Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cats Win!

Wow. That was awesome and most enjoyable. Especially compared to last year, where sitting as I do in section 5, I was surrounded by annoying Rider fans (or even worse Andy Fantuz fans). This year, there weren't a lot of yappy Rider fans, as pretty much every play except for the phantom interception went our way.

Congratulations to Cobb on going over 1000 yards rushing and picking up 159 yards on 25 rushes. Also, awesome play by local boy Dave Stala with nine catches for 126 yards, including a TD. That represented more than half of Kevin Glenn's 233 yards on 21 for 35 passing. Apparently Bruce was one for one passing for four yards, but I missed that.

Also awesome was the Cat defence with six sacks, which hopefully gets up from last place in the CFL sack race. Durant was a sucky 8 for 20 for 66 measly yards. Andy Fantuz had a mediocre game with three catches for 27 yards, which I enjoyed considering the idot "Tuz" fans in my vicinity.

Good to see over 24,500 fans, although probably close to 5,000 were Rider fans. Thanks for your money!

CFL Previews, Week 18, Part 2

Calgary at BC,
Calgary is favoured by 1.5 points. BC is only 4 and 3 at home, whereas the Stamps are 3 and 4 on the road, so that's pretty much a wash. Calgary is on a one game winning streak, while BC conversely is on a one game losing streak. Printers looks like he will start again this week, after having decent chemistry again with Geroy Simon. BC running back Mallett is questionable, which shouldn't help the Lions. For the Stamps winning next week guarantees the top spot in the West. BC needs help to come second and also wants to stay ahead of Edmonton who slapped the Argos last night, so one could argue this game means more to them. I still like Calgary.
Calgary 30, BC 28

Winnipeg at Montreal,
So this game means nothing to the Alouettes, although they are trying to maintain their perfect home record. Which is something I suppose, although the ultimate goal is obviously the Grey Cup and Montreal, despite their great teams over the years has been kinda sucky in terms of number of Cups. The Alouettes are favoured by a fairly colossal 9.5 points so I assume Calvillo will play at least part of the game. With Edmonton winning last night, next week's game is more important for the Bombers. On that basis and the fact that Michael Bishop has to regress back to his mean occasionally (Interception City!) I will go with Alouettes to stay perfect at home.
Montreal 25, Winnipeg 19

Depth Chart Analysis

On the offensive line, the usual this year, import Goodspeed at left tackle, Dyakowski and Hudson the guards, Gauthier the other tackle and the centre Hage. Glenn starts, with Cobb as the running back. Apparently no Terry Caulley this week either. Have we seen the last of him in a Ticat uniform? Williams is listed as the invisible fullback this week. James and non-import Corey Grant are listed as the receivers (Bauman is injured this week, but hopefully he will be back next week). McDaniel and local boy Dave Stala are the slots. Arland Bruce, the third iteration is listed in his weird backup receiver position they list him at every week. Kevin Robinson, who was signed a couple of weeks ago backs up James. Without an injury, I'm not sure if we will see him.

On defence, the Cats are going with the defensive line I assume that they are now happy with, Long and Hickman on the ends, McIntyre (a former end) and Adams in the interior.

Linebackers, surprise, Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson.

Bradley and Smith are the corners once again. Thompson and Tisdale are the defensive backs. Barker is in again for Beveridge, as the lone Canuck starter on the D at safety.

For the Riders on the offensive line, it is non-import Makowsky at left tackle, with import rookie Joel Bell at right tackle. Non-imports Best (who has a colossally nerdy picture on Rider website) and Parenteau at the guard spots and non-import O'Day as the centre.

Durant starts, import Wes Cats at running back, with newly elected Regina councillor Chris Szarka, non-import, as his fullback.

Queen's product Rob Bagg is at one of the wideout spots, with import Johnny Quinn at the other. Non-imports Fantuz and Clermont are at the slots. Former Cat draft pick Chris Getzlaf is listed as a backup slot, but I'm sure we will see him in five and six receiver sets. That's eight Canuck starters on offense.

Baggs and Chick are the ends. Adams and non-import Shologan are the defensive tackles.

Lucas, Williams and former Cat Tad Kornegay are the linebackers.

Non-import Alexander and Moran are the corners. McKenzie and Frazier are the defensive backs. Patrick is the saftey.

So that's two non-import starters on defence, for nine total, two over the nine required. Obviously the Riders have Canadian talent to burn. The Cats, not so much. Sometimes I wonder if O'Billovich's main skill is getting US talent (for example, Cameron Wake). Consider that the Cats have ten players now on the expanded practice roster, but only one is a non-import.

It is freakily windy down here at Tigercataonia HQ right near St. Joe's, so I assume the several miles to the West is similar. Not sure who that will benefit, although Durant seems more apt to run than Glenn, so maybe that edge goes to the Riders. Eleven degrees with a high of thirteen, so quite comfortable temperature wise. Toronto did no favours to the Cats by sucking to Edmonton, but who really expected more.

Anyways, good luck to the Cats on beating the Riders today. Hopefully some Saskatchewan fans will go home sad and depressed for once from Ivor Wynne.

Friday, October 30, 2009

CFL Previews, Week 18, Part 1

Toronto at Edmonton,
Edmonton is only favoured by four at home which seems a bit disturbing for Edmonton, considering the Argos have lost six in a row. The Argos are 2 and 6 on the road which is actually better than their home record. The Eskimos are even at home. Obviously for the Argos, they are out of it. For Edmonton, winning the next two games guarantees they get the East division crossover, so this game definitely means something. Kerry Joseph will start for the Argos who will likely play their third stringer at some point (I am too lazy to look up his name, you'll know him when you see him out there sucking). The Argos now have a 1000 yard rusher in Jamal Robertson, however their offensive line is still missing two starters and is bad even for the Argos' recent history. Edmonton is no great shakes either, but they have Ricky Ray who should be able to do enough to beat a feeble Argo team.
Smos 31, Argos 21

Saskatchewan at Hamilton,
Important game for Saskatchewan to try and win first in the West for the first time since the seventies. Wowza. Although the Riders are kind of similar to Hamilton, in that the Riders play Calgary next week, so exactly how this game matters, I'm not quite sure. For Hamilton, how important this game depends on how Edmonton does. If Edmonton wins both games, what the Cats do here doesn't matter, they have to win in the Peg next week to get a playoff spot. Hamilton is favoured by one at home which probably reflects the weird nature of the penultimate game of the regular season. The Cats come in on a one game winning streak, as does the Riders. The Cats are going with the more steady Kevin Glenn the rest of the season, however they are missing Rodriguez and maybe non-import receiver Bauman for this game. The Riders are still missing their best receiver Weston Dressler with a broken leg, but have shown their Canadian content at receiver is capable of shredding the Cat defence. The Cats are 5 and 3 at home, whereas the Riders are a reasonable 4-3-1 at home. The Cats will have to start strong to have a chance, however the fact that this game is not truly a must win worries me. That and the Cats history the past few years means that if I were actually betting I would have to pick the Riders.
Sasky 25, Hamilton 22

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Playoff Scenarios

I suppose I should say something about playoff scenarios for the Cats. Edmonton, Winnipeg and Hamilton are all tied with a mediocre record of 7 to 9. For the crossover, Edmonton must have more points than the third placed East team. If Edmonton wins their last two games against Toronto and BC, they get the crossover, because Hamilton and Winnipeg play each other in the last game of the year, thus only one of those two teams can win two games. If Edmonton loses both of their final games, both Hamilton and Winnipeg are in. If Edmonton wins one of their remaining two games, if either Hamilton or Winnipeg wins this week's game and then the other team wins the final game, Edmonton is out. Similarly if both Hamilton and Winnipeg win their games this week and Edmonton only wins one, Edmonton is out.

Interestingly, this week's games for Hamilton and Winnipeg do not decide who hosts the East semi-final. Whoever wins the final game hosts the semi-final. Edmonton winning their last two games would make the Winnipeg game huge; either you host the semi-final or you are out. In the event Hamilton and Winnipeg tie in the final game, assuming both teams either win or lose this week, I believe I read somewhere that Hamilton gets in. I'm too lazy to look it up, so don't count on it.

I will interested to see how many Rider fans show up this week in the Hammer. With Saskatchewan still tied with Calgary atop the West, this is a very important game for them. Winning makes it much easier to host the West final, which is generally an advantage to host the West final. As mentioned for Hamilton, this is a bit of a weird game. Win next week in Winnipeg and what happens this week doesn't matter. Hopefully a decent number of fans show up this week. The Cats don't seem to be whoring out discounted tickets like the last week, so there must be some healthy demand from crazed, watermelon wearing Saskatchewan fans.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CFL Power Rankings

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

Montreal is still number one, despite a rather half-assed effort last week without Calvillo. I liked Saskatchewan's win against a good BC team, albeit one led by Casey "I sucked for Hamilton" Printers. Calgary blew out a rapidly declining Edmonton team, which is not particularly impressive. Winnipeg is looking surprisingly good even with Bishop at the controls. Hamilton looked decent against Toronto, although the lack of second half production was somewhat disturbing. BC with Casey Printers I am not a particular fan of, however he didn't look too bad out there. Edmonton, suck city. Toronto, positively honktastic.

I ended up catching a little of the Argo Access show, hosted by Pinball and some woman who was able to fake some enthusiasm about the Argos, despite them being eliminated from the playoffs. The show is on the Sun network, which is primarily really old sitcoms, plus weird programs that are pretty much just informercials for Casino Rama. Likely the Argos pay for the time (which considering it is Sun TV wouldn't be much) and provide the content. Which got me to thinking about the Cats and CHCH. The Cats pretty much have a lot of video content on their site already, so putting together a half hour show probably wouldn't cost them much extra. Considering that CHCH broadcasts somewhat old movies to incredibly old movies, which I can't imagine get many viewers, there's probably a half hour available for a Ticats show, likely on the weekend. If the Cats made the content available for free, CHCH would probably get more viewers than whatever terrible old movie they would show (which would cost something for the rights, although in reality almost nothing). Hopefully the Cats will get on that.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Argo Game

It was excellent that the Cats were able to prevail fairly easily over the double blue 26 to 17 on Friday. Retaining the Ballard Cup was also a good thing, although with the Argos seemingly headed for a 3 and 15 season it isn't as satisfying as if the they were a 500 team. It was a little disappointing that the Cats were outscored in the second half 17 to 6, but they were well ahead and teams in that position tend to do that in the CFL.

Glenn pretty much cemented his starter status (although it was against a reeling Argo team) with an efficient 28 for 38 performance for 332 yards and a TD pass. Driving over to watch the game at a friend's house I heard the first play on the radio and almost snapped when I heard Moreno intercepted it for a TD, only to be called back on an Argo offside.

Bruce with five catches for 96 yards was again effective at burning his former team. McDaniel with five catches for 61 yards had a good game, as did James with five for 52. Arguably Bauman had the best game for the non-import receivers with just two catches for 46 yards. Cobb was decent with 17 rushes for 80 yards, albeit a mediocre 4.7 yards per rush. Cobb also had 7 catches for 32 yards, albeit an even more mediocre 4.6 yards average. Cobb is a decent back, but is probably one of those fungible import backs that has a good year or two and then fades away.
The line gave up no sacks against Toronto's defence, which is impressive.

On defence, Markeith Knowlton had seven tackles to lead the Cats. Hickman had four tackles and three sacks, but sadly Hamilton is still last in the CFL for sacks. Some people think sacks are an overrated stat, but I am not one of them. The Argos offensive line was so patched up, that their offense really wasn't much of a test. The Riders definitely will be.

Watching the game, I can't help but think that the biggest mistake of the Argos was signing Kerry Joseph. If the Argos had just went with Bishop, they could have saved Joseph's salary and put it towards a better offensive line, and combined with their strength on defence, they would have been a reasonable team the past two seasons. Now the Argos may get better next year, but I would not expect much of an improvement.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CFL Preview, Week 17, Part 2

Montreal at Winnipeg
Montreal is favoured by 3.5 points in Winnipeg. Montreal has won six straight, while Winnipeg has lost one as Michael Bishop came back to earth. The big question is whether Anthony Calvillo will play, and if he doesn't, how will the backup McPherson play. Montreal is 5 and 2 at home, while Winnipeg is at 3 and 4. Will Montreal let up on the accelator with no need to win? They didn't do it against Calgary or Hamilton the past couple of weeks. With Hamilton winning last night, the pressure is on the Bombers to keep even. For some reason, I think this may be the week that the Alouettes trip up.
Winnipeg 23, Montreal 19

BC at Saskatchewan,
BC has definitely been a hot team of late, coming off three wins, while the Riders tied last week. The Riders are only 4 and 3 at home, with the Lions even at 4 and 4 on the road, so there's probably not a huge amount of home field advantage effect. The Riders are still missing star receiver Weston Dressler, out with a broken leg, however last week in Calgary the Riders Canadian receivers had a great game. The story of the game though is that former Cat quarterback Casey Printers could start, with Pierce, Jackson and Lulay all injured. The Riders are favoured by four, which probably has a lot to do with Casey Printers starting. Having watched a lot of mediocre Printers play with the Cats, I'm going with the Riders.
Riders 35, Lions 25

Friday, October 23, 2009

CFL Previews, Week 17, Part 1

Hamilton at Toronto,
The last line I have seen is Hamilton favoured by 3.5 points. Which sort of makes sense, although when you look at losing streaks, Toronto has lost five in a row, with Hamilton not much better at four. Hamilton has also only won one game on the road against BC early in the season. Fortunately Toronto's home record is about as good as Dalton McGuinty governs, which after yesterday's $24.7 billion deficit is obviously not very good. But I digress. Kevin Glenn obviously starts this week after his monster passing effort last week that he ended up losing to Montreal's little used backup quarterback. As I have mentioned in a previous post, Glenn also was the quarterback in Toronto in September, which he also managed to lose. Fortunately for the Cats, the already mediocre Toronto offensive line has Keeping and Ramsay out so it will probably suck as much as any line has this season in the CFL. If Bart "Count Floyd" Andrus was smart, he would have starter Kerry Joseph roll out on every single play or hand off to Jamal Robertson. Andrus hasn't seem to adjust very well this year, so I'm sure we will see the pocket collapsing and Jospeh dragging himself off the turf, which should be enough for the Cats to win. The Cats are missing Rodriguez again, but that's hardly news at this point. Safety Sandy Beveridge is also out with a thigh ailment, but backup Dylan Barker isn't much of a dropoff and is faster. If the Cats find a way to lose this one, this season has been a failure. Plus we would lose out on the Ballard Trophy, which would be embarassing.

Edmonton at Calgary,
An important game for both teams, as Calgary is still going for first place in the West and Edmonton is trying to win a crossover. The line currently is six points in favour of Calgary. Calgary is missing non-import Labinjo this week, whereas Edmonton might be missing non-import running back McCarty. Edmonton is 3 and 4 away while Calgary is 5 and 2 at home plus a tie. Burris looked like he had returned to form last week after a few mediocre weeks, whereas Ricky Ray managed to beat the Argos. This game looks like it could be one of those weird surprise games, but you can't not pick Calgary, which is good for both Hamilton and Winnipeg in terms of the crossover.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CFL Power Rankings

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

Montreal wins, even without Calvillo. Have to go with Saskatchewan tying Calgary in Calgary over Calgary. Burris looked better this week though. BC beats Winnipeg, even without Pierce or Jackson. Edmonton manages to beat Toronto which isn't saying much. Hamilton puts on a valiant, albeit ultimately futile effort in Montreal against the league's best team. Michael Bishop woke up and realized he was Michael Bishop, complete with ridiculously low completion rate. Toronto just sucks. With three games left, can Toronto win a game and tie last year's 4 and 14 record. I bet no.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Last Game

A lot of people are raving about Kevin Glenn's performance, especially the fact he passed for over 500 yards. Somewhat lost in the raving is the fact that we lost, despite knocking Anthony Calvillo out of the game, which is what we pretty much had to do. Certainly Glenn warrants the start in Toronto this week, but a lot of people are forgetting the results of the last game in Toronto. Just in case you forgot, we lost. You might have also forgotten the quarterback for that game was, yes that's right, Kevin Glenn who lost to Cody Pickett. So for those that think that Glenn is the savior, give your head a shake.

One point I will make about passing for big yardage, is that you don't always end up winning. I would bet that the quarterback running for over 100 yards has a higher correlation of winning than passing for over 400 yards. Something to think about.

One last thing, currently Hamilton is favoured by 3.5 points against Toronto.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CFL Previews, Week Whatever 2, Part 2

Hamilton at Montreal,
With Calvillo starting at home, the Cats are in tough. Somewhat unsurprisingly the Alouettes are 12.5 point favourites. Glenn is starting so hopefully the Cats will not get off to a horrid start, which would doom them against Montreal. With Calvillo in, the Cats should make sure to get after him early to make him wish he sat this one out. Cobourne starts again at running back for Montreal after sitting out last week, so the Cats will have to find out some way to neutralize him on first down. The Cats are capable of winning if the breaks go their way, but statistically this seems unlikely. Cats don't let it get totally away.
Montreal 40, Cats 29

BC at Winnipeg,
Winnipeg is 3 and 3 at home and BC is 3 and 4 away, so there's not a lot difference there. Winnipeg is favoured by 1.5. Winnipeg is hot, winning their last three games, while BC has won their last two games. Winnipeg running back Fred Reid is apparently questionable, which is not good news for the Bombers. This is a critical game for both teams, especially with Edmonton beating Toronto on Friday. Michael Bishop paired with a good defence surprisingly works, but I'll take the coaching of Wally Buono over Mike Kelly.
BC 27, Winnipeg 24

Ticat Depth Chart

Some changes this week.

Standard offensive line this week, import Goodspeed at left tackle, Gauthier at right tackle, Hage at centre, Dyakowski and Hudson as the guards.

Glenn starts at QB, Cobb yet again at running back (no Terry Caulley anywhere it seems) and the starting fullback (which is pretty much a non-existent position on the Cats) Mac product Sadeghian. Import James and Bauman are the wide receivers, with import McDaniel at slot along with Stala. Bruce is listed as usual as a backup to Bauman, which obviously means nothing.

On the defensive line, Hickman and Long are the ends. McIntyre and Adams are new this week as the tackles. Unusual to see McIntyre as the tackle, so the Cats must be happy with Hickman and Long.

Linebackers the usual Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson lineup.

Bradley and Bo "Burnt repeatedly by Michael Bishop" Smith are the corners. Thompson and Tisdale are the defensive backs with Beveridge the lone Canadian starter on defence.

For Montreal on the offensive line, Bourke and Perrett are the tackles, with Lambert and Flory as the guards and Chiu as the centre. Unusually for the CFL, all are non-imports.

Calvillo starts, with Cobourne back as the starting running back, with non-import Kerry Carter as the fullback.

Bratton and Watkins, both imports are the wide receivers. Import Richardson is one of the slots together with non-import Cahoon.

On the defensive line, Bowman and Stewart are the ends, Wilson and Williams are the tackles. All are imports.

Ferri, Guzman and Cox, all imports are the linebackers.

Estelle and Dix (who seems to have hardly played this year) are the import corners. Parker and Brown are the import defensive backs and Boulay is the non-import starting safety.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Calgary Saskatchewan Game

That was an exciting end to the Riders Stamps game. That game had everything, including a rare pyramiding call on a single point at the end of regulation. Without injured import receiver Weston Dressler, the Canuck receivers for Saskatchewan really stepped up. Considering what we have now for Canadian receivers (Dave Stala excepted) it is sad that we traded away Chris Getzlaf for a pack of Smarties. I liked the fan sign they showed near the end that said, "Kick them in the Regina."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CFL Previews, Week Whatever 2, Part 1

Edmonton at Toronto,
Even with Edmonton sucking lately, I can't pick Toronto.
Edmonton 24, Toronto 21

Saskatchewan at Calgary,
Calgary is favoured by two at home, however their offense has been relatively horrid of late, sucking against both Hamilton and Montreal. Saskatchewan has not been fantastic, but I will go out on a limb and pick the Riders.
Saskatchewan 35, Calgary 29

CFL Power Rankings

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

Big upheaval in the rankings this week. Montreal stays on top after heartily handling Calgary in a game that didn't mean much for them. Saskatchewan beats Toronto fairly easily. Calgary looked sad and really, has Henry Burris switched bodies with Michael Bishop? BC beats an Edmonton team that has been finding ways to lose for a while and may not even end up with a cross over spot. Winnipeg is surging, with Bishop looking like the second coming of Dieter Brock and somewhat embarrassingly for all of us, Mike Kelly is not as dumb as he looks and sounds. Hamilton should feel lucky I put them above the Argos. As for Toronto, they should really dress a third quarterback.

Disturbing Stat of the Day

Michael Bishop has more yards passing (2132) than either Quinton Porter (1762) or Kevin Glenn (1698).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yesterday's Game

Wow that really sucked. Making Michael Bishop look all world really takes some doing. Also the manner in which the team sucked, right from the get go, really ruined the experience at the game. If they at least kept it close into the second quarter, one wouldn't be depressed for the entire game.

The team definitely needs to start Glenn next game. I'm under no illusion that Glenn is that much better than Porter at this point (although he is better in terms of number of fumbles per game), but you can't keep rewarding suckage over and over. Frankly I am starting to wonder about Tafralis.

I was totally off on the attendance, however where I was sitting in section 5, the whole surrounding area was packed. Annoyingly, I tried getting some seats near my season tickets, however the only ones available were ridiculously far away. Then come game time there were a bunch of empty seats right around me. With the current way the Cats are trying to force more people into certain sections for the television cameras, I would almost recommend getting tickets in the south side stands.

Ugh, now Montreal next week. One can only hope the Alouettes use their backups as much as possible.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Attendance Guess

Seeing as the Cats have sold a lot of tickets for sections 5, 6, 8 and 9 I can't see the Cats only getting 20,000. I am going to go out on a limb and predict 23,000. Of course the Cats may have just moved people who would have bought a ticket for another section.

One thing the Cats seem to be doing this year is trying to sell more tickets on the North side. I wonder if that is because the television cameras are on the South side and thus generally the North side fans.

Depth Chart Analysis

On the offensive line, Goodspeed is the import left tackle, with Gauthier the non-import right tackle. Hage, as always is the centre. Dyakowski is back at left guard, which should improve the running game. Hudson is in at right guard, as he has been since almost the beginning of the season.

Porter starts, with both Cobb as the starting running back, but #30 Terry Caulley is listed as his backup. For the fullbacks (which the Cats rarely use), Mac's Sadeghian is listed ahead of Williams.

Import Prechae Rodgriguez is back at one of the wide receiver spots, with non-import Chris "the Invisible Man" Bauman at the other. Import McDaniel is listed at one of the slotback slots, with hometown boy Dave Stala at the other. For some reason, Arland Bruce is listed as third behind Bauman and Corey Grant, but obviously I am sure he will be in there. I am not sure why the Cats always do this. Matt Carter, the fifth pick overall in the draft taken by BC that we somehow got for free is listed as Stala's backup. Not sure if he will get an offensive series.

On defence, still no McIntyre or Adams. Long and Hickman are the ends, with Montez Murphy and Bolden the tackles. The whole line is imports, with non-import tackles Kirk and Reid subbing in.

Knowlton, Floyd and Johnston are the import linebackers, surprise, surprise.

Bradley and Smith are the corners. Thompson and Tisdale the defensive backs and as always, the lone starting Canadian is Sandy Beveridge, the safety.

For Winnipeg on offence, Morley starts as the non-import left tackle, with January the import right tackle. Khan, is the center, LaBatte and Mac grad and former Ticat Donnelly the guards, all non-imports.

Bishop obviously starts, with Reid the starting running back. The starting fullback is Oosterhuis, a non-import. Amey and Bowman are the starting import wideouts. The slots are one of the Ralph brothers and Hargreaves, both non-imports.

On defence, no Gavin Walls this week. Hunt and Willis are the import ends. Big Doug Brown, a non-import starts at tackle, with import Smith as the other tackle. Charlton, Simpson and Shabazz are the import linebackers.

Craver and Johnson are the import corners, with Walls and Hefney the import defensive backs. Logan is the starting non-import safety.

So Simpson is back, which is somewhat problematic for Hamilton, but the loss of stalwart starter Gavin Walls should hopefully give Porter some time to throw.

Check out this forum post that listed the teams' winning percentages for this decade. Obviously it has been hard to be a Cat fan this decade, although I was surprised to see Calgary below 500.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

CFL Previews, Week Whatever, Part 2

Calgary at Montreal,
Calgary somehow managed to win at home last week against the Cats, despite going two and out on their last five offensive series. I'm thinking that won't work against the Alouettes. Somewhat curiously, the Larks are only favoured by three, which seems a little to little considering Montreal is perfect at home and Calgary is only a 500 road team. The one thing working in Calgary's favour is that Montreal has locked up the top spot in the East and doesn't really have to do much for the final five games. Burris looked terrible last week at home and he may bounce back somewhat, but Montreal has a better defence than the Cats. I'll call it close for Montreal, but only because they don't need to win.
Montreal 23, Calgary 22

Winnipeg at Hamilton,
Looks like Porter is starting again, with Michael Bishop of course starting for Bombers. The Bombers are coming off of victories against Toronto and Edmonton. Hamilton lost by a single point in Calgary last week. The Bombers have a good running game with Fred Reid and unlike a lot of CFL teams, stick with it from the start of the game. That running game becomes more valuable as the season goes on and the weather becomes colder. Hamilton's running game isn't bad, although they do get some yards from Porter.

Winnipeg's defence has been reasonably all season, even when the offense has been sucking mightily. Hamilton has a more middle of the pack offense but certainly looked excellent last week against Henry Burris (and Michael Bishop is kind of like the poor man's Henry Burris, with even more interceptions). Winnipeg's defence will be missing defensive end Gavin Walls, as he is gone for the season. Simpson is supposedly back with the team, although I'm not sure how much he will play tomorrow.

Hamilton is currently only favoured by 3 at home, despite having a relatively good home record at 5 and 2. Temperatures don't appear super cold tomorrow, which is better for Hamilton. If Porter can manage to at least move the ball somewhat tomorrow, the Cats should be able to beat a Michael Bishop led team.
Hamilton 29, Winnipeg 24

Here's an article in a Winnipeg paper saying the Cats only expect a crowd of 20,000 tomorrow. I think that is probably a little low, because as I reported yesterday, the Cats seemed to have moved some tickets in sections 5, 6, 8 and 9 with their various $10 ticket deals. Hard to have those sections completely filled and only get 20,000 but I guess we will see tomorrow. Decent weather could help with the walkup crowd, although apart from the endzone, there's not a lot of the cheaper seats available. Hopefully the Cats get a decent crowd for such an important game.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Too Cheap Tickets

I was Ticat HQ on Jarvis today picking up some tickets. The Cats offered season ticket holders the opportunity to buy seats in sections 6 and 8 (silver, North side, upper deck) for $10. Talking to the staff there today around 4 pm, apparently there was only singles left in section 6 (how about that, actual reporting by Tigercatatonia). Considering the game is on Monday at 4:30, it makes me wonder if the Cats could not have sold those tickets for $15 or even $17.50 rather than $10. I predict a massive move over to section 7.

There's also some Scotiabank promotion on for bronze seating in section 5, also for $10. When I asked about section 5, it seemed to be mostly filled, apart from nosebleeds and at the far west end. So it looks like the Cats have effectively papered the joint to get a good crowd on Monday. Hopefully the Cats know what they are doing in terms of devaluing their product. Admittedly, people probably spend around $10 on average on concessions and merchandise, but $10 tickets seems like to little to get that additional $10.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crossover Craziness Analysis

Four teams. Three playoff spots. Winnipeg, Hamilton, Edmonton and BC are all battling over third in the West, second in the East and third in the East, which could be potentially a crossover spot. BC, Edmonton and Hamilton are all tied with identical 6 and 7 records, with Winnipeg a game back at 5 and 8. Interestingly for this analysis, Edmonton plays BC and Hamilton plays Winnipeg. In the West, one team ends up even at 7 and 7 while the other team ends up 6 and 8 and battling for the crossover. If Hamilton wins, they are safely ensconced in second at 7 and 7, while Winnipeg at 5 and 8 is one game back of the crossover. Conversely if Winnipeg wins, both Hamilton and Winnipeg are tied at 6 and 8 along with one team in the West, however with the crossover, the team in the West must have more points than the East team to get the crossover. In this scenario, things are obviously quite tight going down the stretch. Meaningful games after Labour Day are a rarity for Ticat fans in this decade and it could end up that the Cats final game in Winnipeg could be critical. Hopefully the Cats wipe out Mike Kelly, Michael Bishop and Doug Brown this week down at the Wynne and let the Bombers sort out the crossover.

Drew Edwards is reporting on the Scratching Post that Quinton Porter will start and that Obie is bringing in another kicker. Tabernac! Glad I didn't get Setta's name on my jersey.

CFL Previews, Week Whatever, Part 1

BC at Edmonton,
This is an important game for both teams, make no mistake. Both are mired at 6 and 7, with BC on a one game winning streak and Edmonton on a two game losing streak. Edmonton is favoured by four at home. Ricky Ray wasn't doing much early in the season, started doing OK and is now back to Suckville (which is actually in New Brunswick, ha!). This does not bode well. On the other hand the Lions have Buck Pierce and third stringer Casey "Hey I'm not hurt now so I shouldn't suck" Printers. Buck Pierce's melon kind of reminds me of a Bernoulli trial in probability theory, whereas the question is not whether the coin is heads or tails, but whether Pierce sustains a concussion in the game. Since that probabilty seems to increasing with time, I am always a bit leery of taking the Lions, as without Pierce and with Jarious Jackson on the shelf the Lions will play as poorly as Dalton McGuinty creates private sector jobs in Ontario (yes that's almost Bart Andrus bad). When Edmonton this year has looked their worst, they always seem to bounce back with a win, so somewhat capriciously, I take the Smos.
Edmonton 40, BC 31

Toronto at Saskatchewan,
So the Riders are favoured by 10.5 at home. Seems apt as the Argos do have a tenacious defence, however inevitably the Argo offense will make some egregious turnover and cough up some points. That's what you get for having an aging rodeo clown as your primary quarterback and a surly backup who fires the ball to random locations on the field, apropos of nothing. Also having a coach that looks like Count Floyd isn't going to help your cause either. Riders easily
Saskatchewan 36, Toronto 7

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ticat Season Ticket Renewal 2010

So I saw the scuttlebutt on the forums about the season ticket renewals for 2010 coming out already. Obviously I thought it was a little strange that it came out with still one third of the season to go. For this season I think I had to pay some time in February and for paying in full early I got 10% off a pair of section 5's. I suppose last year if they tried to get people to renew during the season people would have laughed. Consecutive seasons of suck will do that to you and a fan needs a few months before optimism starts creeping back.

So this is quite curious and it has me wondering why they want the money so ridiculously early. Part of it seems to be get season ticket holders to pay for the theorized home playoff game (which not so amusingly is suddenly looking a little tenuous, even with Mike Kelly coaching the Bombers). Selling playoff tickets in November in Hamilton has never been easy, so I can sort of understand the thought process. Hopefully there is no other reason why they want money in October for a season that starts in late June.

I've helpfully posted the renewal form in case anyone is interested.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CFL Power Rankings

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

Montreal is obviously head and shoulders above the rest of the league, although Toronto surprisingly was able to at least somewhat keep up with them. Calgary did not look impressive winning by a single point at home against Hamilton. Their offense in the fourth quarter was anemic, however they got the win and have the second best record. Saskatchewan lost to BC on the road, but with the third best record I will stick with BC. Hamilton did not look too terrible on the road in Calgary, with a surprisingly dominant defence. Edmonton losing to Winnipeg hurts, however I still like their quarterback situation better than BC's. Winnipeg wins and has managed to get back into the race for the playoffs, even with Michael Bishop quarterbacking. Toronto looked better than Hamilton against Montreal at home, but as per usual could not get it done. The boatmen likely have the worst one two quarterbacks in the league and that's saying something this year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cats in Niagara Article

Interesting article about the Cats trying to build support in the Niagara region. Currently fans from Niagara represent the equivalent of 500 season tickets and the Cats would like to get that up to 1200. Pretty good strategy, although more than doubling will probably be difficult.

This line was interesting "In 2009, the team’s casual walk-up sales are up 40 per cent, corporate support is up 20 per cent and merchandise sales have risen 80 per cent." The corporate I can see. The walkup was probably helped significantly by the success of the Labour Day game compared to last year. Merchandise is interesting, although I am sure winning at home more often this year gives a big bump. No one wants to be wearing the colours of a 3 and 15 team.

I also found this stat interesting, "that strategy no longer works, considering the business of the CFL has grown exponentially and the cost of running a team has doubled in the last eight years, Mitchell said." Kind of strange, although 8 years of inflation is probably close to 50% anyways. Probably a case of spending money to make money, because the salary cap certainly hasn't doubled in eight years.

Cohon had a quote about television ratings, "Some of the highest-rated games are Ti-Cat games and the resurgence of the Ti-Cats has really helped us in Southern Ontario." This is good, although you would prefer people coming to the stadium, but people watching drives merchandise sales.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Calgary Game

The Calgary game was disappointing considering how the game ended, with Calgary having a festival of two and outs and Hamilton failing to get the tying point. Calgary was kept scoreless in the fourth quarter and did not get a single touchdown.

Porter was 22 for 33 for 262 yards with a single pick, compared to Burris' 14 for 30 for 132 yards with two picks. Hamilton's defence really seems to have Calgary figured out this year. There's an argument to be made for starting Glenn next game. We could, although I'm not totally convinced that Glenn would have fared that much better so at this point count me agnostic on this point. From the stats however, the one QB who should not be starting next week would appear to be Henry Burris. At least Porter seems to have clued into Stala's existence with six passes for 53 yards.

Winnipeg is looking better, but hopefully we can turn things around. Michael Bishop reminds me of a worse Henry Burris, so hopefully the Ticats defence can do enough to help the offense win the game.


It was already pretty much known that Moncton was going to get a series of CFL regular season games, but New Brunswick premier Shawn Graham let the cat out of the bag. Drew Edwards is reporting that the Cats will not be the team losing the home game next year. Likely the Argos will be the team giving up a home game in return for guaranteed revenue from the league for the event. The Argos will probably choose an opponent that doesn't historically draw well, which probably means the Riders and Cats are out. Winnipeg is a possibility, as is BC, which would be humorous from a time zone perspective. The Argos giving up a game likely makes things more flexible for them with regards to sharing the dome with the sad sack Jays and one would expect that the home game chosen would be one where two home games in a row are scheduled. Plus the other benefit for the Argos is that they are likely to still be a mediocre team next year, with a better possibility of improvement the following year.

For the Cats, it would not shock me for them to the team to have their home game in Moncton in 2011. Considering the attendance from the past two home games against the Stamps and Alouettes which were on consecutive weeks, losing one of these games would reduce Bob Young's losses by increasing attendance for the other eight games, especially removing a back to back game. Burlington Minor Football had a huge turnout to the Calgary game, moving these tickets to the Montreal game would have made for a relatively big number. For opponents, the Cats shouldn't have the Argos (obviously), the Alouettes, or the Riders. Winnipeg, BC or Calgary would seem to be the logical choices. I have relatives near Moncton, so I would even consider getting on a WestJet flight from Hamilton airport to spend a few days out there and catch the game.

Incidentally, the 60,000 plus crowd last week for the Smos at home against the Riders is a remarkable accomplishment. I looked at which team was the best road draw in 2008 in a blog post, with Saskatchewan the clear winner. With this crowd, the Riders will be even farther above the next best team for 2009.

CFL Power Rankings

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

Montreal proved this week why they were the class of the league with their utter dismantling of the Ticats. Calgary beat BC and is looking more solid as the second best team in the league. Saskatchewan proves they can win on the road, while Edmonton wasn't blown out, unlike Hamilton. BC, still mediocre, but better than the last two teams. Winnipeg ends up beating Toronto to win the battle of the wanker teams.