Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, Week 13

1. Montreal
There, I did it. Montreal back on top. Sure it was close against the Bombers, but you're not going to win every game with a bitchslapping.
2. Calgary
Obviously still a great team, but getting pounded by 19 points by the Lions doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.
3. Saskatchewan
Weathered an early storm and beat the Ticats with bombs and some convenient turnovers by Hamilton.
4. Hamilton
Had their chances against a good Rider team. Doesn't have the killer instinct like the top teams in the rankings. Secondary appears to smell too.
5. BC
Beats Calgary and suddenly not so crap. We're pretty sure that Printers will soon get some silly injury and they'll start to suck again, but for now they're the best of the mediocre.
6. Toronto
Sure they lost somewhat pathetically against the Eskimos. Still they have good defence and special teams and if they could get back Cory Boyd they would be reasonable.
7. Edmonton
Not the worst team in the league. We'll see if they're sort of for real this week.
8. Winnipeg
Somebody had to be the worst team this week and despite playing the Alouettes tough, there's not a lot of wins this year for a team that was freed from Mike Kelly.

These photos of Calgary Stampeder quarterback Henry Burris posing in a bra, with a woman also wearing a bra are a bit puzzling. Surely there will be some signs in the stands in the next couple of weeks.

Here's an article suggesting the Cats be the team to be the home team in Moncton next year (I'm sad that I've never included Ticat Boogaloo as a post title). Attendance hasn't been bad this year, but it hasn't been great this year either. It makes sense for Bob Young financially. The Cats spread their group sales over one less game and potentially lose one of their poorer performing home draws. I still would bet on the Argos being the team next year though.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ticats Lose to the Riders, 32 to 25

It is always annoying when the Cats lose at home to the Riders because you're inevitably surrounded by a shitload of Riders when you sit on the North side of the stadium.

Obviously the Cats started out hot, going up 15 to 0, so credit to the Riders for not folding.
where a lot of teams would have. For me the TSN turning point was probably giving up the TD to Saskatchewan just before the half. Or either of Cobb's fumbles deep in Rider territory.

What should the Cats do about Cobb anyways? Fumbles are inevitable and the Riders practically tried to strip every time, sometimes to their detriment, but still two critical fumbles in one game is nasty.

Bruce at least went over 1000 yards (1037) and could break the Ticats single season receiving record of 1656 yards set by Tony Champion way back in 1989. Stala has over 753 yards and has a pretty good shot of getting to the 1000 yard mark. I assume the last non-import to do that for the Cats was Mike Morreale, but I haven't checked it. Not sure what the all time mark for non-imports is either.

Kind of surprised the Cats only got 23 thousand and change against the Riders. Relatively poor weather? Up against SuperCrawl? Night game? Cheap Hamiltonians?

Friday, September 24, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, Week 12

1. Calgary
Sure they lost to Saskatchewan last week, but it was close. If they lose this week I may reconsider the top ranking.
2. Montreal
Calvillo is back and they whack a sad sack Edmonton team.
3. Saskatchewan
Lose one week to Winnipeg, then beat Calgary the next. Doesn't make a lot of sense, but these rankings are a lot of what have you done for me lately.
4. Hamilton
Hard fought victory over BC on Pacific team at Empire. Defence seemed a bit weak in the first half, but turned it on in the fourth quarter. We'll see if they're for real this week.
5. Toronto
Beat the Bombers last week in pretty inept fashion. How a team with Cleo "the Party" Lemon can still have a winning record after 11 games in the CFL is a mystery. Certainly there's some suckier teams out there which is kind of scary. The Argos are a better team with Cory Boyd in the lineup.
6. BC
Hard choices here. Stayed with a decent Ticats team last week. Offence wasn't bad, until Casey Printers morphed back into the turnip he was in Hamilton in the fourth quarter.
7. Winnipeg
Couldn't beat Cleo Lemon without Cory Boyd. Weak.
8. Edmonton
Still sucking, albeit against one of the better teams in the league.

There's an article here in the National Post that Ticat Stevie Baggs got a call from the Arizona Cardinals, who had cut him, after he signed with the Cats. Ouch. That's some lost money there.
Hopefully he takes out any bitterness on Darian Durant.

I also like the Ticats Fantuz Flakes idea. One thing I hate about section five when the Riders come is all the idiot Fantuz family and friend entourage who come and sit around me. Sometimes sitting on the South Side seems appealing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CFL Previews, Week 11, Part B

Winnipeg at Toronto,
The Argos are favoured by a mere one point at home where they are three and one. Winnipeg is zero and five on the road, so the Argos should have an advantage. The Argos offensive line is beat up with Zeyl and maybe Gagne-Marcoux out this week. Not sure if Boyd is out this week or not. Belli appears to be out too, but with the signing of Ricky Foley that should improve the line and certainly help out with the ratio. Winnipeg is still missing Pierce, but Jyles isn't too bad. Winnipeg has a one game winning streak and Toronto a three game losing streak, so I'll go with momentum.
Winnipeg 29, Toronto 26

Edmonton at Montreal,
Montreal is favoured at home by a massive 13 points, which may be the biggest spread this year. Calvillo is back, the Alouettes are four and one at home, the Eskimos winless on the road and Edmonton just a bad team. Pretty easy to go with Montreal
Montreal 37, Edmonton 15

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hamilton at BC Lineup Preview

On the offensive line, Gauthier and import Jimenez at tackle, Dyakowski and Rottier at guard and Hage at centre. Mann and Bruce start at wide receiver, McDaniel and non-import Stala start at slot. Reggie Fish is listed as a backup receiver. Glenn starts, as does Cobb at running back and non-import Brown at fullback. That's six Canadian offensive starters.

Some weirdness this week on the defensive line, with Hickman and Jeremy Gibbs as the starting ends, and Bolden and non-import Kirk starting in the middle. McIntyre is listed but I thought he had an ankle injury.

Linebackers as always, Johnson, Floyd and Knowlton.

In the secondary, Heward and Tisdale start, with Dennis and Shivers as the defensive backs. Non-import Barker is at safety. That's two non-import starters on defence and eight total, one above the minimum.

For BC, on the offensive line, import Randolph and McGrath start at tackle. Hameister-Ries and Olafioye are the guards and Reid the centre. Black and non-import O'Neil start at wide receiver. Three starting slots are listed, Simon, non-import Jackson and Arceneaux. Printers starts at quarterback, with Davis the running back and non-import Lee as the fullback. McCallum kicks and punts.

Williams and non-import Johnson are the starting defensive ends, with Williams and Brown in the middle. For the linebackers, I think the starters are McKenzie, non-import Gesse and Reddick, but it is hard to tell from the pdf.

For the starting corners, it is Geogre and non-import Sanchez, with Phillips and Franks as the defensive backs and non-import Arakgi as the safety.

Friday, September 17, 2010

CFL Previews, Week 11, Part A

Calgary at Saskatchewan,
The Stampeders are only favoured by 3.5 on the road, which seems a little light considering the Riders were annihilated by the Bombers last week. Calgary has a seven game winning streak going, four and one on the road however the Riders are perfect at home. Pretty much have to go with Calgary here. The Riders are a good team, but not a great team.
Calgary 35, Saskatchewan 25

Hamilton at BC,
BC is favoured by 3.5 at home, even though they are only 1 and 4 at home. The Cats are only 2 and 3 on the road. BC has won two straight, while the Cats have lost one. This one is a tough one to call. Which Hamilton team will show up? Or more precisely which Kevin Glenn? Unfortunately for the Cats they will not have new signing Stevie Baggs in the lineup, who would definitely help corral BC quarterback Casey Printers. This is a late game, which never benefits Eastern division teams. This factor makes me pick BC in a close one.
BC 25, Hamilton 22

Montreal at Hamilton, Aftermath

Montreal at Hamilton
Originally uploaded by philinator
I didn't comment right after the Ticats 27 to 6 loss, mainly because I was irritated at the Cats not getting it done against the Alouettes without Calvillo in the lineup. I'll give credit to Montreal's backup quarterback McPherson who did what he had to do to win. Certainly 21 for 37 passing for 238 yards with one TD and a pick is pretty mediocre, but 16 rushes for 121 yards is fantastic. McPherson constantly made the Ticat defensive line look stupid by making big runs up the middle. This possibly contributed to Hamilton signing Stevie Baggs this week.

Glenn, after a great game on Labour Day, plainly sucked last game. Going 11 for 27 for 159 yards with a pick, numbers that even Michael Bishop would laugh at. Amazing that Glenn could go from such a high completion rate one week to the depths the next. Cobb had four rushes for 59 yards, but a lot of those yards came right at the end.

Personally I thought the turning point was the failed fake punt. Getting that would have made a big difference in my mind. Hopefully the Cats will do better this week in BC.

A set of photos from the game is available here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stevie Baggs Signs in the Hammer!

Tigercatatonia might have preferred signing Rickey Foley, just because he's a non-import, but no question the signing of Stevie Baggs upgrades the Cat defensive line which was mostly ineffective versus Montreal last week. I like the 12 sacks last year certainly, but the 55 tackles is impressive as well. It will be interesting to see who gets reduced playing time with Baggs on the roster.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, Week 11

1. Calgary
Not really much to be said. Head and shoulders above everyone else.
2. Montreal
Apparently the Alouettes can win convincingly without Anthony Calvillo. Who knew?
3. Saskatchewan
Sure they sucked in the Banjo bowl on the weekend, but they are still a decent team.
4. Toronto
Signing non-import defensive end and 2009 sack king Rickey Foley is enough to juice the Argos into fourth even starting Cleo "the Party" Lemon.
Losing lamely against a Montreal team with Calvillo. Exceptionally feeble offense. They better right the boat soon.
6. BC
Convincing win against Toronto at home, but Casey Printers can still suffer a small injury that keeps him out of the game at any time.
7. Winnipeg
Three wins! The crossover dream lives on.
8. Edmonton
Still sucking. Hopefully Eric Tillman can help the Eskimos, but I recommend avoiding him when he mixes medications.

Friday, September 10, 2010

CFL Power Rankings: Week 10

Should have gotten this up earlier, but here they are:

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

CFL Previews, Week 11, Part A

I'm writing this as the Calgary Edmonton game has already started, but I emailed myself my picks earlier, so there is no cheating. Of course, I could have sent myself a bunch of emails and just pick the appropriate one to show, so you'll just have to accept my honesty.

Calgary at Edmonton,
Bad, bad team versus best team, although bad team is at home. I'm picking Calgary, although closer this week.
Calgary 30, Edmonton 21

Montreal at Hamilton,
Obviously the main fact here is that Anthony Calvillo is not starting, instead Adrian McPherson, fresh off the nine game injured list. Monteal is coming off a loss, Hamilton has won four straight. The Ticats are favoured by 3.5 at home which isn't that much considering no Calvillo. After seeing the beating BC gave Montreal last week, I have to go with the Cats. Hamilton has a decent front four, which should make things difficult for McPherson, especially since he's wearing a brace. Perhaps big things for Garrett McIntyre.
Hamilton 35, Montreal 25

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lumsden to Play for Bombers?

There's an article in the National Post about Buck Pierce getting injured, yet again. No surprise there, but at the end of the article it mentions the Bombers interest in another oft injured player, Jesse Lumsden. I predicted that Lumsden would probably not be signed until midway through the campaign. Whether he could last another nine games is another question, that I would be inclined to answer no.

The fact that Calvillo is supposedly not playing this Saturday in Hamilton is welcome news. Which ever backup is playing, hopefully the Ticats can mangle the Alouettes like BC eventually did last Friday. People often point out the success of Montreal GM Jim Popp, but Tigercatatonia wonders how much of that success is due to having Calvillo for a large chunk of those years in Montreal, as opposed to say Jason Maas or Casey Printers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ticats Victory!

Well that was enjoyable, especially after consuming three large mugs of 50 at the Prince Eddie before proceeding to the game. For me the TSN turning point was the fake punt for a first down by Wilbur. Sure the TD off the blocked punt just before the end of the half was important, but continuing drives, keeping the defence on the field is what wins are made of and that's what that fake punt did.

Excellent completion percentage for Glenn, going 27 for 33 for 313 yards with a TD and pick each. Once could make a decent argument for Glenn being the best quarterback half way through the season. Nice play by Stala picking up 90 yards on seven passes and continuing his march to 1000 yards on the season. I wasn't really sure what he was trying to do with his celebration after the TD, but the hacky sack is hard to top. Cobb only had 20 yards on ten carries, but sometimes the run sets up the pass.

Cleo "the Party" Lemon was actually decent statwise except for the three picks, passing for over 300 yards (although losing teams often pad their passing stats at the end).

A few worries on the injury front, especially after reading this in the National Post:

I'm hoping that Jimenez is ready to start next week, especially if offensive tackle Belton Johnson is out too.

The million dollar question next week is whether Calvillo will start for Montreal next Saturday. I hope the Cats get a good crowd whether Cavillo plays or not. Looks like we won't have to worry about the Alouettes leading special teams tackler next week, due to uh, a bar fight. Getting dummied unconscious outside a bar is never fun.

Toronto lucks out by playing BC next week, which could mean for a tight race for first in the East.

Football Outsiders

Here's a post from the footballoutsiders.com site, discussing some truths in NFL football after a lot of research. A lot is intuitive, but interesting throughout.

Some truths seems highly NFL specific, but some apply equally to the CFL, especially the one about receivers being judged on both complete and incomplete passes. Drisan James, I'm looking at you.

I'll probably come back to this article in future, looking for what does and doesn't apply to the CFL.

CFL Previews, Week 10, Part B

Toronto at Hamilton,
Hamilton is favoured by a only four points at home, indicated the teams are quite closely matched. The Ticats have a three game winning streak while the Argos have lost one. The Cats are 2 and 1 at home, while the Argos are even on the road. In their last meeting, neither offense could get on track and the Argos lost primarily due to penalties (at least in my opinion).

When the teams are close, two factors can be useful in predicting a CFL game. First, who has the better quarterback? Hamilton obviously. Second who has the better Canadians? The Ticats have an edge here, starting eight versus the Argos seven, which shows more depth. Plus Argo non-import tackle Van Zeyl may be injured this week, putting even more pressure on the Argos to come up with a suitable replacement or rejig the ratio. The Argos do have arguably the best defence in the league, so anything can happen, especially in a close game.
Hamilton 25, Toronto 23

Edmonton at Calgary,
The Eskimos win last week and are rewarded with being 12.5 point underdogs on the road, one of the higher point spreads of the year. The Stamps are perfect at home and the Eskimos have no wins on the road. Calgary also has a five game winning streak. Various injuries on both sides, but the Eskimos seem more depleted, especially with regards to receivers (Stamps and Peterson). I could do some more analysis, but Edmonton is simply a bad team this year.
Calgary 42, Edmonton 25

The Star's Damien Cox had an article about Ticat former safety Sandy Beveridge quitting the team to become a firefighter. As a Hamilton taxpayer, if there's 2000 applications for 14 spots, maybe we are paying firefighters too much, where that money could be put to better uses like lowering business taxes. Here's another article from the Star on the Labour Day game, complete with Otis Floyd quotes.

Here's a Globe article on some of the recent NFL cuts pertinent to the CFL, including receiver and Hamilton draft pick Samuel Giguerre who had been with Indianapolis. Will he ever play for Hamilton?

Tigercat Game Day: Labour Day Edition

On the offensive line, the depth chart lists pretty much the same line as the past few games, Gauthier and import Johnson as the tackles, Dyakowski and Rottier as the guards and Hage as the centre.

Mann and Bruce are the starting wideouts, with McDaniel and non-import Stala as the slots. No Americans listed as backup receivers.

Glenn has the controls, with Cobb as running back and non-import Brown as the fullback. So that's six Canadians on offense.

A little different on the defensive line, with Hickman and McIntyre as the ends, with Bolden and non-import Kirk in the middle. Long backs up.

Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson are the linebackers.

Bradley and Tisdale are the cornerbacks, with Dennis and Shivers as the defensive backs and the non-import Barker is the starting safety. So that's two non-imports starting on defense and eight total, one above the minimum.

For the Argos on the defensive line, import and Twitterer Rob Murphy and Mac grad Chris Van Zeyl are the tackles, with Gagne-Marcoux and Robertson as the guards and Picard as the centre.

Robinson and Owens are the receivers, with Lucas and Rideau as the slots. Boyd is listed as the runningback/fullback with non-import York product Durie as running back/slotback. Quarterback? Lemon Party all the way.

Buzbee and Flemons are the defensive ends with Huntley and Taylor in the middle.

The linebackers are Younger, non-import and Mac product Pottinger and non-import Eiben.

The corners are Middlebrooks and Parker. McCollough and Shell are the defensive backs with Pile as the safety. So two Canadians on defense and seven total.

Friday, September 3, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, Week 9, Part A

BC at Montreal,
Montreal is favoured by a rather large 10.5 points at home against BC, despite having to go with backup quarterback Chris Leak due to Anthony Calvillo falling on a football. Of course BC is the worst team in the league and Montreal is 4 and 0 at home so that sounds about right.

I guess Printers is starting this game, but Travis Lulay isn't much better. I suppose the question can BC put enough pressure on Leak to take advantage of his lack of experience. Given enough opportunities (ie many two and outs by the Alouettes) Printers could end up doing well, but Montreal will probably end up feeding the ball to Avon Cobourne (providing he is healthy this week). This should give Montreal enough time of possession for the rest of the team to overpower the lowly Lions. Probably not much scoring here, except maybe off turnovers.
Montreal 23, BC 20

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan,
The Banjo Bowl. Saskatchewan is perfect at home this year and Winnipeg has lost every game on the road. So the Riders being favoured by 9.5 points isn't much of a surprise. Buck "the Glassman" Pierce looks to be injured yet again, although backup Steven Jyles doesn't seem that much worse. The Riders sucked last week against Edmonton so they should come out fired up at home. Can't really say too much positive about the Bombers other than they are no longer coached by Mike Kelly.
Saskatchewan 40, Winnpeg 27

Thursday, September 2, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, Week 9

1. Calgary
Gave up a lot of points to BC last week, but scored even more. Powerful offense with Ken-Yon Rambo back at receiver.

2. Saskatchewan
Sure they lost to Edmonton in rather inept fashion at the end, but they still have a healthy starting quarterback.

3. Montreal
Can't really give them much higher while Anthony Calvillo is still injured. Still have a decent shot to win against BC at home this week.

4. Hamilton
Hot, three game win streak and a relatively healthy club.

5. Toronto
Good on special teams and defense, good running, no passing.

6. Edmonton
One game win streak, which is a lot for the lower ranked teams.

7. Winnipeg
Needs to win a third game. Still doubtful they will win more games than Mike Kelly as coach last year.

8. BC
Simply smelly. Buono gives up the coaching duties sometime before the next season. Unfortunately his GM skills put together this POS team. Numerous Hamilton coaches have been canned mid-year for slightly better teams.

From the latest Ticat season ticket email missive, there's apparently a new mobile service for ordering food and soft drinks called StadiumVIP. Order with a Blackberry or iPhone app (no Android love?) and they text you when your stuff is ready for pickup. Sadly no beer or whiskey though. The Cats under Bob Young are certainly technologically advanced customer service wise, but I'm still waiting for a Ticat iPhone app like the Riders app. Seems a natural thing for MRX to do.