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Three Downs: Huskies open season vs. Manitoba

The Huskies face Manitoba on Friday night (photo Derek Mortensen/ Electric Umbrella)

Another CanWest season begins on Friday night, under the lights, at Griffiths Stadium. Huskie Outsider weighs in on the game and the upcoming season with another edition of “Three Downs.”

1st down: How important is it for the Huskies to start the year off with a win?
Dallas: It’s important. Not crucial but important. If they lose the first game, chances are they will be chasing the Dinos all year. Putting up a decisive win would give them a lot of confidence and put the rest of the conference on notice that the Huskies are for real.

Tom: With the expected strength in the Canada West, it’s more important to get off to a quick start this year than most other years. The Huskies only face Manitoba once – which doesn’t normally occur with the team you open the season against – which adds extra importance in terms of any tie-breaking scenarios at the end of the season.

2nd down: What win/loss record will be needed for first place in the regular season, and how do you see the Huskies’ chances of finishing in that spot and earning home field in the playoffs?
Tom: Likely 7 – 1, with an outside chance of 6 – 2 and winning tiebreakers against another team with the same record. The Huskies definitely have a chance to finish first, but it won’t happen unless they can beat Calgary at least once – something the Huskies used to do so frequently that it once seemed automatic, but now hasn’t occurred since a season sweep of the Dinos in 2010.

Dallas: 7-1. I think the Huskies have an excellent chance. The Dinos will be favoured but as the Bisons showed last year, the Dinos can be beat. I think the Huskies match up very well with the Dinos and they will have the two best games in the CIS this year. I don’t see anyone in the conference beating the Dinos except the Huskies.

Third down: What will be the key matchup to watch between the Huskies and Bison?
Dallas: I like the matchup between the Huskies’ receivers and the Bisons’ rebuilding secondary. The Bisons still have good athletes like Tyler Fong there, but they lost some mainstays like Tremaine Apperly, which will hurt. Hillis, Trumpy, Ozmun, Lynch, Godfrey and Lalonde are a lot to handle for experienced secondaries. They will make life tough for the Manitoba defense.

Tom: The Huskie offensive line vs. the Manitoba defensive line. The Manitoba starting DLine was too much for Guelph to handle in their non-conference game two weekends ago. I like the Huskies’ offensive line – including their depth should it be needed – and they will be a tougher matchup for Manitoba than what the Gryphons offered, but make no mistake about it, this will be a tough challenge for the Dogs. I’m interested to see if they can consistently open holes for our running backs. Win this battle, and the Huskies will be very tough to beat on Friday.

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