Tomorrow’s game with the University of Ottawa has taken on a little more significance with the GeeGees’ victory over Queen’s this past Saturday. The GeeGees are 2-0 and have entered the CIS Top 10 at #8. Guelph is ranked #7. This is a critical game not because the rankings matter much but because it could significantly affect the OUA standings and, ultimately, the playoff seeding. There is no way I want to see Guelph fall 1-2.
In my preview of the 2014 OUA season I put Guelph in the top tier along with UWO & McMaster. Ottawa was, in my opinion, in the second tier with Queen’s, Windsor and Laurier. Last year Ottawa didn’t come close to beating a top tier team. They lost 41-7 at Mac, 83-27 at Western and 36-21 at home to Queen’s. They then lost 51-24 to Mac in a Q-Final playoff game. Ottawa did beat up on all the other tier 2 teams to finish 5-3. I’m still of the opinion that Ottawa’s road win in Kingston against a rebuilding Queen’s team is another of their wins against a tier 2 team. We’ll see Saturday whether Guelph is a cut above the second tier or not.
While the GeeGees lost some very good skill players from last year they do have an outstanding QB in Derek Wendel. He passed for over 400 yards while rushing for 100 yards against Queen’s. Another of the GeeGees top threats is running back Mack Tommy, the son of former Gryphon team captain and CFLer Jed Tommy. A road win in Ottawa against a GeeGees team that many think is better than expected would be a very good win in my opinion. Guelph has a single win over the GeeGees since they re-joined the OUA in 2000. It happened in early 2000s playoff game IIRC.
A little known fact: Ottawa head coach Jamie Barresi was a backup quarterback at Guelph in 1981. He was a QB with the GeeGees from 1976-79, then spent 1980 as an assistant coach with the GeeGees before using his final year of eligibility at Guelph.
Another interesting sidenote: Jarryd Baines’ younger brothers – DB Riley Baines [Guelph] and Receiver Mitchell Baines [Ottawa] – may get a chance to face off against each other tomorrow. This will be Riley’s first time dressing in a regular season OUA game.
The skinny: Barresi did a nice job getting team back on track after horrible 2012 campaign under Gary Etcheverry (fired midway through the year) … Losing some top talent as QB Aaron Colbon, WR Simon Le Marquand and RB Brendan Gillanders (Argonauts) are gone … DL Ettore Lattanzio a force on the defensive front … SB Vincent Campbell dangerous on offence and special teams … Competition from Carleton will only increase in future years.
My thoughts: I believe Guelph can and should win this game. But I also thought the Gryphons should have won at McMaster. They will need to get it done on the field. It would be a good quality road win, something that they have lacked in their back-to-back 7-1 seasons. The best road win would was the 28-5 win in Windsor in 2012.
With respect to quarterback play, I’ve been hearing for the past three days that Jazz Lindsey will be healthy enough to start. After another solid performance this past week by James Roberts I expect he will also see action. Hopefully, we also have a healthy Rob Farquharson in the game at running back.