Playoffs are still a possibility as ‘Birds host Huskies in regular season finale

Josh Kronstrom

Vancouver, BC – Heading into the final week of the Canada West regular season the UBC Thunderbirds football team still has a chance at making the playoffs, despite being 2-5. While the playoff scenarios are plentiful, the one common denominator is the Thunderbirds must win Saturday against Saskatchewan if they want to have any chance of playing beyond this weekend.

UBC is coming off a crushing 67-6 defeat at the hands of the No. 2 ranked Calgary Dinos last weekend and are now tasked with trying to forget the past and focus on a Huskies team that has lost just twice all year.

“We did not spend a lot of time talking about Saturday’s game versus Calgary,” said UBC head coach Shawn Olson. “In fact we didn’t even go over the film. There wasn’t a whole lot to be gained from it. Any time spent trying to correct or analyze the film was going to prevent us from focusing on the University of Saskatchewan. We quickly put it behind us, got on the field, corrected significant points we needed to address and moved on.”

Other than Calgary, Saskatchewan is the only other Canada West team to have already wrapped up a spot in the post season. They will finish second in the conference and will host a Canada West semi final game. They are 5-2 on the season and are coming off a 41-23 victory over Alberta last weekend. 

In their previous meeting versus Saskatchewan back on October 4th, UBC had its opportunities to take control of the game and win but mental mistakes and costly breakdowns were their downfall. In the end the Huskies prevailed 31-25. 

“We just have to not hurt ourselves,” said Olson. “That has been our M.O. all year. It’s been a moving target in terms of what is hurting us looks like. One week it is drop balls, another week it’s penalties, the next time is poor tackling or the kicking game. It’s tough to fix one thing. We are trying to get our guys to just relax and play to their ability. Our job as a staff is to make sure they are confident in what we are trying to accomplish and help them execute.”

With four teams still battling for the final two playoff spots there are countless scenarios for how things will play out. Other games this weekend will see Regina (2-5) face Alberta (3-4) and Calgary (6-1) take on Manitoba (3-4).

If UBC, Regina, and Calgary all win, then there would be a four-way tie (UBC, Alberta, Regina and Manitoba) for the final two playoff spots at 3-5. In the event of a three-way tie or four-way tie, the tie breaker will come down to point differential in the games between all the tied teams.

Kickoff this Saturday is set for 2:00 pm at David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium.