McMaster still No. 1, Montreal and Guelph win Top-10 battles

It’s beginning to sound like a broken record, but the reigning Vanier Cup champion McMaster Marauders top the Football Reporters of Canada/Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s rankings for the eighth time in as many polls this season, while the Calgary Dinos remain comfortably in second place for the sixth straight week.

Thanks to their homecoming victory against Windsor on Saturday, top-ranked McMaster extended its overall winning streak to 17 straight games. (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

For the fifth week in a row, the 7-0 Marauders received 29 first-place votes and 299 points from the 30-member FRC panel, with the remaining first-place nod going to the Dinos (6-0). The Laval Rouge et Or (6-1) hold on to the No. 3 spot despite suffering their first loss of the campaign, while all other teams behind the leading trio switch positions in the new Top 10.

Moving up are the No. 4 Montreal Carabins (6-1), by one, the No. 5 Guelph Gryphons (6-1) and No. 7 Western Mustangs (4-3), by two apiece, and the No. 9 Acadia Axemen (5-1), by one. Going in the opposite direction are the No. 6 Queen’s Gaels (5-2), No. 8 Regina Rams (4-2) and No. 10 Manitoba Bisons (3-3), all down two spots.

Thanks to a 39-18 home victory against Windsor on Saturday, top-ranked McMaster extended its overall winning streak to 17 straight games going back to Week 3 of the 2011 schedule, only two shy of the all-time CIS mark set by Laval from 2004 to 2005. More importantly, the defending national champs clinched first place in Ontario University Athletics standings and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

McMaster closes out league play against Laurier (3-4), Saturday (Oct. 20) in Hamilton.

Calgary crushed provincial rival Alberta 51-1 in its first game back from a bye week. The Dinos can secure first place in Canada West on Friday night when they visit No. 8 Regina, a team they beat 37-21 at home in the season opener for both clubs, back on Sept. 1.

A week after dominating archrival Montreal 30-11 in Quebec City, Laval dropped a 23-20 road decision to the Carabins in Saturday’s rematch. Should the two RSEQ powerhouses end conference play with identical records, the Rouge et Or would merit first place thanks to its plus-16 point differential in head-to-head competition. Laval has games remaining against Bishop’s (3-4) and Concordia (1-6), while Montreal finishes with tilts versus McGill (2-5) and Bishop’s.

In the other Top-10 battle of the past week, Guelph overcame a 28-3 deficit late in the second quarter to stun Queen’s 33-28 and secure second place in Ontario, which comes with a bye in the first round of the OUA playoffs. The surprising Gryphons have racked up six straight wins since a disappointing 50-9 loss at McMaster in their season opener, on Sept. 3.

Guelph and Queen’s both wrap up league play on Saturday. The Gryphons visit York (2-5) and the Gaels host Toronto (2-5).

In other contests from the past week involving Top-10 teams, No. 7 Western put an end to a two-game skid with a 56-3 home win over Laurier; No. 8 Regina, playing without star quarterback Marc Mueller, was upset 24-17 by UBC in Vancouver; No. 9 Acadia clinched first place in the AUS with a 47-26 home victory against StFX; No. 10 Manitoba dropped to .500 following its second straight loss, a wild 44-39 affair at Saskatchewan.

This week’s matchups feature:

October 19
No. 2 Calgary (6-0) at No. 8 Regina (4-2), (web)

October 20
Laurier (3-4) at No. 1 McMaster (7-0)
McGill (2-5) at No. 4 Montreal (6-1)
No. 5 Guelph (6-1) at York (2-5)
Toronto (2-5) at No. 6 Queen’s (5-2)
No. 7 Western (4-3) at Ottawa (2-5)
Concordia (1-6) at Sherbrooke (4-3)
Windsor (3-4) at Waterloo (1-6)
UBC (2-4) at No. 10 Manitoba (3-3)
Saskatchewan (3-3) at Alberta (0-6),
Saint Mary’s (2-4) at No. 9 Acadia (5-1)
Mount Allison (2-4) at StFX (2-4)

October 21
Bishop’s (3-4) at No. 3 Laval (6-1)