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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CFL Players of the Week, Week 6, 2011, No Ticats

Not a big surprise with no Ticats winning player of the week after losing to Calgary. Anthony Calvillo wins offensive player of the week. Going 30 for 36 is pretty sweet. BC's linebacker Elimimian won defensive player with 12 tackles and a sack. Calgary's Larry Taylor won the special teams award with some decent punt and kick returns against the Cats. Edmonton's Jerome Messam won best Canadian player with 50 yards rushing and 31 receiving in a losing effort. Weird no Bombers won an award.

Keeping track of the number of awards won by each team, Winnipeg leads with six, Edmonton and Montreal both have five each, BC three, despite only having one win, Calgary and Hamilton have two. Toronto has one and the Riders still have none.

Monday, August 8, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 7, 2011

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers beat the only previously unbeaten team the Eskimos at home and Buck Pierce manages to get through the game uninjured. Things are looking good in Swaggerville.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Things are looking good for the Alouettes again, even if was just against the Argonauts. Calvillo looks to be back on track. Questions remain about the defence. Good or just good against Cleo "the Party" Lemon?
3. Calgary Stampeders
Looked mediocre in the first half, came back strong in the second half and blanked the Ticat offense. Burris is still a good quarterback, just not a great one.
4. Edmonton Eskimos
How do the Eskimos tumble all the way down to four? Lose and have arguably the best receiver in the CFL out for a while with internal bleeding. Ricky Ray will be considerably worse without Stamps.
5. Hamilton Ticats
Great first half, couldn't manage a rouge in the second half, despite going into it up ten points. Hallmarks of an average team. Vaunted young receivers not looking so hot now.
6. BC Lions
Lions win! Lions win! Win another and you'll get some respect.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Still terrible, still trotting out Cleo Lemon as quarterback. We're in Bart Andrus territory here.
8. Saskatchewan RoughRiders
Honk city, that's where this team is headed. Not good for the league, as the Rider fans will stay home around the league. Still in a race for the playoffs though.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ticats Win First Half Against Stampeders, Get Crushed in Second Half, Lose 32 to 20

The game last night was fun to watch as a Cat fan for the first half. After a slow start, the Cats took control both offensively and defensively and every penalty, challenge and ball caught near the sidelines went out way. Then the Cats didn't score a point in the second half, which is pretty hard, considering kicker Justin Medlock's field goal range.

What happened in the second half? I'm not really sure. The much praised young receiving core didn't do anything. They didn't really seem to be getting open and Glenn didn't do much either. Arland Bruce is probably laughing a bit in Vancouver. Statwise, Aaron Kelly had a good game with five catches for 92 yards and Williams had six for 48 yards. You have to wonder if Marquay McDaniel will be back in the lineup next week. Unless Maurice Mann is finally over his freak locker room injury.

Calgary's defence showed me something the second half so kudos to them. Hamilton's defence was a bit disappointing, but when the offense hangs you out to dry and can't even manage a field goal, there's not a lot you can do.

Hamilton is a decent team this year, but missed a chance this week to show they're a great team.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Buck Pierce Finishes Game Uninjured! Also Winnipeg Beats Edmonton 28 to 16

I watched the second half of the Bomber Eskimo game and was amazed that Buck Pierce finished the game. The Bombers defensive line was impressive. Eskimos are suddenly not looking that great. Barely beat Toronto last week and basically needed some bizarre timekeeping at half-time to stay in the game. Basically this year looks like East is way better than the West, which historically has been pretty rare.

Argos Offense Sucks, Defensive Co-ordinator Chip Garber Fired

Doesn't really make sense, but when you're 1 and 5 someone has to go. Firing your offensive co-ordinator mid-season strikes me as more difficult since it's tough to put in all new schemes. Doesn't really seem fair though, considering the Argos offence has been relatively good, when not hung out to dry on the field by their inept offence.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ticats Pan Am Stadium Plans

There's a city PDF document noting some zoning changes for the new stadium (hat tip to Hamilton Skyscraper Forumer Steeltown for pointing it out). There seems to be some interesting information in it, but I've only had a quick glance.

On page 28 there's a map of the site. I was surprised to see that the former (or soon to be former) Brian Timmis stadium ends up being only 220 parking spots. I thought it would have been more than that.

There's some mention of some retail, but I haven't looked into it too much. Some retail would be certainly good for the area. A Ticat themed sports bar incorporated into the stadium would be good too and the logical place to watch away games.

I'll go through it more on the weekend and will make another post if warranted.

CFL Predictions 2011, Week 6

It's Thursday and there's a game. Time to make my predictions and here's hoping they're better than Rob Ford's.

Montreal at Toronto
Montreal is favoured on the road, but only by 4 points, which is kind of sad considering the Argos are 1 and 4. I would guess the oddsmakers have lost some confidence in Montreal and especially Anthony Calvillo, who has looked pedestrian for the past two games. The Argos do have a good defence, but their passing offense is so weak that I can't see them getting by Montreal even at home. Lemon looks like he's back, but between him and Bell it's pretty much a wash. Close and the Argos cover the spread.
Montreal 26, Toronto 24

Edmonton at Winnipeg
Game of the year so far. That feels weird saying and if you told me before the season that this would be a critical game I wouldn't be able to process it. Edmonton looked pretty ordinary against Toronto last week and are on the road. The Eskimos are favoured by a single point, but I like the Bombers at home. I have no idea on Buck Pierce's status, but the Bombers are 4 and 1 with Pierce rarely finishing a game so I don't think it matters.
Winnipeg 29, Edmonton 27

Saskatchewan at BC
Battle of the sucky teams! From what I've read online, the Lions won't have Arland Bruce which might have helped a bit. BC is favoured by 3.5 points at home and to be honest, I don't think the Lions are that terrible a team. Lulay is becoming a decent quarterback. If he had some decent receivers, the Lions offense could be mediocre. I'm not exactly sure what's happened to the Riders this year. I would say probably the main factor is going from awesome Canadian receivers to that being a weakness over the off-season and not being able to compensate for it. I'll take the Lions at home, and they'll cover too.
BC 33, Saskatchewan 24

Hamilton at Calgary
Being a Hamilton fan, this one's not an easy one to call. Both teams are 3 and 2, although most power rankings have the Ticats ahead. Burris has looked crap all year, while Glenn has looked good for the last three games. The Cats defence is also looking good recently, the Stamps D, not so much. After the trade this week, the Cats don't have Arland Bruce to not play for them. With the emergence of some young import receivers that's not really a problem. Normally in this situation, I'd pick the Stamps to win but not cover, but here I'll take the Cats to win in a squeaker.
Ticats 30, Stamps 28

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ticats Trade Arland Bruce to BC for Assorted Snacks

Whoa. Looked on Twitter and the Cats have traded Arland Bruce to the BC Lions for a third round pick next year and a conditional pick. Considering his lack of production this year and the veritable festival of import receivers the Cats have this year this was rapidly becoming inevitable. Especially considering his salary. That's cash saved for whoever emerges after the NFL is done making their cuts, like Stevie Baggs last year.

Good that Bruce got traded to a team that can't really do any damage to the Cats. The Lions are 0 and 5 and could possibly still make the playoffs considering how bad Saskatchewan is, but it would be very unlikely for the Lions to make the Grey Cup this year.

Is Marquay McDaniel next?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CFL Players of the Week, Week 5, 2011, Dave Stala Wins!

Like I predicted after the Montreal game, the Ticats' Dave Stala won best Canadian player of the week, on the strength of his 107 yards and 2 TDs. How many best Canadian awards does Stala have total? No idea.

The Argos running back Chad Kackert won best offensive player off of 20 runs for 139 yards and 2 TDs. Not really that remarkable a number, but the average was good.

Winnipeg's Jonathon Hefney won best defensive player and BC's Paul McCallum won best special teams player.

Winnipeg now has six awards, Montreal and Edmonton have four, Hamilton and BC have two, Calgary and Toronto have one. The Riders? None.

Monday, August 1, 2011

CFL Power Rankings, Week 6, 2011

1. Edmonton Eskimos
They keep winning, even if they didn't deserve to over the Argos this week. Even a good team will have some so-so weeks. I bet the Lions wish they kept Jerome Messam now.
2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Proved they can win with Alex Brink when Buck Pierce is injured (which is pretty much an inevitability). Still have an awesome defence. Still waiting for the letdown, but it doesn't seem to be happening.
3. Hamilton Tiger Cats
Beat a good team with a winning record. Glenn is back on track. Can win with Arland Bruce hardly contributing. Defence capable of shutting down opposing offenses in the fourth quarter. Didn't look good after two games, but this is the reason for pre-season optimism.
4. Montreal Alouettes
Two losses in a row, but I'm not willing to drop the Alouettes in the bottom half of the league yet. Another loss, though and the Montreal mystique is gone.
5. Calgary Stampeders
Beat a crappy Saskatchewan team, although it was on the road, so that counts for something. Beat a good team and prove the Stamps aren't on the downswing this year.
6. Toronto Argonauts
Lost to the Eskimos by a single point, when they easily could have won this game. Showed they can play OK and not totally sucky with Dalton Bell when Cleo Lemon is injured. If Cory Boyd can come back and play at a high level, the Argos could be an average team. Five hundred is probably not achievable at this point.
7. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Still have only one win and can't even win at home. Not making the playoffs because of the crossover is a possibility. How long can coach Greg Marshall last before crazed Rider fans demand action?
8. BC Lions
Still winless. How many games does BC have to lose before Wally Buono gets axed? A lot, apparently.