1. BC Lions
I don't think you can really argue with the Lions being ranked the best at this stage of season. They have the best quarterback in Travis Lulay and a lot of other talent. They lost receiver Geroy Simon, but they also lost his high salary and he's not who he was in his prime. Plus GM Wally Buono knows how to value players. With the limited information we have, BC has to be number one until proven otherwise.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Sure Calvillo is old, but he is still dangerous. The Als now have Quinton Porter as a backup who is decent for a number two in case Calvillo goes down. Again with the limited knowledge, I'll defer to the skills of GM Jim Popp. They don't have Marc Trestman around any more as coach, however I always thought Popp was most important.
3. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos won the Grey Cup last year in a bit of a surprise. I like Ricky Ray at quarterback and Chad Kackert at running back. Chad Owens, receiver and returner and erstwhile MMA fighter also anchors the Argo offense. The defence is more concerning. The front four pretty much got dismantled, which had been an Argo strength. Look for the Argo defence to be weaker, at least initially in 2013.
4. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Darian Durrant is still a potential best quarterback in the league, with both running and passing ability. Not particularly impressed with the pickup of Geroy Simon, however the receivers (especially the non-imports) have always been a strength in recent years, so Simon could be effective as a secondary target that isn't drawing double coverage.
5. Calgary Stampeders
Drew Tate is OK, and the Stamps have Kevin Glenn as probably the best backup in the CFL. Tate has never really demonstrated that he's a great quarterback, so that holds the Stamps back somewhat. No real impression of their defence right now.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Ticats are a bit tough this year to predict. Last year they were predicted as a Grey Cup favourite, then ended up in dead last. Good offense, even worse defence. The Ticats still have Henry Burris at quarterback who should be effective at quarterback at a rather advanced age. The Cats receivers are still decent although losing Chris Williams definitely hurts. The defence is the wild card. It was plain bad last year and the secondary has been totally remade. There's no guarantee the defence will be better, however the presence of Burris prevents the Ticats from being at the absolute bottom of the rankings.
7. Edmonton Eskimos
I watched part of their pre-season game and did see quarterback Matt Nichols get injured and I read today that he is now out for the season. I already wasn't that keen on two non-proven quarterbacks being your starter, but now without a choice, the odds of a good season are a little bit worse. They've jettisoned both Cory Boyd and Jerome Messam at running back which I can see (as per my belief in the fungibility of import running backs), but doesn't give me great confidence. Last in the West, although last overall seems less likely.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
There's Buck Pierce and then not a lot after him at quarterback. That seems to me to be a recipe for disaster. At least they have a new stadium.