Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ticat Depth Chart

A few changes this week in the Ticat depth chart. First off, the big news is that Kevin Glenn might start at quarterback. Offensive line however, is pretty much the same as has been for quite some time. A change also at receiver. Rodriguez in at wideout, together with non-import Chris Bauman, however at one of the slots Boise State product Drisan James is in for Chris Davis. Local boy Dave Stala is in at the other slot. Cobb is the running back and John Williams is the fullback in the rare situations where the Cats actually play with a fullback. Arland Bruce is listed behind Bauman, but I assume as in previous weeks, he comes in for the five (and six) receiver sets the Cats favour this year.

On the defensive line, injuries have caused some changes. Darrell Adams and Garrett McIntyre are out. Khari Long and Hickman are the two ends. Montez Murphy is one of the tackles along with Bolden. Hopefully this won't be a week spot for the Cats, as Adams and McIntyre are likely the best players on the defensive line when healthy. At linebacker, Johnson, Floyd and Knowlton yet again. No Barrenechea backing up at linebacker, as he is out with blood clots, but instead Mac product Ray Mariuz.

A change in the secondary as well. Bradley is in at cornerback over Gordon. Thompson, Beveridge, Tisdale and Smith make up the rest of the secondary.

For Edmonton, their offensive line is made up of import McGrath at left tackle, non-imports Koch, Fiaconni, Kabongo "the human holding machine" are at guard, centre and guard respectively. Import Armstrong is at right tackle. Imports Mann and Challenger are the wideouts. Imports Stamps and Hill are the first two slots, with non-import and former mediocre Ticat Kamau Peterson is the third slot. Non-import McCarty is listed as the starting running back, although I thought I read that he was injured. Former Laval quarterback Bertrand is the starting fullback.

Peach and Ellis are the two import ends. Romero and Jackson are the two import tackles. Where have all the Canadian defensive line players gone? Restilli, Lloyd and Hill are the import linebackers, although I thought I read that Lloyd is out with an injury. Corners are imports Goss and Buhl.

Keys and Malveaux are the import defensive backs, with Richardson the lone starting Canadian on the Edmonton defense at safety.

Friday, August 28, 2009

CFL Previews, Week 8, Part 1

Calgary at Toronto,
Former rodeo clown Cody Pickett starts at quarterback for the Argos after not totally sucking a la Kerry Joseph last week. Calgary is not the team it was, and their defence seems to be quite porous, especially against the run. Calgary's best receiver Ken-Yon Rambo is likely done for the year. Toronto however is quite mediocre, although running back Jamal Robertson is probably one of the best running backs in the league. The Argos also have a wretched nine game home losing streak going and don't seem to have non-import defensive tackle Adriano Belli in the lineup due to injury. Probably will end up closer than in previous weeks, as the team is improving and double blue coach Bart Andrus acclimatizes to the CFL, but Calgary still wins.
Calgary 30, Toronto 26

Hamilton at Edmonton,
Just how injured is Quinton Porter anyways? He certainly looked off last week against Saskatchewan, both throwing and running. Bellefeuille has been vague about who is starting, but Glenn would appear to be the favourite to start. Ticat receiver Chris Davis will apparently be sitting this game down (alledgedly for some easy drops) in favour of some new guy I'm too lazy to look up and also skeptical that will do much. On the defensive line, Darrell Adams and McKintyre are both out which will make things tough for the Cat secondary if there is not much of a push or pursuit of the quarterback. Edmonton is missing lineback Maurice Lloyd which probably doesn't help them. Edmonton is at home and Ricky Ray has been playing better than the start of the season, so unfortunately the Eskimos have to be favoured.
Edmonton 35, Hamilton 21

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Balsillie, Back Somewhat, Yet Again

In my somewhat lame efforts to follow the chances of Rim Jim Balsillie's quest to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, I pretty much folded the tents when I heard that Michael Dell's (of Dell computer fame, or infamy if you have owned several Dell products) investment company that owned a huge chunk of the Coyote's debt had switched to supporting Chicago sports magnate Jerry Reinsdorf's bid. I thought that with Dell on board for Reinsdorf's bid, Judge Redfield Baum would be more likely to side with Reinsdorf's bid. I did mention in my last post on Balsillie that things would get tricky for the NHL if Reinsdorf drops out. And lo and behold he has, forcing the NHL to make a bid for the team to try and counter Jim Balsillie.

This is actually quite amusing as the NHL is now down to their last gambits from preventing Balsillie from taking over the team. The NHL has tried pretty much everything they could to get the Balsillie bid rejected by the bankruptcy court (not that I blame them for these tactics, they just hoped something would work) and now seems to have failed. The NHL is still trying to get Balsillie's bid rejected by the court, via their 26-0 vote against accepting him as an owner, however the situation now, where the league is really the only other bidder it seems unlikely the court would now punt Balsillie from the process. The NHL now has to come up with around $212 million to outbid Balsillie, after already having covered probably $30 million in losses this year as a secured creditor, plus cover probably $60 million in losses next year before reselling the team. So since the $30 million in loses will sort of be recouped by their own money, that is $272 million for the bid and next year's losses, or almost $9 million per team. Plus, the NHL has probably spent untold millions on lawyers on this debacle. I am sure the NHL can come up with the money some how, however I do wonder at whoever lends them the funds (as I doubt they have over $200 million just lying around in a reserve fund) and what interest rate they will charge.

I believe Balsillie still has the option to raise his bid, which would put the NHL in an even tighter spot. Probably the most amusing thing that could come out of this would be if the NHL raises its bid, it would end up giving more money to Moyes, even though they have argued all along that the money Moyes lent the team should be counted as equity and thus not part of the creditor arrangement. So basically the NHL would be taking money from all the other owners to line Moyes pockets.

I will raise my Balsilliemeter to 30% from 27%. Still unlikely for Hamilton to get the team, but the NHL is very desperate and all their previous tactics have failed to derail Balsillie.

Weekend Sports Ratings

Chris Zelkovich's blog has the weekend sports TV ratings for last weekend, and once again, the CFL games are on top. Apparently 480,000 people (likely ornery Manitobans in disbelief a Mike Kelly team could win) watched the Bombers manhandle the hapless Lions and prevent Wally Buono from tying Don Matthews for the lead in all time CFL wins. A total of 408,000 watched the Riders lose in Montreal (although I'm sure some watched on RDS too). Other noteworthy ratings, the Angels at Jays on TSN on Saturday, 12th overall with 141,000 viewers as the Jays season slowly slides into oblivion just like every year, and Toronto FC at Chivas, 17th with 40,000 viewers on Sportsnet and likely lower than whatever informercial was on CHCH at the same time.

Incidentally, Matthews overall record was 231 wins, 133 losses and a single tie. Buono is listed as having 227 wins, 112 losses and three ties. Both of these total are taken from Wikipedia, and are I assume for regular season wins. I think that in the wikipedia total, Buono's three wins this year are not counted. However, Buono does have a notably better winning percentage (not helped of course by Matthews sucking for the last eight games of the season with the Argos).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Home and Away Records So Far

In a previous post, I looked at home and away records in the CFL over the past few years. At this point in the season, CFL teams have won 16 games at home versus 14 on the road, or 53.3%. This is much lower than over the past few years, where teams have won significantly more games at home than on the road.

Amusingly, Toronto has lost three games at home, while winning none, and won two games and lost games on the road. Probably not great for Argo attendance, as they haven't won in Dead Ted's Dome since Friday, August 1st, against Winnipeg 19-11. The Argos haven't won at home since Ted Rogers' death, so maybe there's some sort of curse. Maybe it can only be lifted by something to do with gouging people for wireless and cable service excessively.

Hamilton by contrast, is 3 and 1 at home and 1 and 2 on the road, which is good for the fans at least.

CFL Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Edmonton
3. Hamilton
4. Saskatchewan
5. Calgary
6. Winnipeg
7. Toronto
8. BC

Obviously with only two games this week, not much can happen, especially with Montreal winning and staying on top. Edmonton doesn't play so stays up there. Hamilton also doesn`t play, but moves up one over Saskatchewan due to the Riders losing in Montreal and showing that they are mostly a home team. Calgary doesn't go anywhere.

No for the last three spots, Winnipeg moves into sixth after their 37 to 10 thrashing of BC. I don't usually toot my horn when it comes to my weekly picks, but I did predict that Winnipeg would beat BC, not just by that margin. Evidently from running back Fred Reid's rumbling all throughout the area where the linebackers should be, and Hamilton's two victories over BC, BC's run defence honks worse the Liberals under Stefan Dion. Frankly going forward, I wonder how well BC can do when everyone now knows this. Winnipeg, under the excrable Mike Kelly at least has now a template to possibly win games: run Fred Reid as much as possible, try to keep Michael Bishop from having to do too much and hope a strong defence keeps you in the game.

Toronto seems to be at least improving a little bit with Cody Pickett in at QB. Proving that Pickett is no worse than Kerry Joseph is something somewhat valuable to have learned. With cornerback Byron Parker returning and the receiving corps perhaps shaping up from the clusterfuck it had been after the release of Arland Bruce, the double blue at least are a bit better than the Lions who seem truly pathetic. Jarious Jackson as starter? Not exactly sure who the number three QB for BC was at the start of the year, but we may be seeing more of him.

Friday, August 21, 2009

CFL Previews, Week 8, Part 1

Saskatchewan at Montreal,
The Riders were great in the first half at home against the Ticats last week, and well, mediocre in the second half. The Riders have traditionally been a better home team than a road team, even by CFL standards (although not BC Lion territory), which I proved is a homer league in a previous post. Montreal is great at home and good on the road, especially this year. Given the Alouettes ability this year to play a full four quarters unlike other teams, the Riders are in trouble. Durrant will see more of a pass rush from Montreal than last week, plus a more consistant offense.
Montreal 35, Saskatchewan 21

Winnipeg at BC
Battle of two crappy teams, although BC is trying to drag itself out of the cellar and has a chance to be 500 if they win. Buck "Glassman" Pierce has yet another concussion, so Jarious Jackson will start for BC at quarterback. Jackson historically has been better coming off the bench and has sucked when given the chance to start, which normally doesn't bode well, but they are playing Winnipeg. Winnipeg has Bishop now, which is better than LeFors (he of the $90,000 pay cut) and the CFL's leading rusher in Fred Reid, although they still have a feeble offense. The Bombers have ballhawk linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz which strengthens a good defence. I'm going against the grain and picking Winnipeg. Just a gut feeling with Jackson starting and no Pierce to come off the bench if he honks it up.
Winnipeg 29, BC24

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Edmonton
3. Saskatchewan
4. Hamilton
5. Calgary
6. BC
7. Toronto
8. Winnipeg

Montreal first is obvious. Edmonton gets a bump for beating Calgary, while Saskatchewan gets a bump as well for beating Hamilton. Hamilton drops mainly because of the terrible first half. Props for coming back to tie, but looking that dreadful in an opening half isn't usually indicative of a good team and usually one assumes the worse. Calgary actually has to show they can beat a good team. Looks like losing linebacker JoJuan Armour (now with BC which perhaps is not coincidentally doing better) for discipline reasons before the real season starting isn''t working out so well. BC better than the last two teams, but still was down and could have lost to Toronto. The double blue look better with Pickett in and with cornerback Byron Parker coming back from the NFL, could end up a bit better, considering the mediocrity that abounds in the CFL this year. Winnipeg, well, someone has to be last.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Disappointing Loss

I was only able to watch last night's game up until 8 pm last night due to being stuck overseas (and also sadly for the Labour Day game). Certainly things were looking pretty poor for the Cats offense and I wasn't surprised to see Porter get the hook after doing pretty much as little as possible barring repeated picks. From the little I saw, Glenn didn't do much either in relief, but I was glad to see the Cats were able to battle back to tie in the second half. Certainly compared to the Riders, the Cat offense was looking pretty vanilla and certainly not fooling anyone. Maybe the Cats have to work on some creativity in their offense. Giving up 23 points in the first half and not even getting a field goal is to much come back from.

I was also a little sad to see the return of Adams and Floyd to the defense from injuries didn't amount to much. I can't really blame the defense though. If the offense is repeatly going two and out and can't move the ball, eventually the defence will get burned.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Depth Chart, Regina Edition

Offensive line, same as the last few weeks, four non-imports, blah blah.

Rodriguez and Bauman are listed as the starting wideouts, with Davis and Stala as the slots. So four starters there. Curiously Arland Bruce is listed below Bauman, so I guess he is in for five and six receiver sets. The Cats don't seem to run a lot of four receiver sets, so I guess that works. Cobb at running back and Canadian John Williams is listed at fullback.

McIntyre and Hickman are the defensive ends. Looks like McIntyre has supplanted Khari Long permanently at end. Darrell Adams is back starting, with Bolden beside him.

Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson are the linebackers, with Floyd coming back from a concussion taking over from Haley at MLB.

Gordon, Thompson, non-import safety Beveridge, Tisdale and Smith are the secondary. Wow, the Cats lineup is remarkably stable. Funny how winning does that.

Apparently depth charts are too much for either the IT staff at or the coaches to provide, so no analysis there. However the Riders helpfully show who's on the nine game injury list. The list has a colossal ten people on it. Some probably are legitimately injured and some are probably parked there like former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell to avoid other teams snatching them up from the practice roster. The Riders are bringing in a lot of revenue, so that is one way to finesse the salary cap. No idea how many the Cats have on the nine game list, although I do know that Zac Carlson is on the list and I am guessing he is not injured, just not ready for prime time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

CFL Previews, Week 7, Part 2

Montreal at Winnipeg,
Obviously one has to go with Montreal on this one. Last I checked, the Alouettes are favoured by 8 on the road, which seems a bit generous to Winnipeg considering some of the lines over ten that have been given out by Vegas this year. Winnipeg is certainly better under Michael Bishop than Stefan LeFors, however they are no match for Montreal`s efficiency. Not a lot really needs to be said.
Montreal 30, Winnipeg 21

Hamilton at Saskatchewan,
Somewhat surprisingly Saskatchewan is favoured by six at home. Considering that they have lost three of the past four games, that strikes me as a bit unusual. Conversely the Cats have won three of the past four games. Obviously the odds makers consider the home record over the years of the Riders to be incredibly important.

Hamilton has had another week of practice with Arland Bruce, plus the return of Otis Floyd and Darrell Adams means the Ticats really have no major injury problems to speak of. Saskatchewan`s best Canadian receiver Andy Fantuz is apparently still out with a hamstring, although Getzlaf is a worthy replacement and defensive tackle Scott Schultz retired mid-season. Probably the main reason for the Cats still not getting a lot of respect is that the offense is still prone to stretches of two and outs. The Cats are close to being a dominating team, but still need to take a few steps and learn to go for the jugular. I`ll take the Cats in a close one.
Hamilton 33, Saskatchewan 29

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jesse Lumsden Apparently Operated on Successfully

Lumsden has had what is described as successful shoulder surgery and is done for the year. I suppose the definition of successful will be known next season. Hopefully he will make it past the first quarter of game one next year. Edmonton has seemed to adjust after a few games to not having Lumsden in the lineup, especially considering their victory last night against Calgary.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where Did the Ticat Viewers Go?

The sports ratings in Canada are on Chris Zelkovich's sports media blog this week. The fabulous Ticat Eskimo game was third, after the Riders versus Lions game and the Bombers versus Stampeders game. The game had a total of 354,000 viewers which is quite a comedown from the viewership of the previous week against BC that had over 500,000 viewers. Where did you all go?

CFL Previews, Week 7, Part 1

Calgary at Edmonton,
This is a tough one, with Edmonton looking decent on the road against the Ticats and Calgary looking a little schizophrenic against the Bombers in Winnipeg last week, although winning in the end. Edmonton's passing attack has been working the past few weeks, but the main problem is the team's penchant for turnovers deep in the other team's half. On the basis of not a lot of knowledge of Calgary, I'm going to go with Edmonton at home. Calgary is still a good team, but they seem to have lost something from last year, plus they've lost their best receiver in Rambo for quite some time. I didn't think much of Edmonton early, but they've proved to be at least a mid-level team.
Edmonton 39, Calgary 34

BC at Toronto,
This game has continuing disaster written all over it for the Argos. The Argos are apparently starting former rodeo clown Cody Pickett at QB after the blue team was shut out in Montreal. An inexperienced QB starting is tough anytime, however when the rest of the team is as bad as the Argos, that's when things go really, Billy "the Skid" Dickens poorly. Pickett at least has the advantage that he started two games last year under the woeful Don Matthews regime. I suggest, as I usually do for the Argos to at least give the ball as much as possible to Jamal Robertson. Plus Pickett should, when the chance arises, run whenver there's open ground. That could keep the game near to somewhat respectable (as the Argos defence is still OK) and maybe might give an opportunity for a rouge or a field goal to prevent another shutout. BC seems to be improving somewhat, but they are still a mediocre team, albeit one that has been given the gift of the Argonauts this week.
BC 29, Toronto 1

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last Time the Cats Won Three in a Row at Home

So tracking down when the Cats last won three in a row at home was harder than I thought. On the CFL site, they only go back to 2005 showing all the game scores. I did manage to find several gambling sites that had records older, although I'm not completely sure they are right.

Surprisingly, the last time the Cats won three in a row at home was in 2002, when they went 7 and 11 (with apparently an overtime loss). The Cats won not just three games at home in a row, but an incredible six. Of course that means their record on the road that year was not so hot, but compared to the last few years, six wins at home is good times.

June 29, 25-15 BC
July 8, 34-31 Calgary
August 1, 34-31 Sasky
August 22, 30-9 Ottawa
September 2, 22-14 Toronto
September 15, 35-28 Montreal

I haven't bothered to look whether Hamilton won the last game at home in the 2001 season, as that would technically extend the streak. I'm guessing they probably didn't, but maybe the last few seasons have made me a pessimist. Since the game by game information for the Cats for seasons past is spread out throughout cyberspace, I'm thinking of making a post for each season to keep track of it, for things like home wins and such. Some people like myself want to know some weird stats. It would be better if I could find it on the CFL sight, but so far I can't.

Monday, August 10, 2009

CFL Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Hamilton
3. Calgary
4. Edmonton
5. Saskatchewan
6. BC
7. Winnipeg
8. Toronto

Things are still relatively tight after the games in week 6. Montreal is still on top after blanking the rather hapless Argos. Hamilton moves into the second spot as the only other team with a winning record by handling Edmonton at home. Previously it could be argued that Hamilton only beat BC and Winnipeg, but after the win against the Eskimos the Cats appear to be for real.

Picking Calgary second was somewhat tough, as they almost ended up losing to Winnipeg after gaining an initial big lead. Edmonton could easily be third, after a strong effort against Hamilton on the road. Saskatchewan has lost a little momentum losing to BC on the road, plus their quarterbacking is becoming more and more suspect.

Of the three teams with 2 and 4 records, BC at least managed to win this week, dragging itself out of the basement. BC still doesn't seem to be a great team, but with the leaders in the west only one game ahead, BC is in reasonable position to make something out of their season. To me Buck Pierce is still a little overrated, however compared to some of the other honking QBs in the league, he is relatively decent. Winnipeg at least made a game of it with Calgary this week, and potentially Michael Bishop could occasionally do enough to help their defence to a win, but that's unlikely. Toronto offense simply sucks, with QB Kerry Joseph's limitations becoming plainer and plainer and the loss of Arland Bruce looking stupider and stupider. Maybe Bart Andrus is realizing the CFL isn't just a version of NFL Europe (and the Argo owners are probably realizing that he isn't Marc Trestman either). Defence isn't bad.

Still trying to figure out when the Cats last won three games in a row and so far Google hasn't been my friend. I have to check the results for 2004 just to make sure it didnt happen then, otherwise it is probably a few years before.

The other thing I'm trying to figure out is what is the longest amount of yards a team has even required to make a first down. Theoretically, if you were on the opponent's eleven yard line and somehow ended up back at your one, you would need 98 yards to make a first down. I seem to remember a Ticat game involving Billy "the Skid" Dicken as our quarterback against the Blue team that had a series where the Argos were penalized a ridiculous amount of times leading to a fairly large amount of yards being needed for a first down, but I'm sure there has been a down requiring a lot more yards to make the first.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hamilton versus Edmonton Aftermath

That was certainly a thrilling game that went right down to the wire. Hamilton's 28-21 victory over Edmonton was the first time that the Cats have won three in a row at home, since I don't know when. I will try to figure out the last time that happened, but I think it has been a while.

The Cat defence was again the main factor the Cats won. Edmonton had a lot of long drives, but had to settle for field goals rather than TDs, which kept the game in reach. Matt Kirk got the only sack for the Cats, an important one at the end of the game, but Edmonton was hurt badly by a number of holding calls, including one that overturned what could have been a key TD. Chris Thompson's interception followed by a lateral to Geoff Tisdale that ended up as a touchdown was probably the key defensive play of the game. Ray ended up going 23 for 37 for 335 yards, with a TD and two picks. Markeith Knowlton had a monster game, with 11 tackles and an interception in the end zone.

On offense, Porter was 26 for 37 (a decent completion percentage) for 211 yards, with one TD pass and no pickes. The passes were generally short, with the longest completion only 21 yards, however the team was able to move the football. Arland Bruce in his second game led the Cat receivers with nine receptions for 78 yards. Hopefully in future games, Bruce will break a few for longer gains. Thompson and Rodriguez had five catches each. Cobb had a decent effort, with 12 rushes for 75 yards with a TD and of course the big gain in the fourth quarter that set up the winning TD.

Certainly the Cats are looking good heading into Saskatchewan, facing a Rider team coming off a loss to BC. One has to figure the Vegas bookmakers will have to favour the Cats in this one, as everyone must know the Cats are for real.

Kind of a disappointing crowd, although the rain did look kind of heinous. The Cats don't play again until Labour Day at home versus the Blue team, so hopefully that will set up a good crowd (providing the weather cooperates). Possibility for a sellout if the Cats can keep playing decently. I'm curious to see the ratings for this game, since last week's Cats game was the highest rated sports program in Canada.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Half Time Update

Not a bad quarter, although it was disappointing that the Cats didn't really end the half on a positive note, which of course, is a bit of a Hamilton trade mark. Giving up the late field goal is annoying, especially where a bit of better play by the Cats on offense at the end would have resulted in a field goal of their own.

Periods of mediocre offense, although things seem to improve later in the half. Lot of catches to Arland Bruce which is a positive, although it seems like some of the other receivers are getting lost in the shuffle. Some good play by Ricky Ray, especially those long sideline passes that burnt the Cats.

Certainly for a while things looked a bit bleak for the Cats, but the two TDs turned it around.

Lions versus Cats Top Sports Ratings Battle

Over at Argo beat reporter Chris Zelkovich's sport media blog, he shows the ratings for the top sport broadcasts last weekend, with the Lions versus the Cats topping the ratings with 518,000 viewers, which is pretty impressive. Must be more Ticat fans outside of Hamilton than I thought.
The Riders and Stamps were second at 411,000 and the Bombers against Toronto had 337,000 viewers. Some NASCAR race was fourth. The Jays had one late game versus Oakland that had 110,000 viewers. Smelly. Actually the three weekend Jay games only had a total of 462,000 viewers which is worse than the single Ticat game. Ha. Suck on that Rogers.

I am wondering when the Cats last won three games in a row at home, which is what the Cats are going for tonight against Edmonton. Don't think it happened during the 2004 season, although I haven't checked.

Hamilton Depth Chart versus Edmonton

Standard offensive line this week yet again. Been a pretty stable unit so far this year. The backs are Cobb and the non-import Williams for four receiver sets. Prechae, Davis, Stala and Bauman are listed as the main four receivers. Looks like Bruce will come in for Williams on five receiver sets, since between the offensive line and Stala and Bauman, that's six non-import starters on offense. Watch how this progresses during the game.

For the defensive line, McIntyre and Hickman are the ends, with Khari Long backing up McIntyre. Bolden is one of the tackles, with new Ticat pickup, import Montez Murphy starting at the other tackle position (Montez is a bit undersized for this spot). Non-import Kirk goes back to backup duty. Getting some pressure from the front four on Ray will be important, otherwise it will be death by a million short passes. With Floyd still out, Knowlton, Haley and Johnson start again at linebacker. Same secondary as last week, Gordon, Thompson, non-import Beveridge at safety, Tisdale and Smith. Compared to last year, the Cats have a much more stable team in terms of starters.

For Edmonton, the offensive tackles are McGrath at left tackle and an import Armstrong at right tackle. Mac product Kyle Koch, Fiacconi and Kabongo are the interior of the line.

Whitlock is the starting running back, with Calvin McCarty backing him up. Betrand is the non-import fullback. Mann and Stoney Creek native Andrew Nowacki are the starting wideouts and Stamps, Rector and former mediocre Cat and non-import Kamau Peterson are the starting slots. Not sure if Peterson only comes in on five receiver sets or what. That's probably five Canadian starters on offense, although it is a bit confusing.

On defence, the ends are Jones and Peach. Taylor and Romero are the starting tackles. Hill, Lloyd and Restelli are the starting linebackers.

Buhl and former Cat Jason Goss are the starting cornerbacks. Malveaux and Williams are the starting defensive backs, with non-import Richardson being the only starting non-import on defence. That means there must be six Canadian starters on the offence then.

CFL Previews, Week 6, Part 2

Edmonton at Hamilton,
Edmonton has been on a two game roll, including beating Edmonton at home last week. Hamilton is coming off a home victory against BC. This could end up being a tight game and I have to admit I'm surprised that Edmonton is doing as well as it has. I'm picking Hamilton in this game, despite a bit of homerism, mainly because I have been consistent in saying that Edmonton QB Ricky Ray is considerably overrated. Basically if the Cats can get a little pressure on Ray, that should be enough to disrupt the Edmonton offense. Hopefully the Cats can combine a passing oriented attack with Arland Bruce making a contribution with some nice runs by Cobb and Porter. Otis Floyd and Darrell Adams are still out with injuries, although Hamilton's defence didn't seem to suffer too much last week. Edmonton doesn't have Lumsden, as per usual, although non-import Calvin McCarty is an excellent player.
Hamilton 29, Edmonton 27

Winnipeg at Calgary,
Winnipeg's new QB, Michael Bishop, has actually had some time to prepare, so there may be more of a Winnipeg offense this game. The Bomber defence has been decent, although ballhawk middle linebacker Sideeq Shabazz is apparently injured which is not good. Calgary certainly has the offensive talent to stay with anyone, especially getting lots of chances from a Bomber offense serving up copious amounts of two and outs. Calgary doesnt seem as good as last year, but still takes this one easily.
Calgary 40, Winnipeg 13

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Balsillie's Back in the Game, Bitches!

That's right NHL board of governors, Balsillie is back in the auction for the Phoenix Coyotes. The article states that rival bidder Jerry Reinsdorf is getting sick of the hassle of trying to buy the Coyotes and made noises about dropping out. Reinsdorf's bid is contingent on some sort of weird area around the stadium having an additional sales tax or something to support the team. Doesn't seem like something the voters would like. If Reinsdorf drops out between now and the September 10th auction date, the NHL will be in a tricky situation. Sure they just rejected Balsillie as an owner, however in a bankruptcy proceeding how much weight will be given to the NHL's wishes over that of creditors is not certain.

On the Balsilliemeter for a team coming to Hamilton, I currently rate it at 27%, much higher than before Judge Redfield Baum's latest ruling. Maybe higher than it deserves to be, but the lack of competing offers besides Reinsdorf's (and I don't really count the one where Phoenix would play a few games in Saskatoon, which frankly is only one step up from the joke the Toronto Legacy was/is) is the justification.

CFL Previews, Week 6, Part 1

Toronto at Montreal
Well this game does not seem like it will bode will for the double blue. Finding a way to lose to a Winnipeg team that used a QB hired mere days before is bizarre, plus Toronto makes a million turnovers. Getting back receiver PK Sam will help down the line, but right now Toronto's offense is poor. Getting back receiver Reggie McNeal into the lineup after a Bart Andrus benching should help a bit too, but really Montreal should steamroller them. Montreal just has too much consistency on offense and the ability of their defence to get to and hurry the QB will keep Toronto below 15 points. Plus they are at home.
Montreal 39, Toronto 14

Saskatchewan at BC
BC lost in Hamilton last week but did have chances to win. Plus their offense put up a decent amount of yards despite not scoring a lot of points. Saskatchewan managed to pull out a last second win at Calgary, which due to a huge number of Rider faithful was almost a neutral site game. BC has picked up JoJuan Armour, cast out from Calgary's training camp for interteam violence, but for BC that intensity is probably a good thing, although Armour is getting a bit crotchety. Apparently non-import middle linebacker Javier Glatt will sit, as I guess the blame for the Cats DeAndra Cobb running rampant on the BC defence fell on him. Saskatchwan should win this one (despite their non-import defensive tackle Scott Schultz retiring to buy and run an insurance business after five games, which is a bit sad), although call me crazy, I'll pick BC. Still don't have huge confidence in Rider QB Durant.
BC 29, Sasky 23

Monday, August 3, 2009

CFL Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Saskatchewan
3. Hamilton
4. Edmonton
5. Calgary
6. Toronto
7. Winnipeg
8. BC

Some difficulty this week, although not as many teams log jammed at 2 and 2. Montreal at the top is still an easy pick. Saskatchewan managed to pull out a win against Calgary on the road and generally finds weird ways to win. Hamilton has to go above Edmonton, simply because I still don't believe in the Eskimos over the long term. We'll see in any case this week if the ranking is justified. Calgary manages to lose at home to go below 500 but they are still miles ahead of the bottom three. Toronto wins handily last week, loses incompetently by one this week at home. Still better than Winnipeg, even if Winnipeg is somewhat better with Michael Bishop at the helm. BC still hasn't shown anything and one has to wonder if after being favoured last week against Hamilton whether they can be favoured again.

In BC news, the Lions have picked up JoJuan Armour, a former Cat linebacker and a winner last year with Calgary of a Grey Cup last year, before being booted for altercations with teammates during training camp. The Lions defence was effectively a sieve last week against Ticat running back DeAndra Cobb. Often Cobb would get past the line and where one would expect a linebacker to be, instead there was open space. Armour is getting up there in age, but the Lions defence is holding them back and they'll rarely win if they can't stop the run

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Whither Dave Stala?

Certainly Tigercatatonia is not one to question a victory too much, but one wonders about whether hometown boy Dave Stala gets more passes when Kevin Glenn is in as opposed to Porter. Stala caught a single pass for eight yards last week with Glenn in the entire game. Last week with Porter and Glenn splitting the quarterbacking duties, Stala caught seven passes for 86 yards. Part of this may be due to the relatively paltry passing numbers put up Porter in the last game, with Porter going 17 for 31 for 171 yards, a TD and a pick. There just wasn't that many completions, with Rodriguez having the best day with five catches for 49 yards. Stala did appear to be shaken up on on play, but did come back to play. When Arland Bruce III is fully integrated into the Ticat offense and the Cats still running the ball, how many passes will be available for the remaining Cat receivers?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Winnipeg Toronto Game

Watched parts of this game, a battle of two terrible offenses. The truly sad thing is that Winnipeg's offense under new quarterback Michael Bishop was better than last week under Stefan LeFors. Bishop even looked good for the first half, before the Argos figured him out somewhat. Joseph probably suffered from not having Bruce or Reggie McNeal to throw to. Toronto had chances at the end, including the field goal attempt that was marred by a time count violation. Both these teams have to be considered at the bottom of the league, although their defences are both decent.

Argo second overall draft pick Legare didn't look bad replacing Belli at defensive tackle, so I guess Buffalo signing Corey Mace doesn't really hurt them that much. Toronto running back Jamal Robertson ran well in the second half, until fumbling critically near the end. Sometimes you just roll a one.

That ties the Argos and Bombers at 2 and 3, one game back of the Cats and only two behind Montreal. Looking ahead to next week, Toronto is in Montreal and Winnipeg in Calgary. I would be highly surprised for the visitors to lose both of those games. Opportunity for the Cats to put a little distance between themselves and the cellar dwellers.