The reigning Vanier Cup champion Western Mustangs top the U SPORTS football national rankings for the ninth week in a row, three days after putting an exclamation point on their second straight unblemished regular schedule.
The Mustangs (8-0), who enter the OUA playoffs as the No. 1 seed for the fourth consecutive campaign, received 140 points from the Football Reporters of Canada panel in this week’s voting and an additional 150 from the ELO Rating System, for a combined total of 290.
The 2017 Vanier Cup finalist Laval Rouge et Or (8-0 / 276 points), who also wrapped up a perfect regular season this past weekend, follow in second place for the ninth straight Tuesday. Of note, for the first time this fall, Laval overtook Western in the media voting this week (141 points to 140).
Also staying put in the new rankings are the No. 3 Calgary Dinos (7-0 / 241), No. 4 Montreal Carabins (5-2 / 213), No. 5 Ottawa Gee-Gees (6-2 / 177) and No. 6 Saint Mary’s Huskies (7-0 / 130).
Rounding out the top 10 are the No. 7 Guelph Gryphons (5-3 / 81 / up one position), No. 8 Carleton Ravens (5-3 / 67 / up one), No. 9 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (4-4 / 64 / down two) and No. 10 UBC Thunderbirds (4-3 / 62 / no change).
Western (8), Laval (6) and Calgary (1) were once again the only teams to merit first-place votes from the FRC panel.
In their regular season finale, Saturday in London, the top-ranked Mustangs scored 29 unanswered points in the second half to crush visiting Laurier 46-13, in a rematch of the last two Yates Cup finals. It marked Western’s 20th straight success overall since the start of the 2017 schedule, five short of Laval’s U SPORTS-record streak from 2012 to 2014.
The defending national champs now have a bye in the first round of the OUA playoffs, just like No. 5 Ottawa, which secured second place in the conference standings on Saturday with a modest 27-22 win at Queen’s.
At Quebec City, the No. 2 Rouge et Or put on a clinic on offence and defence in their final tune-up before the post-season, dominating visiting Sherbrooke 560-4 in total yards and 36-2 in first downs on their way to a 53-0 triumph, on Sunday. Laval enjoys a bye on the final weekend of league play in the RSEQ.
Not to be outdone, the other member of the Big Three, Calgary, trounced Regina 58-6 to move within one victory of a perfect regular season of their own. With a jaw-dropping 2,878 passing yards in seven games, quarterback Adam Sinagra needs 309 more Saturday at Alberta to break the single-season U SPORTS mark of 3,186 set two years ago by Regina’s Noah Picton.
Other Week 9 results from top-10 squads included Guelph 47, Waterloo 44 in overtime (at Guelph); UBC 30, Alberta 11 (at UBC). Fourth-ranked Montreal and No. 6 Saint Mary’s both enjoyed a well-deserved break.
The Week 10 program is highlighted by the start of the playoffs in Ontario.
In OUA quarter-final action, Saturday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT (OUA.TV), McMaster (5-3) travels to the nation’s capital to take on eighth-ranked Carleton (5-3), while Waterloo (4-4), making its first post-season appearance since 2003, returns to Guelph (5-3) for the second straight week.
In the AUS, Saint Mary’s visits Acadia (4-3) Saturday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT (Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca), looking to go 8-0 for the first time since 2001.
|Honourable mention: Saskatchewan (30), McMaster (13), StFX (3), Waterloo (3)|