The high-powered Calgary Dinos are the unanimous choice to top Canada West football this season, as the annual preseason coaches poll was unveiled Wednesday.
Calgary, who went 8-0 during the 2018 regular season before eventually losing in the 82nd Hardy Cup to the Saskatchewan Huskies, earned all five first-place votes from the coaches to finish with 25 points in the poll.
The Dinos were dominant in 2018, outscoring their opponents in the regular season by an average of more than 26 points per game. They return many key components from their eye-popping offence, including reigning Hec Crighton winner Adam Sinagra. The star quarterback leads an offence that should once again post big numbers.
Slotting in behind the Dinos in the poll were the Huskies (21), who earned Calgary’s first-place nod and second-place votes from the rest of the conference.
Despite being picked sixth in last year’s preseason poll, Saskatchewan posted a stellar season as they finished 5-3 before going on to capture the program’s first Hardy Cup since 2006 thanks to a pair of road playoff wins. The Huskies enter 2019 looking to secure the program’s first home playoff date since 2014.
Rounding out the poll were the Manitoba Bisons (15) and UBC Thunderbirds (14), who came in third and fourth respectively, while the Alberta Golden Bears (8) and Regina Rams (7) finished fifth and sixth.
The 2019 season opens Friday night with a pair of games, as the Bisons host the Huskies on the Canada West Football Showcase at 7 p.m. CDT. The game can be seen on SaskTel (49 (SD), 349 (HD)), TELUS (998), and BellMTS (1802).
Also playing Friday are the Dinos and Bears from Foote Field in Edmonton. That game is available exclusively on Canada West TV.
Rounding out Week 1 action are the Regina Rams on Saturday at 7 p.m. PDT. The game is available on SaskTel (48 (SD) & 348 (HD)), and Canada West TV.
2019 CW FOOTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
Team – Points (First-place votes)
Calgary Dinos – 25 (5)
Saskatchewan Huskies – 21 (1)
Manitoba Bisons – 15
UBC Thunderbirds – 14
Alberta Golden Bears – 8
Regina Rams – 7
NOTE: Coaches ranked all opponents 1-5. First-place votes worth 5 pts., second-place worth 4 pts. etc.