Friday, August 31, 2012

CFL Power Rankings 2012 Week 9

1. BC Lions
Pretty much the only consistently good team in the league. Strong on both sides of the ball.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Defence is still somewhat meh, but somehow Anthony Calvillo keeps putting up good numbers. Good offensive tools doesn't hurt either.
3. Edmonton Eskimos
Somehow 5 and 3. I don't really understand it, but numbers don't lie. Steven Jyles isn't that great, but he hasn't really totally cocked up some games, unlike some other quarterbacks.
4. Calgary Stampeders
Winning with Kevin Glenn. Or more correctly 500 with Kevin Glenn. That sounds about right.
5. Toronto Argonauts
Didn't look great last week, but Ricky Ray is still better than most of the other quarterbacks in the league. Receivers corps is a little weak and holds him back.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Lost three in a row, but didn't lose by a lot of points. That counts for something I guess.
7. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
After winning three games to start the season, have now lost five. That's not good. The upside is they play Winnipeg the next two weeks so they could be back at 500.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Last place and have fired their coach. Looking on the bright side, going into the Labour Day weekend, the Bombers are one game out of a playoff spot and Joey Elliot isn't a bad quarterback.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CFL Power Rankings 2012 Week 9

1. BC Lions
Can't argue with 5 and 2 and a suffocating defensive performance against the Riders last week.

2. Montreal Alouettes
Sure Calvillo is really old and isn't that consistent this season, but beyond the Lions there isn't any great teams in the CFL. Mostly a nostalgia pick.

3. Toronto Argonauts
Have a winning record, coming off a win, have an experienced CFL quarterback. Sure they released probably the best running back in the CFL recently, but import running backs are a dime a dozen.

4. Edmonton Eskimos
Also have a winning record, coming off a lose, have Steven Jyles as quarterback. Good enough for fourth, which is better than what I thought they would be when the season started.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Offense has looked the best at times in the CFL and have Chris Williams, maybe the best overall weapon in the CFL this year. Also have managed to honk things up quite frequently.

6. Calgary Stampeders
Not bad considering their putative starting quarterback's shoulder pretty much gave out just after the season started. Team is meh. A few good players like Nik Lewis and Jon Cornish, but just don't have the overall talent of the teams ahead of them.

7. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Won three to start the season and have lost four straight. Hard to determine how good the Riders are, but the team isn't looking great right now.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
I'm not ready to anoint  Joey Elliot as the new saviour in Winnipeg, but he looked good against Hamilton last week. Still the Bombers only have two wins, so they'll have to show more to move out of their mother's basement in the CFL power rankings.

CFL Predictions 2012 Week 9

Hamilton at Montreal
The Ticats are coming off two straight losses where if they hadn't flamed out in the second half, they could have won. The defence has looked weak, although the offence has had moments of incompetence. Injuries have also been a factor. Montreal is coming off two straight wins, although Calvillo has certainly looked mortal this year and the Alouette defence is nothing to write home about. Hamilton won the last meeting with the Alouettes at home. Montreal is favoured by 4 at home. Supposedly the Cats have Fantuz back at receiver, which is important because his replacements as a non-import receiver did little and should make the Cat offence a little more potent. Call me a homer, but I think the Cats have the edge in this one.
Ticats 35, Separatist People 28

BC at Winnipeg
Is Joey Elliot the second coming of Tom Clements in Winnipeg? I'm guessing no, but he did look good in getting the Bombers second win last week. The BC Lions offence has been decent this year, but the defence has been awesome. I expect Elliot will come back to Earth this week. The Lions are favoured by 5.5 on the road, expect them to cover.
Lions 27, Bombers 16

Calgary at Saskatchewan
The Riders have lost four straight after winning the first three. The Stamps managed to lose to the Argos last week. Glenn is in for Tate with his season done for the Stamps at quarterback and has been inconsistent as his career has generally been. Durant too has been inconsistent, looking good during the wins and poor during some of the losses. The Riders are favoured by 3.5 at home. I'll take them, but they won't beat the spread
Riders 27, Stamps 25

Edmonton at Toronto
Inexplicably these teams have 4 and 3 records making this the premier matchup in the CFL this week. The Argos are coming off a win while the Eskimos are coming off a loss to the Alouettes. Lots of story lines, with Ray playing his former team, the just released Cory Boyd playing his former team. The Argos are favoured by 3.5 at home. Basically I'll take Ricky Ray over Steven Jyles at quarterback. Sure the Eskimos have a winning record with Jyles, but that strikes me as luck.
Argos 23, Eskimos 19

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CFL Predictions 2012 Week 8 Part A

Hamilton at Winnipeg
Hamilton is the better team, although there's a lot of injuries including Andy Fantuz. Depending on Simon Giguere to step into his spot? Quite unlikely. Various injuries on the defence. Then the Bombers are starting their third string quarterback Joey Elliot. The Cats are favoured by three on the road and considering how bad the Bombers have been and tossing in a new quarterback into the mix probably won't help.
Ticats 32 Bison People 28

Montreal at Edmonton
The Eskimos aren't getting a lot of respect considering they are 4 and 2 and they're at home but only 1.5 point favourites. At this point I think oddsmakers are giving Montreal credit for past years when they haven't shown much. That said, the Eskimos and Steven Jyles don't really inspire me, even if he has been playing better the last few games. I'll go with the home crowd here, although I don't feel very confident about it.
Eskimos 26 Alouettes 24

CFL Power Rankings 2012 Week 7

1. BC Lions
Still on top. Not super consistent, but this year in the CFL, that's what you've got.
2. Edmonton Eskimos
Feels weird writing this, but yes a team quarterbacked by Steven Jyles is number two. Can't argue with a 4 and 2 record. Must be the defence. Adding Cory Boyd probably doesn't hurt either.
3. Calgary Stampeders
Managed to win on the road with a powerful run offence that takes the pressure off Kevin Glenn. Still meh about this team.
4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Were ahead going in the fourth quarter, then their run defence collapsed and their offence went AWOL. Injuries starting to hurt, especially that of Fantuz and to a lesser extent Knowlton.
5. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Back down to earth after winning three games to start the season. Still a big improvement over last year.
6. Toronto Argonauts
Certainly losing Cory Boyd doesn't help, although Chad Kackert is pretty good. The Argos are depending on Ricky Ray now and his passing offence for good or ill. Probably mostly ill.
7. Montreal Alouettes
Alouettes just don't seem to have it this year. Could this be Calvillo's last year? Maybe.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Going to the third string quarterback. That's always a good sign.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Curious Case of Cory Boyd

So the Argos have released Cory Boyd. I think this Damien Cox article in the Star pretty much hits the nail on the head in terms of reasoning: with performance bonuses quarterback Ricky Ray will make a lot money and cause salary cap problems. Cox doesn't mention it, but likely Boyd had performance bonuses based on set yardage totals so releasing him halfway through the season gets rid of more than his base salary as his totals are good this year. Also after I believe nine games CFL veterans are guaranteed their full salary even if released, so Boyd had to go quick.

Ticats fans should pay attention to what happens with sitting veteran running back Avon Cobourne. Likely his contract has performance bonuses, which he obviously isn't hitting so maybe he won't be released before the nine game mark as insurance in case Chevon Walker goes down.

Chad Kackert the new starting Toronto running back has actually struck me as a fairly decent player, thus illustrating my mantra that in the CFL, import running backs are fungible commodities. Also with Ricky Ray as quarterback, rather than a stiff like Cleo Lemon, passing is going to come to the fore and the Argos don't have to lean on their running backs as much.

Not sure how great a pickup this is for the Esks, but he is a good back. I'm shocked the Eskimos are a 4 and 2 this year, but apart from Winnipeg, it has been a weird year of parity in the CFL. I think the salary cap is finally starting to really kick in in the CFL this year. If you've spent a lot on your quarterback, his teammates are going to be smellier.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

CFL and the Potential NHL Lockout

Looks like there's a good chance the NHL will lock out the players to start the season. That's got to be good news for the CFL. No television ratings competition from the NHL and probably more importantly no media competition from the NHL either. Sure the media can talk about a settlement during a lockout, but after a while with nothing new to report the audience starts to become bored of talks or no talks leading TSN's sports centre every night. The lockout could easily continue to after the Grey Cup so the league should be able to get more value out of the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup as well. Thanks Gary.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CFL Prediction 2012 Week 7

Calgary at Hamilton
The Cats are only favoured by 4 at home which seems a bit weird, considering the Cats have won three in a row, Burris has been on fire and Kevin Glenn on the road is not a lot to write home about. Sure Kevin Glenn could have a monster game, but the Ticat defence probably knows a lot of his tendencies. That may well be true for the Stamps defence, but Hamilton at this point in the season is just a better team. Cats beat the spread.
Ticats 37 Nosehill Park People 28

Saskatchewan at Edmonton
Edmonton is favoured by two points which is a little surprising. Certainly the Riders will have some fans at Commonwealth Stadium so the home field advantage for the Esks won't be as strong as say against the Argos. Edmonton's quarterback Steven Jyles isn't terrible, but hasn't exactly been impressive so far. The Esks have some good receivers, but the offence just isn't that great. Defence seems not bad. The Riders are a fairly solid team although Durant can suck the odd time. I think the Riders win this one although it will be close.
Riders 29 Eskimos 26

CFL Power Rankings 2012 Week 6

1. BC Lions
After beating Toronto on the road, the Lions are looking consistent and good. The offence may not be as impressive as one would have thought before the season, but the Lions have an impressive secondary. That never hurts in the CFL.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Didn't play, but didn't lose either. Power offence with Henry Burris looking like the best old quarterback in the CFL. Defence is good enough when matched with the offence. Burris could however start passing in random directions at any time.

3. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Also didn't play but still a good team this season with quarterback Durant back on track. Not super consistent.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Sure they lost the Lions, but most teams don't have BC's secondary. The Argos with Ricky Ray as the quarterback are a reasonable team.

5. Montreal Alouettes
Second best old quarterback in the CFL in Anthony Calvillo plus a fairly porous defence. Sure they beat the Bombers at home but that's not saying a lot. Offensive line is kind of meh this year, which means teams are going after and getting to Calvillo. Still have a lot of talent, but have never looked overpowering this year.

6. Calgary Stampeders
Didn't play but got waxed by the Lions the previous week. Tateless and will only go as far as Kevin Glenn will take them. Which won't be particularly far. Still have arguably the best receiver in the league in Nik Lewis when you include blocking downfield.

7. Edmonton Eskimos
Not a bad record, but I just don't have a lot of confidence in Stephen Jyles at quarterback. Defence is impressive.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Just a mediocre team. Not terrible, but consistently not good enough to lose lots of games. Won't get blown out a lot, which is something I guess. Does Paul LaPolice coach next year?

Friday, August 3, 2012

CFL Predictions 2012 Week 6

Montreal at Winnipeg
Battle of the losing record teams! I assume the Bombers are going with Brink at quarterback, but I don't know that for sure. The Alouettes will obviously go with Calvillo who is a little beat up of late. Montreal is favoured by two on the road, which is basically damning with faint praise. Basically one team has a good offense and a bad defence and vice versa for the other. When that's the case, I'll go with the home team.
Bombers 24 Alouettes 23

BC at Toronto
The Argos now have a competent offense with Ricky Ray at the controls. Certainly not awe inspiring, but Ray is quite capable of burning a secondary if given a chance. The Lions have a ton of talent but have been inconsistent so far this year. Coming off a solid victory last week the Lions are favoured by a mere field goal on the road. I'm not sure if the Argos can contain the Lion offense enough to get by with their offense. Lions.
Lions 31 Team Suck 28

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CFL Power Rankings 2012 Week 5

1. BC Lions
They're back on top after annihilating the Stampeders on the road last week. BC isn't exactly consistent, but in a parity filled year in the CFL, that's not required to be on top. Having a good young quarterback goes a long way. BC's top receivers are getting a bit long in the tooth, but there's enough left in the tank for another Grey Cup run.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Didn't look good after the first two games, but winning on the road in Riderville with a never quit effort vaults the Cats up the rankings. Burris is having an amazing year, with loads of TDs against hardly any picks plus an un-Burris like completion percentage. Burris apparently still has it, despite being only a little younger than Calvillo. Plenty of weapons on offence plus George Cortez devising the schemes make the Cats capable of scoring in bunches. Satisfactory defence. Good special teams run backs, bad special teams coverage.

3. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Sure they lost one at home, but it was by a single point and the Riders certainly haven't been blown out this season. Need to learn to play four quarters of complete football, but teams that were terrible the year before often have this problem. Durant seems to have found whatever he had lost last season. Dressler is their biggest weapon, if he gets injured, stick a fork in them.

4. Toronto Argonauts
A winning record after five games? That's something. Ricky Ray seems rejuvenated on the Argos and the double blue actually have some receivers this year for Ray to bomb it to on occasion. Combine with a reasonable defence and the Argos can beat the weaker teams in the league. Having a hard time against the better teams.

5. Edmonton Eskimos
Somehow they are 3 and 2 with Steven Jyles as quarterback, but if I were the Eskimos, I wouldn't complain. Sure they lost to the Bombers, but the Esks have a good enough defence to keep them in games plus some decent receivers. No Messam here hurts at this point of the season.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Calvillo is looking off this year and the Montreal defence is looking mighty porous, especially compared to previous years. That's not a good combination. The Als might want to think about next season and a potentially Calvilloless team. Paying the CFL's highest salary to someone who isn't getting it done any more is something the Maple Leafs have done for years and look where that's got them.

7. Calgary Stampeders
No Drew Tate, although Kevin Glenn is OK. The Stamps offence looked smelly against the Lions at home last week which raises cause for concern. Are the Stamps the weak sister of the Western Conference this year? Looks like it.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Well they won a game finally at home by a point. I need to see more before I move them out of the basement.