Queen’s enters this contest with a 6-1 record and a #5 national ranking. [Guelph is #4] The Golden Gaels only loss was a 50-31 defeat to Western in London three weeks back. This Queen’s team was one of the favourites to make it to the Yates Cup early in the season. Surprisingly from my perspective, they out-polled UWO prior to their loss. SportsEh even ranked them #1 in the CIS for several weeks. Queen’s had high expectations for 2013, with even talk about another Vanier Cup run coming out of Kingston.
Having 20 of 24 starters returning gave Queen’s fans high hopes. They still have every chance of achieving their goals in the playoffs but their performance so far in the 2013 season has been unexpectedly erratic. The 6-1 record masks a couple of near losses. [Guelph fans know what those can be like.] A 1-7 Laurier squad took them into overtime. Early in the season they prevailed over Mac 31-24 in spite of being outgained 495 to 227.
Record since 2007: The Gryphons are 3-3 against the Golden Gaels over the past 6 years. During that time Queen’s has won the 2009 Vanier Cup and recorded a perfect 8-0 regular season in 2008. As much as it hurts to remember, the 2009 Labour Day game was one of the best games I have seen in the past six years. In the archives of gryphons.ca you will find this summary of the 2009 game. It is worth noting that the vast majority of players on the Queen’s roster have never beaten Guelph.
2012 – 42 -39 Guelph [Yates Cup semi-final]
2012 – 33-28 Guelph
2011 – did not meet
2010 – 21-15 Guelph
2009 – 52-49 Queen’s
2008 – 41-30 Queen’s
2007 – 26-14 Queen’s
My Thoughts: I understand this Queen’s team will have lots of motivation – i.e. the revenge factor. I can’t think of a game, really a pair of games, that probably has been as much of a “burden to bear” as their losses to Guelph last year. Another point, this Queen’s team is a much more veteran group than Guelph. The Golden Gaels returned 20 of 24 starters. The Gryphons just 15. A third factor, this game isn’t at Guelph’s Alumni Stadium where the Gryphons are undefeated over the past two years. While each of those factors may favour Queen’s I like Guelph’s chances in this game.
No doubt Queen’s is favoured but I don’t doubt for a second that Guelph can win. I was more apprehensive heading into the two games last year than this. This team while not as veteran as last year’s squad has lots of talent. Most of the freshmen and sophomores who will be counted on have almost a full season worth of experience now. Guelph has more experience on offense than D. The O-Line which had some “growing pains” early in the season is coming into it’s own. That should allow our skill players to flourish on Saturday.
On defense I believe Guelph has a decided advantage along the line of scrimmage. Queen’s may have more size and experience along their o-line but they don’t match up particularly well with the speed and athleticism of the Gryphon D-Line. I don’t expect Guelph will shutdown the Queen’s rushing game but they will contain it. And they should be able to put plenty of pressure on QB McPhee. I look for Guelph to hold Queen’s below 30 points.
TV: broadcast nationally on Sportsnet 360