Football won their home opener last weekend. Now what?


UBC football’s victory against the University of Alberta Golden Bears was a much-needed win after their disaster at the exhibition game on Vancouver Island — and the excitement is not about to end.

With more than 5,600 spectators at Thunderbird Stadium, the atmosphere was perfectly set up for a T-Birds victory. Sure, UBC did make mistakes here and there, but the team still managed to lead in scoring throughout the game and come out with a 39-24 win. Even Gilles Lépine — senior director of UBC Athletics — was blown away by the T-Birds’ performance.

“[The players] played with their heart because last week was a wake up call for everybody … It’s great for the program,” Lépine had said. “Great things are coming for the Thunderbirds.”

If you’re not already pumped for the football season, you definitely will be for the next two weeks.

For the upcoming game, the T-Birds will travel on the road to meet their main arch-rivals —the University of Calgary Dinos. It will be a rematch of last year’s Hardy Cup, where the ’Birds struck down the Dinos 34-26 in their own backyard — a task that initially seemed unachievable, even for head coach Blake Nill.

For the Dinos, it’s payback time and it’s not just because they got their ass kicked in the Hardy Cup. Nill coached Calgary for nine years before coming to UBC. To the Dinos, he’s not exactly a friendly figure. The rivalry is on big time.

While the T-Birds can expect an intense battle ahead, they can at least feel relieved that six of the Dinos’ all-Canadian offensive players from last year have graduated. For UBC’s defence — which lost some key players from last year— this is definitely reassuring.

Well, not really.

On the other side of the ball, Calgary still has its stingy defence from last year, so the pressure will be on for quarterback Michael O’Connor and his offensive line teammates.

Still not exciting enough?

The weekend after will also be a big event that everyone’s been waiting for — Homecoming.

Over the years, few sporting events at UBC have captured anywhere near the same level of attention as Homecoming. Last year’s Homecoming game was one of the biggest in UBC history, which saw close to 7,000 fans watching the T-Birds beat the Regina Rams. The ’Birds’ opponent for this year’s Homecoming is once again (coincidentally?) Regina.

People are already pretty stoked. Advertisements for Homecoming are popping up everywhere on the UBC campus and David Sidoo — founder of the 13th Man Foundation and alumnus of the UBC football team — even hopes to get as many of 10,000 fans for Homecoming and set a new record for attendance.

That said, even if you aren’t really that big of a T-Birds fan, now is a moment that you wouldn’t want to miss. It rarely ever gets as exciting as this.

File photo Jon Chiang / The Ubyssey

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© 2019 13th Man Foundation.

The 13th Man Foundation is not affiliated with UBC and is a separate and independent legal entity that sets its own fundraising priorities.