Calvillo starts out healthy and that's the main thing, even if Alouettes backup quarterback may be out a while. The Als lost centre Bryan Chiu to retirement, but they are still a deep team that went 15-3 last year and even if they go 12-6 this year, that's good enough to be best in the league, unless the Ticats really have their shit together. If Calvillo gets injured, they're probably screwed, but he has proven surprisingly resistant.
I don't feel particularly strong about Calgary, but they did well in the preseason and have a solid starting quarterback in Henry Burris, plus they have Joffrey Reynolds at running back. Their offensive line was ravaged during the offseason by the NFL, so that is one large question mark.
Maybe a bit of a homer pick, but the Cats are relatively solid at quarterback compared to most CFL teams, their offensive line is relatively intact from the previous season (although what is the fallout from the Jimeniz injury is unknown) as is their defence. Cobb has turned out to be a solid CFL running back that can win games and all indications from the preseason are that he will continue where he left off last year. Baseball statistician Bill James has stated that whenever a baseball team outperforms one year compared to the previous season, inevitably the team has a dropoff the next season. The Ticats went 9 and 9 last year after back to back 3 and 13 seasons, but with a solid returning team the Cats have an excellent chance to go over 500, for the first time in a while.
This was a tough pick and below Hamilton, the teams seem pretty much the same. Edmonton lost narrowly to Calgary and beat BC narrowly in the offseason which doesn't really convey a lot of information. The Smos weren't great last year, but not bad either. They do have a reasonable quarterback in Rickey Ray, although judging from last year, his best years might now be behind him. No Jesse Lumsden to be injured the entire season either. Can't remember much about the Edmonton defence last year, so I won't say anything about them.
5. BC Lions
This is probably a dubious pick, The Lions were able to beat Hamilton in the crossover playoff game last year with Casey Printers at the helm. BC beat Saskatchewan narrowly and lost to Edmonton narrowly in the preseason, with Printers not looking particularly great. The Lions do have Wally Buono as coach, so that's enough to warrant fifth position for me.
The Riders lost defensive linemen John Chick and Stevie Baggs to the NFL which will definitely weaken a strong defence. Durant isn't a bad quarterback and I do like the strong set of Canadian receivers the Riders have. I just the think the defence will cause the Riders problems this year.
No more Mike Kelly to make fun of this year. Starting Buck Pierce as your quarterback is always a crap shoot, as he is either going to play a good game or get a concussion. New coach Paul Lapolice seems like an upgrade over Kelly, so that should help somewhat, but the Bombers were a team in disarray last year and will probably have a hard time at the start of the season (ie this week).
Uh, not a lot to say about the Argos. Until they show something, they are in the basement.