 conference win on Oct. 21, 2006…

No. 8 Queen’s (7-2): Top 10 ranking: No change… Last week: 14-10 home win over Laurier (4-5) in OUA quarter-final… This week: Visit No. 4 McMaster (7-1) Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET in OUA semifinal… Heads-up: The last Queen’s playoff win over McMaster came in 2009, when the Gaels beat the Marauders 32-6 in the OUA semis en route to their third Vanier Cup title…

No. 9 Acadia (7-1): Top 10 ranking: No change… Last week: 34-15 win at StFX (2-6)… This week: Bye…

No. 10 Saskatchewan (5-3): Top 10 ranking: No change… Last week: 67-3 win at Alberta (0-8)… This week: Visit No. 6 UBC (6-2) Saturday at 2 p.m. PT in Canada West semifinal… Heads-up: The last three times the Huskies faced UBC in the playoffs, in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Canada West semifinals, they advanced all the way to the Vanier Cup championship game…

CIS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE (all times LOCAL)

Note: Complete webcast and radio schedules at http://english.cis-sic.ca/sports/fball/2011-12/schedule

Conference semifinals

November 4

19:00 MT Regina (3-5) at No. 2 Calgary (7-1), Shaw (TV)

November 5

13:00 AT StFX (2-6) at Saint Mary’s (6-2), EastLink (TV & webcast) / sportstream.ca (webcast)

13:00 ET Concordia (4-5) at No. 1 Laval (8-1), Radio-Canada (webcast)

13:00 ET No. 7 Montreal (6-3) at No. 5 Sherbrooke (7-2), Radio-Canada (TV & webcast)

13:00 ET Windsor (6-3) at No. 3 Western (7-1), The Score (TV & webcast)

14:00 PT No. 10 Saskatchewan (5-3) at No. 6 UBC (6-2), Shaw (TV)

16:30 ET No. 8 Queen’s (7-2) at No. 4 McMaster (7-1), The Score (TV & webcast)

About Football Reporters of Canada – University Division

The Football Reporters of Canada – University Division represents journalists and broadcasters in every region of the country covering CIS Football. Since 1958 the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) have 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, the FRC amalgamated with the University Football Reporters of Canada (UFRC) to give the organization greater scope in its affiliation with amateur and college football.

The FRC also works with the CFL and CIS to establish guidelines and working conditions for the men and women who report on the game. Selected members of the FRC also help to choose builders, players and media members for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

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