Monday, January 9, 2012

January Power Rankings (Extremely Arbitrary)

Who says you can't have CFL power rankings in January? There's been coaching changes and quarterback flips galore, so there's enough info to base a half-assed ranking system.

1. BC Lions
I was tempted to have the Grey Cup champs lower, with some players leaving for the NFL, but they still have quarterback Travis Lulay and some decent young Canadian offensive talent (i.e. Andrew Harris). Wally Buono is now concentrating on the GM's role, but I don't think that hurts.

2. Montreal Alouettes
Still have Anthony Calvillo who is still consistent compared to the usual flock of mediocre to shitty quarterbacks most CFL teams have to deal with (why hello Cleo Lemon). Probably will lose some players to free agency, but most of them don't seem to do a lot after leaving Montreal. GM Jim Popp always seems to find some diamonds in the rough when training camp rolls around. Montreal could be in tougher this year in the East, but there's no guarantee any of the other teams will necessarily kick ass. So pretty safe to say Montreal will be decent, until Calvillo finally explodes.

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Sure this is a bit of a homer pick, but after the first two, things become interchangeable. Burris to me is mostly meh, but having George Cortez as the new coach should get the most out of him and maybe something out of Quinton Porter too. Secondary is still weak and the defensive line could get worse if Justin Hickman leaves for the NFL or another CFL team. Maybe they shouldn't be this high. Linebackers are still good, although I've been wondering if they're a bit overrated. Still assuming that kicker Justin Hickman is back too. If he's not, ouch. I still remember Sandro DeAngelis.

4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Didn't really want them this high, mainly because of the strong statistical possibility of quarterback Buck Pierce getting injured in any game, but he made it to the Grey Cup this year, so what do I know? Well maybe that we'll be reading an article in the Globe and Mail in 15 years about how Pierce has the intellectual capacity of a lobotomy patient, but that doesn't affect this month's power rankings. The Bombers still have a good defence and continuity with the head coach and defensive co-ordinator and that will win you at least a few games.

5. Calgary Stampeders
Not a massive fan of new starting quarterback Drew Tate. I don't think he's bad, but I'm not convinced he's the second coming of Doug Flutie either. If he struggles, the Stamps are in trouble. Hufnagle is a good coach, so that counts for something.

6. Edmonton Eskimos
Pretty much the same deal as Calgary. I don't think Steven Jyles is bad, but I would hardly guarantee an MVP season out of him next year. How Jerome Messam comes back from a late season knee injury will be important too. Edmonton last year without Messam would have been pretty smelly. Fred Stamps is still great.

7. Toronto Argonauts
The Double Blue are clearly better after getting Ricky Ray, however the Argos had crappy receivers last year and I'm not convinced that the Argos will have better receivers next year (unless they sign Andy Fantuz somehow). Ray struggled last year when Fred Stamps was injured so don't expect miracles out of him. The Argos still have a decent defence and pretty good special teams. Could get into the playoffs, although that's not saying much in the CFL. Not sure if Cory Boyd is used up either.

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
There probably will be some regression to the mean this year for the Riders, but why the Riders would be good this year with Durant as quarterback while they were crap last year hasn't really been answered. If Andy Fantuz comes back and fellow non-import receiver Rob Bagg can come back from injury, the Riders can start three non-import receivers including Chris Getzlaf and gain the benefits from starting more imports elsewhere. If Fantuz signs elsewhere look for mass suicides in Saskatchewan.

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