TORONTO (CIS) – Thanks to a crucial road win over archrival Montreal, the Laval Rouge et Or move up to No. 1 in the new CIS football national rankings, ending the Carabins' six-week reign at the top.
Laval (5-1) earned 21 of 30 first-place votes and 290 points from the Football Reporters of Canada panel to reach No. 1 for the first time since the second poll of 2015 (Sept. 8). The 15 straight ranking periods out of first place marked the longest such drought since the start of the 2005 campaign for the powerhouse from Quebec City.
Montreal (5-1), which was the last undefeated team in the country prior to Saturday's setback, drops to No. 2 in the new poll after receiving six first-place nods and 270 points. The Carabins' six consecutive weeks at the top are a program record, bettering a five-week streak at the end of the 2004 regular schedule.
Rounding out the eighth Top 10 of the season are the No. 3 Western Mustangs (6-1 / 234 points / no change), No. 4 Calgary Dinos (5-1 / 220 / up one position), No. 5 McMaster Marauders (6-1 / 150 / up three), No. 6 Carleton Ravens (5-2 / 136 / no change), No. 7 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (6-1 / 124 / no change), No. 8 Regina Rams (4-2 / 111 / down four), No. 9 Ottawa Gee-Gees (5-2 / 36 / no change), as well as the previously unranked St. Francis Xavier X-Men (5-1 / 26) at No. 10.
Western, with two nods, and Calgary, with one, also received first-place consideration.
StFX is ranked nationally for the first time since the final poll of 2009 (Nov. 3), when the X-Men also merited 10th place. The reigning conference champions are also the first AUS team to crack the Top 10 since Acadia was ranked 10th in the fourth poll of 2015 (Sept. 22).
The much-anticipated rematch between the Rouge et Or and Carabins last Saturday in Montreal lived up to the billing, to say the least. Laval overcame an 18-10 halftime deficit to prevail 22-19 and avenge a 24-21 season-opening loss on home turf back on Sept. 3. The last seven duels between the RSEQ foes have now been decided by six points or less, including the last two Dunsmore Cup finals, both won by Montreal.
With an identical point differential in head-to-head competition, the tie-breaker for first place in the RSEQ standings – should Laval and Montreal both win their final two contests – is now points allowed. The Carabins currently hold a 10-point cushion in that department. Montreal has games remaining against Sherbrooke (3-3) and McGill (3-3), while Laval is set to face Bishop's (1-5) and Sherbrooke.
The other Top 10 battle of the past weekend, also on Saturday in the nation's capital, didn't produce the same level of excitement... except for Western fans. The high-scoring Mustangs built a commanding 38-10 lead by halftime and never looked back on their way to a 68-17 rout of the hometown Gee-Gees.
While Montreal and Ottawa were defeated by Top 10 rivals, it was a different story for Regina, Saturday in Edmonton. Winners of four straight going into the weekend, including a potential tie-breaking victory over Calgary, the Rams were upset 19-18 by the previously winless Alberta Golden Bears and are now one game back of the Dinos in the Canada West standings.
Other Week 8 results involving Top 10 teams included Calgary 63, Manitoba 6 (at Calgary); McMaster 64, York 2 (at York); Laurier 27, Guelph 25 (at Laurier); StFX 45, Saint Mary's 6 (at Saint Mary's).
The Week 9 schedule is highlighted by a Top 10 confrontation between No. 5 McMaster and No. 3 Western, Saturday at TD Stadium in London (1 p.m., Rogers TV London & OUA.TV). Heading into the final weekend of conference play in Ontario, the Marauders and Mustangs are in a three-way tie for first place with Laurier in the OUA standings.
Laval and Montreal both take the field on Sunday. The Rouge et Or host Bishop's, while the Carabins host Sherbrooke (noon, TVA Sports).
NOTES: Sportsnet and TVA Sports are once again the official broadcasters of the CIS football semifinals and final in 2016... The ArcelorMittal Dofasco Mitchell Bowl (AUS at Canada West) and the Uteck Bowl (OUA at RSEQ) are set for Saturday, Nov. 19, while the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup follows on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. ET at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont.... For all the information on the 52nd Vanier Cup (including tickets) visit vaniercup.com.
FRC – CIS FOOTBALL TOP 10 (#8)
Pts (1st place) Last week
1. Laval (5-1) 290 (21) 2
2. Montreal (5-1) 270 (6) 1
3. Western (6-1) 234 (2) 3
4. Calgary (5-1) 220 (1) 5
5. McMaster (6-1) 150 8
6. Carleton (5-2) 136 6
7. Laurier (6-1) 124 7
8. Regina (4-2) 111 4
9. Ottawa (5-2) 36 9
10. StFX (5-1) 26 NR
Other teams receiving votes: Sherbrooke (23), Saskatchewan (22), Concordia (4), UBC (1).
WEEK 8 RESULTS (all times local)
Laurier 27, Guelph 25 (at Laurier)
McGill 37, Bishop's 14 (at Bishop's)
Saskatchewan 40, UBC 10 (at Saskatchewan)
Calgary 63, Manitoba 6 (at Calgary)
Mount Allison 15, Acadia 13 (at Acadia)
StFX 45, Saint Mary's 6 (at Saint Mary's)
McMaster 64, York 2 (at York)
Toronto 38, Waterloo 7 (at Toronto)
Queen's 55, Windsor 5 (at Queen's)
Western 68, Ottawa 17 (at Ottawa)
Laval 22, Montreal 19 (at Montreal)
Alberta 19, Regina 18 (at Alberta)
Sherbrooke 43, Concordia 17 (at Sherbrooke)
WEEK 9 SCHEDULE (all times local)
NOTE: Click HERE for the complete 2016 regular season schedule & results
19:00 UBC (3-3) at No. 8 Regina (4-2) (Shaw TV/Access & CanadaWest.TV)
13:00 No. 9 Ottawa (5-2) at Queen's (3-4) (TVCogeco & OUA.TV)
13:00 No. 7 Laurier (6-1) at Windsor (2-5) (TVCogeco & OUA.TV)
13:00 York (2-5) at Guelph (2-5) (OUA.TV)
13:00 No. 5 McMaster (6-1) at No. 3 Western (6-1) (Rogers TV London & OUA.TV)
13:00 No. 6 Carleton (5-2) at Waterloo (0-7) (OUA.TV)
13:00 Manitoba (2-4) at Alberta (1-5) (CanadaWest.TV)
13:00 Saskatchewan (3-3) at No. 4 Calgary (5-1) (CanadaWest.TV)
14:00 Saint Mary's (2-4) at Mount Allison (2-4) (Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca)
14:00 No. 10 StFX (5-1) at Acadia (1-5) (Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca)
14:00 McGill (3-3) at Concordia (3-3) (TVA Sports & StretchTV)
12:00 Sherbrooke (3-3) at No. 2 Montreal (5-1) (TVA Sports)
13:00 Bishop's (1-5) at No. 1 Laval (5-1)