Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bombers at Ticats Preview

Not that many changes to the Ticats roster from last week.

The offensive line still has three American starters. The tackles Olson and Lewis are both imports and both rookies, as is the right guard Simmons. The other guard, O'Neill and the centre Filer are Canadian.

Import Koch is one of the starting wide receivers as is Giguere. Ellingson is listed behind Koch so we'll see if he plays this week after missing last week. The slots are imports Grant and Tasker along with Chatham's Fantuz. Gable is the starting running back, with the non-import Prime as the fullback whenever the Cats aren't going with five or six receiver sets. Somewhat interestingly, Matt Coates is listed as a backup to Andy Fantuz. He's interesting as he is a rookie straight from the Hamilton Hurricanes.

LeFevour starts at quarterback, with Masoli and McGee backing up. Medlock kicks and punts, with A rookie, McDuffie as the punt and kick returner.

That would appear to be four Canadian starters on offense, five if Prime is in at fullback with Giguere and Fantuz.

On defence, the ends are both imports, Norwood and Coleman. The tackles are the usual non-imports Laurent and Bulcke, somewhat amusingly backed up by an import Hall.

The starting linebackers are all imports this week, with Lawrence, the hard hitting Bowman and the returning Rico Murray which I assume is the Cats favoured set when healthy. Laval's Plesius backs up after starting last week.

The corners are Breaux and the non-import Stephen. Half-backs are Stewart and Davis, with non-import King as the safety.

That's four Ticat starters on defence.

The Bombers have two American offensive tackles with three Canadians in the middle. In total the Bombers appear to start five Canadians on offense.

The Bombers start three Canadians on defence, including defensive tackle Thomas, dime linebacker Sherman and former Tiger-Cat Bucknor at cornerback.

2014 CFL Prediction Week 6

Winnipeg at Hamilton
Drew Willy versus Dan LeFevour. Who you believe in more is what this game comes down to. The Cats do have have home field advantage here which is definitely important in the CFL as I've posted about many times before. I'll be a bit of a homer here, but I think the Cats have the advantage this game. The Ticats D has looked good the past three games, and I think Drew Willy and the Bomber offense will come out rather flaccid against it. Look for a good game running and blocking by CJ Gable.
Ticats 35, Bombers 29

Toronto at Montreal
This matchup reminds me of the ass to ass scene in the movie Requiem for a Dream. I'm a little surprised that the Alouettes are favoured. The Argos aren't good right now, especially with their receiving corps banged up severely, but Ricky Ray is so much better than Troy Smith that I can't see the Montreal defence playing well enough to win.
Argos 23 Alouettes 19

BC at Calgary
Stamps, unbeaten and at home. Yeah I'm taking Calgary.
Stamps 41 Lions 21

Saskatchewan at Ottawa
I actually thought Ottawa played pretty well in Hamilton last week. Considering the game LeFevour had, the fact the Redblacks were in it until close to the end is impressive. The Riders seem improved so I'll take them, although I don't think the Redblacks are just going to roll over.
Riders 28 Redblacks 26

Is the August 16th Game Against Calgary Going to Be at McMaster

I've received no word as a season ticket holder yet whether the August 16th game will be played at Tim Horton's Field. Being the last day of July, I thought I would have heard by now. Seems quite unlikely at this point, especially considering the photo I posted that I took last Sunday of the stadium.

What about the Labour Day game? They have more than a month, so I would expect they could get the stadium to a state where a game could take place and still meet safety standards. It probably won't be pretty.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

CFL Week 5 TSN Television Ratings; Toronto FC's Television Rankings Suck

Yahoo's Chris Zelkovich has all the television rankings for the weekend for Canadian sports programs (which I'm sure are dwarfed by the Bachelorette's, but what are you going to do).

Once again the three CFL games are on top, although the Yankees Jays games weren't bad.

1. CFL, Bombers at Lions, Friday, TSN: 857,000
2. CFL, Argonauts at Roughriders, Saturday, TSN: 830,000
3. CFL, RedBlacks at Tiger-Cats, Saturday, TSN: 670,000

The CFL games on average were higher than last weeks (and also above last year's average) although sadly the  Ottawa Hamilton game's had the lowest rankings. I'm not sure if Ottawa being a new team should help or hinder their rankings. Nonetheless those big numbers for Western based teams probably means good value for the money for Humpty's and Wendy's. Too bad Hamilton basically has neither.

Zelkovich also reported this nugget:

"DOG OF THE WEEK: Saturday's MLS game between Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City drew a paltry 22,000 viewers to TSN2. Even by TFC's low standards for television, that's alarmingly low considering how much MLSE has invested in this team. It truly is a bizarre situation, with the team selling out its stadium but unable to attract flies to its TV product.
If anyone was hoping for a bump in interest after the World Cup, it obviously didn't happen. A Vancouver Whitecaps game on Sunday did better on the main TSN channel, but still failed to crack the 100,000 mark.
The answer: maybe the only ones who care are the 20,000 who show up at BMO Field."

Ouch. Considering all the money MLSE has spent on TFC transfer fees this season, that's not good for profits as this team needs TV money because just relying on the gate won't cut it. As a Bell shareholder which owns a part of MLSE, let's just say I'm disappointed. 

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 5

1. Calgary Stampeders
Undefeated, beat Edmonton on the road despite a huge number of fans drawn by an epic 50/50 draw. As long as they keep Drew Tate from starting, they're good.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
So they lost to the Stamps at home. If not for an ill-timed third down gamble, there was a possibility to win this game. A lot better than the Eskimos of last year, that's for sure.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Still only one loss and hung on on the Lions last week, who some probably still consider a good team.

4. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Kind of a bipolar team (no offense to bipolar people). Gets waxed by the Argos at home, waxes the Argos on the road. Both the offense and defense it somewhat mediocre.

5. BC Lions
They have two wins so they have to go here. Also all five Western teams are ranked above the Eastern teams, which is amusing.

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Banished from the basement on the strength of a quarterback performance for the ages by Dan LeFevour, the Cats are tied for first in the East with a win. Collaros is apparently out concussed for some time longer, but LeFevour seems like an OK replacement. Pass defence the last two games has been surprisingly good, considering the number of Canadians starting.

7. Toronto Argonauts
Ricky Ray. That's pretty much enough for seventh. Also despite all their receiver injuries, they're cobbling a corps together that isn't totally shit. In theory, when everyone gets healthy there should be some Darwinian battle for starting spots that should lead to good things. That's looking pretty far ahead for power rankings.

8. Ottawa Redblacks
Actually, considering they were on the road and LeFevour's crazy stats, the Redblacks were in this game and had a chance until they couldn't convert a third and two late. A mediocre defence and mediocre receivers (although the just signed Onrea Jones should help, although why he wasn't signed earlier by Ottawa or Toronto for that matter is puzzling) is holding Ottawa back.

9. Montreal Alouettes
Maybe the Alouettes shouldn't have bet on Troy Smith, who some are calling Cleo Lemon 2: Electric Boogaloo. Although Cleo bizarrely managed to win some games for the Argos despite his shitty stats.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Photo of Tim Horton's Field Taken Yesterday

Here's a photo I took yesterday at the old Ivor Wynne site. There's been progress but a lot still needs to be done. I'm skeptical about the August Ticat game taking place there. 

Interestingly I counted seven people working on Sunday, which I have never seen on a previous Sunday. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dan LeFevour Runs and Passes His Way to a Ticat Victory Over the Redblacks at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster

Hamilton gets off the schneid at Ron Joyce at McMaster tonight with a satisfying 33 to 23 victory over Henry Burris and the Redblacks.

Dan LeFevour had a game for the ages. LeFevour went 21 for 30 passing with 361 yards and a TD. He also ran ten times for 109 yards and a TD. He did have a pick, but to me that was more on Koch letting it get ripped from his hands.

C.J. Gable had an excellent game with six rushes for 62 yards and a TD, plus three catches for 105 yards. Seven Cats had a reception.

Stewart and Davis both had six tackles, but Marcellus Bowman made some monster hits on the night. Butler had a nice pick.

If Hamilton had lost, things would have looked pretty grim, but with a home win, albeit at McMaster things are looking up.

Ottawa at Hamilton Half-Time, McMaster Edition

First TSN is trying to show as little of possible of McMaster. I don't really blame them, although as a CIS stadium it is a good stadium.

Dan LeFevour has looked good in the first half with 142 yards passing. The team had a total of 278 yards in the first half. Also a lot of different receivers had a reception. The offensive line hasn't looked bad either.

The defence was a bit soft at times, but Henry Burris is still a crafty veteran. A nice interception by Craig Butler certainly helped out.

Looking good going in to the second half, but the Cats will have to continue to play well to win. Ottawa may be an expansion team, but with Burris they've got a chance.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 5

A bit close to the wire, but I'm getting them in.

Calgary at Edmonton
I'm going to go with the Eskimos at home. The Stamps without Cornish didn't look that good last week against Hamilton at home. Seems strange picking Edmonton

Winnipeg at BC
I think the Lions have turned a corner with Kevin Glenn (and cue the inevitable quarterback controversy whenever Travis Lulay is healthy again). The Bombers looked mediocre last week so there's that too.

Ottawa at Hamilton
The REDBLACKs managed to win their home opener without a TD last week against the Argos. The Cats defence looked good against the Stamps. I have to go with the Cats and their McMaster home field advantage, such as it is.

Toronto at Saskatchewan
I'm assuming that the Riders aren't that bad this year. I'm not sure that's a safe assumption, but I'm sticking with it for this week. Plus Ricky Ray doesn't have much to throw to.

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 4

1. Calgary Stampeders
Admittedly it wasn't pretty, but the Stamps won at home. Bo Levi Mitchell didn't look that great, although that might have been the Ticat defence. Cornish looks to be gone for a while but the Stamps appear to be able to get by without him.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
Still undefeated. Somewhat surprising, but the Mike Reilly seems to have really benefited from all that playing time last season.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Sure they lost to Edmonton, but they're still a decent team. I'm a bit nervous about Drew "Slick" Willy though and not sure he's the real deal. He is better than the Bomber quarterbacks of previous seasons.

4. BC Lions
Won big at home last week. It was against Troy Smith and the Als though. Still Kevin Glenn seems to be on track now and if nothing else the Lions should continue to beat EST teams at home.

5. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
What's up with the Riders? Seems like some of the departures from last year have hurt and the team is now mediocre.

6. Toronto Argonauts
Lost to the Redblacks, although it was on the road. Without Durie and Owens because of injuries, that's going to make things difficult for Ricky Ray.

Won a home game by a point, with no TDs. Still that's something and gets them out of the basement.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Cats played pretty well on the road in Calgary this week and had a chance to tie late but muffed a field goal. The Cats defence looked good, especially the pass defence, which is interesting considering the number of Canadians starting on defence. The Cats offensive line is crap and has three Americans, which is extra crap. No Collaros means either LeFevour or Masoli, neither of whom seems really capable of playing well.

9. Montreal Alouettes
Things are not looking good for Ned Flanders and the Larks. Quarterback Troy Smith had some truly terrible stats in Vancouver last week. Sadly none of the other Montreal quarterback look good either.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CFL Television Rankings and ESPN Contract

Chris Zelkovich who formerly at the Toronto Star had a blog about Canadian sports media and ratings is continuing that tradition over at Yahoo Canada Sports. He has the weekend Canadian sports ratings and the three CFL games held on to the top three spots, over all the rest of the sports programs including all the Blue Jays games:

1. CFL, Alouettes at Lions, Saturday, TSN: 717,000
2. CFL, Ticats at Stampeders, Friday, TSN: 692,000
3. CFL, Argos at RedBlacks, Friday, TSN: 673,000

Zelkovich points out that "Yet despite this string of awful football, the viewers haven't turned off. The Edmonton-Winnipeg game on Thursday drew an average audience of 759,000 -- 56,000 more than last year's regular-season average of 703,000."

I've pointed out in the past that the fact that the CFL is Western provinces heavy in terms of viewers is a good thing. A viewer in Alberta on average makes far more money than an Ontario and has considerably more disposable income. That also goes for a viewer from Saskatchewan. That's probably why sometimes there's some bizarre Western restaurants advertised nationally.

There's a good article in the Winnipeg Sun about the current CFL ESPN deal:

"Last year the network aired six games on ESPN2 and another package of contests on ESPN3, its digital network. Cohon said the ESPN2 matches drew approximately 300,000 viewers south of the border, and the network was happy with the results. “The ESPN2 games did adequate in the spots we programmed them,” Gregg Morriss, ESPN’s manager of programming and acquisitions, told the Sun."

That means along with the CFL TSN average of 703,000 viewers, those games could have received around a million viewers (with the caveat that I don't remember exactly which games were on ESPN 2 and they could have been among the least viewed). That's not bad.

"Cohon is shooting for the stars. ESPN was part of a new broadcasting deal with Major League Soccer in May. Three networks, including ESPN, are reportedly paying a combined $90 million per season for the MLS broadcasting rights."

That's interesting that with considerably more teams and games the MLS rights in the US aren't that much more than the Canadian CFL rights (around $40 million).

"The current deal with ESPN is only just the beginning, as Cohon said it is netting the league only six figures. The fact every game can be seen on one network is likely the best news for the CFL, which ESPN aired often during its early days."

 So that could be at most just under a million. I hope that's per year. Too bad that ESPN had to move the Hamilton home opener from the main network. I would have been curious to see the ratings.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Alouettes Troy Smith Honks in BC

I didn't see the game in Vancouver last night and didn't even know anything about it until I saw this tweet from @fenderguy69: Was Troy Smith's outing last night the worst "good conditions" QB performance ever? 29% CompAvg. 2.6 Yards/Attempt. 13.1 QB Rating. I went and looked up the stats in BC's 41 to 5 victory over Montreal, and sure enough Smith had five completions off 17 attempts (that 29% completion average) for 43 yards. And an interception. And he ran once for a yard. Wow. I think it is time for Montreal to shutdown the Smith NFL retread experiment. No catches for Chad Johnson, but one for eight yards for Dave Stala.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Follow Tigercatatonia On Twitter

Tigercatatonia has been on Twitter for a while, but the handle hasn't been used much. I'm working towards automating it so that new posts will automatically show up on the Twitter feed. So go ahead and follow!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hamilton at Calgary Half-Time

The Cats are down by three, which isn't bad considering. Masoli was six for thirteen for 83 yards and a pick. The pick hurt as it was in the end zone  and the Cats would have had a chance for three points.

Gable has had seven rushes for four yards. That's not a good sign for an offensive line that's starting three Americans. Fantuz has no catches.

The defence has been surprisingly good. Mitchell had only 11 completions out of 20 passes for 102 yards. The Cats did look bad on the Sinopoli TD.

Hamilton at Calgary Depth Chart Analysis

The Cats try to get off the schneid. Against Calgary. On the road. Ugh.

On to the offensive line. Alford and Lewis are the import tackles. And bizarrely import Simmons is a guard too. Three Americans on the line. I remember back when Marcus Kavka, an American played guard. As I recall that was a bad loss. Rice is the Canadian guard and O'Neill is the centre. The Cats are really missing Dyakowski. Non-import Wojt is on the one game injury list, as is import offensive linemen Dile and Figueroa.

The two wide receivers are the import Ellingson and Giguere. The three starting slots in five receiver sets are Grant and Tasker, both imports and the returning from injury Fantuz. Koch is on the one game injury list. Gable starts are running back with the non-import Prime as fullback when the Cats actually use one. With Prime not in, that's four starting Canadians out of seven required on offense, which isn't normal in the CFL. Masoli starts at quarterback, with LeFevour and McGee (who?) backing up.

On defence, Norwood and Boudreaux are the starting defensive ends. In the middle are the non-imports Bulcke and Laurent. Starting two Canadians in the middle is also a little weird, but not as weird as three Americans on the offensive line.

The linebackers are all imports this week, with Lawrence, Reed and Harris.

Corners are Breaux and non-import Stephen continuing the Cats experiments with non-import corners. Half-backs are Stewart and Davis. Non-import and former Rider Butler starts at safety. So that's four Canadian starters on defence, which is a little weird too. That's eight total starting Canadians, one more than required. I guess the Cats could have started four Americans on the offensive line.

For comparison purposes, Calgary starts four Canadians on the offensive line, no Canadian receivers and a Canadian fullback. Also non-import Walter starts at running back in place of Jon Cornish, which strikes me as a little odd, but Calgary is undefeated so what do I know. On defence they only start one Canadian, Corey Mace at defensive tackle.

At least the Cats don't have Cornish to deal with this week. However they have a cobbled together offensive line and Masoli starting. Unsurprisingly Calgary is nine point favourites.

Apparently the game is on ESPN2 tonight. Hopefully the Cats don't honk it up too much. Also in case you hadn't heard, the Cats have lost nine in a row in Cowtown.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 4

Edmonton at Winnipeg
One wouldn't have expected these teams to both be undefeated at this point in the year. Probabilistically in such a situation one should go with a home team, considering their large advantage in the CFL. However I like Mike Reilly against Drew Willy in this situation. He just has a lot more games started than Willy.
Edmonton 35 Winnipeg 33

Toronto at Ottawa
A historic game. The REDBLACKS home opener. Normally I would take the Argos in such a game, but the Argos have a lot of receiver injuries, including Durie (who is on the six game list) which especially hurts considering he is good and Canadian. Maybe it ends up a special night and Ottawa wins in their second return to the CFL.
REDBLACKS 26 Argos 21  

Hamilton at Calgary
As a Hamilton fan, I certainly want the Cats to win, but the Stamps on the road just isn't going to happen. Unfortunately I don't think that Masoli keeps it close either. Also the Cats have lost nine in a row in Calgary. Not a great stat.
Stampeders 32 Ticats 18

Montreal at BC
Battle of mediocre 1 and 2 teams. I'll take an improving Kevin Glenn at home with the time zone difference against Troy Smith.
Lions 29 Alouttes 24

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 3

1. Calgary Stampeders
Easily beat Toronto and still looking like the class of the CFL. No thanks to Drew Tate.

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Although it was close against Montreal, you can't argue with undefeated. Drew "Slick" Willy is doing better than I would have thought.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Also undefeated. Looks like Mike Reilly has a team around him this year.

4. Toronto Argonauts
The best of the 1 and 2 teams. This is quite arbitrary, although their last loss was against the Stamps, so that's somewhat understandable.

5. Montreal Alouettes
It was tight against the Eskimos. And they have a good defence. That's enough to be fifth.

6. BC Lions
They beat the Riders and maybe after three games Kevin Glenn is getting comfortable with the BC offense.

7. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
After dismantling the Ticats at home, it has been all downhill for the Green Riders. Thinks can't be pleasant in Regina.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Zach Collaros is injured and the Cats are going with Masoli. Maybe coming off a bye week will help them out.

9. Ottawa Redblacks
No wins and still an expansion team. I'm continuing my policy of putting them last until they win a game.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ticats Announce that Jeremiah Masoli to Start as Quarterback in Calgary

Just saw on Twitter that the @ticats have announced that Jeremiah Masoli will start at quarterback this week in Calgary for the injured Zach Collaros. So Dan LeFevour is now behind the biblically named Masoli on the depth chart, although given Kent Austin's predilections for multiple quarterbacks and the possibility of Masoli sucking in Cowtown, I'm sure we'll see LeFevour at some point.

Statistically I'm not sure that starting Masoli makes sense. In the second game (in the first game, neither threw a pass), Masoli was 5 for 15 for 118 yards with a TD and a pick. LeFevour was 8 for 11 for 70 yards with a pick. However Masoli fumbled three times versus only once for LeFevour. Masoli did rush twice for 32 yards though versus six rushes for LeFevour for 27 yards.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 2

So the Argos don't totally suck. Who knew?

1. Calgary Stampeders
Still undefeated! Sometimes not playing can do wonders for your power rankings. Still a good team in a sea of mediocrity.

2. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
So they were roughed up in Dead Ted's Dome (TM). I'll chose to believe it is an aberration. Although more sucking will prompt a big drop.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
That's right, two wins in a row! Maybe not against marquee teams (in 2014, the Cats and Lions are apparently no longer marquee teams) but who is to argue with success. Not me. Until they lose against a good team.

4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Also two wins in a row, including beating the expansion Rot und Schwarz at home by a touchdown and rouge. Willy is looking relatively slick. I smell cross-over playoff spot.

5. Toronto Argonauts
Turns out Ricky Ray and Chad Owens can still play and the Argos can make interceptions. As much as I dislike the double blue, they'll probably be mediocre this year rather than down right smelly.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Managed to beat BC at home with some relatively feeble stats from quarterback Troy Smith. The Alouettes seem to have a decent defence, which is a plus.

7. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Sure they've lost two in a row on the road and their stadium won't be finished. At least in the last game, they only lost by four points and were up going into the fourth quarter before blowing it. Also Collaros is concussed so at least they have both LeFevour and Masoli. Hopefully one won't suck. Plus they've got a bye week.

8. BC Lions
What's up with the Lions? Sure they don't have Lulay right now, but Kevin Glenn is the defacto CFL injury backup at quarterback, no? Seems odd and I don't have a lot of confidence in them.

9. Ottawa redblacks
Well they did OK in their first game. I'm waiting for them to win a game though before moving them from the basement.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's Finally Official. Tim Horton's Field Won't Be Ready for the First Two Ticats Games

It has finally been confirmed what has been obvious to anyone who bothered to go down to the new stadium and observe, Tim Horton's Field won't be ready for the first two Ticat home games which will be played at McMaster. Labour Day seems to be the day drawn in the sand.

In some ways this is a bit of a story of bad journalism from local media (I'm looking at you, the Spectator, CHML, CHCH, and CBC Hamilton). It was obvious it wasn't going to be ready, but no one was willing to point out the obvious and say the emperor had no clothes. Or seats installed.

Why? Well the Ticats are a big advertiser and content source so I can understand from that perspective. I assume the Cats knew what was happening at a far earlier point and I also assume they thought that an earlier announcement would be bad for ticket sales. As it was, there was enough uncertainty that I'm sure a lot of people were leery of buying single game tickets in the summer. Still it is a big story and the local media dropped the ball. Score one for local bloggers and forum commenters and citizenry.

I suppose part of the muted reaction was that everyone knew the obvious so that when it was finally announced it wasn't a really big deal. Certainly as a season ticket holder I assumed it was coming.

I've beaten the dead horse enough and been vindicated so I'll move on. One last point about hosting at Mac. When last year as a reason not to host at Mac, the think of the children defence was employed as supposedly no one wanted to block traffic to the McMaster Children's Hospital. I suppose the fact that the stadium is limited in capacity for these games makes a difference, but to me it is a minor one. Still a lame argument nonetheless.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 2

Ottawa at Winnipeg
The Rot und Schwarz are a good story so far, as they have played no games. They do have a veteran quarterback in Henry Burris plus some decent parts. Ottawa should be better this first season than their last first season. Still though Drew "Slick" Willy didn't look bad last week leading the Bombers to a convincing home win. The Bombers are at home again, so I won't go against the massive home playoff advantage that CFL teams statistically enjoy.
Bombers 29, RotSchwarzen 16

BC at Montreal
I don't have a lot of faith in former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith successfully taking over Anthony Calvillo's shoes. Kevin Glenn didn't look great last week, but I have more confidence that he'll start getting things together. The game is in Montreal, but I see the Alouettes as a team in disarray. As a bit of an aside, Travis Lulay has been put on the six game disabled list by the Lions. That makes me wonder if he'll end up being done for the season.
Lions 26, Alouettes 21

Hamilton at Edmonton
This one is a bit of a conundrum. Hamilton was embarrassed last week by the Riders in some ridiculous weather, giving up an atrocious ten sacks. Edmonton managed to beat BC on the road. Last year at home, Edmonton managed to beat Hamilton at home. Edmonton isn't quite Saskatchewan yet and Collaros shouldn't be so rushed. Still the Eskimos are at home. I'll go with home field advantage.
Esks 23, Good Guys 21

Saskatchewan at Toronto
After both games last week, even if Toronto is at home, I think the Riders are a fairly safe pick. The Argos have to show something this season before I'll pick them over the depending Grey Cup champs. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New ESPN CFL Deal for 2014

I'm excited to see that the CFL has managed to sign a deal with ESPN for 2014. There's a minimum of 17 regular season games spread across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN News with the Grey Cup on ESPN 2. Maybe the CFL will even come up on the Pardon the Interruption ticker.

Last year year a couple of CFL games got decent ratings on ESPN2. I'll be curious to see what a game on the ESPN main network would do. 

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 1

As there is every year, there's some tumult after week 1.

1. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
There were some doubts heading into the season that off-season losses would hurt the Riders. Apparently not. Darian Durant easily dispatched the Tiger-Cats in inclement weather, dealing out ten sacks to boot, three from non-import Ricky Foley. Durant is an experienced good CFL quarterback. That counts for a lot.

2. Calgary Stampeders
The Stamps started Bo Levi Mitchell instead of Drew Tate and that paid off handsomely with a dismantling of the Montreal Alouettes. Cornish getting roughed up isn't good, but Calgary is again a good team.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Seems strange, but Mike Reilly and the Esks beat the Lions on the road to open the season. Reilly ran for his life last year, but picked up valuable experience. Edmonton probably won't be a great team this year, but they won't lose every close game like they seemed to last year.

4. BC Lions
Losing at home to the Eskimos isn't a great way to start the season and I expected a little more from Kevin Glenn. It was Glenn's first game ever with the Lions (regular season) however and Glenn has always been a quarterback who is better when comfortable with a few reliable targets. Lulay could potentially be back this week which would be a plus.

5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Are the Bombers and Drew 'Slick' Willy for real? I'm not sure. Are they better than last year? Yes. Willy at least appears good enough for the Bombers to rally around rather than churning through quarterbacks like they did last year. I'm a little skeptical at Aaron Kelly being a team's star receiver, but who can argue with success.

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Not impressive at all although the crazy weather did the Cats no favours. Perhaps what is most scary is that the Cats allowed ten sacks while starting two Americans on the offensive line. The Ticats certainly still have talent, but if they can't get their line together to protect  Collaros, it is going to be a long season.

7. Toronto Argonauts
Ricky Ray losing to the Bombers and being outplayed by Drew Willy isn't exactly a great portent for the Argos season. Ray is still a good CFL quarterback and I still like Scott Milanovich as coach.

8. Montreal Alouettes
Looks like the Troy Smith quarterbacking experiment might not be working out. That's not good for Montreal. Welcome to life post Anthony Calvillo.

9. Ottawa Red Blacks
They're still an expansion team and until they play a game, I'm not believing.