I love the announcement today of a home & home series of pre-season games with the University of Manitoba Bisons. The Gryphons will head to Winnipeg to face the Bisons in 2015, while Manitoba will travel to Guelph for the return match in 2016.
The story on Gryphons.ca includes a list of the pre-season encounters the Gryphons have participated in since Stu Lang has been in charge. Clearly, Coach Lang is committed to playing tough competition and out-of-conference opponents – Concordia, Saskatchewan & Montreal so far. Manitoba is next, and a worthy opponent.
The UM Bisons were the CanadaWest conference’s Hardy Cup champions in 2014 and advanced to play the eventual Vanier Cup Champion Montreal Carabins in the Uteck Bowl. I watched that game and it was an extremely exciting affair decided in the final minute by a 29-26 score.
From the GoBisons.ca announcement:
The Manitoba Bisons football program starts their defence of the 2014 Canada West championship title by beginning the 2015 season with a new opponent during a pre-season home game.
The Bisons host the first-ever CIS pre-season football game at Investors Group Field in the 2015 season opener when they play the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday, August 22. This is the first of a back-to-back seasons of both teams playing in pre-season action as Manitoba will play at Guelph to start the 2016 season.
And an interesting historical note that comes as news to me …
Manitoba has not played a non-Canada West opponent in pre-season play since the 1990s. They played Guelph twice in pre-season back in 1991 (when Bison assistant coach Stan Pierre was in uniform) and 1973 (when Bison head coach Brian Dobie played).
I fully agree with Bison coach Brian Dobie. The Northern8/10 national interlock proposal may have been delayed but it is something that CIS football needs to grow the game. Inter-conference games like this are a step forward even if they are pre-season affairs.
“This is an important step to play non-conference opponents as there is a growing movement for a national schedule for CIS football teams to play across the country,” said Bison football head coach Brian Dobie heading into his 20th season at the helm.
The game is scheduled to be played on Saturday, August 22 but the game time has not been announced. The 2015 game will be played at Investors Group Field on the UofM campus. It is also the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the CFL team that employs former Gryphons Kyle Walters as General Manager, Mike O’Shea as Head Coach and Pat Tracey as Special Teams Coordinator.