On Thursday, Ontario University Athletics announced the release of the 2016 football schedule, including the OUA playoffs. That’s 44 regular season and 5 playoff games beginning August 28 and concluding with the Yates Cup on November 12.
And not only are the Dept of Athletics marketing people on the ball, but they’ve come up with some new and attractive options. This is all positive. Never before have season tickets been available in time for Christmas gift giving. Now, in addition to regular season tickets, you can buy a VIP Seasons Pass to the licensed Platinum Club in the SW corner. The VIP game passes were not for sale on-line previously. Also new, 2-Game Packs of tickets which include Homecoming as one of the Games. That’s a great option for people who can’t make every game but want to be sure they don’t miss out on Homecoming tickets.
2016 GRYPHONS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Week 1: Sunday, August 28 – Toronto @ Guelph
Week 2: Monday, September 5 – Guelph @ Windsor
Week 3: Saturday, September 10 – Queen’s @ Guelph
Week 4: Saturday, September 17 – Guelph @ Ottawa
Week 5: Saturday, September 24 – Western @ Guelph – Homecoming
Week 6: Saturday, October 1 – Guelph @ McMaster
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Saturday, October 15 – Guelph @ Laurier
Week 9: Saturday, October 22 – York @ Guelph
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My Thoughts: There are no defects with this schedule as glaring as the 2015 omission of a regular season game against Western. Guelph’s 2016 non-combatants are Waterloo and Carleton. Yes, I would like to play Carleton, as they should be a very competitive team again, but I don’t see it as having a likely impact on Guelph’s playoff seeding, the way the UWO game could have. UofT, our other 2015 non-combatant, is our opening day opponent.
I don’t mind at all that the Western Mustangs have to play in Guelph … AGAIN. It will be the third consecutive regular season match between the two played at Alumni Stadium. The last time the game was played in London was 2011. Guelph hosted in 2012 & 2014. The fact that the Mustangs will be the Homecoming Game opponent only makes it sweeter.
From Western Mustangs Athletics …
Western is on the road again on September 24 as they head to Guelph for a showdown with the Gryphons in a rematch of the 108th Yates Cup. The Gryphons have had the Mustangs number over the past couple of seasons and are riding a four-game winning streak over the purple and white, something that Western will look to change in one of the biggest games on the OUA schedule.
Another must-see game will be the Gryphons trip down Hwy 6 to face the McMaster Marauders. The Gryphons have won 2 of the last 3 reg season games with Mac, BUT they haven’t won at Mac since a playoff upset in 2007. Over at Marauders.ca they don’t seem to hold anything back when looking ahead to the game …
The undoubted highlight of McMaster’s schedule falls in Week 6, when the Marauders play host to the defending Yates Cup champions, the Guelph Gryphons, in the conclusion of Homecoming Week on Saturday, October 1. [emphasis mine]
Finally, it’s nice to have the Bye Week fall on Thanksgiving Weekend again. That is good timing in my opinion as it falls 3/4 of the way through the season. That is also a tough week to put fans in the stands and many games are shifted to Thursday and Friday nights. It is one of those rare weeks when a fan can attend, or watch via OUA.tv, multiple games.
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One final thought on the announcement: I liked what the OUA office did last year with the release of the non-combatants list via social media several days prior to the release of the full schedule. In my opinion it did a lot build interest in the latter announcement. Sure, some of the feedback was negative but if you do something as stupid as to not schedule the presumed league favourites you have to expect that. I still think it was a case of all publicity being good publicity. This announcement seemed to come out of the blue and not create nearly as much public discussion.