Burlington, Ont. – The 2018 season has come to an end, but football fans have plenty to look forward to next year, as Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announces the 2019 regular season football schedule. Once again, 11 teams will compete over a nine-week regular season to see who will advance to postseason play, and ultimately, cap their quest for the 112th Yates Cup with a victory.
Despite falling just shy of their second straight Vanier Cup victory, the Western Mustangs – winners of back-to-back Yates Cups – will once again enter the conference schedule as one of the best in the country. Not only that, but the purple and white, winners of 23 of their last 24 games, will bring an in-conference winning streak of 20 consecutive games to their first matchup of the year, which will come against the team they faced off with in both the 2016 and 2017 Yates Cups – the Laurier Golden Hawks.
Also helping to kick off the season, which gets underway on Sunday, August 25th with a full Week 1 slate, will be the McMaster Marauders visiting the reigning Yates Cup finalist Guelph Gryphons; the Waterloo Warriors hoping to start their bid for back-to-back postseason appearances strong against the Toronto Varsity Blues; the Carleton Ravens heading to Kingston for a tilt with the Queen’s Gaels; and the Windsor Lancers playing host to the York Lions, with both sides aiming to get their seasons off on the right foot.
While the opening chapter will surely start off with a bang, the fireworks by no means stop there. Among the many remaining matchups that will grind it out on the gridiron the rest of the way are plenty of other tantalizing tilts that fans can circle on the calendar:
- One of the most exciting games from the season that was came on the final day of regular season play, as the Waterloo Warriors and Guelph Gryphons collided with the ability to clinch a postseason berth on the line. While both teams ultimately punched their playoff ticket to then meet again a week late in quarterfinal action, the high-octane regular season finale saw 91 combined points in a double-overtime instant classic. The two teams will meet again in Week 4 when the Gryphons head to the home of the black and gold on September 14.
- After this colossal clash with Waterloo, Guelph finds themselves in yet another marquee matchup the following week, as they’ll look to exorcise their Yates Cup demons against the Western Mustangs. The vanquished will tackle the victors in a Week 5 meeting next season, this time with the former playing host, as fans will get a rematch of the 111th edition of provincial finale on September 21.
- Supporters will be able to wear their school colours a little more loudly and a little more proudly in Week 6 and Week 9 next season, as both dates will see a trio of homecoming affairs hit their home stadiums. On September 28, Guelph, Laurier, and Waterloo will all host their homecoming festivities, while Western, McMaster, and Queen’s will do the honours to close out their respective campaigns on October 19.
- One of the most highly-anticipated university sporting events is set for its 51st edition, as the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees will meet in Week 7 for the one and only Panda Game. It was the Gee-Gees that got the better of their cross-town rivals this past season, claiming the 38-27 win at TD Place in Ottawa to reclaim possession of Pedro the Panda. While they’ll be looking for back-to-back wins and to build on their 33-17 all-time mark, the Ravens – who saw their four-game Panda winning streak snapped – will aim to get back in the win column when the two sides meet on October 5.
- There will be plenty to give thanks for in 2019, as Thanksgiving weekend will bring with it a pair of rivalry games. The York Lions took home their second straight Red and Blue Bowl this past season, but in the 50th edition of the GTA rivalry, both the Lions and Toronto Varsity Blues – the latter of whom leads the all-time series 31-18 – will be looking to earn the edge on October 11. Another cross-town clash will see the Golden Hawks make the very short trek to visit the Warriors in the Battle of Waterloo. After the black and gold earned their first win in the rivalry since 2002, defeating Laurier 34-32, there is a an even greater sense of excitement and anticipation ahead of what should be an evenly-matched 2019 meeting, which will take place on October 10.
The regular season will come to a close on Saturday, October 19 before the quest for the Cup ramps up into postseason play. The top six teams will continue their march toward a provincial title, with the quarterfinals taking place on Saturday, October 26, followed by the semifinals on Saturday, November 2. The conference schedule will then wrap up with the 112th Yates Cup, presented by Milk2Go Sport, on November 9, 2019.