I don’t think it would be even the slightest bit of exaggeration to say that the Week 2 matchup was a pivotal game for both these teams in 2012. Windsor was coming off a 5-3 season that included a playoff win to advance to the Yates semi-final. The Lancers were considered to be a Top 10 calibre team. The Gryphons were coming off a disappointing 2-6 campaign. Folks who hadn’t paid attention to Guelph’s recruiting classes were suggesting that Guelph would be hard pressed to make the playoffs.
In last year’s preview I wrote, … [t]he Gryphons and Lancers played at opposite ends of the performance spectrum [in week one] … While Guelph was getting shellacked at Mac, Windsor laid an epic beating on uOttawa. Add that together with the preseason expectations and very few OUA observers thought Guelph had a chance. A dramatic and emphatic 28-9 Guelph win propelled the Gryphons on to a 7-1 season. After that loss the Lancers played like they were shell-shocked, limping into the playoffs where they were dispatched in the first round.
This season has begun in very similar fashion to last year. Windsor won huge over Waterloo [78-11] while Guelph underperformed in a win over Laurier. While the Gryphons are still favoured, all of a sudden a lot of critics are suggesting Guelph wasn’t as good as their record in 2012. In just a week the number of people predicting that Windsor may pull an upset has grown significantly. In SportsEh’s CIS Pickem’s two of their three experts are going with the Lancers. No doubt the Lancers themselves look to gain a measure of revenge for last season and propel themselves into the discussion of the OUA’s upper echelon teams. Some Lancer fans have also said that this game is a must win if the program is to have any chance of hosting a playoff game.
My Take: The difference in the game last year was Guelph’s domination of the line of scrimmage. I don’t see that changing this year so I don’t expect a different result. While Windsor has added some notable recruits at several skill positions I’m not aware of anything that makes me think they will be substantially better along the O-line or D-line.
There are a couple of things Windsor does have working in their favour. First, their all-important QB Austin Kennedy is reported to be 100% healthy. Last year he was playing on a bad knee, injured on the third play of an exhibition game against UdeMontreal. Second, Windsor’s new Defensive Coordinator is Donnovan Carter, formerly of UofT. His Varsity Blues defenses have given us problems in recent years.
Bottom-line, in my opinion, Guelph has a talent advantage that should be enough to ensure the victory. They need to establish dominance up front early in the game to ensure that a “lights out” performance from QB Kennedy or the defensive scheming of DC Carter won’t be enough to let the Lancers pull an upset.
Previous five meetings: Guelph is 4-1 against Windsor since 2007. The lone loss was in 2011, a 2-6 season. None of the games have been particularly close. I’m not sure how it works out this way but Guelph is hosting the Lancers for only the second time in the last six meetings. In case you care, the last time I missed a UofG game was the 2008 matchup in Windsor.
2012 – 28-9 Guelph
2011 – 41-21 Windsor
2010 – 41-14 Guelph
2009 – did not play
2008 – 34-8 Guelph
2007 – 36-10 Guelph
Radio: I believe a Windsor station carries the games