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What’s in a number anyway?

by Archives October 12, 2005

WOLFVILLE, N.S. (CUP) — Having a school’s varsity team ranked in the Canadian University Sport Top 10 is a matter of pride for any university, its athletes, and student supporters. That being said, it is important to note that the rankings can be more for ego and promotion, rather than being an accurate predictor of whether or not a team gets to play in the post-season.

The national top 10 in CIS football is determined by conducting a nation-wide poll of sports journalists. The committee is made up of 15 members-one national, three from Atlantic Canada, three from Quebec, four from Ontario, and four from Western Canada. All members are journalists who cover CIS football regularly and are known to be interested in what happens outside of “their” town and “their” conference.

Because of a lack of television coverage, not all of the reporters get to watch all the teams compete, and their decisions are based on game reports and the historical strength of teams and their conferences. They follow national stat leaders, game reports or, in some cases, travel to other cities to watch the games. Richard Boutin from Journal du Quebec and Ray Cloutier from Chorus Quebec both traveled to Halifax for the Laval vs Saint Mary’s match-up.

Monty Mosher of the Halifax Chronicle Herald is a member of the National Top 10 committee and has voted for several years.

“I make my first set of rankings each year based on the previous year’s finish, what I know about graduating players and recruiting (this may not be very much) and the historical strength of the teams and conferences,” Mosher said.

Mosher continued: “From there I pretty much operate on a principle that you can’t move up by losing and you can’t fall by winning. It usually takes a few weeks to get a reasonable reading, but by October it is usually a fair measure of where teams stand.”

Mosher began voting in the rankings years ago because the CIS needed steady voters. There were also no consequences to voting.

“If there was a wildcard playoff team determined even in part by the poll, I would not participate. Since this is simply to help increase the profile of the sport, I have no problem with it,” Mosher said.

The official stance of the CIS is that the Top 10 is a promotional tool. The communications manager of the CIS, Michel Belanger, believes that the Top 10 is an accurate measure of teams in the CIS.

“I’d say teams 1 through 6-7 every week are pretty much a [given], with 7-8 through 10 [as well as the three or four teams just outside the Top 10] being a little more questionable,” Belanger said.

Because of the growing fan base of CIS football and the general dissatisfaction of the National Top 10 an alternative has been created. College Colours (http://www.collegecolours.com/) offers a top 27 (all teams) across the CIS along with commentary why a team was placed where it was. While this alternative is good for football fans seeking a set of different opinions it should be noted that the top 10 on College Colours is very similar to the National Top 10.

College Colours also has several commentary pieces on the state of CIS football, including some by Alex J. Walling who is also a columnist for TSN.ca.

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The members of the committee are:

– Kevin Webster, Desjardins Vanier Cup event director

– Sean Fitz-Gerald, National Post

– Alex Walling, TSN.ca

– Jody Jewers, Halifax Daily News

– Monty Mosher, Halifax Herald

– Richard Boutin, Journal de

Quebec

– Raynald Cloutier, Chorus Radio (Quebec City)

– Randy Phillips, Montreal Gazette

– Mike Hogan, The Fan (Toronto)

– Ken Welch, CHTV Hamilton

– Ken Evraire, Channel-A TV

(Ottawa)

– Jim Lang, Sportsnet West

– Jim Mullin, MOJO Radio

(Vancouver)

– Ian Hamilton, Regina Leader Post

– Norm Crowley, Edmonton

Journal

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Concordia is currently ranked seventh by the CIS and eighth by College Colours. This week, a home playoff game is at stake when the Stingers take on the fifth-ranked University of Montreal Carabins on Saturday at Concordia Field. Game time is 1pm. The winner will be 5-1 in the conference and hold on to second place by themselves.

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