The Canadian college football season got underway on Thursday night, as the new football hotbed of Quebec hosted the opening game of the CIS season. The Universite de Montreal Carabins shutout the McGill Redmen 26-0, as the two teams got things under way for the 2004 season. Almost 4800 fans took in the kick-off to action at the University de Montreal campus.
Football in Quebec has taken on a renaissance of late with the Alouettes selling out Molson stadium professionally each game. In Quebec City, the Rouge et Or of Laval routinely bring in 12,000 a game and the Quebec conference of CIS football has some of the most intense rivalries of any in the country.
For the CIS the path that starts this month will end in Hamilton in November with the championship game, the Desjardins Vanier Cup at Ivor Wynn Stadium, the first time it has been moved out of Toronto since the creation of the Vanier Cup in 1965. 27 teams are chasing the dream of a national championship, with the St. Mary’s Huskies rated as the number one team going into the 2004 campaign.
Last years champion Laval Rouge et Or may have something to say about those ratings by the time the final kick off takes place November 27th. They are presently rated as the number three team in the country trailing the Huskies and McMaster in the top three.
Opening week play continues through the Labour Day weekend in all conferences except the Atlantic, they don’t get the season underway until week two. College football in Canada has come a long way since the early days and now provides some pretty entertaining football, many of the folks on the field this year in the CIS will be seen in the CFL in the years to come. If you live near a CIS school, college ball can make for an enjoyable and cheap night out for the family. Check out a team near you.