Now that the 2012 pre-season is over and the last Canadian quarterback has been released, it is time for the June power rankings.
1. BC Lions
Reigning Grey Cup champions, not a lot of changes from last year and an excellent quarterback under 30 and dominant in the pre-season, things are looking good for the Lions. New coach, but it shouldn't make a difference. Also the team probably won't start 0 and 5 this year.
2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Didn't look great overall in the pre-season, but the team played well when Henry Burris is in. One of the few teams to have a serviceable backup quarterback. The offense should be good, but the defence is a little suspect, especially the defensive line.
3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Probably going against consensus, and the Bombers didn't make many moves in the off-season to improve their team. Buck Pierce is a good quarterback, providing he doesn't break a bone or get a concussion or some other injury that can occur at any time. Still a good defence can get you to the Grey Cup (like last year) and is especially effective early in the season.
4. Montreal Alouettes
Is this the season when the wheels finally come off the Alouettes bandwagon? Anthony Calvillo can still play, but is obviously old in football years. The Alouettes also have a decent backup. Like the Cats, the Alouettes offense should be fine, but the Alouette defence last season wasn't great and who knows after big changes what it will be like this season. GM Jim Popp always finds good imports every season so maybe things will turn out OK.
5. Calgary Stampeders
I'm not totally sold on quarterback Drew Tate this year as a top quarterback this year. The Stamps do have insurance in Kevin Glenn. Possible quarterback controversy. Again a good offense and a meh defence. Will benefit from playing the Eskimos and Riders multiple times.
6. Toronto Argonauts
With Ricky Ray at quarterback and better receivers, the Argos should be better than last year and Toronto wasn't absolute excrement last year at 6 and 12. The Argos had a good defence last year too. However Ricky Ray isn't that fantastic either, so the Argos only have so much upside.
7. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Going against consensus perhaps, but I don't think the Riders will be the worst team in the CFL in 2012. Second worst sure, but not worst. Darian Durant still has some skills, although the team will miss Andy Fantuz, not that he did much for them last year, only playing in a handful of games. The Riders still have some decent receivers, providing that Rob Bagg can come back successfully from injury.
8. Edmonton Eskimos
After trading away Ricky Ray, the Eskimos are going with somebody at quarterback, who I'm not sure. I thought it would be Steven Jyles, but judging by the pre-season stats, Nichols had some decent results. After a surprisingly good record last year, this will be a rebuilding year for the Eskimos.
TSN has their pre-season show tomorrow at 8 pm.