On the strength of a second straight convincing win to open their 2017 conference schedule, the Laval Rouge et Or (2-0) remain a unanimous selection for the No. 1 position in the second media poll of the U SPORTS football season.
The reigning Vanier Cup champions merited all 17 first-place votes and a perfect 170 points from the Football Reporters of Canada panel to maintain a healthy lead over their RSEQ archrivals, the Montreal Carabins (1-0), who stay comfortably in second place thanks to a 150-point tally.
Rounding out the new top 10 are the No. 3 Calgary Dinos (1-0 / 118 points / up one spot), No. 4 Western Mustangs (2-0 / 115 / down one), No. 5 Regina Rams (1-0 / 113 / no change), No. 6 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (1-0 / 89 / no change), No. 7 McMaster Marauders (1-0 / 50 / up one), No. 8 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-0 / 42 / previously unranked), No. 9 Ottawa Gee-Gees (2-0 / 40 / no change) and No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds (0-1 / 25 / down three).
After opening the regular campaign with a 40-5 home victory over Sherbrooke back on Aug. 26, Laval was equally as dominant last Friday in its first road test of the fall, downing McGill 50-14 at Percival Molson Stadium. Reigning Vanier Cup MVP Hugo Richard was once again stellar against the Redmen with 324 yards and a pair of touchdown tosses on 28-of-34 passing, to go with his second and third rushing majors of the young season.
Other results from top-10 teams this past week included season-opening victories for Calgary (55-26 at Alberta), Regina (36-20 over UBC), McMaster (23-9 at Carleton) and Saskatchewan (44-23 at Manitoba), as well as Western and Ottawa improving to 2-0 after surviving scares on home turf against Guelph (41-34 in OT) and Queen's (14-13), respectively. Montreal and Laurier enjoyed an early bye in Week 2.
Fans across the country will be treated to some exceptional matchups this coming weekend as no less than three top-10 confrontations are on the Week 3 schedule, featuring six of the top seven-ranked squads in the nation.
The marquee duel takes place on Saturday afternoon when No. 1 Laval visits No. 2 Montreal, live on TVA Sports at 2 p.m. The contest will be a rematch of the last four Quebec conference finals which resulted in an even split, with all of games decided by three points or less.
Also on Saturday afternoon, at 1 p.m., No. 4 Western travels to Hamilton to face No. 7 McMaster (OUA.TV). The last battle between the old foes, in their regular season finale a year ago, couldn't have been closer as the Mustangs prevailed 19-18 in London to finish ahead of the Marauders in the OUA standings.
On the eve of these two Saturday matchups, on Friday evening, No. 3 Calgary hosts No. 8 Saskatchewan at McMahon Stadium (5:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Sasktel maxTV, TELUS Optik TV, Bell MTS & CanadaWest.TV). The Dinos dominated the Huskies 47-17 last November in Canada West semifinal action on their way to claiming the conference banner and advancing to the Vanier Cup title match.
NOTES: Sportsnet and TVA Sports are once again the official broadcasters of the U SPORTS football semifinals and final in 2017... The Mitchell Bowl (RSEQ at Canada West) and the Uteck Bowl (OUA at AUS) are set for Saturday, Nov. 18, while the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup follows on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. ET at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton... For all the information on the 53rd Vanier Cup (including tickets) visit vaniercup.com.
FRC – U SPORTS FOOTBALL TOP 10 (#2)
Pts (1st place) Last week
1. Laval (2-0) 170 (17) 1
2. Montreal (1-0) 150 2
3. Calgary (1-0) 118 4
4. Western (2-0) 115 3
5. Regina (1-0) 113 5
6. Laurier (1-0) 89 6
7. McMaster (1-0) 50 8
8. Saskatchewan (1-0) 42 NR
9. Ottawa (2-0) 40 9
10. UBC (0-1) 25 7
Other teams receiving votes: Concordia (5), StFX (5), Guelph (4), Saint Mary's (4), Waterloo (4), Manitoba (1).