Monday, February 21, 2011

How Perfect has Carleton's season been?

For those of you still counting, this season's perfect 22-0 league record was the fourth in Head Coach Dave Smart's 12 years at the helm of the Carleton Ravens.  The 4 perfect regular seasons have come in the past 8 seasons (2003-04, 2004-05, 2007-08 and 2010-11).  In each of the other 3 undefeated regular seasons, the Ravens suffered just one other (non-conference) loss ('02-'03 to UBC at UVic's Christmas tournament; 03-04 to UVic by 1 at House-Laughton tournament in October; '07-'08 to Acadia in the CIS National semi-finals in triple overtime in one of the greatest CIS/CIAU games ever played). 

Carleton remains undefeated (29-0) against CIS competition this season so that in of itself ranks this Ravens group as one of the greatest in the Smart coaching era.  But digging even deeper and comparing this season with the other undefeated seasons, this team arguably ranks as dominant as any Carleton team Smart has ever coached.  Consider that in his three prior undefeated OUA regular seasons, Carleton won games by more than 20 points:  6 times in '03-'04; 4 times in '04-'05; 12 times in '07-'08... this season Carleton won 17 of 22 regular season games by 20 points or more.  Carleton won every game by double digits (minimum 13 points) except for one game: won by 8 at Laurier.  Carleton's average margin of victory was 30 points this season (91 ppg for vs. 61 ppg against).

Also consider where many pundits had forecasted Carleton to finish after falling in the CIS semi-finals last season and losing 6'8" All-Canadian Kevin McCleery to graduation.  Some went even far enough not to annoint the Ravens to their customary pre-season #1 seed: 

with only one championship in the last 3 seasons and the loss to graduation of their main go-to offensive player, All-Canadian Kevin McCleery, unlike most seasons there are legitimate reasons why the Ravens are likely not the consensus #1 pre-season team this year.  Much of that stems from a comparatively younger core group with only one fifth-year player and two fourth-year stalwards. 
Internet message boards in the pre-season echoed the sentiment that the Ravens had slipped a bit.  It is in the face of this that Carleton had arguably its most dominant regular season ever with Coach Smart adjusting to simply finding another way to play with the talent available to him. 

Certainly the OUA East was down this season and much younger division, although OUA East did have by far the best stable of freshmen in the country.  Nonetheless the Ravens were as dominant as they've ever been defeating OUA West championship Lakehead at home by 26, holding the explosive Thunderwolves to 49 points, winning by 19 on the road at second place OUA West finisher Windsor, twice knocking off OUA East second-place finishers Toronto Varsity Blues and winning a pair of double digit games against cross-town rival uOttawa Gee-Gees among their 22-0 season. 

With the playoffs looming and several excellent teams across the country more than capable of winning a National championship, an undefeated season is far from a sure thing for Carleton.  However, as attention turns not only to the playoffs, but post-season honours, it is difficult not to count this most recent Carleton season (29-0 overall vs. CIS, 22-0 in OUA) as among the greatest regular seasons in the recent history of the CIS.

4 comments:

Martin Timmerman said...

See http://cishoops.ca/cishist/cisthsummary.php?Team=Carleton and follow the links for details on Carleton record over past seven seasons.

canadel62 said...

When did STFX beat Carleton at the UNB, Eric Garland, tournment?

Anonymous said...

X beat Carleton 61-59 on Saturday Oct 22, 2005.
It was one of four losses on the season for Carleton (30-4).
Carleton had its 87 game regular and post season win streak snapped by Brock 69-67 on Jan 7 2006 and also lost to Ottawa 63-62.
They were upset by York 82-74 (Doornekamp out with broken ankle) in the OUA East final but won the Final 10 tournament as a #3 seed missing a key player.

Martin Timmerman said...

Oct 22, 2005 StFX 61, Carleton 59