Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ticats Junior Cheerleaders, Alouettes at Ticats

Alouettes at Ticats by philinator
Alouettes at Ticats, a photo by philinator on Flickr.

Here's a photo of the Ticats junior cheerleaders, standing beside the endzone. I felt a bit like a Vladimir Nabokov character, but a decent shot nonetheless.

Ticat Cheerleaders, Alouettes at Ticats

Alouettes at Ticats by philinator
Alouettes at Ticats, a photo by philinator on Flickr.

Here's a photo of the Ticats cheerleaders in action against the Alouettes in 2011.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dave Dickenson No Longer Candidate for Ticats Head Coaching Job

So according to TSN, Calgary offensive co-ordinator is staying in Calgary and won't be considered further for the Hamilton head coaching job. I assume his thinking was that he's not ready to be a head coach quite yet, he's a good candidate to take over in Calgary when Hufnagel leaves and stays closer to his Montana home. For me at least, the one bonus here is that it lowers the chance of Henry Burris coming to Hamilton.

So Winnipeg Blue Bomber defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke for sure? Or what about the rumours about Buffalo Bills quarterbacks coach George Cortez? Frankly considering the suck of the Bills over this last epoch, I'd rather not touch anything associated with them.

CFL 2011 Attendance Analysis, League and Team Averages

A bit late, but here's the average attendances for each CFL team in 2011:

1. Edmonton 34625 (35035)
2. Calgary 30601 (30795)
3. Saskatchewan 30021 (30048)
4. BC 29725 (24327)
5. Winnipeg 29559 (26083)
6. Montreal 24058 (25012)
7. Hamilton 23676 (23890)
8. Toronto 20018 (22069)

Note stats on best road drawing teams are in this post.

The 2010 attendances are in parentheses. Only BC and Winnipeg showed increases with every other team having lower attendance. The order was pretty similar to, but BC was able to move ahead of Winnipeg and Montreal. Montreal had some games that did not sellout for once.

Overall, the average CFL attendance for a game was 24,698 a minor increase compared to the 24,140 of 2010. Maybe the league can get over 25,000 average attendance next year.

BC had a bit of a weird year for attendance. Still playing at Empire Field earlier in the season, the Lions reopened BC Place with 50,213 attendees against the Eskimos, the highest attended game of the CFL regular season.

Saskatchewan being the worst team this year didn't make a big difference in their own attendance, but hurt other teams (especially Calgary and Edmonton) when the Riders were their opponents. Hear's hoping for at least a 500 team for the Riders next year, as it's good for the CFL. The Riders should also consider trying to boost the capacity of Moasaic Field a bit more. I know it's already been juiced a bit, but if you have the worst record in the league and it doesn't do anything to your attendance, you can afford a couple of extra thousand seats.

Hamilton was slightly lower, but that included their home game in Moncton which dragged down the average attendance. However the Cats only had to sell tickets for eight home games in their own market. The Cats were also hurt by not having the Argos as an opponent on Labour Day as the Alouettes only drew 26,964. Hopefully in the last year in the old Ivor Wynne, the Cats can get a good number for attendance, including a game with the Argos back for Labour Day. Maybe they can pass the Alouettes in 2012 for average attendance.

Toronto was hurt by their sucky performance. With them hosting the Grey Cup next year, there's nowhere for the Argos to go but up.

Here's some analysis for last year's CFL attendance (2010).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Argos Mississauga Practice Facility Burns Down!

Yes it's true in case you missed it, the Argos training facility burned down. Kind of sad, but very Argo like.

Friday, December 23, 2011

No To Henry Burris!

Tigercatatonia keeps seeing articles that Henry Burris will wind up in the Hammer. Please no.

Burris will be 37 by the time the season starts next year and had a mediocre 2010, ending with him being supplanted by Drew Tate who hasn't really done a lot except for be a lot younger than Burris. Frankly I'm not convinced he'll be an upgrade on Quinton Porter.

The worst thing Hamilton could do is actually trade with Burris. If they have to have him, wait until Calgary releases him outright. Still though, I'd rather go into 2012 with Glenn and Porter than pick up Burris on the downslope of his career.

If Hamilton had real balls, they would release Glenn, go with Porter cheaply, use up the salary cap savings to shore up the secondary, but also try and evaluate some quarterbacks (including Boltus) to be the next great Ticat quarterback. The one issue is that the Cats run the risk of a crappy season 5 and 13 type season that would depress the fan base. Ideally the crap season, if there has to be one would be in 2013 when the Cats are on the road. I've no idea what the Cats will do, although if Calgary Stampeder offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickinson gets hired as head coach things could get interesting.

New Coach Down to Two Candidates?

CHML's Rick Zamperin is reporting that the Ticats are down to two for the vacant head coaching position, Calgary offensive co-ordinator (and former CFL quarterback and frequent concussion victim) Dave Dickenson and Winnipeg defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke.

Personally I like former offensive co-ordinators as head coaches as coming up with a good offence is the harder task, at least in my opinion. Plus examples like former Hamilton defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall flaming out in Saskatchewan this year (although not having Andy Fantuz really hurt the Riders this year). Winnipeg did have an awesome defence, good enough to get to the Grey Cup this year so who really knows. The Cats do need to make a decision though to avoid getting the dregs of the co-ordinators. Former defensive co-ordinator Corey Chamblin was rewarded after a fairly mediocre defence in 2011 with the head coaching job in Regina and I doubt offensive co-ordinator Khari Jones will be back.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Who's Back in Catland Next Year? Half Assed Predictions

So I'm going to name a few Cats and give a percentage of them being on the roster on Opening Day. Note these predictions have nothing backing them but my own somewhat delusional feelings.

Kevin "You Disrespecting Me?" Glenn 50%
Before the Argos Eskimos Ray Jyles switcheroo, I would have said higher. Theoretically the Cats could trade Glenn, but who would take on his salary? A hearty Bad Boy "NOBODY!" Glenn could stay just because the Cats don't have any real options when next rolls around besides Porter. Or the Cats could outright release him. Cue article about Glenn feeling disrespected.

Quinton "Give Me Another Chance" Porter 55%
If the Cats cut loose Glenn, in theory they could be handing the starting job to Porter. Problem is Porter hasn't really done much to deserve. Sure he's better than Cleo "the Party" Lemon, but that's not saying much. If Porter had a whole season of starting, the Cats might be a 500 team, er just like under Kevin Glenn. Porter probably does have some trade value and was arguably the best backup quarterback last year (although the competition wasn't very fierce).

Simeon "the Red Animal" Rottier 20%
Free agent and wants to be near his family apparently. The Cats could make the guard an awesome offer, but non-import guards aren't that hard to replace. Wasn't the plan for him to play as tackle eventually?

Avon "the Tweetmaster" Cobourne 50%
Did an OK job in 2011, but not good enough to inspire his own headgear. Didn't do a lot in the playoff loss to the Bombers where he should have been more useful. Good as a receiving running back and would be better at that than whoever the Cats would replace him with. Big salary would be the main reason for the Cats to cut him and replace him with Terry Grant, providing he heals from his injury.

Aaron "I'm a Tall Receiver, Somewhat Slow" Kelly 30%
Probably comes to camp next year, but gets replaced by a couple new import receiver flavours of the week who show stuff in camp and proceed to drop a lot of balls early in the regular season.

How Much Is Investor's Group Paying for Naming Rights in Winnipeg

I've been trying to figure out how much Investor's Group is paying for naming rights for the new CFL stadium. The best I can find is this article, which suggests maybe $500,000 a year.

"Back in 2001, the football club sold the naming rights to Winnipeg Stadium to Canad Inns, a Manitoba-based hotel chain, for $1.5 million over 10 years ($150,000 annually). The deal wasn't great for the Bombers, as they had little leverage with a crumbling stadium and a product that didn't enjoy the rabid fan base it does today.

Sources in the business community indicate the club was looking for at least $500,000 a year for the rights this time around, but Thompson wouldn't confirm that figure or expand on what Investors Group is on the hook for."

Probably with all the high MERs Investor's Group mutual funds charge, the company can afford half a million a year, plus a Grey Cup will be hosted there soon too. The price Canad Inns was paying seems like a steal.

What will the Ticats get for their new stadium? Is $500,000 possible for an Ivor Wynne site with minimal traffic going by?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ricky Ray an Argo?

Looks like there's news that Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray has been traded to the Argos in exchange for quarterback Steven Jyles, a first round pick and defensive back Grant Shaw. Obviously the Argos want to do better with the Grey Cup in Toronto in 2012, but this smells a bit of desperation.

Ray is not exactly young at 32, but at least had a decent season last year. The problem I see is Ray's salary cap hit being pretty high and the Argos still needing some decent receivers to throw to. No doubt the Argos would have been better last year with Ray instead of Cleo "the Party" Lemon, but Lemon was no doubt cheaper too. Maybe new Argo coach Scott Milanovich can do something with Ray.

I'm not sure how I would feel as an Eskimo fan. Many probably thought that Ray is no longer good enough to take them to the next level. I'm not sure Steven Jyles is the guy to do that, although his cap hit is likely less, allowing the Eskimos to sign some better free agents or retain their own.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bellefeuille Fired

Wow I can't believe it. I really thought he would stick around. I wonder if his deal would have required soon. The Ticats might not have wanted to pony up for a long term deal for someone they would end up firing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Grey Cup Prediction, Bombers at Lions

Well the game's about to start and I haven't got my prediction out so here it is. The Lions are favoured by seven at home (and with a real home field advantage). Certainly the Lions have been hot since they started 0 and 5 and have a very good offense and a good defence. The Bombers are obviously excellent on defence, an okay offense with excellent running.

Normally I would go with the Lions, but I've got a feeling that the Bombers will do better than people give them credit for. As long as Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce doesn't explode in the first quarter, I'll pick the Bombers in a close one.

Bombers 29, Lions 27

Monday, November 21, 2011


Disappointing to say the least. With the cold, the inability to run of Kevin Glenn compared to the ability to run for Buck Pierce made the difference to me in the game. To say Kevin Glenn is slow isn't really accurate. He's incredibly slow and even when a hole opens with some open field, he rarely makes the first down. Ironically on the run where he was injured, he was still two yards short. Do the Cats keep Glenn next year? Hard to say at this point. Porter didn't do a lot in during his time in to have a lot of confidence in him.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hamilton at Winnipeg, Grey Cup Qualifier

Buck Pierce is apparently in as the starting quarterback. Probably the most important factor is if he makes it the whole game. Pierce has played well against the Cats this season and he's better than Brink.

Non-import cornerback Ryan Hinds appears to be back in the lineup, setting off a ratio shuffle that gets Baggs back in starting at defensive end. Will Baggs step things up and have something to prove after being a healthy scratch last week?

The line has come down to only three points for the Bombers, indicating the odds makers think the two teams are evenly matched on a neutral field. I have to think the cold helps the Bombers as passing will suffer. Glenn is a better pure passer than Pierce and Pierce is a way, way better runner than Glenn. If the Bombers are going to win, Pierce is going to have to have some solid runs up the middle. If the Cats are going to win, they have to prevent Pierce from running for first downs.

I'm going to go with the Cats this week. They have the momentum compared to Winnipeg and their offense is looking lethal. I expect the Bombers defence to keep the score down, but not generate enough of their own offense. Of course the Bombers beat the Tiger-Cats every game this season, so what do I know.

Bonus Prediction:
Buck Pierce injured in the third quarter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bombers Favoured, Unsurprisingly

I just glanced at the line on the Score's iPhone app and Winnipeg is favoured by only 3.5 points. That's not really that much, considering home field is usually around 3 points by itself. However with the Buck Pierce situation I can see the low spread. If Pierce can't go, I can't see Hamilton losing to an entire Alex Brink game with a healthy Kevin Glenn and Quinton Porter. Sure Winnipeg's defence is tough, but Hamilton's offence can score if they get enough shots and field position. Even if the Cats don't make a lot of progress into Winnipeg territory on a drive, Justin Medlock's long range should also factor in.

Incidently, I wonder how long it has been since the East home team has been favoured by so few points. If Pierce were to get ruled out, would Vegas make the Cats the favourite?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, 2011 Post Semi-Finals Edition

Who says you can't do power rankings after the end of the regular season?

1. BC Lions
Didn't play, but didn't have any injuries either. Beating Montreal 43-1 now looks doubly impressive after the Alouettes last game.
2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Big battle with Montreal on the road, but rolled with punches and made the big plays when needed. Two headed quarterback monster is scary. Bakari Grant is emerging as a force at receiver. Will they have Stevie Baggs back in the lineup? Have momentum.
3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Also did not play, Buck Pierce situation still up in the air. Had a weak end of the regular season.
4. Edmonton Eskimos
Injured Jerome Messam? Esks are toast in BC.
5. Montreal Alouettes
Anthony Calvillo put up big numbers, but ultimately the defence couldn't get it done and gave up too many TDs to the Cats.
6. Calgary Stampeders
Not a bad team, but not great either. Burris is probably gone next year.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Locker rooms cleaned out, but they are still better than the Riders.
8. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
See above.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ticats Finally Win! 52 to 44 in OT

Good day to take the over. I was a little shaken after the Cats had the time count violation at the end and then the missed field goal. However the Cats came back in overtime to finally win a playoff game and do it on the road and stop the two time defending Grey Cup champs.

Glenn was only 23 for 32 for 275 yards with a TD and a pick, but he certainly played well and the Cats had a good running game. Cobourne had 97 yards and Thigpen had 56 yards rushing. Grant had six catches for 99 yards and a TD with some good blocks as well. Williams had 6 catches for 65 yards.

On to Winnipeg with some momentum. Picking Johnson over Baggs this week worked out, hopefully cornerback Ryan Hinds comes back and we get Baggs playing with something to prove.

Ticats Up 24 to 16 at Half-Time

Putting in Johnson at linebacker instead of Stevie Baggs is looking like a good decision by Bellefeuille, with Johnson having a long interception return leading to a TD by Stala complete with F-bomb.

Nice passing by Glenn, nice catches by Stala and Bakari Grant and a nice run by Marcus Thigpen.

Defence looking good, with excellent pressure on Calvillo, and consequently multiple sacks and multiple turnovers.

No Stevie Baggs?

Wow so ratio issues mean no Stevie Baggs today. Personally I think the decision all year to go with two import offensive tackles is part of why this situation happened. Tough, especially with Montreal having some injuries. Makes you wonder if Baggs will be back next year with the Cats.

East Semi-Final Ticats at Alouettes Preview

Both teams are coming in honking, with the Alouettes losing three straight and the Cats two straight to the lowly Riders and Argos. The Cats didn't really have anything to play for, while the Alouettes certainly had reasons to win, namely first in the East.

Looking at the Cats starters, the team appears to be doing OK injury wise. Imports Belton and Simmons start at the offensive tackle spots, so no Jason Jimenez (who I'm guessing won't be back with the Ticats next year). Grant and Thigpen start as the wide receivers, with Stala (who a decent number of receptions the last couple of games which is a good sign) and East rookie of the year Chris Williams as the slots. Cobourne starts as the running back and Darcy Brown is the fullback when the team isn't in five or six receiver sets.

Kevin Glenn starts. I'm not sure of the scenarios where he would get pulled. I doubt Bellefeuille will do any sort crazy switching mid-game with Porter besides short yardage situations. Should be interesting to see if the Cats can avoid going down early.

On defence, some weirdness compared to the offense. Sack leader Hickman and Baggs are the ends, with non-import Steele in the middle with import Robert Rose, who only signed with the Ticats on October 18th. Probably worth watching if Montreal attacks up the middle.

Linebackers are as usual Knowlton, Williams and Johnson. Knowlton has been looking better as of late.

In the defensive secondary, uh, it's confusing. Loyce Means (who only signed with the Cats on September 2nd) and Marcell Young are the corners. Former Argo Webb and Smith are the defensive halfbacks, with Carlos Thomas as the safety.

For the Alouettes, the injury to non-import left tackle Josh Bourke causes some changes, with Perrett moving to left tackle and import Jeraill McCuller coming in as the right tackle. If the Cats are going to win, Hickman and Baggs will need to get to Calvillo and McCuller could be exploited.

Montreal is favoured by 6 points at Olympic Stadium. Personally, I think if the Alouettes are going to win, they're going to win big. However, I'm going to go out on a bit of a homer limb and pick the Cats 29 to 23. The Cats are a Jekyll and Hyde team and I think they show up for once today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, End of Regular Season Edition, 2011

1. BC Lions
Bitch slapped Montreal 43 to 1 on the way to home field advantage in the West. Didn't look good in the beginning of the season, but were on fire down the stretch. Still not sure just how good Travis Lulay is. Probably better than Burris right now.
2. Calgary Stampeders
Sure they didn't get a home playoff spot like the Esks, but I'm more impressed by beating Winnipeg which had a home playoff game on the line, than squeezing past the Riders, who had long since changed their focus to Eugene Makowsky's bid for election as a Saskatchewan MPP. Better one two quarterback combination, although I must confess I can't remember who the Eskimos' backup quarterback is. Oh wait it's Kerry Joseph, who is worse than Burris.
3. Edmonton Eskimos
Won their last game when they needed it even if it was the Riders. Not bad down the stretch although there was a sucky part in the middle. Still like Messam, still think Ray is a tad overrated. Have to give props to head coach Kavis Read. Didn't expect the Eskimos here at the end of the regular season.
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Sort of close to winning their last game of the regular season but ended up assing their way into home field advantage in the East. Kind of smelly down the stretch after a great start. Not surprisingly Buck Pierce has some sort of injury and is questionable for the next game. However the fact that he hasn't been ruled out is something, and I'm basing this ranking on my guess that a week off will get him healthy. Don't really like Brink in the East final.
5. Montreal Alouettes
Tabernac! What's happened to the Alouettes? Injuries, especially on the offensive line and suddenly Anthony Calvillo is starting to look crotchety? Totally came up flaccid in the final game of the season with home field advantage on the line and managed merely a single point. If the Alouettes can get their shit together against Hamilton they may be a problem for Winnipeg the next week. Not sure if that's going to happen.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Well they lost against the Argos who didn't have their starting quarterback. That's not good. At least they rested some players and may be healthier next week in Montreal. Kevin Glenn is just too inconsistent at this juncture to give the Cats a higher ranking. There's almost a 50-50 chance that Glenn coughs up a furball whenever he takes the field. Having Porter sort of helps, but the game's usually too far gone by the time he comes in to help.
7. Toronto Argonauts
They're hot! Debated putting them above Hamilton as a bit of a contrarian pick. Still a crappy team that could be 500 if everything breaks their way next season.
8. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
A well deserved last place in the power rankings. The Riders totally fell apart this year and need some significant rebuilding. If Andy Fantuz stays they should improve. If he leaves for Ontario that's bad news for next year.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 19, 2011: End of Season Edition

Hamilton at Toronto
I don't fucking know. Hamilton sucked against Saskatchewan last week in the elements, but things should be comfy in the dome. Three quarterbacks will play, but Glenn gets the first half. Toronto does have Steven Jyles this week, so I'm inclined to pick Hamilton in a meaningless game and they are favoured by a safety. Glenn should have something to prove so the Cats will probably do well in the first half. Otherwise look for a Doug Flutie Rob Johnson situation in the hammer.
Hamilton 29, Suck People 17

More tomorrow

CFL Power Rankings, Week 19, 2011

1. BC Lions
Still feeling good about the Lions. Can't discount how good they've been soon losing to start the season.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Always there at the end. May not take the division, but probably won't suck in the playoffs either.
3. Edmonton Eskimos
In the driver's seat for the division, which is something.
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Alex Brink doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.
5. Calgary Stampeders
It's the Drew Tate show. Which could be good, or could be revealed as not ready for prime time.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
There's five teams at 10 and 7, two craps teams and Hamilton. At least you're guaranteed a playoff spot and if your starting quarterback gets hit by a truck you're not totally screwed.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Seem just a little less sucky.
8. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Could still get out of last place for the power rankings. No Durant makes it harder.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Whither Kevin Glenn in 2012?

With all the kerfuffle about the Cats utilizing two quarterbacks the last few games and what it means for the chances for the team to win now, let's be honest about what it might really be about. Whether to outright release Kevin Glenn during the off-season.

Glenn as the starting quarterback makes the most money on the team and the Ticat brain trust most be wondering whether a 500 record is all Glenn is capable of (last season's gaudy stats notwithstanding). Quinton Porter is obviously younger and if Glenn gets cut during the off-season, Porter wouldn't make as much next year as Glenn this year and Boltus wouldn't make as much as Porter this year. Thus the amount spent on quarterbacks would drop and that difference could be deployed somewhere else (the secondary?). If the Ticats figure Porter can perform just as well as Glenn next year, then he could well get cut.

Of course Porter could get hurt or suck, Boltus plays poorly when called upon and Ticats dream of a 500 record like back in the old 3 and 15 days. The off-season should certainly be interesting. Do the Cats pay big money to a one year older Cobourne for another year? Is Stevie Baggs still good value for the high salary the Cats are paying. In a league with a low salary cap, there's no room for sentimentality.

Friday, October 28, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 18, 2011: Penultimate Edition

Toronto at Winnipeg
The Bombers are playing for home advantage through the playoffs. The Argos are playing to figure out which mooks (Maurice Mann?)to bring back to training camp next year. Unsurprisingly the Argos are eight point underdogs. Providing Winnipeg quarterback Buck Pierce doesn't explode after an ill advised run where he had the chance to slide after reaching the first down marker, the Bombers cover. Even if Pierce does get carted off, the Bombers still cover.
Assiniboine People 26 Suck People 13

Hamilton at Saskatchewan
No more Durrant as quarterback for the Riders, not that he did much either. No Andy Fantuz either. The Cats don't have anything riding on the win, besides pride at achieving double digits in wins for the first time in forever, figuring out which quarterback to start in the playoffs, whether Porter is good enough to outright release Glenn during off-season, proving various writers of power rankings wrong and not going into the playoffs sucking. That appears to be enough for the Cats to be 6.5 point favourites on the road so who am I to argue.
Caturday People 35 Birch People 12

Edmonton at BC
Now here's a game that really means something. The Lions are coming off an ass booting from the Ticats on the road and look to get back in the groove against the Eskimos. The Eskimos beat Toronto last week, but you take your wins where you can get them in the CFL. Normally I would take the Lions here, but they seem to have come down with an epidemic of injuries which strikes me as problematic. The Eskimos have Jerome Messam healthy, so expect to see a festival of his runs. Going out on a limb and picking the Esks, even though they're five point underdogs and on the road.
Messam People 27, Orca People 22

Calgary at Montreal
What's happened to the Stampeders? I'm not even sure if Burris is starting again or if it matters. Montreal is 4.5 point favourites last I checked and I say they methodically dismantle Cowtowners and leave them as the third place team in the West.
Tabernac People 31 Mustang People 22

Monday, October 24, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 18, 2011

1. Montreal Alouettes
Sure they lost on the road to Winnipeg, but only by a single point. Still the most consistently good team right now in the CFL.
2. BC Lions
Blown out on the road, eight game win streak ended, but great teams still lose the occasional game. Some games things just go against you early.
3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Big comeback victory over the Alouettes and looking good for home field advantage in the East. Still a bit inconsistent.
4. Edmonton Eskimos
Leading the West and could have home field advantage. The reason? Canadian running back Jerome Messam. Having an awesome non-import in the CFL just does so much.
5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Slammed BC. Weird quarterback system. 500 team. We'll see what happens the last two games of the regular season against some gimme teams.
6. Calgary Stampeders
Beat Saskatchewan. Big deal. The fact they did it with backup Drew Tate is at least good for next year.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Kept it somewhat close to the Eskimos at the end. That's something.
8. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Should be better next year when Canadian receivers are again a strength. Now, plain sucky.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cats Beat Lions in Meaningless Game, 42 to 10

Big Cat victory in the last home game of the season, ending the big Lion win streak and sweeping BC for the season. Glenn played OK in the first half, while Porter played well in the second half. Boltus played poorly in mop up duty at the end of the game, so don't go out and buy a Boltus jersey. Even though the Cats won big, I thought Cobourne played poorly, with a number of easy drops.

Travis Lulay completed less than half of his passes so good on the secondary. Turenne, whoever he is played awesome and is my new hero. Props to Medlock for kicking seven field goals, easily outplaying McCallum who had a pick six that Ray Mariuz ran back.

Since the Bombers won earlier against Montreal, the game was meaningless for Hamilton which ends the season with two meaningless games against Saskatchewan and Toronto on the road. Can Hamilton reach double digits in wins for the first in time in a long while? Who starts at quarterback next week? Who comes back from injury? Will Antonio from Stoney Creek call the Fifth Quarter next week?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Noteworthy Ticat Individual Stats

Rookie receiver Chris Williams is already over 1000 yards and stands at 1,012 yards with 65 receptions and 6 TDs and fourth overall. Probably a lock to be the Cats nominee for rookie of the year and maybe even win it although if he misses this week with injury that hurts his chances a bit. Dave Stala is in second on the Cats with 586 yards on 43 receptions and 8 TDs. Unless he has a monster three games the Cats will only have one receiver with over 1,000 yards. Last year the Cats had two and Marquay McDaniel was really close as well.

Running back Avon Cobourne is in second for rushing yards in the CFL with 867 yards on 180 yards (4.8 yard average) with 8 TDs and two fumbles. With no Terry Grant the rest of the year, Cobourne should get his 1,000 yards.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 17, 2011

1. BC Lions
Simply put, on fire. Massive win streak and favourite to win the West and play a Grey Cup at home. Strange to think how bad they were early in the season.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Good close win at home against Hamilton. Consistently good.
3. Edmonton Eskimos
The Eskimos haven't got a lot of respect lately, but beating the Bombers shows their quick start in 2011 wasn't a fluke.
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Losing to the Eskimos when they really needed a win for home field advantage in the playoffs, doesn't help their ranking. Are the Bombers running out of steam at the end of the year?
5. Hamilton Tiger Cats
Almost came back to tie against the Alouettes, but didn't win and now are below 500. Two decent quarterbacks, but no consistently great one. Lots of defensive injuries. Almost guaranteed to be on the road for the playoffs.
6. Calgary Stampeders
Losing to the Argos? Burris benched? Likely third place in the West? Not good.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Won a game at home. That's something.
8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Still losing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Henry Burris Benched?

Looks like Calgary has benched quarterback Henry Burris in favour of Drew Tate for the Stampeders next game. I watched a lot of the game last week between Toronto and Calgary and Tate certainly looked a lot better than Burris. Burris looked especially bad on an ill advised throw that Byron Parker ran back for a touchdown. I do wonder though if this move would have been made if the Stamps were facing a team other than the woeful Saskatchewan Roughriders.

CFL Stats I Would Like to See

I've harped on these two CFL stats before, but I would still like to see them shown on television broadcasts or at least somewhere on the interwebs.

The first stat I'm interested in would be across the league, for a given number of yards to go on second down, what's the probability of making a first down. Thus I'm curious, what's the odds of getting a first down when it is 2nd and five versus say 2nd and ten. I would accept first downs that would be subsequently made on third down and disregard 2nd and goal situations. This would answer questions like "is getting a couple of yards on first down a big difference compared to 2nd and 10?" I'm sure the CFL could compile these stats relatively easily. For a fan to do it would be quite time consuming.

Maybe next game, I'll try keeping track for a small sample size. One thing I'm not sure about is how to keep track of penalties. Say it is second and five and there's a five yard penalty against the offense. Do I keep keeping track for second and five and in addition also add a new entry for second and ten? I'm tempted too, because the distribution of penalties is affected by the yardage. Second and short, there's going to be more defensive offside penalties, second and long more offensive holding.

Similarly, I'd like to see for a given field goal yardage, what's been the chance of success over the years for CFL teams. We know instinctively that a 50 yard field goal is hard to accomplish, but exactly how hard? Less than 33% overall? A fan could probably compile this over a season, but since the higher yardages are attempted relatively rarely, to get a good statistical sample one would have to do it over a number of years. Ticats kicker Justin Medlock has had a good record 50 yards and over this year, but with a plot of this stat available, one would have a sense just how good. Plus, at the end of a game, if your team needs a 50 yarder with time expiring, you would not what your chances are. Coaches may have these stats, as it would certainly be a good decision making tool.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Below 500! Cats Lose 27 to 25 to the Alouettes

Well that was a disappointing game to watch. Pretty much no home playoff game (I haven't checked whether it is even possible). Glenn played OK during the second half, Porter wasn't bad in the first either. Too many field goal attempts and penalties from what I saw. Defence was mostly acceptable, considering they were going against Calvillo.

I assume Glenn starts next week as long as the injury at the end of the game isn't serious. Too bad that running back Terry Glenn looks done for the season.

Friday, October 14, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 16, 2011

Calgary at Toronto
The Stamps are solid 6.5 points on the road and tired for first. Toronto is auditioning people for next year. The Argos defence and special teams are both pretty good, but they can never count on their offence. Calgary needs this for a home playoff game.
Chaps People 29 Suck People 16

Winnipeg at Edmonton
Edmonton is at home and favoured by 2.5 points which is somewhat puzzling. When was the last time the Eskimos beat a decent team? The Bombers haven't been particularly hot recently, but have played better than Edmonton. Both teams have a lot to play for, but I think Winnipeg is even more motivated to win first place in the East.
NDP People 24 Tory People 13

Hamilton at Montreal
Hamilton should sort of still care about this game, because things become a lot more interesting if they win this game from a home playoff perspective. They would be a game behind Montreal and have the season series in hand. After last week, I can't really see it happening on the road, where they're 6 point underdogs. Alouettes consistency and better secondary wins out.
Mulcair People 31, Donut People 20

BC at Saskatchewn
The Lions are only 7.5 point favourites on the road and have won seven games in a row. Eight, soon.
Retractable People 32, Sunshine People

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 16, 2011

1. BC Lions
They just keep winning. Can't keep them out of the top spot. Who would think they would be here after the start of the season? I'm not sure if the Ticats are regretting trading Arland Bruce, but it sure has worked out for the Lions.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Solidly consistent team. Had a bit of trouble with the Argos at home, but the Alouettes play well almost every week, with only a few honkers.
3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Dominated the Cats at home and are looking good for the home stretch. Awesome defence. Offense does what it has to.
4. Calgary Stampeders
Lost a tight one to BC. Definitely second best in the West.
5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
I still think they have a bit more than the Eskimos. Call me crazy or a homer, but I think they're the mildly better team.
6. Edmonton Eskimos
See above. Plus they beat a terrible Rider team this week. When was the last time they beat a good team?
7. Toronto Argonauts
Were ahead at half time on the road against Montreal. Still have a good defence. Maurice Mann was a good pickup since the Argos lacked in the import receiver department. Jermaine Copeland is past his prime and is probably eating up a lot more salary cap room than he is worth at this point.
8. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Wow. They're terrible. If you told me at the beginning of the season they would be this bad, I would not have believed you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Four Mostly Meaningless Games

Well after Friday's debacle against the Bombers and Montreal's unsurprising win versus Toronto, the Cats are back to 500 and the last four games are pretty much meaningless. Sure the Cats could lose four and the Riders win four allowing the Riders the cross-over spot, but that pretty unlikely. The Cats could win out and the Bombers and Alouettes could lose all their games too, but that also seems unlikely. So basically the Cats are playing games that mean nothing except preparation for the away playoff games. Beating Montreal this week on the road would at least send a message, but I'm not sure the Ticats have that in them. Hopefully some players will get auditioned for next year and the fans don't realize that there's not a good reason to go to Ivor Wynne besides $8.75 Canadian tall boys.

Maurice Mann being traded for some defensive back I've never heard of (who I refuse to look up) and a draft pick to the Argos is a bit odd, but the secondary is a bit weak with all the injuries lately. Although after all the running the Bombers did on Friday I think the front four is also problematic. My assessment of Mann's Ticat tenure: a solid meh.

At least Quinton Porter played well for once in relief time. Had to happen sooner or later, but he's not going to ever challenge for Glenn's job if he honks it up totally in garbage time. Milk that prevent defence for as many yards as you can!

Friday, October 7, 2011

CFL Prediction 2011, Week 15

Winnipeg at Hamilton
Is Hamilton a good team or an average team. That's a question that will be partially answered tonight? Is Winnipeg for real this year or are they going to implode down the stretch like they were destined to before the season. To get the preliminaries out of the way, the Bombers are 8 and 5 and the Ticats are 7 and 6. Winnipeg is a healthy 4 and 2 on the road, while the Cats are 5 and 2. Hamilton is favoured by 3.5 points, which is pretty small considering they're at home, although this year has been the year of the road team in the CFL.

Last I heard, oft injured Bomber quarterback Buck "the Glassman" Pierce was going to start. I don't know if that will happen, or if will manage to make it through the entire game if he does play. Bomber running back Fred Reid is out for the season which is problematic considering the Bombers run a lot. The Cats have injury problems too, probably the most important being centre Marwan Hage, plus non-import receiver Matt Carter.

Normally I would pick the Cats here (even if I wasn't a fan) however the Cats have shown a bizarre ability to never really get beyond 500. However the last two games the Cats have shown the ability to insert new offensive players like running back Terry Grant and pseudo receiver Marcus Thigpen (who isn't really new, but was stuck on return duty) and gain a lot of yards. A lot of that has to do with quarterback Kevin Glenn and his experience. Cats not that easily.
Offense People 29, Defense People 22

This post will be updated with the rest of the picks tomorrow.

Monday, October 3, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 15, 2011

1. Montreal Alouettes
Tied for the top record overall in the CFL, two game win streak including a hard fought victory last week in Winnipeg. The Alouettes are the most consistent of the better CFL teams this season.
2. BC Lions
Certainly close to the top ranking, the Lions have won their last six straight games. They easily handled the Eskimos last week in their renovated BC Place opener. Excellent defence and good young Canadian receivers paired with vets Simon and Bruce makes for a good offence as well. Point differential is massive.
3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Winners of two straight, the more impressive being their ass booting of Calgary in Touchdown Atlantic. Last week's victory in Toronto wasn't particularly impressive, but it wasn't a close game either. Hamilton's offence has morphed as the season progressed and suddenly speedy Marcus Thigpen and Terry Grant are important factors and Bakari Grant and Aaron Kelly are tall receivers sitting on the sidelines. Injuries are starting to become an issue.
4. Calgary Stampeders
Pummelled the sucky Riders last week, but aren't on a hot streak. Burris has been hot and cold this year as has the defence. Excellent road team. Mediocre at home.
5. Edmonton Eskimos
Where has the great team of the first five games gone? The Eskimos have since gone 2 and 6, which may be as bad a record as the Argos over that time period and worse than the Riders. Slipping fast into third place in the West.
6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Losers of two in a row and are now 1 and 4 over their last five games including a lose to the Argos and two to the Riders. Not good. With a season ending injury to Fred Reid and Buck Pierce battling to stay in games, the Bombers are sliding towards third in the East.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Still bad, but played somewhat OK against the Ticats this week. Not really a lot to say apart from really weak Canadian talent. Expensive offensive lineman Rob Murphy sitting on the sidelines with an injury doesn't help either.
8. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Bad, bad team.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ticats Beat Argos 27 to 12, Relatively Easy

After a good second half, the Ticats took off the brakes in the third and then turned it on in the fourth. Quarterback Kevin Glenn had a good game with over 300 yards passing despite having three picks (with one being fumbled by Shell and the Ticats recovering). Grant, Stala and Thigpen had good games this week. The defence played well, although it is difficult to measure against the Argo offense. Good to see a lot of Ticat fans in the crowd and great to hear an "Argos Suck" chant on TSN.

With that the Argos are done for the playoffs (I'm not sure if it is even mathematically possible now). That means the game in Hamilton against Winnipeg is of critical importance for a home playoff spot as a Ticat victory leaves the two teams tied on points. Montreal hosts the Argos next week in what is pretty much a gimme game, especially after watching the Double Blue tonight.

Friday, September 30, 2011

BC Place Half Time Reopening Show

What was that? Electric guitarist, tenor sax, bongos? I don't know who co-ordinated that, but I hope that most of the people in the stadium went for a beer. Where's the tried and true half time events like mascot soccer (who doesn't love Smiley the No Frills banana?)? Stadium does look nice though.

CFL Predictions, Week 14, 2011

Montreal Alouettes at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Looks like Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce is out with bad ribs (like in the Polynesiantown episode of SCTV). Montreal is favoured by a solid 7 points on the road, so I'm assuming either Anthony Calvillo is back this week or the oddsmakers really like the backup Adrian McPherson and dislike Bomber backup Alex Brink. Or maybe the fact that Bomber running back Fred Reid is gone for the season. The Bombers still have a good defence, so I'll say they'll cover the spread but lose. Are the Bombers on track for an epic Red Sox like collapse for the rest of the season? Who knows.
Corruption People 24, Injured People 18

Edmonton at BC
BC is favoured at home by a healthy six points, has a win streak going and will have a big crowd as they return to BC Place. The Eskimos have basically sucked since starting the season with five straight wins. I'm not sure if I'm a total believer in the Lions, but they can tie the Eskimos with a win. Lions fairly easily
Dome People 31, Oilsands People 20

Saskatchewan at Calgary Stampeders
The Riders plainly suck this year. Calgary has looked inconsistent, but can score points. The Stamps are favoured by 5.5 points this week, which seems a little small considering they're at home. Stamps easily.
Inconsistent People 35, Pilsner People 21

Hamilton at Toronto,
The Ticats are on the road against a bad Toronto team and favoured by 3.5 points. Sure the Argos beat the Bombers last week at home, but Winnipeg players basically imploded as the game went on and were left with only the long snapper healthy at the end. I'm assuming that won't happen to Hamilton this week, plus the Ticat offence looked pretty lethal last week on the East Coast. A loss ends the Argos playoff chances, slim as they may be, so I'm sure they'll play some spirited defence but still lose.
32 Bratina People, 16 Suck People

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 14, 2011

1. Montreal Alouettes
There's certainly concern for quarterback Anthony Calvillo's status, however Montreal is basically the only consistent team. Big point differential doesn't hurt either.
2. BC Lions
One could make an argument that the Lions should be number one. They did hammer the Riders the past week, but that doesn't say a lot. Have also scored way more point than they have allowed.
3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Beat the Stamps badly in a quasi home game, but this team is still up and down. Explosive offense sometimes, but the regular use of Marcus Thigpen should make the offense more consistent. Defence still gives up long bombs, but also makes the occasional sack to end a drive.
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Are the Bombers regressing to the mean? With running back Fred Reid out for the season and down to their third string quarterback in the last game and to top it off, losing by a single point to Toronto, things aren't looking that hot for Winnipeg. Defence still good.
5. Calgary Stampeders
Not a good defence and mediocre overall of late. Burris still good, but good enough to carry this team to the Grey Cup? Who knows?
6. Edmonton Eskimos
Lost at home to Montreal, have been poor overall since starting the season with five straight wins. Not that great a team, especially when Ray isn't on fire. Which he isn't every game.
7. Toronto Argonauts.
Wow the Argos aren't ranked last. I didn't really expect that, but gritting out a win over Winnipeg showed some character and good defence. Reasonable running game and improved quarterbacking over Cleo Lemon, but this is still a bad team. Just not the very worst.
8. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Totally blown out by BC. Playoff hopes pretty much done. Worse than Toronto. Not good times in Riderville.

Winnipeg Down Running Backs, First Place Still Up For Grabs?

There's a report on that Winnipeg Blue Bomber running backs Fred Reid (second in rushing yards) and Carl Volny are both done this year with ACL injuries after the Toronto game. Since the Bombers rely on running, especially on first down, that's gotta hurt. Winnipeg has won two more games than the Cats and hold the tie breaker over the Cats with six games left. Normally it would be unlikely for the Cats to end up more wins than the Bombers, but with the injuries Winnipeg could implode down the stretch.

One caveat, running backs in the CFL are a fungible commodity, so finding a new one won't be that hard (De'Andra Cobb?). Reid was one of the better running backs in the CFL, so replacing him with someone close to his ability will be tougher.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thoughts on Touchdown Atlantic in Moncton

Just finished the drive back from Moncton after attending the Touchdown Atlantic
game. Certainly coming from Hamilton, seeing the 55 to 26 victory over the Calgary Stampeders made for a better drive home that's for sure. The stadium itself wasn't bad. I sat in one of the endzone sections. The view was worse than a seat between the goal lines, but acceptable. Concessions were a little understaffed, but you really can't expect much for a one off game. Regular cans of Canadian and Coors light were $6. Didn't seem like beer sales ended at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The crowd wasn't super into the game, likely due to most fans not having a true home side to root for. The crowd was excited for the various big plays that occurred in the game, but probably hoped for a tighter game towards the end. A good number of Hamilton fans made the trek to Moncton, but the vast majority of people seemed to locals (or relatively local). The Stamps also had a surprising number of supporters. Weather was superb, sunny and realitively hot for late September. The grass was in excellent condition and didn't seem to be a huge factor in the game. Flyby was two helicopters.

I also attended the Saturday night Tigertown in the Empress theatre which turned out to be an intimate venue, with Pigskin Pete MCing. A lot of Hamiltonians were in attendance. CHML colour commentator John Salavantis spoke, as did Mayor Bob Bratina (I resisted the urge to yell out LRT forever while he was talking). The cheerleaders performed briefly and then a few hung around selling their charity calender. We were promised that Ticat president Scott Mitchell would speak, but I left pretty late and I never saw him so I'm not sure what was up with that. Molson cans were $4.50 which was good considering I consumed a solid number. The band Pogey was excellent. Tigertown to me seemed quite well done, so props to the team.

I'll have another post about the game itself tomorrow. Which was most enjoyable.

Friday, September 23, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 13, 2011, Down East Edition

Montreal at Edmonton,
Edmonton has the slightly better record at 7 and 4, with the Alouettes a game back. The Esks are at home hence them being slight 1.5 favourites. Montreal lost against Winnipeg last week, but it was close and Edmonton doesn't have the Bombers defence. I'm going against the odds and picking the Alouettes.
Tabernac People 29, Tar People 24

BC at Saskatchewan
This game has real playoff implications, with the 5 and 6 Lions battling the 4 and 7 Riders on the road for the third playoff spot in the West. There's possibilities of cross-over as well, so both teams should be motivated. Both teams are relatively hot, but I'm more impressed with the Lions. The Riders are slight two point favourites at home. If this were in BC, I'd pick the Lions in a landslide, but I'll chose the Riders as slight favourites at home.
25 Rapeseed People 22 Sushi People

Winnipeg at Toronto
I'm not what sure what the oddsmakers are up to, but the Bombers are only 3.5 point favourites at Dead Ted's Dome. Maybe they're big fans of Steven Jyles. Sure he's a big step up from Cleo Lemon, but the Bombers are coming off a big road win in Montreal. It'll be a beating, and Jyles will be running for his life.
Portage People 34 Suck People 19

Calgary at (sort of ) Hamilton
Earlier today it was even odds, but when I last checked the Stamps are favoured by a single point. Ostensibly the Cats are the home team, but I'm doubting that's much of an advantage when the game is in Moncton. I suppose the fans will try and cheer for the Cats, but I'm sure they'll just jump on the bandwagon of whatever team is winning. Calgary lost last week and looked lame, but the Cats have lost badly the last two weeks and looked like the 3 and 15 teams a few years ago. That's generally not good. I expect the Cats to play better this week, but not enough to win. Interestingly the game is on grass, but I have no idea which team has the advantage with it.
Spur People 33, Balsam People 28

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Could the Ticats Miss the Playoffs This Year?

After back to back losses for the Tiger-Cats, things have become murkier with regards to where the team ends up in terms of playoff position. At first glance, at 5 and 6 the Cats look good for at least third in the East. The 2 and 9 Argos are essentially out of it barring a miracle run over the last seven games.

The problem for the Cats is the cross-over spot, where the fourth place West team has a better record than the third place East team (or vice versa). The Lions now have the same record as the Cats and are considerably hotter now. The Eskimos and Stampeders both have 7 and 4 records and are likely to have better records than the Cats at the end of the season. Now the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a 4 and 7 record after winning three straight and are only a game back of the Cats.

For the cross-over the other division team has to have a better record, i.e. in division teams tied on points get the playoff spot, so the Cats do have an advantage. However the upcoming "home" game in Moncton against Calgary has become more important. If the Cats win, they either tie or stay close to Montreal and hosting a home playoff game is still possible, especially with a game remaining in Montreal. If the Cats lose and the Riders win (although they're playing BC which complicates this scenario) the two teams would then be tied. Henceforth, if the Riders even end up with a single point more at the end of the season they would be in over the Cats.

Certainly this makes for more excitement in the league, and is part of the reason for the crossover. For the Cats it makes this next game against Calgary crucial. Win it and beating Montreal is still possible. Lose and the possibility of losing out on a playoff spot becomes more likely. Too bad the Cats aren't getting the full home field Ivor Wynne advantage this weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 13, 2011

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
After two weeks of suckitude, the Bombers edged out the Alouettes at home with mainly good defence. With the win over Montreal, the Bombers are looking good for home field advantage in the East.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Lost a close one to the aforementioned Bombers, but were by no means blown out. Looked awesome versus Hamilton on the road the week before. Still a good consistent team.
3. BC Lions
They're hot. Left for dead at the beginning of the season, like most recent seasons, the Lions have surged back and are soon returning to BC Place. Beating Calgary on the road is impressive. Now suddenly have a shot at a home playoff game, although the late start is going to make it tough.
4. Calgary Stampeders
Good, but not great. Stumbles at weird times, mediocre record at home. Is this the start of decline for Henry Burris from one of the two best quarterbacks to decent geezer?
5. Edmonton Eskimos
Fred Stamps is back. That seems to pretty much sum up the Eskimos year. Good with him, sucky without him. Manhandled Hamilton away from home, but with receiving and their Canadian running game. Offensive line looked good too.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Wha' happened? The Cats didn't win every game, but were at least in them, but the past two games they've been totally blown out by the first half. Feels like the bad old Jason Maas days. Is Kevin Glenn a good quarterback? Becoming harder to say. Even Cleo Lemon kept it close some games.
7. Saskatchean Rough Riders
Beat Toronto, but didn't look that great. Another win will move them up.
8. Toronto Argonauts
Steven Jyles is an improvement over Cleo Lemon and at least the Argos have realized that if your offense sucks, your quarterback should run more. May become somewhat respectable at the end of the year.

Ticat Lawn Parking Revenues

There's a few houses right near the Beechwood Avenue entrance of Ivor Wynne that do a decent trade in allowing cars to park on their lawns and driveways for Ticat games. One house in particular has interested me, namely 121 Prospect Avenue North at the corner of Beechwood. Before last Friday's game, there were eight cars parked on the property with what looked like room for three more. Assuming the owner was smart and parked his car on the street before the game and charged $20 per car, that's $220 per game and $2200 for the whole season, including the pre-season, but not any playoff game.

That I think would pay your property taxes on the property. I'm wondering if that would be a selling point for the property and how much it would add to the value of the home. Considering that an investment of $44,000 that pays 5% (very generous in these times) would also yield $2200 per year, the extra income would surely bump up the value of the house. I'm guessing the owners are glad the team's not moving to the West Harbour.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Was That?

I suppose I should say something about the Ticats' home 38 to 23 loss to the Eskimos on Friday. It felt a lot like the Jason Maas era, where the Cats offense would have a festival of two and outs in the first half and barely any scoring. Certainly being down 25 to 6 at the end of the first half is not a good thing. One game in a row like that isn't a massive concern, even a good team can have a terrible first half and get blown out. Two in a row though? This makes me wonder if the Cats will even end up 500 again this year. They're 5 and 6 and need to go 4 and 3 over the last seven games to do it. Possible? Sure. Will they do it? I'm not so sure after the last two games.

Friday, September 16, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 12, 2011, Revenge Edition

Edmonton Eskimos at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Both teams are coming off losses, coming off wins. Both teams looked bad, but Hamilton looked especially terrible. The Eskimos started the season hot, with five straight wins, followed by a single win and four losses. The Ticats are 4 and 1 at home, while the Eskimos are a very respectable 3 and 2 and the road. Hamilton is notably missing starting centre Marwan Hage at centre again this week. Hamilton is favoured by 4.5 points at home. I don't think the Cats will cough up two furballs in a row this week and Edmonton's not the same team as the first five weeks, especially their defensive line.
Balsam People 35, Permafrost People 23

Toronto Argonauts at Saskatchewan Roughriders
The 2 and 7 Argos visit the 3 and 6 Riders, however the Riders are coming off of two straight wins over the Bombers and the Argos not so much. Plus the Riders have Andy Fantuz back in the fold after his NFL sojourn. The Argos are missing their best offensive lineman in Rob Murphy and are starting Steven Jyles not that Cleo Lemon has been jettisoned. The Argos are 1 an 5 on the road, but the Riders are 1 and 4 at home which is almost equally as sucky. Maybe more sucky considering CFL teams usually perform much better on the road. The Riders are favoured by a whopping 7.5 points. Which may be generous.
Gopher People 32, Suck People 18

BC at Calgary
BC's hot! The Lions just beat the Argos twice in a row, once with Cleo Lemon, once without. That's not really saying much. The Lions are a semi-respectable, while the Stamps are a very respectable 7 and 3. Weirdly the Lions are 2 and 3 on the road and the Stamps are 2 and 3 at home. Calgary is favoured by 4.5 points and I think BC comes back down to Earth. Not every opponent is the Argos.
Fubar People 40, Feline People 32

Winnipeg at Montreal
The Bombers just lost two in a row to the formerly woeful Riders. Do the engines drop off the plane and the Winnipeggers lose three in a row and begin a slow death spiral into second half mediocrity? Yes. Montreal looked awesome at home against Hamilton last week and have a 4 and 1 record at Molson Stadium. The Bombers have 3 and 1 record on the road, but that was the old Winnipeg. The Alouettes are favoured by 7.5 points and rightfully so.
Oiseau People 32, River People 20

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Longest CFL Field Goal, Longest Ticat CFL Field Goal

After Justin Medlock booted a 57 yard field goal in Montreal on Sunday to tie the Ticat record (also apparently held by Bernie Ruoff and Paul Osbaldiston according to this article) for longest field goal and Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 63 yard field goal to tie the NFL record for longest field goal at Denver's Mile High Stadium (which has a sponsor, but since I get no revenue I'm not naming them) I was curious about the CFL records. Current BC kicker Paul McCallum had a 62 yard field goal for Saskatchewan against Edmonton on October 27, 2001 for 62 yards. Three kickers have kicked 67 yard field goals in the NCAA, I'm not sure of the CIS record, but I should look it up.

Monday, September 12, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 12, 2011

1. Calgary
Won on the road in the rematch with Edmonton to prove they are the best team in the West. Looking good to win the West division title.
2. Montreal
Back to playing how Montreal does by wiping the Ticats at home in all facets of the game. Still need to prove they can win on the road to move to the top spot.
3. Winnipeg
Back to back losses to the Riders isn't going to help your ranking much. Buck Pierce is supposed to be visiting the doctor this week. Will the Bombers implode in the second half? Top spot in the East is back up for grabs.
4. Hamilton
Decent team but no better than that. Good at home, mediocre on the road, offense grinds to a halt early in some games for no particular reason. Unknown whether Chris Williams is a number one receiver when the going gets tough.
5. Saskatchewan
Back to back wins over the formerly top ranked team and slotback Andy Fantuz is back from his NFL sojourn and a new old coach. The Riders are back. Probably.
6. Edmonton
Back down to Earth. Fred Stamps returned from injury but didn't do much which is a bit demoralizing. Offensive line inconsistent.
7. BC
Some momentum, but beating the Argos twice in a row isn't much of an accomplishment. Lions shouldn't get cocky.
8. Toronto
The grand Cleo Lemon experiment is over and the Steven Jyles experiment begins. Crossover is likely done unless a miracle occurs. Offensive lineman Rob Murphy is injured which can't help. Playing for next year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ticats Get Asses Handed to them in Montreal, Lose 43 to 13

Well that was disappointing. After last week's shellacking against the Alouettes in Hamilton, Montreal turned things around and whipped Hamilton in Montreal. Lots of blame to go around, both the offense and defence were poor. Glenn had a poor performance going 13 and 30 for 151 yards, no picks though. Glenn was under a lot of pressure though so it wasn't all on him. Cobourne only had five rushes for two yards, so the offensive line was terrible. I'm not sure if the missing Marwan Hage at centre made that much of a difference, but a terrible effort anyways.

Notable defensive miscues included Markeith Knowlton failing to make a tackle, which would have been a sure third down and allowing a TD instead. Minimal pressure from the defensive line.

Medlock had a good day including a 57 yarder. I'm not sure if that's a Ticat record, but it was a long field goal.

Hamilton also lost the penalty battle and couldn't buy a pass interference against them to save their lives.

Hopefully the Ticats can regroup against Edmonton at Ivor Wynne this week.

Friday, September 9, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 11, 2011, Revenge Edition

Calgary at Edmonton,
While the Eskimos dog sledded all over the Stampeders last week in Calgary, the oddsmakers aren't believing it, with Calgary favoured by 3 points on the road. I've heard Eskimos receiver Fred Stamps is back, although I'm not sure. Edmonton was good last week, after losing three in a row, but I'm not on the bandwagon just yet. Stamps tight.
Saddle People 29, Dog People 27

Toronto at BC,
No Cleo "the Party" Lemon any more for the Argos. Everything rides with Stephen Jyles as the new quarterback. The Lions are at home and favoured by a solid 7.5 points. A new quarterback won't make a lot of difference for a mediocre Argo team.
Coast People 33, Suck People 13

Hamilton at Montreal,
The Ticats won big last week at home, so Montreal will be looking for revenge. Calvillo probably won't have two bad games in a row, especially at home. The Alouettes are favoured by five, but I expect a closer game with Montreal squeaking one out.
PQ People 30, Crawl People 28

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg,
In a huge shocker, the Riders rode the Bombers out of Swaggerville like a bunch of Gaddafi loyalists. This week they're on the road and they might have Andy Fantuz in the lineup. The Bombers are at home and favoured by 5.5 points. Don't expect the Riders to do much in this game.
Mennonite People 35, Fantuz People 17

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 10, 2011

1. Winnipeg
OK so they sucked on the road in Regina. Every time has a speed bump now and then. With only two losses, the Bombers are still the class of the CFL. Unless they lose to the Riders at home this week.
2. Hamilton
Homer pick? Good point differential, plus they've now beat Montreal twice, with a thumping last week. Good team with potential to be great.
3. Montreal
Needs to stop losing to Hamilton. Defence is still good, but Calvillo is looking a little shakier. Always waxes the crap teams.
4. Calgary
Good record, loss to the Eskimos at home, have only scored one more point than they've given up over nine games.
5. BC
Bad record, beat Toronto on the road, have scored 13 more points than they've allowed. Not really sure what they would do right now against a great team.
6. Edmonton
Excellent victory over the Stamps showed they've still got something. When Stamps comes back from injury, they'll move up.
7. Saskatchewan
Beat the top team at home, new old coach and have Fantuz coming back. The Riders should move up the rankings, but they're still 2 and 7.
8. Toronto
Getting rid of Cleo "the Party" Lemon is definitely addition by subtraction. Until Jyles shows something, the Argos are a bad team trying to figure out who to keep for next year.

Old Article on Earl Winfield

I was looking at the wikipedia entry for former Ticat receiver Earl Winfield and found that it wasn't particularly informative, but did have a link to a preserved Geocities page with an old Globe and Mail article from Stephen Brunt about Winfield. The article is interesting from a historical perspective, including the fact that Winfield earned around $100,000 way back then, but was looking at a substantial pay cut due to the usual periodic CFL hard times.

The Geocities page also helpfully has Winfield's career stats, which were what I was looking for anyways. His ninth season, 1995 was his best year with 92 receptions and 1496 yards and 13 scores, which is pretty impressive compared to the league leaders from last year.

Lateral Stat Weirdness, Infinite Yards Per Catch?

After Dave Stala's lateral to Maurice Mann in the Labour Day game against Montreal, I was wondering how the stats work for laterals. I assume that after a lateral, the player receiving the lateral gets credit in receiving yards (or maybe running yards if the play was originally a handoff). What I'm wondering now is what happens statwise if you have no receptions yourself and receive the lateral. Mann had a few receptions in the game and I assumed the lateral yards were included in his yardage total. What if he had no receptions? Could one get receiving yards and no receptions in a game? Infinite yards per catch? Maybe programmers working with football stats need to watch for divide by zero errors.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ticats Mauling of Alouettes Analysis

Well yesterday at Ivor Wynne was most enjoyable from the perspective of a Ticat fan. Despite giving up a TD off a fumble on the first play from scrimmage, the Cats were relentless from that point on, ending up with 44 to 21 victory over the Alouettes. Calvillo looked mortal and perhaps a bit Cleo Lemon like and all was right with the universe in East Hamilton.

Kevin Glenn's numbers on the surface don't look that remarkable, and frankly how the Cats got 44 points from them seems a little weird. Glenn was 14 for 18 for 237 yards with 1 TD and no picks. Often the most important stat for passers is completion percentage and a 77.8% is excellent. That keeps the ball moving downfield and also minimizes two and outs, the real killer in the CFL.

Chris Williams kept up his leading receiver performance going with five catches for 108 yards. No need for Arland Bruce III here. Stala had catches for 59 yards which included a long reception followed by a lateral to Mann for a few more yards. I'm not sure what the head coach thought about that (likely don't do that again), but I've always thought laterals are somewhat under utilized in the CFL. I'm also a bit confused as to who gets credit for yards after a lateral. I assume Mann would have in this case.

Cobourne had a heavy load against his former team, but performed with a 19 carry performance with 102 yards, 2 TDs and a fumble. As long as the average is over five yards per carry, you're usually good in the CFL.

Porter had one of those up and down performances that keep him as the backup. He did well when he came in for Glenn briefly, including a nice long run for a TD up the middle with a celebratory spin across the goal line, but threw a pick six near the end of the game when the game was already long decided. Still a good sign that Porter could come in and keep the team going against the Alouettes when it mattered.

Calvillo had a mediocre day, going 17 for 30 for 216 yards, with no TDs or picks. It seemed a lot of Alouette receivers dropped short passes that should have been caught, but at the same time, pressure from the Hamilton D made Calvillo pass early than he wanted too. Hickman had a good game with two sacks and Johnson had six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. There were a few passes knocked down that were nice too. Overall the defence looked great against the Alouettes.

Montreal also had penalties up the wazoo and Hamilton had almost none. Trestman probably didn't like that.

Attendance was a bit weaker than I predicted at 26 and change. I had said 28 and change, but the weather with the possibility of rain probably kept some people away. I saw almost no Alouette fans (in fact I think I saw more for the last game against Montreal) whereas if Toronto had been the opponent, I'm sure the game would have closer to a sellout. No doubt the Ticats want Toronto back as the Labour Day opponent next year and for it to remain as Toronto no matter what David Braley says.

The Party's Over! Cleo Lemon Released By the Argos

The Argos have apparently released Cleo Lemon and installed former Bomber pivot Steven Jyles as their new quarterback and person who has to throw to the league's worst receivers. Lemon survived a surprisingly long time, but the Argos didn't have a lot of options. Jyles was distinctly mediocre last year in the games he started for the Bombers (especially considering they didn't have a bad defence) but is still a step up from Lemon. Last year his stats for the Bombers were surprisingly good: 196 for 318 (61.6% completion percentage), and 19 TDs versus 7 picks for a rating of 100.9. He also rushed for a very respectable 452 yards on 65 carries (7.0 average). For a team with mediocre receivers, if the quarterback sees he can get a run for a first down, he probably should

The Argos while in theory still in it for a crossover birth, have to think about next year, especially with their best offensive lineman Rob Murphy out with injury. The Argos overachieved wildly last year and are probably underachieving a bit this year. Considering the riches the Ticats have at import receiver, its amazing the Argos can't find some decent ones, but finding out who to keep for next year is the double blue's task for the second half of the season.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labour Day Attendance

I haven't heard much about what the attendance is expected to be in today's game against Montreal. Not having Toronto definitely hurts, although they are so poor this year one wonders how many Argos fans would make the journey down to Ivor Wynne. The Ticats have a good opponent in Montreal, with a lot on the line in the game. The weather is looking mediocre, which will likely keep some away. I'll predict 28 thousand and change. Not a sellout, but a decent crowd. The atmosphere won't really be the same without the Argos though. The league needs this game to go back to the Argos versus Ticats.

Maurice Mann could be back today after his bizarre locker room foot injury. That should help with the Cat offence, but he could be pretty rusty. Also Mann is a decent player, but hardly the second coming of Tommy Joe Coffey. Sometimes absence builds up a player more than is warranted.

The Cats need a good start against Montreal. Calvillo is good and clinical enough that when he gets ahead the Alouette offence is unstoppable. The Cats need to keep it close and keep up the pressure on Calvillo every play.

Friday, September 2, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 10, 2011, Labour Day Weekend Edition

BC at Toronto,
Battle of the two victory teams. I suppose that's better than the earlier battle of the single victory teams. The Lions are favoured by two points on the road, which would indicate Las Vegas doesn't like Cleo Lemon and frankly I don't blame them. BC has gotten the benefit of the doubt a lot the past few seasons, despite being a mediocre team. I'll stick with the home team here, although Arland Bruce would probably love to have a good game here.
Suck People 25, Pot People 22

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
The Bombers are only favoured by 3 in Regina. Thats seems weird considering they have inverse records, one team has one loss, the other one win. I really can't see the Winnipeg defence just taking the long weekend off. The Bombers get a head early and silence the crowd.
Jets People 41, Watermelon People 19

Montreal at Hamilton
The Ticats aren't getting much respect, with the Alouettes favoured by two and a half at Ivor Wynne. Maybe if the Cats were better than 500 they would get more respect. Despite this, the Cats beat the Alouettes fairly convincingly last game at Ivor Wynne and the crowd should be jacked. Montreal is only good, not great this year.
Escarpment People 29, Poutine People 25

Edmonton at Calgary
The Stamps are favoured by 8.5 at home and surprisingly it's not more. With Edmonton's injured receiving corps and suddenly turnstile like offensive line, things aren't going to go well for the Eskimos. The Eskimos should really pick up the now released Marquay McDaniel.
Stetson People 37, Injured People 17

CFL Power Rankings, Week 10, 2011

On vacation in Ireland this week, so no posts until today.

1. Winnipeg
Beat Hamilton in a close one at home. Still the best. Having back to back games against Saskatchewan should keep them here for a while. Unless Buck Pierce explodes. Which could happen.
2. Calgary
Quoting Ric Flair, "to be the man, you have to beat the man." Calgary beat Montreal, therefore they are ranked higher. They did win at home, but that's just semantics.
3. Montreal
See above.
4. Hamilton
Lost to the Bombers on the road. Clearly a good team, but not a great team.
5. BC
Some one has to be number five.
6. Toronto
Still has Cleo "the Party" Lemon as quarterback. Needs to win a third game to move up.
7. Edmonton
Assumedly the Eskimos receivers are healing up. Edmonton needs Fred Stamps to return to get back on track.
8. Saskatchewan
Only a single win. The good news is that somehow they are still in playoff contention.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ticats Lose to Bombers 30 to 27

Unfortunately, due to being in Europe, I wasn't able to watch the game, only read the recaps and look at the stats. Disappointing, but it was close and too bad we couldn't pull it out at the end and the Cats were on the road.

Comparing the quarterbacks, both Glenn and Pierce made 34 attempts, with Glenn slightly better at 22 completions, while Pierce had 19. Glenn also had 351 yards while Pierce had 293. Both had 2 TDs, but Glenn had an interception. The strange thing with Glenn is how he can have good numbers but still end up losing. The Cats were 9 and 9 in the regular season last year, and 4 and 4 now. I think the rest of the Ticats are a good group too. I'm not saying put in Quinton Porter at quarterback, but there's some intangibles out there.

Chris Williams had a monster game, with 162 yards on seven catches with a TD, but had a costly interception. Williams is now fifth in receiving in the CFL, with 586 yards and is probably a lock for 1,000 yards receiving. Grant also had a good game with 83 yards on four catches and a TD. Hopefully Maurice Mann can come back for the Labour Day game. Still no Marquay McDaniel.

Cobourne only had 60 yards on 15 carries, for a 4.0 average, but against a tough Bomber line one can't really complain. Conversely Fred Reid only had 54 yards on 12 carries, so an even better job by the Ticat line.

The Cats only gave up a sack, while getting three themselves (two by Hickman and one by Baggs). Can't complain about that.

Medlock missed two field goals, with both being more than 50 yards. Can't really fault him for that.

Hopefully the Cats can regroup with more than a week to Labour Day and get another victory against the Alouettes at home. With the Ticats now 4 and 4 and the Bombers 7 and 1, it is getting unlikely the Cats will catch them for first in the East. If the Cats can't finish ahead of Montreal either that means on home playoff date. Normally that's not a huge deal, but with only eight regular season home games due to Moncton, the playoff game was supposedly going to be the ninth game. We'll see what happens.

Friday, August 26, 2011

CFL Predictions, Week 9, 2011

Hamilton at Winnipeg
Certainly an interesting game, whether you're a fan of either team. Both have winning records, however the Bombers have only a single loss. Buck Pierce is healthy going into the game and coming off a bye week, which is good for Winnipeg, although whether he plays the full game is an unknown. Winnipeg has a great defence, especially the line and the secondary. Hamilton has a good defensive line and Kevin Glenn is enough of a veteran to not be overwhelmed and make stupid mistakes. Glenn may well suffer a few sacks, but the presence of Avon Cobourne should take some pressure off.

Probably how the game goes will depend on how Hamilton's defence does against Winnipeg's offence. The Hamilton defence has had some great games and some mediocre ones. If the line can't get any pressure on Pierce, or allows him to run for too many first downs, the Ticats will lose.

The most relevant stats for which team will win are the respective home and away records. The Bombers are 3 and 1 at home, the Ticats a mere 1 and 2 away. The Bombers are favoured by three, I'll pick against the Cats and a few extra points. I'm not always a homer.
Swaggerville People 29, Linux People 24

Montreal at Calgary,
Another game with teams with winning records with both teams being 5 and 2. Montreal has looked strong, although not the juggernaut of last year. Calgary hasn't looked that great despite being 5 and 2. The Stamps are at home, which should count for something, although bizarrely they have a 1 and 2 record there. Montreal has a 2 and 1 record on the road and is favoured by 1. Calgary could prove they are a great team and the favourite in the West with the Eskimos recent implosion, but I'm doubting it. The Alouettes win, as they so often annoyingly do.
Canadiens People 33, Chuckwagon People 26

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CFL Players of the Week, Week 8, 2011, Finally a Rider!

When there's only two games in a week, that kind of perverts the Players of the Week Awards. What would normally not be recognized is feted. Cats lie with dogs. The Saskatchewan Rough Riders actually win an award.

Former Cat Arland Bruce, the third iteration, won offensive player of the week with a nine catch, 129 yard, 2 TD effort. The question for BC's Bruce is whether he can still hit 1,000 yards this year. I say it is likely. Fellow Lion Aaron Hunt won the defensive player award with five tackles and three sacks. I know people like to disparage sacks as a stat, but if you're getting sacked all the time, things are not going well. A cornerback can register a tackle by tackling a receiver on the 1 yard line after a 108 yard reception. A sack is bad news no matter how you slice it.

The Argo's Noel Prefontaine won best special teams player with three field goals, including a 47 yarder. Over 50 yards and I would be more impressed, but that's what you get with only two games played.

And finally, the Riders snapped the shutout with receiver Chris Getzlaf grabbing four passes for 123 yards plus a TD. Of course the Riders still lost, partly because Getzlaf couldn't come down with the winning touchdown pass in the dying seconds. They don't include that part in the description on

Unsurprisingly, no Eskimos won an award.

Keeping track of the awards on the year, the Alouettes have seven, the Bombers six, BC and Edmonton have five, Calgary and Toronto have three, the Ticats have only two despite four wins and the Riders have one award to go with their one victory.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 9, 2011

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Didn't play, but it's not like anyone did anything to improve their comparisons to the Bombers.
2. Montreal Alouettes
3. Calgary Stampeders
4. Hamilton Tigercats
Well Hamilton beat Toronto in it's last game, which is more than you can say for the Eskimos.
5. BC Lions
Sure they may only have two wins, but they easily beat an Edmonton team weakened by injuries. Bruce combined with Simon makes for an excellent receiving tandem and Bruce proved last week he still has it. Provided there's another receiver that draws double coverage. Plus the defensive line is looking sweet.
6. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos looked good for most of the game, but then managed to honk it up, then held on to beat the Riders. Looked decent against Hamilton the week before, so things are looking up for the Argos, especially if they play other weak teams. Playing good teams, not so much.
7. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Displayed some heart last week in Toronto and came within one broken up pass of stealing the road win. Firing Greg Marshall should help them a little bit.
8. Edmonton Eskimos
In theory the power rankings are supposed to be what you would do if you played this week. The Edmonton Eskimos were a good team, but have now descended into suckitude. Receivers are injured, the offensive line is atrocious and they've resorted to playing Kerry Joseph. Hard to have a winning record, but be ranked last, but here we are.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Points For and Against Bizarreness, Greg Marshall Firing

After last night's game, the 5 and 3 Edmonton Eskimos have 173 points for and 190 points against, a little odd. Odder still, the BC Lions with a 2 and 6 record have 203 points for and 203 points against. Personally I think point differential should be the first tie breaker (even ahead of head to head record) so we'd be treated to crazy games where teams tried to score no matter what the current score.

After writing this post about the importance of Andy Fantuz to the Riders and the fact that not having him this year is the main reason for Saskatchewan sucking, the Rider braintrust has canned the former Ticat defensive co-ordinator. Sad, but something that had to be done, just to placate the fans and the general manager wasn't going to fire himself. The fact that the Riders are still inexplicably in the hunt for a playoff spot is an argument for keeping Marshall (who was fired before the BC victory), but the trigger was pulled. I'd be curious to see how many years Marshall signed for. The Riders are the most profitable team in the league, so if they signed Marshall to a three year deal, they can eat the next two and a half year's salary easily. No matter how much the Argos suck, I don't see Barker getting canned this year.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Valuable Was Andy Fantuz to the Roughriders?

I watched parts of the Argos Riders game yesterday and for most of the game, the Riders were terrible. Which got me thinking about why the Riders are so terrible this year after a series of good years and the same quarterback. Darian Durant isn't some old quarterback whose skills are in terminal decline so why the difference year to year.

The most obvious difference this year is the absence of non-import receiver Andy Fantuz. Fantuz led the CFL last year in receiving yards, with 87 catches for 1,380 yards and six TDs. The Riders also had non-import receivers Chris Getzlaf (who had a good game last night, but couldn't come up with the winning TD) and Rob Bagg (who has been injured all this year). The Riders also had serviceable non-import receiver Jason Clairmont and an excellent import receiver in Weston Dressler.

The benefits last year of the Riders having three starting non-import receivers (although I'm not sure if Getzlaf and Bagg started almost every down, I'm pretty sure they didn't) meant they had a ton of flexibility with the import ratio. Between the receivers and their offensive line, the Riders likely had their seven required Canadian starters for every game and could have easily had an all American defence if they chose.

Fantuz' value individually is interesting, because he was both a non-import and arguably the best receiver in the league. Quarterbacks in the CFL are obviously considered the most important player and typically command by far the highest salaries, often between $400,000 and $500,000 in a low salary cap environment. Receivers can be paid well, but I've never heard a salary quoted as over $200,000. Fantuz drew significant defensive coverage yet was still able to produce, making his fellow receivers and running backs better. The evidence is the difference in performance between the Riders this year and last. Great last year and totally sucky this year, with a 1 and 7 record, but the same quarterback.

Fantuz went to try out for the NFL this year, where obviously orders of magnitude more money is available, with risk of not making the team. Considering how valuable Fantuz was to the Riders, the Riders should have offered significantly more money to Fantuz to induce him to stay, taking money from Durant if necessary. The Riders are likely paying Durant a big salary this year for a terrible team and now it seems, it isn't warranted.

CFL Predictions 2011, Week 8: Battle of the 1 and 6 Teams!

Saskatchewan at Toronto
Battle of the one and six teams! Two teams enter, one leaves with 100% more wins. Or if there's a tie everything is screwed up. With three teams in two divisions tied with a single victory, this game has bizarre playoff implications. If the Riders win, they'll have a stranglehold (such as it is) over Toronto for the third playoff spot in the West and the possibility of a cross-over, due to ties going to the in division team. If Toronto wins, they're a game a head.

The Argos are favoured by three points at home. Cleo "the Party" Lemon has a had a few good passing results lately but alas no victories. Perhaps one useful piece of information is that the Argos have been outscored by 55 points this year, the Riders by an atrocious 82. That's not good. Argos take it, in a mediocre fashion.
Suck People 27, Prairie People 13

BC at Edmonton
Can the Lions win another game? With the Eskimos reeling and their wide receiver cupboard bare, I'd consider the Lions if they were at home. But they're not and the Eskimos are favoured by 5.5. I say Edmonton and a healthy dose of Jerome Messam prevails. But no spread cover.
Murder People, Environmentalist People

CFL Players of the Week, Week 7, 2011, No Ticats, An Argo

So the CFL players of the week are up on the CFL website and no Ticats this week. However there was an Argo in a losing effort, Brandon Rideau, with six passes for 147 yards and 2 TDs. Cleo Lemon's passing numbers were pretty good too, but the Argos still lost. No Ticats had particularly remarkable numbers offensively, so no surprise.

Linebacker Chip Cox won for the Alouettes, with two sacks and two forced fumbles. Also the Eskimos scored four points. The Cats allowed the Argos to score 32 points, so I'm sure no Cat even got a sniff.

Kicker and punter Sean Whyte won with four field goals for the Alouettes, the longest a 47 yarder. Ooh, a 47 yarder. How many field goals does the Cats Justin Medlock have beyond that this year? I'm not sure and am too lazy to look it up. I think Medlock only had three field goals last week, so I can understand it.

Jabari Arthur won the best Canadian for the Stamps, with seven catches for 92 yards and a TD. Didn't even know he was a non-import.

Looking at how many awards each team has won this year: the Alouettes have leapt into the lead with seven, the Bombers still have six, Edmonton still has five, BC and Calgary both weirdly have three, considering their records, the Ticats are stuck on two, now tied with the Argos and the Riders still have none. So BC seems to be getting more CFL player of the week than is warranted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Samuel Giguerre Bound for the Ticats? Maybe?

Scott Radley has a good article in the Spec on the possibility of Sherbrooke receiver and Ticat draft pick from 2008 Samuel Giguerre coming to the Ticats now that he's been cut by the Giants, ostensibly due to a groin injury.

Radley mentions that signing him would mean cause roster problems, leading to somebody else getting the boot. But it doesn't have to! The solution, the nine game injury list. Giguerre is in theory injured anyways, and would probably take time to get him up to speed while taking up a roster spot. Plus salaries on the nine game injury list don't count against the salary cap. So sign him to a two year plus an option deal, front load it so less counts against the cap while he is on the nine game list and there you go. Of course you're screwed if he's a bust, but that happens all the time (cough, cough Kenton Keith). Or the Cats can just trade his rights to Montreal for a smoked meat sandwich (I'm serious, I can see this happening).

One interesting question is Giguerre better off if he would have just signed here initially and skipped the three practice roster years in the NFL? Giguerre would probably have made more on the practice roster, since CFL rookies get paid little, but he probably would have made it to the active roster and developed into a quality receiver by now. Hard to know and the possibility is always there for the big score of making it on an active NFL roster once you're in training camp.

Finally, maybe Giguerre just sucks. It is a possibility. Lots of players get a few sniffs in the NFL, come down to the CFL and are never heard from again. Rarer for a non-import, but it does happen. I predict with Giguerre though, that if the Cats don't sign him, there's plenty of other teams in the CFL that will have interest.

Monday, August 15, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 8, 2011, One Win Team Festival!

So seven games have been played and we still have three one win teams. That will end next week barring a tie, but for now we still have to decide who's the worst team in the CFL.

1. Winnipeg
Swaggerville can't be stopped and more importantly the Bombers have Buck Pierce healthy for several games in a row.
2. Montreal
The Alouettes waxed the formerly good Edmonton Eskimos and kept them to four points. Could get the top stop if they were to play Winnipeg and beat them.
3. Calgary
Beat the Riders by ten last week, which is OK for a road game, but not that remarkable considering the Riders are the worst team in the CFL (foreshadowing).
4. Hamilton
Beat a team with one win at home and it was close and the opposing quarterback was Cleo Lemon. Still the Cats have a strong young receiving corps, without Maurice Mann and Marquay McDaniel in the lineup and a good, consistent quarterback. That's good enough for fourth.
5. Edmonton
From undefeated to fifth on the power rankings. Ouch. That's what happens when Fred Stamps is out for a while and the team is forced to pickup Hamilton and Montreal castoff Prechae Rodriguez due to a depleted receiving corps. Pretty much all of the Eskimo offense is Jerome Messam now.
6. BC
The first of the three 1 and 6 teams. Not really a lot to justify them as the best of the worst, but at least they've won most recently. New arrival Arland Bruce tied Geroy Simon with the most passes with four, but that only totaled 34 yards. No thousand yards receiving for Bruce this year.
7. Toronto
Cleo "the Party" Lemon went 26 for 36 for 368 yards with three TDs and no picks. However the Argos still lost, albeit on the road and somewhat closely. That's something I guess.
8. Saskatchewan
Lost by ten at home to Calgary. Lots of offensive yards, but the Riders still lost. I think the Riders have basically given up until Andy Fantuz gets cut from the NFL. If he doesn't, or sticks around on the practice roster, the Riders are really screwed.

Analysis, Ticats 37, Argos 32

Finally getting around to writing something about the Cat's victory on Saturday. The Argos played better than I expected them too, but the Cats managed to hang on to the victory. The Argos are a better team with Cory Boyd. He didn't have the greatest stats, with 73 yards on 16 rushes with a TD, but he got decent yards on first down and making things a lot easier for the Argos. Cleo "the Party" Lemon had his best game this year, going 26 for 36 for 368 yards and 3 TDs and no interceptions. Rideau (who?) had a great game receiving, and Durie and Mac grad Bradwell had good games receiving as well. Still the Argos ended up losing. That's gotta hurt and they've lost six straight.

Kevin Glenn had a good game, with 22 passes on 31 attempts and 310 yards with 2 TDs and no picks. The Ticat running game was mostly meh, with Cobourne rushing 13 times for 61 yards and a TD. The 4.69 yard average is also just OK.

Aaron Kelly had another good game, with 80 yards on seven catches. Williams had only 2 catches, but 64 yards. Bakari Grant had his first good game with 53 yards on four catches and Matt Carter had a good game with four catches for 49 yards. Amazingly the Cats have pretty much totally changed around their receiving corps from last year without any really drop in performance. That probably speaks more to having a good and experienced quarterback rather than all the young receivers being that remarkable. No Marquay McDaniel this week. Perhaps the Cats are looking for the right trade rather than releasing him, but he's a good receiver in case of receiver injuries (hello, Edmonton) and we've still got Maurice Mann to come back from his bizarre locker room accident.

Defence was just OK. Didn't seem like a lot of pressure on Lemon this week

I think the real hero though was Justin Medlock and probably the difference in the game. The Cats here have a real asset and can possibly get points up to 55 yards, whereas De Angelis had no real possibility of points over 45 yards last year. Makes the Cats more dangerous late and builds up points throughout the game. Easily the best kicker in the league this year.

OK crowd of 24,347, although it seemed like more. The Argos only being 1 and 5 this year going into the game likely did not help. Hopefully the Cats can still sell out on Labour Day this year. I still think all the stadium brouhaha is depressing attendance this year.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ottawa CFL Team Delayed Until 2014?

Looks like the new Ottawa CFL team will be delayed until 2014, which is unfortunate. Good old NIMBYism, although I'm not a crotchety, old federal civil servant who lives in the neighbourhood who might be slightly inconvenienced on the 10 CFL game days per year, so what do I know.

Getting a tenth team besides Ottawa soon after would be fantastic for the league. Moncton looks like they're still in the lead, but if Halifax can get a stadium they would probably vault ahead. However getting federal funding for a stadium during this economy is probably easier said than done.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

CFL Predictions 2011, Week 7: 1 and 5 Teams Sally Forth

Edmonton at Montreal
The Eskimos are 5 and 1 versus the Alouettes 4 and 2. Two pertinent facts, Montreal is at home and probably the best receiver in the CFL Fred Stamps is out with internal bleeding for the Esks. The Alouettes aren't as good as they were in previous years, but they're still pretty good, especially when a team isn't on the top of its game. Unsurprisingly the Als are favoured by 6.5
NDP People 35, Mall People 19

Calgary at Saskatchewan
The Stamps are 4 and 2 and coming off a victory. The Riders are 1 and 5 and lost last week to the previously winless Lions. Stamps are favoured by 3.5 on the road, which means no one has real confidence in the Riders. I thought the Riders would be worse this year, but not this bad. Greg Marshall, I fear your head coaching career will be short, shorter than the other Greg Marshall.
Stetson People 29, Potash People 19

Toronto at Hamilton
Hamilton is favoured by a relatively massive 7 points at home against the 1 and 5 Argos. The Cats played well last week in the first half and then sucked and were shut out in the second half. The Argos mostly sucked last week and sucked more as the game went on and then fired their defensive co-ordinator when their offense sucks. I've heard rumours that Boyd is back this week at running back for the Argos this week, but I'm too lazy to check it. Ticats still win.
Timmies People 30, Suck People 24

Winnipeg at BC
Winnipeg is so hot that the players have dubbed themselves Swaggerville, no doubt to move as many T-shirts as possible. BC is 1 and 5 and beat the Riders last week. Buck Pierce is currently uninjured and the Bombers have a lethal defence. Lulay is becoming better for the Lions (certainly better than Cleo Lemon), but he'll be running for his life this week.
33 Jets People, 22 Rain People