Burlington, Ont. – After eight weeks of greatness on the gridiron, we're down to the final five regular season matchups, but even with so few games remaining, so much is up in the air before we can turn the page to the quest for the 112th Yates Cup, as 16 potential scenarios can still play out.
Only seven teams still have a chance to continue their campaigns into the postseason, with the York Lions, Windsor Lancers, Toronto Varsity Blues, and Queen's Gaels having been officially eliminated from contention. Among those fighting for playoff berths, only one postseason-bound team knows where they will finish, and that is the Western Mustangs.
Entering Week 9 with a spotless 7-0 record, the two-time defending champions have secured the conference's top seed and a bye into the semifinals. After that, three more teams – McMaster (5-2), Guelph (5-2), and Ottawa (5-2) – know they'll be continuing their campaigns and have a chance to secure the conference's second seed, but who finishes where among that trio remains to be seen.
Teams on the bubble, meanwhile, include the Waterloo Warriors (4-3), Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (4-3), and the Carleton Ravens (3-4), with the latter currently on the outside looking in as the No. 7 seed. Two of those teams will go head-to-head to close out their schedules, with Carleton hitting the road to take on the Hawks, while Waterloo will take on McMaster in a game with significant implications for both teams. Rounding out the Week 9 games with playoff implications are the Guelph Gryphons taking on Toronto and the Gee-Gees heading to London to take on the Mustangs.
Among these 16 potential results, little can be confirmed at this point, as many of the potential scenarios will come down to point differential following this week's games, which is capped at a maximum/minimum of 25 points per game. This, as well as additional OUA tie-breaking procedures, can be found on our website for anyone wanting to learn more.
In terms of the teams still looking to secure their spot, all three can clinch a playoff berth with a victory, leaving much of their fate in their own hands. Additionally, for Waterloo, a loss by Carleton would also mean the black and gold are postseason-bound regardless of the outcome of their game, but with all three teams facing a win-and-you're-in scenario, you can bet each of them want to take care of business themselves.
Beyond that, however, standings will largely be dependent on points, especially in the middle of the pack wherein teams' positions can swing greatly. McMaster, for example can secure the No. 2 seed as mentioned, but can also drop to as low as sixth heading into the playoffs. Similar uncertainty lies with the remaining playoff seeds, whose fate will rest on how Friday and Saturday play out and how economical they can be on the scoreboard.
For those looking to tune in to the thrilling regular season conclusion, all the Week 9 action can be seen LIVE on oua.tv. Carleton and Laurier will be the first to take the field on Friday morning, with their school day game kicking off at 11:00am. The remaining four contests will all start on Saturday at 1:00pm.