How the West will be won

By Chris Koentges

Every November, around Vanier Cup time, a team from the West journeys across the country, licks their lips, and, for lack of a better expression, sticks their paws down the scrawny throats of the East’s highly touted overrated trash and mercilessly rips the ever-loving entrails from their unstable bowels.

"If it’s not the toughest conference, it’s one of the toughest," remarked University of Calgary Dinosaurs Head Coach Tony Fasano, attempting to be diplomatic in describing Western domination. The Canada West has produced the last three national champions. The Churchill Bowl and the Vanier Cup are little more than exercises in frivolity after the great Western battles have been fought.

With the exception of a couple weak Western entries, this season shouldn’t be any different. Here are The Cheap Seats’ 1998 Canada West contenders, sleepers, nonentities, and out and out dregs.

1) University of Calgary Dinosaurs

Predicted record: 7-2

The Dinos are a team without any serious weaknesses. Darryl Leason, the nation’s best quarterback, will lead the nation’s best offence, a seasoned offence with few key losses. Fasano has improved an already strong strong defence which believes it has something to prove–yikes! The pieces are in place. All that’s left is to turn the bitch out and bring home the Vanier Cup.

2) University of British Columbia Thunderbirds

Predicted record: 5-3

Most teams would like to "suffer" the same type of rebuilding year the T-Birds will undertake this season. The defending national champions lost some key players-most notably, Howard Mackie finalist running back Mark Nora-but Fasano refuses to take this team lightly. The squad’s focal point is its veteran offensive line which should make the job of Nora’s replacement slightly less difficult.

3) University of Manitoba Bisons

Predicted record: 5-3

At the moment, the Bisons are the Canada West’s unknown, a horse so black it’s charcoal. Over the off-season, they raided the Junior football ranks of its most talented players. If you doubt the Canadian Junior Football product, look no further than Darryl Leason. Craig Carr is the league’s most talented, not to mention most arrogant, running back. He’s an exciting player and if a team can’t stop him, they won’t stop Manitoba. Watch the Bisons very carefully, they could shock everybody.

4) University of Saskatchewan Huskies

Predicted record: 3-5

One of history’s greatest misconceptions is that scotch gets better with age. It’s not true: only good scotch gets better with age, bad scotch just stays bad. The Huskies are a club laden with experienced veterans. Unfortunately for them, the scotch adage holds true for football-bad players don’t get much better with age either. Just because they’re experienced, doesn’t mean they’ll be a force.

5) University of Alberta Golden Bears

Predicted record: 1-7

Coaches constantly stress to their players the importance of not giving the media juicy quotes for opposing coaches to pin on the locker room bulletin board. Dinos players and coaches were reluctant to say exactly how bad the U of A will be this season but the consensus seems to be that the Golden Bears should allocate victory party funds sparingly. One and seven is a generous prediction for this candy-assed program.

Predicted Western Final: Dinosaurs 41, Bisons 15.

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