BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is excited to announce the release of the 2017 football schedule.
The quest for the 110th Yates Cup begins on Saturday, Aug. 26 as for the second time in three seasons, the Carleton Ravens will travel to Kingston, Ont. to open the year against the Queen's Gaels.
Following a second consecutive semifinals appearance, the Ravens soar in 2017 as a legitimate Yates Cup contender in just their fifth season back in the conference. Despite not facing each other last season, the Gaels will be out for revenge as it was the Ravens who ended their Yates Cup aspirations in 2015 with a 39-8 drubbing in what would be the final game played at Richardson Stadium prior to the revitalization.
The action continues on Sunday, Aug. 27 with a full slate of games, including the defending champion Laurier Golden Hawks beginning their title defence at home against the visiting University of Toronto Varsity Blues. This is the third consecutive season the Blues have opened the year against the defending champs after taking on Guelph last year and McMaster in 2015.
After heartbreak at home in the Yates Cup for the second time in as many seasons, the Western Mustangs will open 2017 on the road as they travel to Alumni Field to take on a young Lions team on the rise. The Lions were in the playoff hunt heading into the final weekend of the regular season and will look to return to the postseason for the first time since 2004.
The post Derek Wendel era will begin for the Gee-Gees on Aug. 27 as uOttawa will make the trip to "The Royal City" to take on a motivated Guelph Gryphons squad. Despite a berth in the postseason, many might consider 2016 a down year by the high standards the Gryphons faithful have come to expect. After claiming the sixth and final playoff spot in the last weekend of the regular season, Guelph had the rival McMaster Marauders on the ropes before a heartbreaking interception on the goal line dashed their dreams of repeating at OUA champions.
The Lancers and the Waterloo Warriors will look to start the 2017 season off in the win column as the two retooling programs will also clash Sunday at Alumni Field. Windsor finished last season tied with Toronto and York with a 2-6 record, while in Waterloo, Ont. there is no doubt that head coach Chris Bertoia has his alma mater pointed in the right direction.
Other schedule highlights include:
• The Gryphons and Mustangs meet in Week 2 in a rematch of the 108th Yates Cup. Despite falling to Guelph in dramatic fashion in that game, it was the Mustangs who had the most recent laugh, spoiling the Gryphons Homecoming with a 50-16 win last year.
• Frosh week will be in full swing on campuses across the province on Saturday, Sept. 9 when the aforementioned Mustangs travel to Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, Ont. to take on the Marauders. The two teams met in a first place battle on the final weekend of the regular season in 2016 with the Mustangs prevailing 19-18 to clinch the top playoff seed for a second straight year.
• Bitter rivals will clash as the playoff race begins to heat up across the province in Week 5. In Toronto, the York Lions and Toronto Varsity Blues will meet with the Argo Cup on the line in the Red and Blue Bowl, while in Guelph, Ont., the Highway 6 showdown will see McMaster take on the Gryphons. Also on Saturday, the Queen's Gaels and Western Mustangs will write the next chapter in one of Canada's greatest collegiate rivalries. The battle also rages on in Waterloo, as the Golden Hawks will head across town to wage war with the Warriors.
• The biggest rivalry in Canada university football goes down Saturday, Sept.30, as the Carleton Ravens and uOttawa Gee-Gees meet in the nation's capital with not only bragging rights, but Pedro the Panda on the line. The Ravens will soar into TD Place looking to bring home the famed hardware for a fourth consecutive year, while the Gee-Gees would like nothing better than to #FreePedro from the clutches of their bitter foes.
• Fans of OUA football will also have the 30th circled on their calendars for another reason as the Mustangs and Golden Hawks will meet in Waterloo, Ont. in a rematch of last year's Yates Cup. In that game, the Golden Hawks overcame a 21-point deficit in dramatic fashion to shock the Mustangs 43-40 to capture the Yates Cup for the eighth time in program history and first since 2005.
• Regular season play concludes on Oct. 21, with teams fighting for postseason positioning, including a marquee matchup when the Marauders and Golden Hawks meet at University Stadium in not only a semifinals rematch but also a potential first place showdown.
The OUA quarter-finals will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, followed by the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 4.
The "Quest for the Cup" concludes on Saturday, Nov. 11 with the 110th Yates Cup.
The winner of the Yates Cup will represent OUA in the U SPORTS Uteck Bowl, where they will take on the AUS conference champion on Saturday, Nov. 18 with a trip to the Vanier Cup on the line.
It's going to be another great season of OUA football, so be sure to plan your road trips and remember that every game will be broadcast live on OUA.tv!
For the complete 2017 OUA football schedule, click here.