BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is excited to announce the release of the 2018 football schedule, which will commence on the weekend of August 25th and culminate in the 111th Yates Cup on November 10th.
For the complete 2018 OUA football schedule, click here.
After a season that saw the Western Mustangs not only gallop their way to Yates Cup glory, but also a Vanier Cup triumph – the first time an OUA school has secured a national championship since 2011 – the Mustangs will look to commence their 2018 season on a winning note when they open up against the Carleton Ravens. Despite sitting just outside the playoff picture in 2017, the Ravens should be a stiff test for the reigning champs in Week 1, highlighting just one of the key matchups to start the season.
Yates Cup finalists and 2016 champs Laurier will also battle a team from the nation's capital, as the Golden Hawks welcome the uOttawa Gee-Gees to University Stadium to begin their 2018 campaign. Not far down the road, the upstart Waterloo Warriors will look to continue their upward trend – which saw them go from two consecutive winless seasons to a .500 record in 2017 – when they open their season against the Windsor Lancers in similar fashion to a season ago. Waterloo came out on top last year, but Windsor will be looking to make an early statement in 2018, as they start their schedule against three consecutive non-playoff teams from this past season.
In a battle between 2017 OUA semi-finalists, the Guelph Gryphons will head down Highway 6 to take on the McMaster Marauders at Ron Joyce Stadium; a matchup that Mac hopes will follow a similar script to their 2017 tilt, which the Marauders won 29-9. Neither team was able to advance beyond their higher ranked semifinal foe a season ago, but a win in Week 1 will go a long way toward helping find redemption this time around. The final game on opening weekend will feature a rematch of Queen's 2017 homecoming tilt against the York Lions. The Gaels will surely be looking to get off to a much better start than 2017 when they lost their opening four games, while the Lions will look to start 2018 with a roar and eclipse their 1-7 record from a season ago.
Among the several scintillating games for OUA football fans are the following key matchups throughout the regular season:
- One rematch from 2017 that should entice fans is that between the Warriors and Ravens, who both found the scoreboard early and often in their high-scoring affair a season ago. The black and gold toppled Carleton 45-43, but with both teams having playoffs on their minds in 2018, this tantalizing Week 3 (September 8th weekend) tilt has the potential to carry great weight in the eventual playoff picture.
- The battle of Waterloo highlights Week 4 (September 15th weekend) action, as the Warriors make the short trip to Laurier for what should be a tightly-contested affair. Despite a lopsided final in an otherwise closely played 2017 edition, an additional year under the belts of the Waterloo youngsters should make this a match that is not to be missed.
- Laurier finds themselves a part of yet another standout matchup just one week later (September 22nd weekend), when they battle the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton. The Golden Hawks upended the Marauders twice last season – once in the regular season and once in the playoffs – which means Mac will be plenty motivated to score one in the win column come 2018.
- In what has become the must-see game season after season, the Week 6 (September 29th weekend) schedule brings football fans the latest edition of the Panda Game between the Carleton Ravens and uOttawa Gee-Gees. After the double-overtime thriller in 2017 that saw the Ravens triumph for the fourth consecutive season – a stretch that has included last second dramatics, offensive explosions, and sellout crowds – the table is certainly set for another instant classic in 2018.
- It was a low-scoring affair when the two met in the quarterfinals last year, but Jordan Lyons and the Marauders will look to run past the Queen's Gaels again in Week 7 (October 6th weekend). In what should be a tasty Thanksgiving tilt, fans should be settling in for a heavyweight bout between one of the OUA's top offences (Queen's) and top defences (McMaster) with plenty of playoff implications potentially on the line.
Closing out the regular season in Week 9 (October 20th weekend), meanwhile, will be two games fans will have circled on their calendars all season long. The first comes in the form of the Red and Blue Bowl, pitting the Toronto Varsity Blues against the York Lions. The Blues had proven victorious in this clash of crosstown rivals for four straight hears heading into 2017, but after the Lions earned the 41-17 win in 2017, both teams will have victory on their minds to close out their respective regular seasons.
Joining this marquee matchup will be the rematch that OUA football fans are clamoring for. For the past two seasons, the final two teams left standing in the OUA have been Western and Laurier, with each notching a Yates Cup win for their efforts. In what may be a deciding game for the top seed in the OUA, these two powerhouses will line up across from each other to close out the regular season at TD Stadium in London.
Upon the completion of the regular season, the top six teams will shift into playoff mode for the following weeks. Quarterfinal action will take place on Saturday, October 27, followed by the semifinals on Saturday, November 3. The OUA season will then come a close on Saturday, November 10, as the Quest for the Cup concludes with the 111th Yates Cup.