Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 5

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders
They keep winning, so it is a no brainer to keep them on top. They even win with a backup.

2. Toronto Argonauts
Slam BC with a backup quarterback. I don't think anyone was expecting that, although BC is usually a lot better at home.

3. Calgary Stampeders
Win with Bo Levi Mitchell at quarterback. So they have three quarterbacks capable of winning games plus Jon Cornish lugging the ball. Certainly this team is better than I originally thought they would be.

4. BC Lions
Any team can get blown out now and again, but doing it against a backup quarterback is always a little distressing. Perhaps injuries on defence are starting to take a toll.

5. Montreal Alouettes
They beat Edmonton. It's a start. They still have Calvillo and some good receivers.

6. Edmonton Eskimos
Not too far from winning this week. That's something at the bottom of the rankings.

7.Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Didn't do too bad with Justin Goltz at quarterback. Beginning of the post Buck Pierce era?

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Colossal amounts of injuries, the most important being Andy Fantuz. This could get worse as more and more new people are airlifted in.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Old Post on Differences Between CFL and NFL Kicking

Just thought I would highlight a post from 2012 on kicking accuracy in the CFL versus the NFL, in honour of Rene Paredes setting the record for consecutive kicks at 34:

A Quick Ponder on Markeith Knowlton's Stats

Just thought I would checkout Knowlton's stats during his best years with the Cats. In 2010 he had 94 tackles, a sack, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries. In 2011 he had 71 tackles with three interceptions and an amazing six fumble recoveries. Those were good seasons for Knowlton, if not for the Cats overall in terms of wins and losses.

Again, sad to see him go and I'm pretty sure we won't see stats like that from any Ticat linebacker this year. Those were some all-time Ticat stats.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2013 CFL Picks Week 5

Edmonton at Montreal
Hmmm. Montreal looked OK in the first quarter last week against Calgary and then fell apart. That's generally no good, but shows they can at least do something. Edmonton still has a young quarterback who hasn't done very much. Montreal is at home. That pretty much seals it for me.
Alouettes 29 Esks 16

Calgary at Winnipeg
Who's starting for Calgary? I'm not sure. Goltz is for Winnipeg, so no Buck although that hasn't mattered much this season. I'm tempting by Calgary, but I'll go with my gut and Winnipeg's defense and home field advantage.
Bombers 22 Stampeders 19

Saskatchewan at Hamilton
Is Durant injured? Beats me. I'm betting not though. Hamilton will no doubt do better than last week's pasting, being in Guelph, but they'll still lose. The Cats linebacking corps is in a bit of turmoil with Markeith Knowlton being released. Good run offense versus linebackers in flux. Not generally good.
Riders 29 Ticats 25

BC at Toronto
Weird Tuesday game. Toronto isn't bad but they're not great either. Haven't heard much about Ricky Ray's health, but I'm guessing he'll be back for Tuesday. BC is pretty good, but occasionally underachieves and they are on the road. I'll go with BC just on injury rumours. That's kind of related to the Wall Street adage buy on rumor sell on news, although I'm not sure it is right.
Lions 24, Argos 22

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sad to See Linebacker Markeith Knowlton Released

He had a good run for the Cats, but the linebackers haven't been a strength for the Cats for a while and the last game was probably the final straw. Somebody could pick him up for another season, but he appears to have lost a step.

One of my favourite players during his good years, as he always seemed to be making the big defensive play, whether it was a forced fumble, blocked punt or timely sack. Sometimes in football you can't be very sentimental. Linebackers careers often don't last that long and there's always another crop of imports coming up from the US every year. Farewell Markeith. Maybe there's a coaching position in the future.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 4

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Undefeated and shut out the Cats in Regina. Not a lot to say.

2. BC Lions
Consistently good and has Travis Lulay as their quarterback. Other teams are worse.

3. Calgary Stampeders
Despite quarterback injuries, the Stamps continue to win. As long as Jon Cornish is healthy the Stamps will be respectable.

4. Toronto Argonauts
They're 2 and 2. That's something in this league and in the East.

5. Montreal Alouettes
This is purely on the basis that Anthony Calvillo still has some skills.

6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
They're not very good. Maybe not the worst though.

7. Edmonton Eskimos
They kept it within ten points of the Lions. I guess that's also something.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Being shut out 37 to 0 isn't going to help you with the power rankings.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ticats What Happened? Riders Shut Out Guelph 37 to 0

Uh, well I kind of hoped the Cats would keep it close, but they get shut out for the first time since 2006 (which was against the Bombers).

Stats wise there was a lot of failure. Eight rushes for 16 yards. That's pretty bad. No sacks by the Cats, although some of that was skill by Durant knowing when to throw the ball away.

Props to Bakari Grant for six catches for 80 yards some of which were impressive catches.

Henry Burris? Do the Cats keep trotting him out? At this stage yes, although at a certain point you have to think of the future with an old quarterback. Complicating the issue is that three East teams are tied at 1 and 3, so the Cats are still easily in the playoff race, so no doubt Austin will ride Burris pretty much until the end of the season, because Winnipeg is also bad.

Injuries are an obvious issue, especially on defence (i.e. Greg Peach).

This is pretty much a stream of consciousness rant, but after losing 37 to 0 what can you really say.

One last point Rico Murray led with seven tackles. So props to the Kent State grad. 

Riders Ticats Half-Time

Well the Cats weren't totally blown out in the first half. They were OK against the run. The main problem was the turnovers, a fumble after a first down reception and the failure to convert a sneak on a long yard. Home field definitely helped the Riders as well. Could the Cats win at home versus the Riders.Maybe, although I wouldn't bet on it.

Props to Bakari Grant for some great receptions. He doesn't get the kudos around the CFL he should.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ricky Ray on Fire Against the Bombers, Breask Completion Percentage Record

Didn't watch the game, but just checked the box score. Ray was 19 for 20 (95%) for 286 yards for 2 TDs and no picks and apparently broke his record for the best passing percentage. Plus he led the Argos in rushing with 2 rushes for 24 yards and was sacked a single time.

That's pretty impressive. Or perhaps the Winnipeg defensive backs and pass rush is just that bad. Weirdly the Bombers sacked the Ticats Henry Burris seven times, but still gave up a lot of passing yards. Not good times in the Peg, but I doubt many are really surprised.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 CFL Predictions Week 4

Toronto at Winnipeg
On neutral ground I would have to give it to Toronto. Winnipeg's defence is good and gets a lot of sacks and doesn't allow much of a run game, while their passin offense even with a still healthy Buck Pierce is anemic. The Argos are at least respectable, if not great. Still though, I have to feel that home field advantage is worth something here, despite Winnipeg having some injuries.
Bombers 24, Argos 21

Montreal at Calgary
Montreal is on the road and not the same team as last year, plus guard Scott Flory is now gone for the season. Calgary has problems with Drew Tate being injured, but Kevin Glenn is pretty much fungible with him. Plus Jon Cornish is one of the few running backs in the CFL capable of turning a game. Seems an easy choice.
Stampeders 24 Alouettes 19

Edmonton at BC
Edmonton just looked bad last week and BC looked good. Considering the Esks are on the road, expect another Kavis Reed meltdown. Also is Fred Stamps injured? If so then the Esks are doubly screwed. At least the Esks can't get rained on this game, although they could used the randomness and pass difficulty that is inherent in a game played in a downpour.
Lions 29 Edmonton 11

Hamilton at Saskatchewan
Hamilton finally won a game this week. The Riders are undefeated and at home. Normally the Cats would be totally screwed here, but quarterback Darian Durant has been seen with a walking boot in Regina. I'm guessing he makes it back though. Burris will probably through for a lot of yards, get sacked and the Cats will have no run game. They probably also won't be able to stop Kory Sheets.
Riders 35 Ticats 25

Monday, July 15, 2013

Attendance Through First Two Games in Guelph

Not that great, 12,612 and 13,085 for the first two games. If the Cats can get on a hot streak, then maybe they can sellout a few games.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

CFL Home Field Advantage

I'm always pointing out that the CFL has a pretty massive home field advantage. I went and checked 2012 and the home team records were 45 and 27 (60%), with no team's home record worse than 4 and 5. The 2011 was 41 and 31.

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 4

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Kory Sheets is on fire rushing the ball. Durrant can be a bit hit and miss, but is infinitely better.

2. BC Lions
Steadily good. I like Lulay. Eliminian is back in good form. Other teams are considerably worse. Simple.

3. Calgary Stampeders
Lucky the Stamps have Kevin Glenn as a backup, otherwise they would be considerably farther down the list.

4. Toronto Argonauts
The best of the 1 and 2 teams, the Argos have still more points than allowed. More games against the 1 and 2 teams would help their record.

5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Lost on the road, but still dished out a lot of sacks and were able to run. That's something.

6. Hamilton Tiger Cats
Finally off the schneid. Offense is still decent without Andy Fantuz, but really need him back to get to the next level. Strange amount of sacks this week, but it could be an anomaly.

7. Edmonton Eskimos
The Esks went back to being the Eskimos again. They're not very good and probably won't be this season. Oh and Fred Stamps is injured.

8. Montreal Alouettes
I'm not really feeling this team. The new coach Dan Hawkins doesn't seem to be adjusting to the CFL as well as Mark Trestman the now Chicago Bears coach and Calvillo may be just too old now.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Edmonton 3 BC 1 Half-Time

This is a ridiculously low scoring game in the rain. This has got to be close to a record for fewest points in a half.

Quick Thoughts on Cats Victory Against Bombers

Exciting the Cats have their first victory against Winnipeg 25 to 20 at pseudo home.  Burris' stats were excellent going 26 for 32 for 362 yards with 2 TDs and no picks. Grant had 101 yards receiving on 7 catches and Giguere had a good game with 94 yards on only three catches. The Cats running was non-existent. And the Cats allowed a lot of run yards and a lot of sacks.

Still it's a win against an Eastern opponent they couldn't beat all of last year and they managed to vanquish Buck Pierce, who managed to survive healthy yet again. Unfortunately the Cats are on the road next week against the Riders who are the only 3-0 team. That's going to be tough. Hopefully Fantuz is back, although this week Burris looked like he was OK with Grant as his main guy.

The Cats also gave up to many sacks, although Burris passed so much and the Cats ran so rarely that that is almost inevitable.


Ticats Bombers Half Time, 13 Winnipeg 12 Hamilton

Not the disaster in Guelph last week, nor great success, at least the Cats are only behind by one in the half. Hamilton's problem this year has been week run defence and that's the same here, with Simpson with 100 yards already for the Bombers.

The Cats are close enough to have a shot, but the defence will have to do something other than fold

Friday, July 12, 2013

Newest Ticat Stadium is Name After Tim Horton's

Seemed somewhat inevitable, but the new stadium will be named after the donut giant that sprang from a location on Ottawa Street nearby. Primus Communications had also been bandied about. One would assume that there will be a fair amount of Tim's products available.

The company no doubt hopes that the stadium will get into the regular rotation for the Grey Cup to maximize the advertising impact. Hopefully this aids the team's pursuit of a cup soon. Tim's also has stores in the US, so broadcasts on the NBC Sports network are a small added bonus. It will be interesting to hear the terms, for sake of comparison between the other CFL teams and BMO Field in Toronto. According to this TSN article, BMO's deal with TFC's meccano set stadium was $27 million over 10 years, for $2.7 million per year.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 CFL Predictions Week 3

Saskatchewan at Toronto
This is an interesting game. The Riders are the only undefeated team after two games (talk about parity) and the Argos are the defending Cup champs. Normally I would pick Toronto just due to the strong home field advantage in the CFL, however with the Riders I'm sure there won't be much difference in fan support. On that basis I'll go with the Riders.
Roughriders 29 Argonauts 25

Calgary at Montreal
Montreal just doesn't seem to be the team they used to be. Calvillo was weak last week and the Alouettes no longer have Mark Trestman as coach. The Stamps are decent and have a floor with two quarterbacks that aren't terrible and they have Jon Cornish as quarterback. Again I'll go against home field advantage and pick the Stamps
Stampeders 24 Alouettes 19

Winnipeg at Hamilton
Two dogs this week in Guelph. Can Hamilton go 0 and 3? Maybe. Hamilton was terrible against Winnipeg last year with Buck having a lot of success. Buck isn't injured yet, so I'll again go with the visitors.
 Bombers 19 Hamilton 15

BC at Edmonton
Despite the Eskimos victory last week, I'm not convinced in them. BC is a far more solid team, although they have some defensive injuries right now. Inexplicably I'm going to pick four road teams in a row. I may regret it.
Lions 29 Eskimos 20  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 2

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders
If you're 2-0 you're tops.
2. BC Lions
Still like Lulay as the consistently best quarterback in CFL who isn't incredibly old.
3. Toronto Argonauts
Kept it sort of close on the West Coast last week, which is a graveyard for Eastern teams. Offense was pretty meh this week with the Chads not doing much for the Argos.
4. Calgary Stampeders
No superlative performance two weeks in a row for Jon Cornish. Still the possibility and they always have Kevin Glenn waiting in the wings, so there's a bottom on quarterback skill, unlike some teams.
5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Beat Montreal in Montreal. Buck Pierce still healthy two games in row for the biggest surprise of the week.
6. Montreal Alouettes
Lost to Winnipeg in Montreal. Calvillo only passes for 121 yards. Ominous?
7. Edmonton Eskimos
So they managed to beat Hamilton. That's not apparently an impressive accomplishment.
8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
They're the only 0 and 2 team and looked bad at home (or sort of home) against Edmonton. As much as it pains me, they're a bad team, especially if Fantuz is injured (this is where not having Chris Williams hurts). Starting a rookie import right tackle and finding out he sucks (Ingersoll) isn't a good move.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thoughts on Tonight's 2013 Home Opener Debacle

Depressing. The Cats got burnt early, almost caught up then let the Eskimos get away from then. Not having Fantuz definitely hurt since the Cats missed his sure handedness in the rain, as did having the rookie import tackle Ingersoll starting and not doing well. You can sometimes live with Canadians playing poorly, but a bad import at an important position kills.

The weather was awful and considerably more miserable to be in than Ivor Wynne where one could hide out on the concourse. Hopefully it doesn't rain much this year. I was impressed by the cheerleaders' spunk, gamely cheering even in the rain. That's something I guess.

So the Cats are the only team to start 0 and 2. So much for the Cats power rankings this week. It is starting to seem like last year all over again.

Photo of Today's Game

It was wet. 

Wow I'm Wet

Game isn't over yet, but I got soaked at the game and I bought a cheap poncho. Depressing start. 

Traffic on Way to Guelph Heavy for Opener

It's 4:20 and I'm travelling near Puslinch on Highway 6 and the traffic is pretty solid. 

Eskimos at Ticats 2013 Home Opener

So the first home game in Guelph is today. Having attended the pre-season game, there won't be that many surprises in terms of the game experience. Beer is $9. There's Port-A-Potties. The smoking area is a weird area outside the university official boundaries.

What could be interesting is how the crowd responds in a real game on a defensive stand. Not a lot of people, but I assume those going are diehards.

Checked out the depth chart. Interesting that Ingersoll starts at right tackle. Also that Gant is in as the starting wide recever. Then I noticed that Fantuz is on the one game injured list. I've been traveling the past few days so I've been a bit out of touch. That changes everything. The Cat offense can still be good and probably good enough to beat Edmonton, but Fantuz and Burris had looked good in the previous two games. Maybe more running than normal, although I'm not convinced yet that Walker can shoulder the heavy yards between the tackles.

Defensively Greg Peach is out injured at end. Peach is a bit like Buck Pierce and I'm starting to wonder about his cap hit. The defence was poor against Toronto last week. Parks is in starting at one of the linebacker spots. Breaux and the non-import Bucknor are the corners so the Cats continue their pattern the last couple of years of having a non-import corner. McCollough and Hobbs are the defensive backs and Patrick is the safety. How the secondary does against a weak Eskimo offense is probably the crux of the game. The offense is going to score, but the defense needs to hold occasionally rather than coughing up a TD after a Ticat score.

Edmonton is bad enough and the Cats are at home (even if it is Guelph) that the Cats should win. A loss here would make one wonder about the season.

I've got blogger on my iPhone now, so I'll try and post some pictures of the game. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

2013 CFL Predictions Week 2

Winnipeg at Montreal
Just like last week, only this time it is in Montreal. I'm not really that confident about the Alouettes this year, but against the Bombers and at Molson, one has to go with Montreal. Besides Buck Pierce could easily get injured. That's basic Stats 101.

Toronto at BC
This is an interesting matchup that I will try and watch while on the West Coast. Two of the better CFL teams this year. Despite coming off a loss, BC is at home and has a pretty strong edge against Eastern teams in BC Place. Plus the Argos defence looked quite leaky against the Cats last week.

Calgary at Saskatchewan
This game is also interesting. Can Jon Cornish run wild against the Saskatchewan defence in Riderville is pretty much the question of this game? Unlikely to have two of those games in a row, so I'll cop out and pick the Riders at home. That's generally the safe way to bet in the CFL. Unless the team at home is Edmonton

Edmonton at Hamilton
The Esks showed pretty much nothing last week against Saskatchewan in Edmonton. The Cats had a great offense and an even worse defence last week in Dead Ted's Dome. I think the Cats offense will be too much for Edmonton, even if at home for Hamilton is a relatively small University of Guelph stadium. Look for Fantuz to put up some good numbers, while the Ticat run game won't do much.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 1

So now there's actually been some football that counts in the standings. A few surprises and the Bombers are only somewhat bad.

1. Calgary Stampeders
Somewhat of a surprise that the Stamps beat the Lions. Tate had a good game, but more importantly non-import running back Jon Cornish had a superlative game, rushing a ridiculous 24 times for 172 yards and two TDs. That's a 7.2 yard per carry average, which is quite good, but more impressive that it wasn't on just a few carries. Consistently being able to rush for over seven yards in the CFL is a good way to win.

2. Toronto Argonauts
Sure their defence isn't what it was last year, but the offense had an excellent game and managed to outlast Hamilton in a slugfest. Kackert is one of the better running backs in the league and Ray is consistently reliable. That's a lot in the early going of a CFL season.

3. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders dominated the Eskimos, which doesn't say a lot considering it is the Eskimos. Durrant played well and Sheets looked good running. That's good enough for second this week.

4. BC Lions
Sure they lost, but you can't write power rankings solely based on who wins and loses. Lulay had OK stats although Andrew Harris didn't do a lot. Obviously the run defence got carved up by Cornish, but that may be an anomaly.

5. Montreal Alouettes
No Mark Trestman coaching anymore. Calvillo's stats were mostly meh, and they only beat the Bombers by five points, which is kind of sad considering it is Winnipeg, albeit one with a healthy Buck Pierce.

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Good offense, bad defence. Same as last year, just with another offensive guru as the head coach. A potent offense early in the season should keep the Cats at the middle of the pack, but a porous defence won't let them get any higher. Injury prone defensive end Greg Peach is already injured and the linebackers don't get the results that their accolades from the press would suggest.

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Buck Pierce isn't hurt yet so that's something. Also Edmonton is worse. Remember when Swaggerville was a thing?

8. Edmonton Eskimos
The Esks are bad and with the worse quarterback in the league starting. Mike Reilly may get better as the season goes along, but the team is pretty smelly right now. Stamps is still one of the better receivers and Coehoorn is a decent young non-import receiver. Not looking good so far.