Friday, August 30, 2013

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at BC Lions Half-Time

The Cats are at least within five points after a late safety. Probably the turning point of the half was early when Boudreaux was flagged for the weakest horse collar tackle penalty that should have been a sack on Lulay deep in BC territory. At least later in the game the penalties seemed to go more Hamilton's way.

The Hamilton offense was putrid in the first quarter, with no first downs, but the defence at least played well and limited the damage. Not much of a running game. Also teams in the CFL may have figured out that when LeFevour comes in that a running play is going to happen. Good while it lasted.

Burris ended up with a decent completion percentage in the half, although part of that was typical Hamilton short passes that were no where near the first down marker.

Bulcke is having a good game in the interior of the defensive line for Hamilton. Why Calgary got rid of him (or at least didn't resign him) after two years is a mystery to me. A non-import, Bulcke majored in mechanical engineering at Stanford. I'm not sure who was the last good non-import defensive tackle the Cats have had.

2013 CFL Predictions Week 10

Hamilton at BC
Eastern teams haven't traditionally done well playing in BC at night (and BC almost always has night games). Injury wise the Cats are going to be missing Sam Giguere due to an arm injury and replace him with vet non-import Dave Stala. The Cats have enough slotbacks and receivers that that isn't a big deal. However, despite Hamilton winning three in a row, I'm going to go with BC due to their home field advantage.
BC 29 Hamilton 24

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
One team has one win, one team has one loss. The Riders are at home to boot, and I have no idea who is going to start at quarterback for Winnipeg, nor do I have a lot of confidence in new offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille to turn it around. I predict that Corey Sheets is going to run wild over the Bombers in pursuit of 2000 yards rushing this year. It won't be close.
Riders 40 Bombers 19

Edmonton at Calgary
The Eskimos have improved the last couple of weeks, and I do see a possibility of them splitting the home and home series. However this game is at home for Calgary and I don't see them losing it. Kevin Glenn has looked good in replacement of the oft injured Drew Tate (who seems to be morphing into the new Buck Pierce), although not having receiver Nik Lewis hurts. Edmonton will win eventually, just not this week.
Stampeders 29 Eskimos 22

Montreal at Toronto
Ricky Ray is out with injury and so is Anthony Calvillo. So it is the battle of the backup quarterbacks. Zach Collaros has more (although not much) experience than Montreal's Tanner Marsh, who played well last week in the Alouette's victory. I'll take the slightly more experienced Collaros and home field advantage.
Toronto 22 Montreal 19

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chris Williams' Ticat Contract Voided

Just saw that Chris Williams' contract with the Ticats was voided by a judge. Somewhat surprising, although it is pretty late for him to try and pickup with an NFL team.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ticats Have Released DE Greg Peach

The Cats have released injury prone defensive end Greg Peach (just saw it on Twitter). In hindsight, Peach was clearly a bad signing as he was often injured. I'm assuming the Cats are releasing him now, so that they don't have to pay him the rest of the year (in the CFL, after Labour Day, three year vets have to be paid their full salary upon release).

Will someone else pick him up? Given his injury history, I'm doubtful. He isn't very old at 26, but obviously isn't durable. Someone could pick him up near the end of the season I suppose for the playoffs.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2012 CFL Home and Away Points Stats

I've loaded in the 2012 home and away points for the CFL regular season and did some analysis on them. This could be useful for over under gambling, but is interesting to me beyond that.

The mean away points scored was 23.6 points a game versus 28.2 points for home teams, or a total points for both teams of 51.8 points per game.

The mean margin of victory in points was 11.9 versus a median margin of victory of 9 points, which was actually larger than I would have thought it would be. The largest margin of victory was 52 points. I should really look up what game that was. There were five games where a single point made the difference.

I did make a histogram of the margin of victory. Note that three points is the most popular.

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 9

1. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Well it was a tight game against Edmonton, but the Riders still prevailed. You're not always going to win by big margins every game and the Riders still have one loss. The Riders still have an excellent offense with depth at receiver and the best running back in Kory Sheets. Plus going in to back to back games against the hapless Bombers, this ranking probably won't change.

2. Calgary Stampeders
The Stamps aren't very far off of the top ranking and coming off a solid victory over Toronto (albeit without Ricky Ray for a lot of the game) their position is solidified. Kevin Glenn has been solid and one wonders where Drew Tate ends up on the depth chart when he finally comes back, whenever that is. The Stamps still managed to win without both Jon Cornish and Nik Lewis which shows impressive depth. Back to back games against Edmonton shouldn't be a big problem.

3. Toronto Argonauts
They lost to the Stamps without Ricky Ray for a large period of the game. The Argos are still a good team, with decent receivers and a good defence, but with Ricky Ray looking more injury prone, the Argos aren't as good a team.

4. BC Lions
 Somehow the Lions managed to cough one up in Montreal despite having a big lead. The Lions are a good team and Lulay is one of the better quarterbacks, but the Lions haven't really been dominant this year. Still Lulay has been healthy this year, which should help the Lions in the second half of the year.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Three wins in a row against the worst teams in the league doesn't say a lot, although the wins were fairly dominant. The Cats are back even at 4 and 4, but the team will have to beat better teams to move up in the rankings. They have already played the Bombers three times and the Eskimos twice. The Cats offense is hot right now, with Andy Fantuz back and a plethora of offensive options to chose from and even Gable looks good as a running back. The Cats have managed to work in backup LeFevour into the past few games to some success.

6. Montreal Alouettes
I watched the Alouettes and didn't think they had a chance, but they confounded me and beat the Lions at home. The backup quarterback to Calvillo Neiswander didn't do much, but the third stringer Marsh managed to win the game. Chip Cox has been a monster on defence this year, with way more tackles than anyone else in the league. Non-import back Messam is coming back to the form he had in Edmonton and Arland Bruce is on fire despite getting up there in age. The Alouettes could be a better team with quarterbacking better than whan Calvillo had been giving them prior to getting his bell rung.

7. Edmonton Eskimos
Edmonton doesn't have many wins lately, but they have improved enough to almost beat the Riders last week. Unlike the Bombers, the Eskimos have stayed with one quarterback, Mike Reilly who managed just over 300 yards passing this week. The Eskimos still have Fred Stamps as a capable receiver. Edmonton will probably have a better record over the rest of the season, but they still aren't a great team. They aren't Winnipeg though.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
This team is in total disarray, with a new president, GM and offensive co-ordinator. The Bombers played three quarterbacks against Hamilton last week without any success. The defence isn't terrible, but the offense hangs them out to dry. The Bombers ideally would jettison Buck Pierce and commit to their younger quarterbacks for next year. Barring a miracle, they aren't making the playoffs this year.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ticat Cheerleaders in Guelph Photo

Hot day to be a cheerleader in Guelph today. 

Cats Win! Quick Thoughts on Victory over Winnipeg

Just got back from Guelph where the Cats won impressively over the Bombers. Both the offense and defense looked good. The only problem is, how much of a test are the Bombers? They played three quarterbacks today and their offense was pretty feeble. Good that the Cats beat them two weeks in a row, but the rest of the league will be tougher.

Burris looked good, as did LeFevour in his few series. Surprised to see Moore with three catches for 67 yards, where did he come from?

Good weather for once in Guelph, but Highway 6 was jammed and slow both ways today. If you can find a way to avoid Highway 6 on the way to Guelph, do it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Noteworthy Cat CFL Stats After Week 8

Henry Burris leads the league with 2135 yards, more than 200 more than Travis Lulay. Burris' pass completion percentage is only 65.1%, far behind Ricky Ray's 78.1%.

Rookie Ellingson is fifth in receiving yards, Bakari Grant is eighth and Giguere is 13th. Gable is tenth in rushing yards.

Johnson is 24th in the CFL with 23 tackles.

Ticats Depth Chart August 24th, 2013, Winnipeg

Not a lot changed from last week for tomorrow's game.

Simmons and Figueroa are the import tackles, with non-imports Dyakowski, O'Neill and Wojt in the middle of the offensive line.

Import Jones and Giguere are with wideouts, with imports Grant and Ellingson as the first two slots, with Fantuz as the fifth slot. Non-import Delahunt is the fullback when the Cats play one, with Burris starting at quarterback and Gable as the running back.

Imports Boudreaux and Norwood are the defensive ends, with non-import Bulcke and Davis in the middle.

The linebackers are all imports and are Lawrence, Johnson and Murray.

Breaux and Brown are the import corners, with McCollough and Webb as the import defensive backs and non-import Stephen as the safety.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2013 CFL Predictions Week 9

BC at Montreal
Anthony Calvillo is out with a concussion so Josh Neiswander (who didn't do well in relief of Calvillo last week) is in for Montreal. The game is in Montreal, however I can't see Travis Lulay losing to Neiswander. The Alouettes still have some good offensive tools, however Neiswander will find it difficult to use them. I assume that the Als will run a lot and maybe Neiswander as well, but it won't be enough.
Lions 35 Montreal 18

Calgary at Toronto
This should be a good game, especially since it is in Toronto. I assume that Ray is playing as I haven't heard anything else. The Stamps may be missing star non-import running back Jon Cornish and chunky receiver Nik Lewis is out with a broken leg, so there goes a lot of the Stamp offence. I'm not sure who's starting at quarterback but I'm assuming Tate is still doing his Buck Pierce impression and Kevin Glenn will start again.

Given all the injuries to the Stamps I have to give the nod to Toronto.
Argos 28 Stampeders 26

Fun fact: the Calgary fight song is Ye Men of Calgary!

Winnipeg at Hamilton
Former number three guy Max Hall gets his second start in a row against the Cats, although the Bombers didn't do a lot in their new stadium last week in terms of offence. They have a new offensive co-ordinator in former Ticat coach Marcel Bellefeuille. I'm not sure if that helps in the first week.

The Cats are healthy on offence and look to be rolling. Even defensively last week there was some interceptions (albeit against the Bombers) for once. The game is in Guelph which should give some advantage to the Cats.

The Bombers are in turmoil, so picking the Cats is easy.
Cats 33 Bombers 21

Saskatchewan at Edmonton
On the surface this seems like an easy game to pick. Also below the surface it is an easy game to pick. Riders easily.
Riders 38 Eskimos 21

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 8

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Pretty weak victory against Montreal on the weekend, but those games are going to happen to even the best teams and they managed to win anyways.

2. Calgary Stampeders
Are the Stamps at their best when Kevin Glenn is the quarterback? I'm not sure. Losing on the road to the Lions and their weird new uniforms wasn't impressive, however they still hold on to second based on previous efforts. Cornish is probably more important than who the quarterback is now. Losing Nik Lewis hurts, especially for his blocking that shows up more on highlight reels rather than the stats.

3. Toronto Argonauts
So they barely beat Edmonton at home. They still are 4 and 2 which is worth something and recently beat BC. Not really a great team, but a good team that has enough offense and defence to pick up some wins.

4. BC Lions
The new uniforms were a little odd, but winning at home against Calgary is something. BC is a little less consistent than one would have expected and their offense hasn't been that great considering Travis Lulay is their quarterback.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Best of the ass teams, the Cats are almost back to 500 after back to back victories against chump teams Winnipeg and Edmonton. With Andy Fantuz back, the offense is solid and in the dismantling of Winnipeg, the overhauled defence looks better than when they were losing. Still not much of a running game, although Gable is a dual threat.

6. Edmonton Eskimos
They came close to the Argos this week, but not enough to win. Not a lot to really say. They still have Fred Stamps.

7. Montreal Alouettes
Almost won versus the Riders in Regina, but managed to lose. Calvillo has a concussion, which has to hurt their ranking. Haven't won since firing their coach.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Still haven't won in their new stadium and lost badly to the Cats with yet another quarterback. New offensive co-ordinator to go with their new CEO and general manager. Not good.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stats from Ticat Bomber Game, August 16, 2013

Pretty much good stats all round in the Cats round victory in Winnipeg. Burris was 22 for 36 for 333 yards with a TD and no picks. At this rate, if Hamilton actually ended up with a good record, Burris would be a MOP candidate just on raw passing yardage and TD numbers. Whether that's right or not, I'm not sure.  Burris' large passing numbers are the product of him playing almost every down, even in blowout losses and the Cats almost never running.

Giguere had another good game, with the most receiving yards, with four catches for 85 yards. Ellingson also had another good game, with five catches for 76 yards; he is fashioning a rookie of the year stats. Gable had three catches for 72 yards and ten rushes for 75 yards for a good combined total. Fantuz had four catches for only 29 yards, but is an upgrade on Stala and requires more coverage. Plus he didn't reinjure himself.

Linebacker Simoni Lawrence led the team with 6 tackles. The Cats' defence had two sacks, two picks and a fumble recovery for a relatively productive evening.

The Cats are now close to 500 and have their offense rolling with the defence improving (although Winnipeg and their rotating quarterbacks aren't a great test). Given Winnipeg's and Montreal's struggles, the Cats have a great shot at at least second place in the East.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quick Thoughts on Bomber Game

The game isn't over yet, but it looks like a Ticat victory. Burris played well as did Ellingson and Gable

Maybe more impressive was the defensive which actually had some picks. 

Lots of penalties in this game but I think overall the Cats benefitted from the flag happy refs. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Average Points Scored Per Team CFL 2013

I was curious, what does the average CFL team score per game? I looked at the stats for 2012. I took the total points scored for all 8 teams, then divided by 8 then 18 (for 18 games). It came out to 25.9 points per game. So consider that when you are making your point predictions. Although through the first six games of 2013 the average is only 23.9.

Ideally I wouldn't mind looking at how that differs for home versus visiting teams as well as how that varies during the year, i.e. the week one average versus the week 19 average score. Also the histogram of the margin of victory would be interesting as well. Of course then I would have to enter it in manually or scrape it from the web, which is easier said than done. One of these days I'll get around to doing it.

2013 CFL Predictions Week 8

Hamilton at Winnipeg
Hamilton is coming off a road win and the Bombers are in disarray management wise and are going with their third string quarterback as the starter. I think that's going to be a Hamilton win, although stranger things have happened.
Tiger-Cats 35 Bombers 21

Montreal at Saskatchewan
Sure the Riders lost last week on the road, but they're at home and their opponent is Montreal who have jettisoned their coach. Anthony Calvillo has looked 40 this year and this could be his last season. Riders easily.
Riders 32 Alouettes 19

Calgary at BC
The Stamps come off a big win last week versus Saskatchewan, while the Lions are on a bye week. Both teams are good, but I'm going to go with BC's historically strong home record. Probably going against momentum, but the bye week should be useful for injuries.
Lions 28 Stampeders 25

Edmonton at Toronto
Still not sure who starts for Toronto, but I'm guessing Ricky Ray although the Argos at least have a competent backup. Edmonton is not in good shape and are on the road. Is Kavis Reed's job in danger? Who knows? Toronto wins easily.
Argos 29 Edmonton 25

Cornerback Ryan Hinds Released

Ryan Hinds, a non-import cornerback was released by the Cats. Hinds had started earlier in his career, but had fell behind Matt Bucknor in the non-import cornerback rankings. I would expect some team to pick up him, if only for special teams play and depth in the defensive backfield. He's still young at 26.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rumours of Andy Fantuz Being Back. What Does That Do to the Lineup?

Andy Fantuz could be in action for the Cats this week. How does that change the lineup?

Grant and Ellingson, both imports were the starting slots. Onrea Jones (import) and Giguere were the starting wide receivers. Dave Stala was listed as the third slotback for five and six receiver sets.

With Fantuz coming back, he could come in for Ellingson and then the non-import starting spot could be used so the defence could start another import. Or Fantuz could go into Ellingson's spot and Ellingson move over into Stala's spot and the import ratio on offense would stay the same.

Hard to say what will happen as other changes could happen in the receiving corps. Still it is a good problem to have, because if there is an injury to a Canadian starter, the Cats have more flexibility with Fantzu, Stala and Giguere on offense.

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week Seven

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders
OK, so they lost to the Stampeders on the road and aren't unbeaten anymore. I'm not booting them from the top spot just yet.
2. Calgary Stampeders
Beat the previously undefeated Riders and have three capable quarterbacks plus super non-import running back Jon Cornish. Pretty close to the top.
3. Toronto Argonauts
Apparently the Argos are for real, although smashing the Alouettes during a week of turmoil isn't super impressive, merely impressive. Ray seems a bit more injury prone this year, but for once the Argos have a non total tool backup quarterback.
4. BC Lions
Didn't play, but still have a winning record, which is something.
5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Didn't play, but coming off a win, with a lot of injuries and a bye week to heal. Rumours are that Andy Fantuz is coming back, which should only improve the offense and help with the ratio.
6. Montreal Alouettes
Did play and did get smashed by the Argos after booting their head coach. Still have Calvillo and some talent.
7. Edmonton Eskimos
Didn't play but linebacker Sherritt is supposedly out for a while. This is not a good team.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
CEO and GM are gone. That's a bit of turmoil. And Goltz is no longer apparently the starter for the rest of the season. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 CFL Predictions Week 7

Toronto at Montreal
I'm not sure who's starting for Toronto, although considering the job the backup Collaros did, I'm not sure it matters. Montreal is at home and maybe they have some momentum from ditching their coach and installing GM Jim Popp as the new coach, but I'm going to pick Toronto. They just seem like a better team.
Argos 29 Alouettes 19

Saskatchewan at Calgary
This one is interesting and I'm assuming the Bo Levi Mitchell starts, although I'm not sure of that either. I'm not sure if Durrant starts for Saskatchewan, but I'm guessing he will after a week off. Calgary is at home, but I'm sure there will be a lot of Rider fans in attendance, so that won't be as big a factor as usual. I'm going to go out on a limb though and say that the Riders lose their first game of the season. It has to happen sometime. The Riders aren't that great, more of a factor how poor some of the teams seem this year (especially offenses).

Stampeders 28 Riders 26

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

2013 CFL Power Rankings Week 6

1. Saskatchewn Roughriders
Well they are undefeated and didn't play. What did you expect, that their ranking would go down?

2. Toronto Argonauts
Didn't play either, but BC did and barely beat Winnipeg. Not a lot of new info, although I assume some injuries will heal.

3. Calgary Stampeders
Also didn't play. Also have three serviceable quarterbacks. That's pretty good for 2013. Probably good for Ottawa too.

4. BC Lions
Managed to beat Winnipeg at home. This isn't a great Lions team, although they may turn it on a bit after Labour Day like most years.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Sure they only won by a point, but it was on the road and they had the game in control most of the time. A bye week probably helps them a lot for injuries.

6.  Edmonton Eskimos
Sure they lost by a point at home, but they have a bit of talent. I don't know if Kavis Reed lasts the season however.

7. Montreal Alouettes
Fired their coach and Jim Popp is again at the reins. Injuries are hurting. This could be the last season for Anthony Calvillo.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Played well then ended up losing to BC away. The Bombers aren't good, but moving on from Buck (for now) allows them to try and rebuild and get better for the end of the season and next year. Certainly they could still make the playoffs, but things would need to turn around.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Good Steve Milton Article in the Spec on Hamilton Edmonton Game

Just thought I would highlight this Steve Milton article in the Spec on the Hamilton Edmonton game. Some good points on Lefevour at quarterback and offensive co-ordinator Tommy Condell (who doesn't even have a wikipedia entry).

What Was the Chance of Edmonton Making 50 Yard Field Goal

I was nervous for the last game in Edmonton that the Eskimos would make the field goal, however I knew that a 50 yarder was unlikely. Here's a page with a chart on NFL success depending on the length. Here 40 yards is equivalent to 50 yards in the CFL, since in the NFL the posts are 10 yards behind the goal line.

From the chart, 40 yards out (equivalent to 50) is slightly less than 40%. Considering the quality of kicking is probably better in the NFL, the same chance for the CFL would be slightly worse. The chart is interesting too in that five more yards (55 yards in the CFL) and the chance halves to 20%. There's probably a difference between indoor and outdoor percentages so the Edmonton was probably even harder.

I would love to make a chart like that for the CFL, but it would be a lot of work. It would be interesting to flash it up on a TSN broadcast and I'm a little surprised they don't do it in the NFL (sometimes you see ranges, but that isn't a good way to measure it).

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Three Ticats in Top Ten in CFL Receiving After Edmonton Game

Sure six teams still have to play game 6, but Bakari Grant is second in the CFL in receiving with 408 yards, rookie Ellingson is fourth with 395 yards and sometimes maligned Samuel Giguere is tenth with 309.

Grant's performance over 18 games projects to 1185 yards, Ellingson to Giguere to 927 yards. Probably when Fantuz comes back their numbers per game will drop, but that's a nice problem for the Ticats to have.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ticats Win!

It was close but the Cats won a road victory in Edmonton. Not sure whether it was 30 to 29 or 28. Props to Samuel Giguere with six catches for 90 yards. Also props to Gable with 14 rushes for 47 yards. Decent pass rush too. 

LeFevour Running Sneaks

Interesting that backup quarterback LeFevour is running sneaks in the offender and had an offensive series in the first half. Cortez last year wouldn't play a backup if he had hemorrhoid a and that was the only way to get rid of them. 

Ticat pass rush looks good too in the first half. 

2013 CFL Week 6 Predictions.

Hamilton at Edmonton
Battle of the 1 and 4 teams. Edmonton won the first encounter in Guelph. I probably should bet on the Esks at home, however I think that the Burris will probably have a good game and the defense won't do too badly. That may be a bit of bias, but the team is bad, not completely bad. Still not having Fantuz back really hurts.
Tiger-Cats 29 Eskimos 22

Winnipeg at BC
BC lost pretty badly to Toronto in Toronto, so I'm sure they'll want to avenge that lose. The Lions are significantly better at home than on the road in history. The Bombers have at least moved on from Buck Pierce to Goltz which is something. He'll have a hard time outgunning Lulay though.
Lions 35 Bombers 21

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ticats and Quarterback Sneaks

Bad teams fail on third and one, good teams convert third and ones in the CFL. I'm sure someone could do an analysis of this and correlate wins with the conversion percentage.

This year and I'm not the only one that has noticed this is that the Cats have been failing on third and one. They are using Burris, but I think they should go back to the old method of having their backup quarterback (at the time Quinton Porter) specialize in third and ones. By having the backup quarterback practicing this repeatedly, they could add in some more possibilities than just the straight ahead sneak, including occasionally going to the outside. Uncertainty always helps.

Further to this, Burris isn't young at all. Getting the backup involved improves his development. Last year the Cats were last, yet Burris took almost all the snaps. That might help Burris' raw numbers, but it doesn't help the team overall. If you're going to be last anyways, you might as well get some development in for your backup, especially when Burris is 38.

Alouettes Fire Dan Hawkins, GM Popp in as Coach

Not a big surprise. The Alouettes tried to remake the Mark Trestman experiment with a guy with no CFL experience, but it didn't work this time. Will Montreal be any good the rest of the year? Maybe, they still have a lot of talent (found by Popp).

Also doesn't Popp live full time in North Carolina? I thought I watched a TSN clip about him moving back there instead of keeping his family in Montreal.