Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hamilton Beats Saskatchewan 35 to 34

Things looked pretty grim for the Ticats there in the third quarter and I certainly wasn't expecting a Ticat victory. The Cats didn't look too bad in the first half and then fell apart. They showed a lot of heart and came back to win by a single point.

Burris looked good going 29 for 40 for 352 yards, 4 TDs and no picks. Burris hit eight different receivers in the game. Going into the season I didn't expect Burris to have high pass completion percentages, but I'm not complaining after the last two games.

Chris Williams looked good again hitting the century make in receiving yards with nine catches. Giguere finally is starting to show his potential with three catches for 76 yards. Props to backup import Onrea Jones coming in to start this game to replace an injured Bakari Grant with seven catches for 66 yards and two TDs, plus an important catch near the end of the game where he hung on despite being drilled. Nice to see Dave Stala with a TD reception.

Boudreaux had a good game at end, with two sacks and forcing a critical Darian Durant fumble in the fourth quarter. Kudos to the defence for holding on on the last Rider series, forcing the turnover on downs. I always hate when the opposition has the ball at the end of the game with the chance to win with a field goal.

On special teams the Cats gave up a lot of return yardage which definitely hurt them, without doing much themselves.

Looks like the Cats are for real and are above 500.

One thing that did make me laugh was an ad for Saskatchewan cancer workers bitching about the Saskatchewan government. If you want to reach a Saskatchewan audience, buying national ad time during a Rider game is one way to do it. Obviously the rest of Canada doesn't care, but I'm sure TSN will cash the cheque. Having a competitive Saskatchewan team is essential for good CFL ratings.

CFL Predictions 2012 Week 5 Part B

Hamilton at Saskatchewan
This one is hard to call. The Ticats are coming off two straight wins, while the Riders are on a one game losing streak although the last game was a close one. The Riders dominated the Cats in the season opener at Ivor Wynne. Considering the edge home teams have had in the CFL this year, it isn't surprising Saskatchewan is favoured by 3.5. The question for this game is, are the Riders for real this season or were they just lucky early? The Cats have some injury problems, with Markeith Knowlton out at linebacker and Bakari Grant out at receiver. Grant isn't such a big issue since the Cats have depth at import receiver. Knowlton is a bigger factor. Due to the Cat injuries I'll go with the Riders in a close one.
Wheat People 31, Ticats 30

BC at Calgary
I would have thought the Lions would have been better than 2 and 2 at this point of the season. For Calgary I didn't have a lot of faith in Drew Tate and now he's gone for the season and the enigma that is Kevin Glenn is in at quarterback. Glenn is a career 500 quarterback and is capable of beating good teams and losing to bad ones. The line is a pick'em, which isn't that surprising. I'm tempted by BC, but Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce are looking old and Nik Lewis seems to have developed a rhythm with Kevin Glenn and this is crazy, but I'm going with the Stamps.
Stampeders 39 Lions 34

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CFL Predictions 2012 Week 5 Part A

Edmonton at Winnipeg
Somehow the Eskimos are 3 and 1 with Steven Jyles as quarterback. I had no idea the Eskimos would have that great a defence this year, but there you go. Winnipeg is winless yet only a 1.5 point underdog. That seems surprising to me and means the oddsmakers don't really believe in Edmonton. I'm not sure what to say here. The Bombers haven't looked completely terrible, but they are by no means good either. I don't really like Brink much as a quarterback, but I have to think the Bombers are hungry. In this season of parity and home wins, I'll go out on a small limb and take the Bombers.
Bombers 22 Eskimos 21

Toronto at Montreal
The Als still have a good defence and a completely sucky offence. Toronto has an improved offence and still has a decent defence. The Als are favoured by 4 at home. Calvillo is looking a little hurt and his offensive line isn't impregnable anymore. I'll go with Ray in this one.
Suck People 30 Alouettes 26

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TSN CFL Panel at 2012 Ticat Opener

TSN CFL Panel by philinator
TSN CFL Panel, a photo by philinator on Flickr.
Here's a shot I took at this year's home opener at Ivor Wynne, where the TSN CFL panel was broadcasting live from the West end zone.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thoughts on Where the Cats Play in 2013

Now that the Cats know that they can't play at Mac this year, where will the team play? The Cats would like to keep the team as close to Hamilton so fans can continue to attend live games. I can understand this rationale, but with television and a new stadium I'm not sure if this is a potentially big problem getting fans to come back the following season. The Cats would also like to not be too financially burnt in 2013. Cat fans attending games will probably buy more high margin merchandise, both at games and around town.

However there's a tradeoff with locations that potentially might make it worth the Cats while to play. At last year's Moncton game the league made sure the Cats didn't lose out financially from playing a home game there. There's no Moncton game this year after two years of games, so I'm sure Moncton would like another game next year under similar terms. The Cats could play two games there early and late in the season so that the cost of extra seats added could be spread over two games. Not great for local Cat fans, but perhaps good for the Cats financially. Montreal would probably work as an opponent for one of the games.

The Labour Day Classic could be played at the Rogers Centre, however the Argos might want that as one of their home games. If it was a Cats game, I'm sure a decent crowd would show up, but booze and merchandise wise, I'm not sure how it would compare to Labour Day, which the Cats traditionally make a lot of money off of.

PEPS Stadium at Laval University is a possible venue for a one off game, with the Alouettes as the opponent. According to Wikipedia the largest attended game there was 19,500 and there was an exhibition game between the Als and the Renegades in 2003. Perhaps the consortium who runs Laval's football team could guarantee money like Moncton, although I wouldn't bet on it. The game could be a test run for interest in Quebec City for a future CFL team. I haven't heard many rumours about PEPS though.

That leaves the TD Waterhouse Stadium at Western in London. Wikipedia claims it can be expanded to 16,000. One assumes the Cats would like to get to at least 20,000. The Cats could run bus and ticket combos, individually and as part of season ticket packages for Hamiltonians. Hopefully local London area fans would come out too. Assigning the Rider game would probably help for boosting attendance too.

I would doubt Western would offer the incentives that Moncton would, however they and London probably wouldn't mind the publicity, especially the big television audiences the games would bring.

I think at least one Moncton game is a given. Western will probably host the majority, with the question of how many? Potentially it could be eight regular season games, or as few as five, if two games are in Moncton, the Cats host Labour Day in Toronto and a game in Quebec.

Monday, July 23, 2012

CFL Week 4 2012 Power Rankings

1. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Lose and make it into first place. Strange, but at least the points for and points against are good over the season which is usually a good sign of team strength. Durant appears to be legitimately back as a quarterback. Rob Bagg being out for nine games hurts, but Dressler and Getzlaf are still impressive.
2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Two straight baby! After beating the Alouettes handily at home this past week with Burris having a ridiculous pass completion percentage, the Cats offense is looking good. The defence is starting to come around and the special teams have been awesome. Need to show they can win on the road to show they are for real.
3. Edmonton Eskimos
How has this team won three out of four? Defense I guess. I don't understand it, but they beat the Lions and held them to 14 points in BC. Can't argue with wins though and they get the Bombers next
4. BC Lions
I still think this team has talent, but after losing two in a row I'm starting to wonder. One would have thought an offense with Lulay and Simon would be more potent, but perhaps Geroy is starting to show his age.
5. Calgary Stampeders
I don't really like Calgary, and I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Glenn as a quarterback, with the Stamps Tateless for the rest of the year, however Glenn has usually been a 500 quarterback and position five in the power rankings makes sense. Nik Lewis showed his still has it.
6. Montreal Alouettes
Anthony Calvillo is looking somewhat meh. Is this the year when his skills finally decline? The Als still have a lot of offensive weapons, but the Montreal defense and sieve would be a good word analogy question. Too many shootouts and you'll get burnt a lot.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Beat someone other than the Blue Bombers and I will be more impressed. Offense still needs work, although Ray probably will end up being one of the more reliable quarterbacks by the end of the year.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
This pick was easy. At least the Bombers are only two games out of first place. That's something. I guess.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ticats Alouettes Lineup Rundown

Offensive line is the same as last week, although Hage is listed behind O'Neill at centre. Everything is the same with receivers as last week, Williams and Giguerre as the wideouts and Grant and Fantuz as the slots. Looks like Stala comes in for five and six receiver sets. Chevon Walker again starts as the running back.

There is a change on the defensive line. Import Greg Peach is one of the ends, with McElveen as the other. Brown and Rose are in the middle. Regular linebackers with Knowlton in.

Non-import rookie Bucknor is listed as one of the corners with Tisdale as the other. Thomas is again one of the defensive halfbacks. Non-import Hinds is listed as the backup safety behind Webb, which is a little odd since he seemed to be playing some corner last week or at least on the field often.

So six non-import starters on offense and one on defence. Probably worth watching if Peach is an upgrade over Crable as an end. Considering the Cats have one sack from their defensive line over the first three games things can only get better.

Friday, July 20, 2012

CFL Predictions Week 4 Part B

Edmonton at BC
The Lions are only favoured by 8.5 at home, which seems a bit charitable. Sure The Eskimos waxed the Bombers like the Kardashian sisters at half price day at the beauty salon, but the Lions aren't the Bombers. Steven Jyles versus Travis Lulay? I'll take the Lions, unsurprisingly.
Lions 35, Eskimos 25

Montreal at Hamilton
Both teams are coming off victories at home, although the Alouettes were pretty much gifted a victory by Kevin Glenn. The Cats looked great in the first half, and pretty mediocre against the Argos in the second half. The Cats had awesome special teams, with reigning CFL Rookie of the Year Chris Williams making two special teams TDs. The Alouettes have some good weapons to surround Anthony Calvillo. The Cats are favoured by a mere two points at home. I'll go with the home team, considering the success CFL home teams have had this year.
Ticats 29 Alouettes 27

Parity, Maybe?

No more defeated teams left in the CFL last night after the Riders lost to the Stamps at home. I would be remiss not to point out I predicted a Calgary victory. Apart from Winnipeg, it looks like there is a lot of parity in the CFL this season. That's probably better for ratings and attendance.

Kevin Glenn winning last night isn't a huge surprise. He's basically a 500 quarterback for his career. Sometimes he'll throw a stupid interception that blows the game and sometimes he'll throw a bunch of TDs at the end to win. You never really know. At least Calgary has a chance this season, although they will have to hope good Kevin Glenn shows up in the playoffs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CFL Predictions 2012 Week 4, Part A

Winnipeg at Toronto
The Bombers are winless and Pierceless heading into Toronto. The Argos are coming off a close one, losing in Hamilton. The Argos are favoured by a relatively massive 8.5 points. Is Bomber coach Paul LaPolice's job in jeopardy? Maybe. Ricky Ray has been effective against better teams and the Argos should have an easy win.
Suck People 30, Bombers 16

Saskatchewan at Calgary
The Riders are unbeaten and the Stamps Tateless, having to make due with Kevin Glenn, who has a penchant for interceptions that give away the game. One problem for the Riders is the non-import receiver Rob Bagg is on the nine game injury list. The Riders are favoured by 3.5 points on the road. I'm going to go against my better judgment and say the Stamps win at home.
Stamps 35, Riders 32

CFL Week 3 2012 Power Rankings

1. BC Lions
Sure they lost to the Riders, but it was on the road and it was close. I'm not willing to cede the top spot to the Riders quite yet.
2. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Can't argue with three straight wins. Durant is back and the defence is solid.
3. Montreal Alouettes
The Alouettes only beat Calgary because of Kevin Glenn's stupidity, but good teams find ways to exploit other teams' fuckups. Calvillo is starting to look his age, but he still has a lot of weapons available and quarterbacks are starting to drop like flies in the CFL.
4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Ticats are back, baby! Sure Toronto may have outplayed them apart from special teams, but multiple special team TDs in a single game is impressive. Chris Williams is a weapon the Cats need to exploit if they want to move up.
5. Toronto Argonauts
Have looked reasonable the past couple games and the offence is satisfactory now. Ray is looking good amongst some of the wankier CFL quarterbacks. Toronto has the added bonus this week of facing the Blue Bombers at home.
6. Calgary Stampeders
Well Drew Tate is done for the year and making an attempt to be Buck Pierce 2, Electric Boogaloo. Kevin Glenn can be an effective quarterback at times and as he demonstrated last week can really pooch things with a ridiculous pick. Does the team rally around Glenn, or give up after week three?
7. Edmonton Eskimos
Smashed Winnipeg, but that doesn't say much. Steven Jyles still hasn't proved he can be a consistent quarterback and GM Eric Tillman is ruing the day he traded Ricky Ray.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Pierce is in, then out, then in again, then out again, almost like he's doing the hokey-pokey. Was last season's performance an aberration and the team is reverted to the sulkiness they had in previous seasons? Looks like it right now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Where Does the Drew Tate Money Go?

With word that Drew Tate is out for the season to fix his shoulder for the year one issue is where his salary cap hit gets deployed. Players going on the nine game injury list don't have their salary during that time apply to the CFL's salary cap. With Tate gone for 15 games, 83.3% of his salary is likely available to the Stamps. According to this helpful article about CFL quarterback salaries from the Winnipeg Free Press, Tate's base was $200,000 (obviously he won't be making his bonuses this year) so that's $166,666.66 of extra salary cap room available this year. One caveat, backup Kevin Glenn might have some incentives in his contract that could now be met and take away from that number.

Still that's a good amount of money for a non-quarterback. Calgary would be in the lead spot for grabbing any noteworthy NFL cuts. The Stamps could front load a contract as well with a signing bonus leaving more salary camp room for next year.

The one winner in the Tate injury is now third stringer non-import quarterback Brad Sinopoli. With Tate gone the entire season, Sinopoli probably stays on the roster the entire season.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thoughts on Ticats Victory over the Argos

George Cortez gets his first win and the Cats are off the schneid. I thought the Cats if they were going to lose would lose on special teams. I didn't expect the Cats to torch the Argos with two special teams TDs, but Chris Williams has continued his the success that made him the CFL's Rookie of the Year winner. I'm wondering what Williams' contract duration is. If he signed a standard two years plus an option, we will have him next year because the old NFL option year escape route is gone.

Stats wise the Cats weren't as impressive. Burris had a completion rate under 50% (Michael Bishop like numbers) going 12 for 27 for 181 yards, but at least he had three TDs versus one pick. That said Burris had better numbers the previous two games and lost them both. Burris did run 5 times for 48 yards, including some crucial first downs. If the opposing team is going to open up the middle of the field, I have no problem with Burris taking the yards with his legs.

Ray completion percentage just OK at 60.% , going 23 for 38, but for only 232 yards with no TDs and a pick. Ray ran once for three yards.

Chevon Walker ran 17 times for 66 yards. The Cats lived up to their reputation of having a porous run defence, as Cory Boyd ran 19 times for 168 yards and a TD. Boudreaux did managed to get the Cats first sack by the front four of the season. Johnson had the most tackles for the Cats with eight.

Attendance was 24,264 which is OK, although the Argos are usually a draw. I'm still wondering about the claim by the Cats that there are 3,000 more season tickets holders this year. However last year's second home game attendance was only 22,245, although that was against the Riders, another strong draw. Traditionally the Ticats don't do well in attendance when a home game is a week after another home game, but next week's is against the Alouettes, the team is coming off a win and this game is the one where the team gives free tickets to season ticket holders.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Argos at Ticats Quick Preview

A few differences on the lineup chart from the Lions game. Hage is out at centre with O'Neill in. Does that make a big difference? Hard to tell unless you spend the entire game watching the centre, but Hage is usually highly praised around the league.

Darcy Brown is back at the fullback starting position, although the Cats use a lot of five and six receiver sets. It looks like Stala is back as a starting slotback again this week. Walker is back at running back over Cobourne. Walker has a gaudy 9.1 yard average per run and three TDs through the first two games Walker is also the second leading receiver on the team behind Chris Williams.

The defensive front four stays the same, with McElveen and Crable at the ends. Only one sack for the Cats in the first two games and that's by the middle linebacker Rey Williams.

Knowlton is back with Williams and Johnson as the starting linebackers with Eiben backing up.

One changed to the starting secondary. Marcell Young is out at halfback and Carlos Thomas is in. Impressive non-import undrafter rookie Bucknor is back at one of the corners, but last season's non-import starter Ryan Hinds is now listed as a backup. Is corner now becoming a sometimes Canadian position? With teams increasingly using two imports on the offensive line, like the Ticats, the ratio changes somewhere else.

CFL Predictions 2012, Week 3, Part B

BC at Saskatchewan
Battle of the undefeated teams. I didn't expect the Riders to be undefeated, but that's the CFL for you. Both teams have quarterbacks that can scramble for yards. Both have decent Canadian receiving talent plus awesome imports in Geroy Simon and Weston Drexler. Lions are favoured by 3.5 on the road. I'm going to go with the home field advantage and pick the riders.
Riders 32 Lions 29

Toronto at Hamilton
Hamilton's now favoured by 3.5 at home against the Argos. The Argos looked good against the Stamps last week and the Ticats looked good against the Lions apart from a short period at the end of the half. If the Argos are going to win, they'll probably win with special teams. I think the Cats have the better offense right now, although that's based off of last week not the week before. Since the Ticats are hungry for their first win, I'll go with Hamilton.
Ticats 28 Suck People 22

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CFL Week 3, Predictions, Part A

Calgary at Montreal
The Stamps are Tateless and the Alouettes are favoured by seven at home. I guess the oddsmakers aren't Kevin Glenn fans. Montreal appeared to be back on track last game, especially on offence. Calgary lost a close one to Toronto with Glenn at the controls for most of the game. Glenn can still be effective, but I never thought Calgary was that great a team going into the season.
Alouettes 30 Stampeders 24

Winnipeg at Edmonton
Edmonton is favoured by a mere 1.5 points at home, which isn't very good, especially considering their opponent has yet to win a game. Provided Pierce doesn't get hurt (which is entirely possible), I'll pick him and the Bombers over Jyles and the Eskimos.
Blue Bombers 20 Eskimos 16

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ticats Cheerleaders, Saskatchewan at Hamilton, 2012

Ticats Cheerleaders by philinator
Ticats Cheerleaders, a photo by philinator on Flickr.

Here's a photo of the cheerleaders doing their routine at the home opener against the Riders

CFL Week 2, Power Rankings

1. BC Lions
A little tight in a home win against the Cats, but still getting it done. Lulay still the best quarterback in the league, with the ability to scramble for first downs. Defence not shabby.
2. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Didn't expect to see them here, but there's always a few surprises in the CFL each year. Durant seems to have returned to being a decent quarterback, and holding a team to a single point is always impressive, even if it is the Edmonton Eskimos.
3. Montreal Alouettes
Smelled the first week, but came back strong against the Blue Bombers this week. Calvillo is still getting it done after all these years. Whittaker (especially) and Green are a potent offensive combination.
4. Toronto Argonauts
Looking better than the previous week and appear now to have a passing offence which they didn't really have last year. Boyd is a solid running back and Durie has turned out to be a good Canadian receiver. Ray still has some skills and is willing to take a hit to complete a pass. And not get injured.
5. Calgary Stampeders
Sure quarterback Drew Tate is now gone for who knows how long with a shoulder injury, but at least the Stampeders have Kevin Glenn as a capable backup. Glenn actually had decent stats against the Argos and the game was certainly tight at the end. Nik Lewis is still impressive as a receiver. If Glenn goes down though, things become problematic.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Sure they're 0 and 2, but they played a close game against the Lions in Vancouver and limited Geroy Simon. Run defence somewhat sucky. If Henry Burris could be slightly more consistent and get new running back Chevon (don't call me Siobhan) Walker more involved beyond one monster play per game, the Cats could have the best offence in the league.
7.  Winnipeg Blue Bombers
What happened to the vaunted Bomber defence. It was sieve like versus the Alouettes. Pierce when he isn't injured is a quality quarterback and the Bombers have some decent receivers, but Winnipeg just isn't that great.
8. Edmonton Eskimos
Sure they have a win, but these power rankings are about what have you done for me lately, especially after only two games. Looks like trading away Ricky Ray and going with Steven Jyles wasn't that great an idea, although sometimes you have to have a rebuilding year.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weird New Ticats Mascot

What is this weird new mascot the Ticats have? I'm not sure I'm a big fan of its spherical nature. I snapped this at the Ticats Argos preseason game. Does it have a name? Does it scare small children?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

CFL 2012 Predictions, Week 2, Part B

Calgary at Toronto,
The Stamps looked good at home against the Alouettes last week, with Drew Tate playing well at quarterback as did non-import running back Jon Cornish. The Argos didn't look great losing a close one to the Esks at Commonwealth, although they did have a raft of penalties which in theory is fixable. Ricky Ray was respectable with 29 for 39 passes for 298 yards with a TD and no picks. Owens caught 6 passes for 100 yards so at least the Argos look like they have some receivers this year.

This is a winnable game at home for Toronto, with the Stamps favoured by 3.5, but I'm going to go with the safe pick Calgary.
Stampeders 25, Suck People 20

Edmonton at Saskatchewan
I would not have suspected before the season started that the Riders would be favoured by 4.5 points at home. The Riders looked great last week against Hamilton, with Durant returning to pre 2011 form and Dressler have a fabulous day receiving, even if actually dropped a pass.

Edmonton was more meh beating the Argos at home. Jyles had only an OK game and Fred Stamps only had 21 receiving yards, but the Eskimos still won. I'll go with the Riders. Durant right now is a better quarterback.
Riders 30, Eskimos 27

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ticats at Lions Halftime Report

Well things were looking good until the Ticats managed to totally self-destruct at the end of the half. The defence has looked excellent thought, including the non-import rookie cornerback Bucknor who I predicted the Lions would go after and they did but unsuccessfully. Ryan Hinds may not have a starting job when he comes back from injury.

Burris sort of looked good early, then started sucking, enough so that Quinton Porter had to come in after a Burris pick. I assume Burris is coming back after halftime, especially considering Porter didn't do anything for the few plays he was in. Chevon Walker looked good on the long run for a TD. He has excellent speed.

Where was Fantuz? From what I saw all he did was drop one pass, that would have been called back on a penalty anyways.

I think the turning point was Stala unfortunately fumbling after gaining a first down. Stala has had a few catches at least and shows that he still knows where the first down yard marker is.

Rey Williams has looked good again on defence as has Markeith Knowlton back as a starter. The front four has looked good too. Too bad the offence's incompetence at the end of the half ruined a good defensive effort.

Hamilton at BC, Quick Preview

A few changes from last week's Ticat lineup. Hage is in on the offensive line. On the lineup chart, the receivers are the same as last week and Walker is listed over Cobourne as the running back. Walker had a decent week last week, with seven runs for 132 yards and a TD and three catches for 36 yards. Williams had a great game with nine catches for 109 yards.

Changes on the defensive line. Boudreaux is gone as a defensive end, McElveen moves from the inside to one of the end spots with Crable back as the other end. Rose is still listed as starting in the middle with Brown elevated to starter as well. The line got OK pressure last week, but Durant seemed to slip away multiple times when a sack would have really helped. Lions quarterback Lulay isn't quite as elusive as Durant (although he certainly isn't Danny Mac running either), but is a better passer.

For the linebackers, import Knowlton is back with non-import Eiben as a reserve. Williams had a monster game last week with nine tackles and one sack.

The secondary is the same, with non-import rookie Bucknor still one of the corners. Will BC go after him? Maybe.

Bartel and Congi are back as punter and kicker. Conger was three for three, but Bartel's punting average was only 34.4 yards, which isn't very good.

Lulay didn't have a great week passing against the Bombers last week, going 17 for 24 for 33 yards with a TD and one pick. He did run for 44 yards on 8 attempts with 2 TDs. That will be problematic on the Cats. Hopefully the linebackers will do something about that. Non-import Harris had a big day with 8 runs for 44 yards combined with 7 reception for 69 yards. Simon had yet another good day in the CFL, setting the receiving record with five catches for 105 yards.

Cats are in tough and will need some breaks to go their way (ie turnovers).

CFL 2012 Predictions, Week 2, Part A

Winnipeg at Montreal
Battle of the winless teams! Last I checked, the Alouettes are favoured by 7 at home, which seems a bit large considered they got their asses handed to them in Calgary last week. I assume Buck Pierce isn't playing for the Bombers this week due to yet another injury. Alex Brink isn't bad, but he isn't Anthony Calvillo.

The Bomber defence is still decent and looked OK against BC last week. The Alouette defence is rebuilding. I'll take Montreal, but they won't make the spread.
Alouettes 25, Bombers 20

Hamilton at BC
Oh Hamilton. Going into the season, things seemed so positive. Now you're 0 and 1 and heading into Vancouver as 8 point underdogs. The Cats looked OK in the first half last week and then as the game got away from them looked worse and worse versus the Riders. BC looked good last week from the parts I watched. Hamilton has bizarrely had success playing on the west coast the past few years, but I wouldn't bet on it in this case.

Adding veteran non-import receiver Dave Stala to the starting lineup and removing veteran non-import linebacker Kevin Eiben and replacing him with import Markeith Knowlton could help, but it probably won't be enough. Expect it to be close at the half and then the Lions to pull away.
Pot People 35, Ticats 21

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CFL Week 1, 2012 Power Rankings

1. BC Lions
Beat the Bombers handily at home, despite the Winnipeggers losing Buck Pierce in the first half (shocking!). The Bombers still have a good defence though and the Lions were able to score 33 against them.
2. Calgary Stampeders
Drew Tate is for real apparently. I doubted it going into the season, but there you go. Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo wasn't just his usual self. I'm not sure if that's a one game thing or not, but the Montreal offense was quite meh in Calgary. Their defence wasn't so hot either.
3. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Darian Durant seems to have rebounded from his suckage as the Riders shocked the Ticats at home (with the help of a Dressler reception that actually hit the ground, but I digress). Both offense and defence look good and Dressler was a force. Durant received some pressure, but managed to scramble away multiple times. Four sacks. I don't know if this will continue, but the Riders looked good at Ivor Wynne.
4. Edmonton Eskimos
Beat the Argos at home by a small margin, although the Argos did have about a billion penalties. Steven Jyles played OK, better than I thought he would, but nothing to write home about. Defence not bad. Still have Fred Stamps.
5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Sure they lost by a good number of points to the Lions, but it was on the road and BC is the class of the league. The Bombers still have a good defence. Buck Pierce still gets injured with stunning regularity. Not much more to say.
6. Toronto Argonauts
Lots of penalties, but didn't lose by much. Receiving lots of penalties in the first game is fixable. Ray didn't look bad. Defence still decent.
7. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Played OK in the first half. Result may have been different if Dressler incompletion actually detected by refs or the Cats actually challenged. Team seemed to give up in second half. Burris mediocre. Front four not great, only registering a sack, despite Durant hanging on to the ball a lot. Ratio problems.
8. Montreal Alouettes
Is this the beginning of the end for Calvillo? How bad is the Alouette offense? The Alouettes probably won't stay here, but they didn't look good in week one.