It has been a while since I've done a power rankings. I meant too, but never got around to it. Now with no strike (yay!) and tonight's first pre-season game between Toronto and Winnipeg I've got to get one done before any type of playing information is known, even pre-season games.
Also we'll find out tonight who replaces Dave Randorf on the panel. I would accept the Wendy's girl. I will not accept Rod Black.
1. Calgary Stampeders
A bit of a risky pick. The Stamps no longer have Kevin Glenn to sub in when Drew Tate is inevitably injured (I think Tate says he won't be healed until next year himself). However they do have Bo Levi Mitchell and a consistent and significantly better running back than the average fungible import running back in Jon Cornish. Second in the West last year, but I'm thinking they've got the drop on the rest of the division.
2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Somewhat of a homer pick, but at least I didn't put them first. Made it to the Grey Cup before ultimately falling to the Riders, mainly on a bullshit play where the quarterback was sack and the ball flew up into the air and right into the running back's hands. But I digress. The Cats no longer have Henry Burris, who looked good statistically, but down the stretch of the season was frequently spelled off by his backup Dan LeFevour. The Cats have picked up Argo backup Zack Collaros as Burris' replacement. Collaros is young, but had a great run winning a bunch of road games on the road for the Argos while their first string quarterback was injured.
The Cats also have a great receiving corps and a potentially fantastic running back in C.J Gable if he can step it up from last year. The Cats also have a potentially decent defence, with surprisingly good Canadians. The Cats broke a record for injured players last year and still made the Grey Cup, so a better year than last year injury wise would guarantee a good season.
3. BC Lions
Before signing Kevin Glenn, I would have been more leery with my BC placement as I have some concerns with the health of first string quarterback, Travis Lulay. With Glenn, there's less of a dropoff and the rest of the team isn't that bad. I still like Andrew Harris at running back. I'm not super up to date on the off-season moves BC made besides Glenn, but I'm going to assume Wally Buono made good moves.
4. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Sure they won the Grey Cup last year, mostly on a lucky bounce early, but what have they done in 2014? Mainly lost some of their most important players. Running back Kory Sheets is gone to the Raiders and Weston Dressler to KC. Who knows if they will stick, but it isn't a great way to start a season. They still have quarterback Darian Durant, but he isn't the best quarterback in the CFL in my opinion and will have a harder time without Dressler and sheets.
5. Toronto Argonauts
First in the East after the regular season, the Argos lost to the Cats in the Eastern final with their crack using mayor in attendance (to be fair, Hamilton mayor Bob Bratina was also at the game and looked somewhat stunned, although that probably wasn't due to crack). The Argos had a decent team last year, especially on defence. The Argos released backup Zack Collaros, so they'll have to make due with somewhat elderly quarterback Ricky Ray even if he gets injured again. The Argos still have Chad Owens although the league seemed to figure him out last year, compared to the previous year. We'll see what the Argos do.
6. Montreal Alouettes
The Alouettes definitely got somewhat better at the end of the season when they went with quarterback Troy Smith with an injured and now departed Anthoney Calvillo. I'm not sure how good he is as a quarterback over a season and the backups don't inspire me with a lot of confidence. GM Jim Popp always seems to unearth some decent imports so the Alouettes are rarely truly terrible.
7. Edmonton Eskimos
I don't have a lot of opinions on the Eskimos. Mike Reilly did OK as a quarterback last year considering his porous offensive line. At least he picked up a lot of experience. They could be somewhat better than last year, but that's not saying a lot.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Ugh. Try out a bunch of quarterbacks and hope one emerges. Seems like the Bombers have been doing that since the end of Swaggerville (remember that?). I just can't see this team doing much.
9. Ottawa RedBlacks
They've got Burris as quarterback, but he's no doubt quite old. Personally I would have stuck with Glenn. They are an expansion team therefore last place.