Saturday, July 31, 2010


Well can't complain. Nice football celebration by Stala. The Cats had a chance to be ahead by more, but honked it up with some 2 and outs at the end. The Cats need to find a way to stop Cates from getting easy yards on first down.

Rod Black is still a douche.

Ticat Game Day: Riders Edition

So finally some changes around the lair. Gauthier stays at left tackle, but import Belton is for Rottier at right tackle. He has some experience with the Riders, although he was cut after training camp. Should be interesting to see what happens on his side, both for pass protection and running plays. Rottier takes over for Hudson at right guard. Hadn't really heard much negative about Hudson's play, but he is getting older and we have been poor on certain short yardage plays. Dyakowski again at left tackle and Hage still at centre.

No more Drisan James to kick around anymore. I'll miss those dropped balls that kill drives. Mann and Bruce are listed as the wideouts. McDaniel and non-import Stala are the slotbacks. I'm guessing non-import Bauman comes in as the fifth receiver when the non-import fullback goes out.

Glenn starts, as does Cobb at running back and non-import Brown at fullback, when they actually have one. So pretty much six Canadian starters, whether the fullback is in or not.

On defence, not much is different. The line is the same, Hickman and Long at the ends, McIntyre and Bolden in the interior.

Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson as the starting linebackers, as has been the case all season.

Heward and Tisdale are the starting corners. Dennis (who?)and Shivers are the halfbacks and since Beveridge resigned to slurp at the trough known as the Hamilton fire department, Barker gets his chance as the only non-import on defence.

So the Cats are back down to seven Canadian starters. That was probably inevitable, considering their record, but generally not the sign of a good team.

For the Riders on the offensive line, Makowsky and former Cat and import Goodspeed are the tackles. Best and Parenteau are the guards and O'Day is the centre.

Former Cat Rodriguez and non-import Bagg are the starting receivers. Dressler and non-import Fantuz are the starting slots. I assume non-import Getzlaf comes on for five receiver packages.

Durrant starts at quarterback, with Cates the running back and non-import Szarka the fullback. That's seven Canadian starters on offence, which is impressive.

For the reconstituted defensive line, the ends are Hawkins and the non-import Mullinder. The tackles are Adams and the non-import Shologan.

The linebackers are Lucas, Barrin Simpson and former Cat Kornegay.

The corners are the non-import Alexander and Omar (coming!) Morgan. The halfbacks are Frazer and McKenzie and the starting safety is Patrick.

So that's three Canadian starters on defence, for a total of ten overall. That's impressive. Something the Cats tried to do earlier in the season, but have now reverted to their old ways.

CFL Predictions, Week 5, Part B

Hamilton at Saskatchewan,
Both teams are coming in with one game losing streaks, although obviously Saskatchewan is heavily favoured, by 7.5 points. Saskatchewan has performed perhaps a little better than expected considering the losses on defence they suffered over the off-season. The Ticats? Sucking more than one would think. The Cats have a chance if they can get ahead early. They still might lose, but they have a chance. Fall behind early and it is over faster than Bob Young and Scott Mitchell can come up with lame reasons why the East Mountain is a good site for a stadium. I'm picking the Riders to win AND cover. No sentimentality here.
Riders 37, Ticats 19

Bombers at Stamps,
Calgary favoured by 6.5 at home and the Bombers are starting Jyles because shockingly Buck Pierce is injured. I can't say I think a lot about the Bombers as a team, but Calgary this year after four weeks has turned out to not be too bad. If this were in Winnipeg I would be tempted to call for an upset, but it isn't. Calgary, not covering.
Stampeders 28, Winnipeg 22

Friday, July 30, 2010

CFL Predictions, Week 5, Part A

I forgot to put up my predictions yesterday for the Argos versus the Alouettes. After the fact, but I was going to say the Argos would lose, but cover the spread which obviously didn't happen. So the Argos are pretenders.

BC at Edmonton
I don't even know what the spread is, but I'm going to go with Edmonton winning their first at home. Ballsy pick, but the Casey Printers cancer I fear is starting to metastasize.
Edmonton 21, BC 16

Thursday, July 29, 2010

CFL Power Rankings: Week 4

1. Saskatchewan
Some are getting off the train after a loss, but I still think they are the best so far.

2. Montreal
The Alouettes should face somewhat of a test against the Argos this week, but the Alouettes know how to win, even when they play a mediocre game like last week.

3. Calgary
Probably the main reason the Stamps are at number three rather than higher is the fact they barely beat the Ticats. More proof is needed for a higher assessment.

4. Toronto
Number four with a three and one record? Strange, but this is definitely an odd Argos team. Defence and special teams can get a team a decent ways, but top of the power rankings is difficult.

5. Winnipeg
A five hundred team that won with their backup quarterback last week. I doubt it lasts, but enjoy it Bomber fans.

6. Hamilton
Poor results so far, but stat wise on offense they aren't terrible. That's pretty much it.

7. BC
Sucky record and Casey Printers causing problems. Sounds familiar.

8. Edmonton
Is Richie Hall the problem? Probably not. Is Danny Maccocia? Yes. He should be canned.

Here's an article from the Post about Spec scribe Drew Edwards problems with early reporting of the Ticat lineup. Seems a bit Orwellian, but teams should just accept that other teams will know who got the majority of snaps at practice.

This whole Rob Murphy thing with Twitter is a bit silly, but I'm filing it under most publicity is good publicity for the CFL. Better the national media is writing about you than ignoring you and if it helps develop the Alouette Argonaut rivarly, tres bien.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Barker versus Beveridge, Debate Over

I suppose I should say something about Ticat starting safety Sandy Beveridge's sudden retirement part way through the season to join the Hamilton Fire Department. Besides the obvious that Barker gets the job, I'm not really sure what to say. If the CFL was more successful and had a higher salary cap these types of stories would probably happen less, although they are somewhat uncommon. One wonders if the Cats were 3 and 1 rather than 1 and 3 if the same thing happens. Also this story bolsters Tigercatatonia's thoughts that police and firemen's pay in the city are seriously out of wack on a supply and demand basis, but this is a football blog, not a libertatian screed so I'll just leave it at that.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

CFL Predictions, Week 4, Part B

Edmonton at Winnipeg
Last I checked, the spread was nil. With Pierce out I'm going with Edmonton. They aren't very good, but they have been close in some games. Not high praise mind you, but these are two mediocre teams. I dislike Ray and Whitlock, so this was a tough pick.
Edmonton 21, Winnipeg 16

Saskatchewan at Calgary
Calgary is favoured by 1.5 points at home, but I can't really see that. Calgary just isn't the same team as last year and their offensive line was decimated over the offseason. The Riders are on a roll and it's not like the Stampeders will have that much home field advantage.
Saskatchewan 37, Calgary 29

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Revenge of Bill James

So the Ticats are 1 and 3 after last night's loss and it is guaranteed the Ticats will be heavy underdogs next week in Saskatchewan. Thus the Cats could easily be 1 and 4 at the end of next week. What happened to last year's 9 and 9 season? What happened to the prognostications about a great team this year? Here's what I posted in a power rankings just before the season began:

"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."

Prescient? Prior to last season's 500 year the Cats had season of 5 and 13, 4 and 14, 3 and 15, and 3 and 15. That's a pretty bad run so perhaps last season was a bit of an aberration. If the Cats lose in Riderville next week, the Cats would have to go 8 and 5 down the stretch to equal last year's record. Not impossible, but certainly not easy either. At this point, 7 and 11 or 8 and 10 is a more achievable goal.

About last night's game, I ended up going to be early in the second half due to being in Europe for work. I hoped when I got up the Cats might have pulled one out but sadly that did not happen. Certainly the Cats were in this game for long stretches and the defence did an admirable job at keeping the Alouettes to only field goals before breaking down.

Statwise Glenn had a pretty mediocre game, completing half of his passes, 16 for 32 for 201 yards and no TDs or picks. Calvillo on the other hand had a decent game going 28 for 38 for 309 yards and 2 TDs, getting sacked three times.

Stala again had a decent game with 84 yards on six catches. There's a possibility of a 1000 yard season if he keeps it up. McDaniel was also good with 5 catches for 75 yards. Surprisingly Cobb had 64 yards receiving on five catches. He certainly didn't get much on the ground.

For me the two critical parts of the game were the inability of the Cats to punch it through from the 1 yard line in the first half and Deangelis' missed field goal from a relatively short distance. Playing ahead especially against Montreal can change the complexion of the game completely and the Cats needed that in a tough road game.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Half Time

Cats looking decent, but they can't seem to get the points. What's up with Deangelis anyways?

On the road you really need to get ahead. The Cats have certainly had their chances. Ron Lancaster used to say if you couldn't get a yard you don't deserve to win. Tigercatatonia says if you can't get a yard on the one yard line you definitely don't deserve to win.

McIntyre may be my favourite defensive player. Not Dunnigan Tarfralis man crush level, but I like him nonetheless. Obviously Stala too.

Ticats Game Day, Alouettes Edition

On the Cats offensive line, no changes from last week, all non-imports. Gauthier and Rottier the tackles, Dyakowski and Hudson the guards and Hage the centre. This week Mann and Bruce are listed as the starting wide receivers. McDaniel and non-import Stala are listed as the slots. Bauman is listed as backing up Stala. How much of the field will he see this week? Cobb is listed as the starting running back and Brown as the non-import fullback, but considering the use last week of Thigpen and Cobb together in the backfield, Brown will probably only be out for short yardage and tight end plays. Technically that's seven non-import starters on offense, but I assume most of the time it will just be the line plus Stala.

Glenn the quarterback, Deangelis kicking and Palardy punting.

The defensive line is Hickman and Long as the ends, with Bolden and McIntyre as the tackles.

Linebackers same as ever, Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson.

Heward is in at one corner with Tisdale at the other. Dennis and Shivers are the defensive backs with safety Sandy Beveridge as the lone non-import starter on defence.

For Montreal, their offensive line is all Canadian, Bourke and Perrett as the tackles, with Brodeur-Jourdain and Flory as the guards and Lambert as the centre taking over from the departed Bryan Chiu.

Bratton and Watkins are the starting wide receivers, with Richardson and non-import geezer Cahoon as the slots. Calvillo starts, Cobourne the starting running back and Carter as the non-import fullback. That's seven non-import starters on offence for the Alouettes.

The defensive ends are Bowman and Stewart. Wilson and McElveen are the tackles.

Ferry, non-import Emry and Cox are the starting linebackers. Dix and Estelle are the corners, Parker and Brown are the defensive backs. Boulay is the non-import starting safety. So that's two Canadians on defence and nine starters overall.

Duval punts and kicks.

CFL Predictions, Week 4, Part A

Hamilton at Montreal
Last I checked, the Alouettes are favoured by 7 for their home opening, but I did see it as high as 9 which seems a bit high. Then again, Montreal was perfect at home last year. Montreal receiver Kerry Watkins is listed as questionable which would certainly help the Cats, considering how many time he has burned them in the past. Montreal didn't look that great offensively last week in BC, so the question is can the Hamilton defence bottle up Calvillo enough so the offence gets some chances to mount some drives. Or vice versa. Who are the Cats this year? Worse than the Argos or equalling Montreal? Obviously as a fan, I would prefer the Cats win, but all I can say is that they will cover the spread.
Montreal 26, Hamilton 20

BC at Toronto,
Curiously BC is favoured by two on the road in Argoland. The Argo offence hasn't burnt up the CFL this year, but neither has BC and Printers is injured in some fashion. The Argos do apparently possess an excellent defence which one can't really say about the Lions. Sure Cleo Lemon has some below mediocre passing numbers, but running back Cory Boyd was excellent last week, so look to the Argos to lean on him like a crack addict on his a sister who hasn't quite given up on him. Bizarre to say, but you really have to favour the Argos to go 3 and 1 after this game. No one would have expected that before the season, but maybe that just illustrates the suck that was Bart Andrus.
Toronto 23, BC 12

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ticats, East Mountain Astroturfing!

Looking at facebook, I noticed that the Cats have launched a site promoting the East Mountain site, as I suppose the astroturfing equivalent of the grassroots site promoting the West Harbour site. Amusingly, most of the comments on the facebook post announcing the site are negative, although I'm sure they will be removed in short order. From a quick glance at the site, the Ticat arguments are a bit weak (good public transit, really?) and self serving. The problem for the Cats is that there aren't any people really passionate about the East Mountain site. It could be at Confederation Park, the airport or some other greenfield a kilometre away. I'm curious to see how this progresses.

CFL Power Rankings Week 3

So I missed last week's power rankings. It happens.

1. Saskatchewan
Can't go against the only undefeated team in the league. It pains me to say it, but Durrant may be the best quarterback in the league.

2. Montreal
Still have it going on, including a rare win last week on the road in Vancouver. This week's game against the Ticats should be illuminating.

3. Calgary
Probably don't really belong here, but they do have two wins.

4. Toronto
Wow top half of the rankings. Wouldn't have expected that at the beginning of the year. If I had more balls, I would probably have them above Calgary. Lemon is pretty mediocre though.

5. Hamilton
They played excellently last week, but the next two weeks are not friendly at all. The top two teams on the road. The Cats should have gotten wins when it was easy.

6. BC
Printers is starting to play like in his era in Hamilton. Not a good sign for the Lions.

7. Winnipeg
Crappy and maybe worse with Buck "the human concussion" Pierce out for a spell.

8. Edmonton
Sure they've been in some close games, but you can't argue against 0 and 3. They're stuck at the bottom of the ratings until they win a game.

West Harbour Lives!

Well maybe anyways. According to this Spec article, the owner (Marino Rakovac) of a property in the vicinity of the proposed stadium has a grand plan for condos and stuff at the West Harbour site. I believe there may have been a Paul Wilson column on this individual a while ago, but I'm too lazy to look for it. Cheers to Ward 2 councilor Bob Bratina for asking for consideration.

I do love the quote from Scott Mitchell though:

"This is the first we've heard about it, and any business that has any credibility whatsoever would have contacted us previous to this."

Mitchell said the new plans don't change the football club's stance on the west harbour.

"I think it begs the question, after these shenanigans continue to go on, of 'Who is benefiting from these developments in the west harbour?,'" he said.

That's pretty rich coming from him. Who's benefiting from the developments on the East Mountain? Osmington perhaps?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hamilton Ticat Cheerleaders, Season Ticket Pickup Day 2010

Here's a photo I snapped of the 2010 Hamilton Ticat cheerleaders at the season tickets pickup party (unlike last year, the tickets were actually in the envelope). The full version is massive, so maybe I'll get some page views. I forgot my camera at the opener, which is the only game I have managed to make this year, but I'll be at the next home game, hopefully camera in hand.

Hamilton Ticats 2010 Season Tickets

Last year I made a post with a photo of the season tickets, so here's this year's. A little late and a bit of a mediocre photograph, but the full version is pretty damn big. Not as big as Matt Dunnigan's man crush on Adam Trafalis, but pretty large nonetheless.

Dunnigan Trafalis Man Crush Watch

In a hopefully continuing feature, Tigercatatonia documents the man crush TSN commentator Matt Dunnigan has on Ticat third string quarterback Adam Trafralis.

"Hamilton in 2009; it was Quinton Porter, Kevin Glenn and Adam Tafralis. In 2010, things changed slightly to look like this - Glenn, Porter and Tafralis, and I would not be surprised to see Tafralis leap frog Porter by the end of the year. That's just me folks, but I'm just saying."

The corollary is of course, Dunnigan's dislike for Porter. Which brings up a potential question, what happens Glennwise if the Cats lose the next two games against Montreal and Saskatchewan on the road? The Cats are nine point underdogs currently on the road against the Alouettes which seems perhaps a bit high. Depends on how Glenn plays one would think.

Here's a good story in the Spec by columnist Paul Wilson on the stadium site issue. I still think that council will end up going with East Mountain site. It is tough for the West Harbour site when the ward councilor Bob Bratina is himself against the location plus all the suburban councilor votes. I'm glad to see people speaking up and getting organized against the East Mountain site, but as I said, getting the councilors to go against Bob Young's $15 million will be difficult.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ticats versus Bombers, Stat Rundown; Beer Prices

Hamilton managed to show that it was capable of playing a good game winning 28 to 7 and Winnipeg ended up playing like many thought they would this season. Plus Buck Pierce managed to make it to the third game of the season before being injured. All is right with the universe.

Glenn had an awesome game. 29 for 36 for 336 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. Usually with those stats one would expect even more offensive points, however one thing that does stand out is the average yards per completion, 11.6. That's actually pretty mediocre, but it is first down yardage. Which brings me to anothe point. Is it just me or do the Cats the past five years have terrible YAC numbers (yards after the catch)? Obviously with Bruce here now, who gets YAC yards, things have probably improved but historically the Cats haven't been great at it.

Buck Pierce before he was injured was 10 for 19 with 117 yards and a pick. No rushes either which was a vast improvement for the Cat defence from week one against Winnipeg. Jyles in relief was actually better, going 9 for 13 for 95 yards.

Cobb had an OK game with 53 yards on 11 carries and a TD, plus a two yard reception for a TD. Thigpen had four rushes for 18 yards. Reid had a good game for the Bombers in terms of rushing average with 8 carries for 84 yards. The Bombers were behind most of the game though.

Dave Stala didn't do much in the second half, but the overall total was impressive, leading all receivers with nine catches for 124 yards. Mann had a decent game with four catches for 54 yards and 2 TDs. Edwards had seven catches for the Bombers for 99 yards.

Deangelis missed two field goals and never even got a single out of it for his efforts. Ugly.

Johnson led the Ticat tacklers with five tackles. Otis Floyd had the only sack for the Cats. Kent, Stewart, Charlton and Glover all had six tackles to lead the Bombers.

Certainly a dominating game at home for Hamilton. Whether they can grab a win on the road in either Montreal or Saskatchewan is still an open question, but the probability of that happening has gone up after this game.

Also I just wanted to note beer prices for home games at Ivor Wynne are $8.50, which is the same price as last year I believe (Carling and Coors light tall boys). I'm not completely sure about that, but at least next year I can check this post for comparison. I wouldn't mind making a comparison post about beer prices across the league, but the only other stadium I'm likely to go to is the Rogers Centre.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ticats versus Bombers Half Time, Dave Stala Edition

What I had to go through to watch this game here in Germany.But I managed to watch some of it and I'm liking what I see so far, apart from Deangelis sucking yet again. At least no one returned a missed field goal for a TD.

Anyways, home boy Dave Stala is en fuego, with eight catches for 112 yards in the first half. I smell top Canadian and maybe even top offensive player this week. Glenn was 19 for 23 for 227 yards and 2 TDs which was awesome. Kind of sad the Cats are only up by 14, considering the defence is booting some Bomber ass too. Oh wait, that's Deangelis' fault. Here's hoping the second half is more of the same.

Nice pick by Knowlton.

CFL Predictions, Week 3, Part B

Montreal at BC
The Alouettes are favoured by five despite being on the road. Not surprising if Printers is not starting. Lulay isn't that bad but it is tough going against Calvillo. I'm going with Montreal even with the three hour time zone difference.

Edmonton at Saskatchewan
The Riders are favoured by seven and are at home and are 2 and 0. The Smos are 0 and 2. I'm guessing they are 0 and 3 after this week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beer Cup Snake at Bombers Game

Epic beer cup snake in Winnipeg in this Youtube video. Apparently in section S.

CFL Predictions, Week 3, Part A

Well being in Europe for work, I meant to get this out last night before the Argos and Stamps played, but I fell asleep at 10 pm CET. I'm pretty sure I would not have picked the Argos anyways. The Argos winning last night 27 to 24 is pretty much the story of the season so far in the CFL. The Argos already have two victories in three games compared to three all season last year. Amazing where a good defence can get you, especially one that can stop a team driving at the end (something the Ticats defence couldn't do against Calgary last week). The Argos defence can probably get them to nine and nine this season and into the playoffs, followed by an early boot in the playoffs. Defence may win championships in the NFL, but in the CFL playoffs, not so much.

Burris had a Bishoplike performance, going 20 for 40 for only 207 yards. Three TDs versus 5 picks is not a good ratio, plus he got sacked three times. I'm not sure if that should all be blamed on a new and bad offensive line or if some of the blame should fall on Henry himself. Cleo "the Party" Lemon was arguably worse, going 18 for 37 for 192 yards with a pick and sacked twice. Cory Boyd had a great game with 20 carries for 142 yards. I guess Toronto has forgotten last year's starter Jamal Robertson already, but I've always maintained that running backs in the CFL are quite fungible.

For the early Friday game, Hamilton is favoured by three at home. Hamilton wasn't terrible at home last week, whereas the Bombers didn't look good against the Argos at home. But apparently the Argos are a team to be reckoned with so who knows. I'll take Hamilton, mainly due to the fact that they are at home and not much more. If Hamilton loses this week, with Toronto, Winnipeg and potentially Montreal all at 2 and 1, that's not good.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Game Stats, Ticats versus Stampeders

Now that the loss has had a chance to sink in, let's have a look at the game stats. Looking at the raw numbers, Glenn had an excellent game, 26 for 34 for 356 yards with a TD and no picks. That's an excellent completion percentage. Burris was 24 for 37 for only 257 yards with two TDs plus a pick. Bruce had seven catches for 104 yards and Stala also had seven passes for 53 yards. McDaniel had six passes for 86 yards. Sam led the Stamps with six passes caught (62 yards), while Lewis had five catches for 68 yards.

The running game was where the Cats suffered. Cobb only had 37 yards on 13 carries which is a poor average. Reynolds had 98 yards on 15 carries. So a small moral victory for keeping Reynolds under 100 yards.

Johnson led the Ticats with nine tackles plus a forced fumble. McIntyre had the Cats only sack.

So the Cats end up losing despite some good individual efforts. Painful, but hopefully the Cats can right the ship on Saturday against Winnipeg.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ticats Lose Again

I won't say much about this loss today. Losing to the Stamps 23 to 22 is pretty painful. I hate the situation where your team gets a field goal near the end, but not quite near enough to the end of the game to prevent the other team from having a chance. A team going on all three downs is better than one earlier in the game just going down on two and it always seems like the last team with the ball ends up winning. OK we got the ball back with 14 seconds, but that doesn't count.

Not getting a TD when the Cats were at the two with first down obviously hurt. So did what happened at the end of the first quarter. Good teams get ahead and stay ahead.

I'm not really sure who to blame. Rottier obviously improved, although the Bomber front seven is probably better. Deangelis missing some relatively easy field goal hurts. Cobb didn't do much again. Thigpen is a jewel.

Hamilton didn't seem to get the break with penalties, but I can't really blame the refs. The Cats had opportunities.

Decent opening crowd at 25,248. Big jump over last year's 23,211. After this loss, I'm a bit concerned about last week's attendance against Winnipeg.

Ticats Depth Chart, Week 2

The all non-import offensive line is the same as last week, Gauthier and Rottier as the tackles, Dyakowski and Hudson as the guards and Hage as the centre. James and non-import Bauman are listed as the starting wideouts. McDaniel and non-import Stala are the starting slotbacks. Mann is listed as backing up James. Glenn the quarterback, with Cobb as the running back and Brown as the fullback, who I doubt we will see much of.

On defence, Long and Hickman are again the starting ends. Bolden and McIntyre are the starting interior linemen, whereas last week non-import Kirk was listed as starting.

Linebackers as usual are Johnson, Floyd and Knowlton.

Bradley and Tisdale start at the corners. Dennis and Shivers are the defensive backs, with non-import Beveridge as the safety. Deangelis kicks and Palardy punts.

So overall not much change from last week, with the Cats listing eight Canadian starters on offense and one on defence.

For Calgary, the offensive line is Archibald and Harrison as the tackles, non-imports Comiskey and Myddleton as the guards and non-import O'Neill as the centre. Two imports on the line is a little unusual. The starting wide receivers are Bryant and non-import Franklin. The slotbacks are Sam and Lewis. Burris is the quarterback, with Reynolds the running back and non-import Cote as the fullback.

The starting defensive ends are non-import Labinjo and Hughes. The defensive tackles are Claybrooks and Johnson. The linebackers are Jackson, Simpson and Raymond.

The corners are Browner and Anderson. The defensive halfbacks are Collins and Smith. The safety is non-import Lysack. Maver kicks and Dales punts.

So the Stamps have five Canadian starters on offense and two on defence.

Lemon Party!

In a big shocker, the Argos won 36 to 34 over the Bombers, behind the quarterbacking of Cleo Lemon. Lemon was only 15 for 23 for 162 yards compared to Buck Pierce's 25 for 35 for 366 yards with 3 TDs and a pick. Looks like my prediction that the Argos would win more than three games (four games was the precise prediction) is a lot more likely.

Friday, July 9, 2010

CFL Predictions, Week 2, Part A

Toronto at Winnipeg
The Bombers are favoured by 11 at home last I checked which is amazing. I think as the season progresses, Toronto will improve to at least become semi-competitive. Barring a stiff shot to Buck Pierce's melon early in the game (which if I was an Argo fan I would highly recommend as a strategy) the Argos get beaten badly. Sorry Cleo, no Lemon Party tonight.
Winnipeg 35, Toronto 11

Calgary at Hamilton
Hamilton is favoured by two at home which I'm a little surprised at. Evidently the bookmakers figure Rottier will somehow do a better job at tackle than last week. The Cats could strategize and have Glenn roll out more to compensate, but I doubt they will. Calgary's defence is hard to grade from last week after playing the double blue's feeble offense, but I suspect they're not that great. Hamilton's offense should be able to do more, but I'm going with Bill James' baseball truism that teams that improve greatly from one year to the next inevitably take a step backward the following season.
Calgary 22, Hamilton 21

CFL Power Rankings Week 1

1. Saskatchewan
Showed their offense could light it up, despite some defensive shortcomings.
2. Montreal
Lost a tough one on the road, but should annihilate the weaker teams in the league
3. BC
Beat Edmonton on the road. Printers looks reasonable.
4. Winnipeg
Surprise winner in week one. Look good as long as Pierce doesn't get his 23th concussion. LaPolice is a massive upgrade at head coach.
5. Calgary
Beat the Argos with a lot of offense, although the fact they couldn't get more points out of it is distressing.
6. Hamilton
Lost on the road, but didn't look too bad in the second half.
7. Edmonton
Lost at home. Does Ricky Ray still have what it takes to guide his team above 500?
8. Toronto
Bad. Will they get more than the three wins from last year? I predict yes. Four.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

East Mountain Site Inevitable

From all the stories I've read online today, it looks like the East Mountain site is looking more and more inevitable. I'm disappointed, for a lot of reasons. The main one is the fact that money from the Future Fund is being used on a green field site, that probably would have been developed anyways and had commercial property taxes paid on it. Why use the Future Fund if you're not going to clean up a derelict brown field and instead facilitate sprawl, which eventually ends up costing the city even more money? That's what a lot of media types from outside the city don't understand. If it was just federal and provincial money, I wouldn't care as much, but the city is putting up a lot of their own cash for this. If it was known in the beginning that a green field site would be chosen, the Future Fund cash would never have been committed in the first place. Now the city will be accused of being dysfunctional if they were to withdraw it.

I'm also not convinced that the location will be as successful at drawing regional fans as the Ticat management claims. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I'll be disappointed if the new stadium gets built and the Cats still have trouble drawing crowds. What then?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ticats Stadium, West Harbour versus East Mountain

I should comment on the Spec story about the two locations that came out of the facilitation process. I've already gone on and on about the West Harbour, but the East Mountain location, up at Pritchard is new. Obviously, I'm not a fan of it either, although I'm mildly more in favour of it than Confederation Park. From a regional transit standpoint, it is a disaster. Compared to West Harbour, where GO train service is going to be extended to Liuna Station, there's pretty much nothing. One could catch the GO bus from Toronto and then take a bus up the Mountain, but that's a pretty long journey and not really practical. From Mississauga, Oakville or Burlington, one could take the GO train to Liuna, take a bus to Gore Park and then more buses. Even less practical. Who knows what the price of gas will be in 2015 and beyond? What will traffic be like on the QEW and 403 in 2015 and beyond? Compared to Confederation Park, where currently regular service consists of buses on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer there is regular service. Although I can say as someone who grew up on the East Mountain, the HSR isn't orientated towards getting people from all across the city to the southern part of the East Mountain.

I concede that the Cats will get considerably more revenue from parking at this site, maybe close to a million a year. Because nobody will take public transit there.

Basically this site does the bare minimum for Hamilton. It keeps the Cats here, but does almost nothing else for the city. It is far from city hotels (although if Mercanti actually builds his hotel on Stonechurch that's something) and restaurants save for the chains in the power centre nearby.

The focus on "driveway to driveway" makes me wonder if we're still in the seventies. Where else in North America are people still building stadiums on the outskirts of town?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ticat Aftermath

Well, I wasn't expecting the Cats to royally suck against the Bombers. Especially considering they had both a kickoff and a missed field goal return TD from Thigpen. Clearly Rottier was having a difficult time with the tackle position and makes Jason Jimenez' potentially long term injury especially troublesome. Cobb certainly didn't do much going 22 yards on seven carries. Glenn by no means had a good game, and I'm willing to call him out on it, unlike some on the TSN panel at half-time. Glenn ended up going 15 for 30, with a TD and a pick and a fumble. That's some Bishop-like numbers. He'll have to play better next week or starting Porter becomes an option for week three. McDaniel had a good game, with over 100 yards receiving, but Bruce didn't do a lot and Stala was criminally underused. Drisan James in incompetent and shouldn't be starting.

The defence was especially disappointing, giving up a lot yards and 49 points. There was four sacks, with Floyd getting two himself. The linebacking corps had a large number of tackles between them, but didn't seem like they had a great game apart from limiting the run. I'm not sure what safety Sandy Beveridge was doing, but I didn't notice him during the game and that's not a good thing. The defence was hung out to dry by the offense, spending too much time on the field, but Pierce getting 89 yards on the ground with 6 carries was a big difference maker.

Hopefully the Cats can learn from the tape going into this week against the Stamps. They basically have to improve everywhere.

Friday, July 2, 2010

CFL Predictions, Week 1, Part B

Hamilton at Winnipeg,
Winnipeg's Buck Pierce starts out the season uninjured, but no one really knows how long that will last. Hamilton is infinitely deeper at quarterback and has a continuity at coaching and overall that the Bombers just don't have. Admittedly, the Cats are on the road where they were last year. The spread I saw last was three in favour of Hamilton; I'll give the Ticats a slight edge.
Hamilton 29, Winnipeg 22

BC at Edmonton,
Edmonton is favoured by four at home. I'm not sure really where to go on this one. Printers played well in the playoff victory against Hamilton last year then sucked against the Alouettes the following week. I'm not sure Ray is as great as he once was, but Printers can be hot and cold. So consistency versus ups and downs. In week one, I'll take consistency in a close one.
Edmonton 25, BC 23

Thursday, July 1, 2010

End of Riders versus Alouettes

Another extra man penalty in overtime to extend the game? At least the Riders ended up winning, although I would have laughed pretty hard if they lost.

End of Regulation, Riders versus Alouettes

An awesome game so far. I have to admit that I thought the Riders were done at several points in the second half. Nice to see former Cat Prechae Rodriguez get a TD. The Riders offence is looking impressive too. Montreal is still Montreal, but I'm not sure they're the 15 and 3 team from last year.

Alouettes, Riders Half Time

Well Calvillo throws an interception but ends up with three TDs in the half. So apparently no rust on him. And he runs for a first down. Saskatchewan's defence started out decently but tailed off as the half went on. Not sure if Montreal is that good or the Riders that bad.

Ticats Season Opener Depth Chart

The depth chart for tomorrow is up already. Apparently I should have paid more attention to training camp, since I was surprised by a few things.

The offensive line is pretty similar, apart from Simeon Rottier at right tackle, with new pickup Ramsay as his backup. Gauthier is the left tackle, Dyakowski at left tackle, Hage at center and Hudson at right guard. Some guy named Dewit is backing up at center, with Morencie backing up Hudson. A veritable festival of non-imports, with nary an import to be seen. With Jimeniz on the nine game injury list, it will probably stay that way. Hopefully Rottier can hold up his side.

For the receivers, not much difference from the end of last year. James and non-import Bauman are the receivers with the slotbacks being McDaniel and non-import Stala. Bruce again is listed as backing up Bauman, like they did last year, which makes no sense, but he'll be out there all the time. Cobb is the running back, with two year man Darcy Brown, out of St. Mary's is actually listed as the starter. I predict a shitload of five receiver sets with Cobb in the backfield. Glenn starts. That's eight Canadian starters on offense. Crazy and good.

On defence, Long and Hickman start as the ends, with Bolden in the middle and non-import Kirk listed as also starting in the middle. McIntyre is listed as a backup, but I assume he'll be in a lot for Kirk.

Linebackers, Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson. Easy.

In the secondary, Bradley and Tisdale are the corners. Dennis and Shivers are the defensive backs, with non-import Beveridge starting over Barker at safety (a bit of a surprise). That's potentially ten Canadian starters, although Kirk and Bauman strike me as not being true starters, no matter what the chart says.

Deangelis kicks and Palardy punts. Hopefully Palardy can do the job.

For Winnipeg, they apparently don't have it listed yet. I'll check and go over it tomorrow if they deign to list it.

CFL Preseason Grey Cup Odds

Looking at Bodog, the current Grey Cup odds are:
BC 6/1
Calgary 5/1
Edmonton 7/1
Hamilton 10/1
Montreal 7/4
Saskatchewan 10/3
Toronto 25/1
Winnipeg 22/1

Well the Argos being last is not much of a surprise. The Ticats are listed at sixth, which seems a bit harsh since they are less than even, but probably reflects the overwhelming odds the Alouettes have. The Riders being second is a bit surprising, but some team has to be. Can't really argue with them at this early stage.

CFL Predictions, Week 1, Part A

Montreal at Saskatchewan,
Last I checked the Als are favoured by three. A rematch of last year's Grey Cup, one would assume the Riders will keep a close eye on the number of players on the field. Calvillo should be relatively fresh coming off the off-season, however the Rider front four is decimated losing John Chick and Stevie Baggs to the NFL. Can the Riders find adequate replacements. I would bet no, although Hamilton as an example last year did OK in that department, in terms of finding new guys who would perform. I still like the Riders' Canadian receivers, and Weston Dressler returning makes them more potent. Picking up Prechae Rodriguez adds some depth, although how much playing time he gets early is a question. Montreal seems to be mostly the same, with the most important loss being Bryan Chiu, their former center to retirement. Until I see otherwise, I'm picking Montreal, even on the road.
Montreal 29, Saskatchewan 19

Toronto at Calgary,
Calgary is favoured by 13 at home, which could well be charitable. With the Argos starting Cleo Lemon (certainly not a fearsome football moniker) at quarterback versus the veteran Henry Burris, things could get smelly for the double blue in a hurry. The Argos do have Chad Lucas and Jermaine Copeland at receiver, so if they actually had a quarterback, they might be able to do something. The Argos sucked at offensive line last year too. Maybe former Ticat Gagne-Marcoux will help, but that's asking a lot of a guy who couldn't beat out an aging George Hudson at guard. Calgary has Romby Bryant and Nik Lewis at receiver, although their offensive line has gone from good to suckitude over one short off-season. There could be some sacks in this game although I don't have a lot of confidence in either defence. Calgary has taken a step down this year, but Toronto is in shambles.
Calgary 24, Toronto 9

CFL on NFL Network

The NFL network is going to broadcast 14 CFL games this season (starting with the season opener tonight), partially solving the problems the league has been having with getting games shown in the US. No games are shown in August, with most games being on Friday. The Ticats are shown five times, as are Montreal, and Calgary. Toronto gets the short end of the stick with only two games. Apparently even the NFL knows they're going to suck this year. Relations between the CFL and the NFL can't be that bad if this is happening.