After one week out of the top spot in the national ranking of university football teams, the Laval rouge et or are back on top of the weekly Canadian Interuniversity Sport football Top 10.
Laval began the year ranked No. 2 to defending national champion Montreal, but a 12-9 victory over the Carabins—on a last-play field goal before a crowd of 15,000 Saturday night in Quebec City to open the Quebec conference season—convinced 20 of 30 panelists on the University Football Reporters of Canada panel to put Laval at the top of their ballots.
Laval’s victory avenged a 12-9 loss to Montreal in last year’s conference championship game, a defeat that ended both a 70-game home winning streak for the rouge et or, and an 11-year run as Quebec champion.
This week’s poll is perhaps the first one that’s actually relevant, since Week 1 was tallied before three of the country’s four leagues began play.
Calgary, perennially strong in Canada West, rose from No. 4 to No. 2 after defeating seventh-ranked British Columbia 49-16.
In the other match of ranked teams, No. 10 Manitoba defeated No. 8 Saskatchewan 34-28 in Saskatoon. As a result, the defending Canada West champion Bisons climbed the most of any team, four spots to No. 6.
UBC, ranked artificially high because panelists didn’t know what to make of its 41-16 preseason win over Laval, fell the most—three spots to No. 10, a place perhaps more reflective of the amount of progress that can be expected of a team that was 2-6 a year ago, even one now coached by former Saint Mary’s and Calgary coach Blake Nill.
Reputation was probably also a factor in Western, a team that didn’t make it out of the conference semifinals a year ago, being ranked third to open the season, but its two lopsided victories to start the current campaign are good enough to keep the Mustangs in third place, and the top-ranked team from Ontario University Athletics.
There’s still some head scratching to do, however. In addition to Montreal falling all the way from first to fourth for the sin of losing by three points to the No. 2-ranked team, there are these other curiosities to ponder:
• Guelph, 2-0—and a team that handily beat Western the last time they met—rose one spot, from sixth to fifth, but is still two spots behind the Mustangs.
• McMaster, which didn’t play, paid for the schedule maker’s whim by falling two spots, from fifth to seventh.
• Mount Allison, the defending Atlantic champion, lost an exhibition game to St. Francis Xavier but climbed one spot, from ninth to eighth.
This week’s marquee match will pit No. 2 Calgary against No. 6 Manitoba in a rematch of last year’s Canada West final, a game won by the Bisons.
This week’s Top 10, with previous rank, record, number of points in balloting, most recent result and next opponent:
1. Laval (2), 1-0, 285, beat No. 1 Montreal 12-9; next: Saturday, at Sherbrooke.
2. Calgary (4), 1-0, 241, beat No. 7 British Columbia 49-16; next: Friday night, at No. 6 Manitoba.
3. Western (3), 2-0, 239, beat York 74-10; next: Saturday, at Wilfrid Laurier.
4. Montreal (1), 0-1, 235, lost to No. 2 Laval 12-9; next: Friday night, vs. McGill.
5. Guelph (6), 2-0, 156, beat Wilfrid Laurier 30-19; next: Saturday, at York.
6. Manitoba (10), 1-0, 144, beat No. 8 Saskatchewan 34-28; next, Friday vs. No. 2 Calgary.
7. McMaster (5), 1-0, 144, did not play; next: Saturday, vs. Ottawa.
8. Mount Allison (9), 0-0, 52, lost 29-14 to St. Francis Xavier (exhibition); next: Friday night, at Saint Mary’s.
9. Saskatchewan (8), 0-1, 43, lost 34-28 to No. 10 Manitoba; next: Friday night, at Alberta.
10. British Columbia (7), 0-1, 41, lost 49-16 to No. 4 Calgary; next: Saturday, vs. Regina.