Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bay Observer Article On Hamilton Tiger-Cat Finances

The Bay Observer of all places (which sometimes seems like a Bob Bratina
mouthpiece) recently had an excellent article about the business side
of the Hamilton Ticats complete with numbers. Since Tigercatatonia has always been interested
in the business of the Ticats besides the football, it is worth going over
some of the numbers mentioned in the article.

Probably most interested to me was the claim by Ticat CEO about merchandise

"For merchandize we’ve gone from being the last team in the league were now close to a million and a half dollars a year"

The most recent numbers I've heard for Ticat merchandise sales were a million
dollars per year, so if the Cats are close to $1.5 million that's impressive,
especially considering the stadium delays have no doubt impacted
merchandise sales this year substantially. A figure of $1.5 million is also
impressive compared to other teams in the league. Obviously that figure
what be dwarfed by the Riders' number, but one would have to think that the
Ticats would be among the lead leaders. I'm not sure they would be above
Winnipeg or likely second place Edmonton, but they're probably within
striking distance. With a full year of the new stadium, one wonders if
$2 million in merchandise is possible in 2015 (or 2016 when the Ticats are
likely to host a Grey Cup).

I would also be curious to see where $1.5 million in merchandise places
the Tiger-Cats relative to other pro teams in Canada: the NHL teams,
the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Raptors and especially the MLS teams
in Canada. Toronto FC when it started seemed to have excellent
nerchandise sales, but years of sucking and missing the playoffs seems
to have hurt their sales. Would the Ticats have bigger sales than
Toronto FC currently?

Mitchell also makes a statement in the article about corporate
sponsorships: "our corporate partnerships were the worst in the league and now we could be number two.”" Again the Riders are likely way out front, but
I seem to remember hearing that the Montreal Alouettes had great
corporate sponsorships, with the likes of CN as sponsors and Edmonton
and Calgary likely has extensive corporate sponsorship.

Another number Mitchell mentions in the article is the amount of money
an Eastern team requires in revenue to break even. I've heard $15
million bandied about for CFL operating expenses (with the salary
cap being around one third of that number), but in this article
Mitchell says it is $20 million.

Probably the most surprising item in the whole article is the news
that team would have turned a profit this year had it not
been for the stadium snafus, but will next year. That's certainly
good news for the Cats and impressive considering the revenue
needed to for that to happen.

One final number from the article:
"the fact that the tab that he has run up propping up the team is now at
$40 Million." So Tiger-Cats fans certainly have Bob Young to thank for the
team still being here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 14

Montreal at Ottawa
Will the REDBLACKS ever win again? If they are to win again this season, this game at home has to be one of the few possibilities. The REDBLACKS almost won against the Riders at home last week, but blew it in overtime. Montreal hasn't been a particularly good team all year, but are mildly improved with Crompton in at quarterback. The Alouettes defence is decent as it has been the last couple of years and the Larks still have some residual receiver talent. That said, Ottawa seems due and Henry Burris was good last week, with three passing TDs and a running TD (which may be more important). Close but finally Ottawa will double their win total.
REDBLACKS 27 Alouettes 25

Saskatchewan at Edmonton
Basically this comes down to Tino Sunseri versus Mike Reilly and it is in Edmonton (although no doubt there will be some vocal Rider fans in Commonwealth). I'll take Reilly and watch Riders fans be glum about losing Darian Durant for the season.

Hamilton at Winnipeg
Will Winnipeg have its Willy? That's what this game hinges on, whether the Bombers will have injured quarterback Drew Willy. Initial reports suggest Winnipeg will be Willyless for this game which makes a big difference. Hamilton and quarterback Zach Collaros have been playing well the past few games and the defence has looked tough too, basically stonewalling Mike Reilly last week at Ivor Wynne. Sure C.J Gable is injured for Hamilton, but Madu is a satisfactory replacement as long as he holds on to the ball. Look for Hamilton to get to five wins.
Tiger-Cats 34 Bombers 29

BC at Calgary
I haven't heard that Bo Levi Mitchell will be back, so Drew Tate and his stupid dark visor will be the quarterback for Calgary. No Lulay for BC, so Kevin Glenn continues to go for BC. I'm a little tempted to go with BC, but Calgary is at home and is the better team overall, even if Jon Cornish doesn't play this game. Calgary has just found ways to win all year.
Stampeders 41 Lions 37

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ticats Place C.J Gable on Six Game Injured List

Bad news for the Cats, as they are reporting on their website that C.J. Gable has gone on the six game injured list. Gable injured his shoulder early in the last game against the Eskimos. The Cats have used Madu as their running back somewhat successfully during Gable's earlier absence, so the loss isn't devastating. Gable has always been intriguing in terms of his potential (and US college pedigree), but has never really shown true greatness.

Tigercatatonia has always said a credo is that US running back are a fungible commodity. Gable has never been quite great enough that he's much better than any other US running back in the league.

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 14

A week of upheaval as the West lost three games versus the East and won another in overtime against the lowly REDBLACKS. Remember also Tigercatatonia's philosophy on power rankings: it is what the teams would do this upcoming week (including injuries) not what they would do at the Grey Cup.

1. Calgary Stampeders
Losing to Montreal is somewhat ignoble for Calgary, however they don't have Bo Levi Mitchell so that hurts. Drew Tate is actually decent by CFL backup standards (as I long time Ticat fan, I can remember Billy "the Skid" Mitchell backing up Danny McManus), however Mitchell does seem superior. Calgary has a good overall team, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt this week.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
Lost to the Ticats and actually didn't look particularly good apart from capitalizing on mistakes from the Ticats. Still they've got Mike Reilly back and seemingly healthy and that's a lot in the West with quarterbacks dropping like flies.

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Crazy as it might seem, the Tiger-Cats are a decent team now. Collaros is pretty much the best quarterback playing right now (with Mitchell injured, Reilly being thoroughly outplayed last week and Ray not the Ray of a few years ago) and the Cats have deep receiving corps. The defence is also looking excellent, and although Bulcke is injured for the season on the defensive line, Justin Hickman is back to play defensive end.

4. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos manhandled the Lions on the road last week and almost beat Calgary the week before. Amongst CFL quarterbacks Ray is both decent and consistent. The Argos have also seemed to get past their receiver problems and their defence is OK. Scott Milanovich as head coach also means the offense should be good with the proper personnel.

5. BC Lions
Lulay is gone it seems for the year and the Lions will be going with Kevin Glenn. Who hasn't played particularly well since Lulay was reinjured, including a loss at home against the Argos. BC has also suffered some injuries that have hurt them besides Lulay. The Lions don't look to be competitive with the top Western teams.

6. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Sure the Riders were the only Western team to win last week, however it was in overtime versus the REDBLACKS. Durant is gone and the Riders have Sunseri as their man, who doesn't look particularly great. The Riders do have a good team besides their quarterback, so all isn't lost.

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
This assumes the Bomber are at the moment Willyless, which they appear to be at this juncture. The Bombers are pretty much the worst of the Western teams even with Willy healthy having a 500 record. Without their Willy, the Bombers aren't a good team even compared to some Western teams. Maybe the Bombers can overcome not having a Willy as their pivot, but I'm skeptical.

8. Montreal Alouettes
They beat Calgary, but I'm not totally convinced at Crompton's abilities as a quarterback. Sure he's better than who the Alouettes had earlier (Troy Smith?), but that's not saying a lot. Still the Alouettes have a decent defence and have a shot at second in the East and making the playoffs.

Almost won and doubled their win total. But in the end they didn't. What can you say about this team? They're terrible, that's what you can say. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brian Bulcke Being Out for the Season Really Hurts the Ticats

The news that Stanford grad Brian Bulcke is out for the season with a torn bicep muscle is terrible news for the Ticats. The non-import defensive lineman was part of a Ticat defense that had been unusually starting four Canadians (Laurent, Butler and Stephen) and part of a pair of starting Canadians in the interior of the defensive line, Ted Laurent being the other.

The only thing that ameliorates the situation somewhat is that the Cats recently signed their 2013 number one pick Lynden Gaydosh who happens to be a defensive tackle like Bulcke. With former Ticat defensive end Justin Hickman recently resigned by the Cats, the front four should be still fairly strong for the Cats and not cause too many ratio problems. Hopefully Gaydosh as a rookie can partially fill Bulcke's large shoes on the defensive line.

Will the Upper West Stands Be Ready for the October 4th Game Against the Lions? No.

I had been thinking about whether the Upper West stands (where my season tickets are) would be ready for the next home game against BC on October 4th. I was guessing no, as that seems to be the smart way to bet when it comes to the stadium. Sure enough I checked my email today and yesterday I received an email from the Ticats saying it wouldn't be ready (or at least not guaranteed) plus an offer for two more free tickets. So huzzah for free tickets and boo for not having the stadium done.

Will the stadium be complete for the end of the regular season? For a home playoff game? Who knows. I know which way I'm betting.

A Look At the Stats for the Eskimos at Ticats Game 2014

Here's some analysis of  the stats for the Eskimos at Tiger-Cats game on Sunday that ended up as a Ticat victory 25 to 23. The Cats came back from a 15-3 half-time deficit.

Collaros had a good day passing with a total of 318 yards from 25 passes on
35 attempts. That's a 71% pass completion percentage with a TD and a pick and continues his recent run of good games.

Collaros' play compared favourably with Mike Reilly who had 283 yards from 23 passes and
42 attempts for Edmonton. That's a mediocre 55% pass completion percentage which indicates either good pass defence from the Cats or Mike Reilly playing like Michael Bishop. Reilly had two TD passes compared to two picks.

Collaros spread it around to eight different receivers. The normally little used Brandon Banks had a great game with 111 yards with 6 passes and a TD. Fantuz had a typically Fantuzian day with 87 yards receiving from 5 passes. Tasker also had a good day with four catches for 53 yards. Collaros did fumble twice, losing one at the end of the first half that was taken in for a TD.

Non-import Nate Coehoorn had the best day receiving for the Eskimos with six passes for 87 yards.

The Cats had a pretty good day against the run. Thomas only ran four times for 36 yards. The Eskimos only ran nine times for 48 yards. That's an average of 5.3 yards per carry.

The Cats only rushed for slightly more yards, which wasn't surprising considering C.J. Gable was injured really early. The Cats had 56 yards rushing total on 15 carries for an average of only 4.3 yards per carry. Collaros had the most yards rushing for hte Cats with 8 rushes for 35 yards and at TD. The non-import Prime had 17 yards on five carries taking over rushing duties for Gable. Considering Gable being injured so early and the Cats not dressing another running back (i.e. no Madu) the Ticat offense did pretty well. In some ways it is surprising the Cats don't have a Canadian running back playing special teams who could fill in in case of a running back injury.

Eric Norwood, a defensive end for the Cats had a monster game with seven tackles and four sacks. That's now seven sacks for the year for him which I'm guessing leads the Cats. The Cats had five total sacks, improving on what had been a terrible year for sacks early. Combining Norwood with the returning Justin Hickman hopefully leads to a strong Ticat pass rush for the rest of the year.

The Eskimos also a big sack day with six with Willis having three. One could blame the line, however Collaros does like to hang onto the ball for the possibility of making a Doug Flutie backyard football type pass. Sometimes it works, sometimes there's a sack.

Medlock was three for three on field goals continuing his good season, while the Eskimos had none.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Masoli No Rushes Against the Riders

Previous to the game against the Riders I posted about Jeremiah Masoli's lack of success in short yardage situations as quarterback. In the Riders game, how many rushes did Masoli have? None.

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 13

Some changes in the power rankings this week. Also remember that Tigercatatonia's definition of power rankings is how you would do this coming week if your team was to play. Thus if your starting quarterback can't go. That's going to hurt.

1. Calgary Stampeders
So Bo Levi Mitchell is down but have no fear, Drew Tate is available. Plus they've got Jon Cornish, a good offensive line and a good defence (albeit with some injuries). Plus the West seems like there's a ton of quarterback injuries so being down to Tate isn't so bad.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
Mike Reilly is back at quarterback (I think). Plus the Smos ended up beating Montreal quite handily last week. That's good enough for second overall in a weak CFL.

3. BC Lions
No Travis Lulay whose shoulder seems doomed, but who cares the Lions have Kevin Glenn. If Glenn goes down, the Lions are in trouble, but Glenn has proved historically durable. Apart from that time where he had to miss the Grey Cup.

4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Home town bias? Maybe. However Collaros is looking excellent and has been by far the best quarterback in the CFL over the past three games. Plus the defence is looking good and Justin Hickman is back (but not this week) at defensive end.

5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Having no Drew Willy is problematic for the Bombers who are in a bit of skid. I'm not even sure who the second string quarterback is, but I'm sure he's not any good.

6. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders with Darian Durant were a good team. The Riders without Durant aren't a very good team as last week's debacle in Hamilton proved. I can't imagine the panic amongst the Regina faithful this week. Although they are playing the REDBLACKS which is fortuitous that's for sure.

7. Toronto Argonauts
They came close to beating the Stamps on the road but managed to blow it at the end. Seems like the story of the Argos season.

8. Montreal Alouettes
Didn't look awful against the Eskimos. That's something I guess.

Will they win another game? I'm not sure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Justin Hickman Back with the Cats?

The Scratching Post is reporting that former Ticat defensive end Justin Hickman has signed with the Cats after being released by the Colts.

Considering how few sacks the Cats have had this year (although they have picked it up lately including five last week against the Riders), signing Hickman is a good thing. Hickman had 13 sacks in 2011 for the Cats in his last season of CFL ball.

Hickman is now 29 which makes one wonder if he's past his prime. There have been numerous defensive ends that have had long careers (Elfrid Payton) so I don't think that's a particular concern for this season.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Masoli and the Short Yardage Unit

In last week's debacle against the Alouettes in Montreal a couple of plays stood out, namely Jeremiah Masoli's two attempted sneaks. Both required around a half yard each and in both not much was gained (2 rushes for Masoli for a yard). Now injured Dan LeFevour has been historically an excellent short yardage quarterback, but with him injured Masoli has stepped into the backup role to Collaros and also into the short yardage backup role.

Now Masoli isn't blameless for the poor sneaks as the line didn't give much when only a half yard was required. Considering there are three Americans playing on the line that seems somewhat strange.

As Ron Lancaster used to say, if you can't get a yard, you don't deserve to win. If you can't get a half yard that's even sadder. Hopefully the linemen and Masoli have worked on their sneaks all week. The Cats could need it.

Bo Levi Mitchell Injured?

Just watching the Stamps Argos game and Bo Levi Mitchell looks like he was hurt on a run by a hit by Shea Emry. Mitchell was down for a while and then tried to get up and went down again. The Stamps have Drew Tate in.

Saskatchewan Roughriders in Hamilton Lineup Preview

The Riders are coming in after back to back victories against the Blue Bombers and without starting quarterback Darian Durant who might be out for the season. The Cats lost in Montreal against the Alouettes last week.

The offensive line stays similar to previous game with the weird for the CFL formation of three American linemen. Olson and Figueroa are the import tackles and Simmons is the import guard. I'm a little surprised this far into the season the Cats haven't tried another Canadian at guard but apparently the team's depth is so bad they can only muster up two Canadian starters for the line. I guess they're waiting for Dyakowski. Filer is the centre and O'Neill the non-import guard.

Tasker and non-import Giguere are are the wide receivers. Grant and Fantuz are the import slotbacks and Fantuz is the other. Madu is again the running back and non-import Prime is the fullback. Collaros starts with Masoli and McGee the backups at quarterback.

Medlock kicks and punts as usual. What is different is Sinkfield in as kick and punt returner after mediocre efforts from Koch and Tasker against Montreal last week. No Koch at all this week as he is on the one game injured list (which doesn't mean a lot).

With five or six receivers there probably is four Canadian starters. With a fullback and four receivers I'm not sure as it could be five with the two linemen, Prime, Fantuz and Giguere.

On defence, Scott and Norwood are the import defensive ends. Scott hasn't played much this year as he only has three tackles this year but was listed as the starter last week. Last year he had 16 and a sack. Coleman started last week but was injured during the game is now on the six game list. Norwood has had 13 tackles in 2014 and two sacks.

As has been the case pretty much all this season, Bulcke and Laurent are the two non-import defensive tackle starters. New this week is 2013 first overall pick Linden Gaydosh in as a backup defensive tackle. That's a lot of Canadian depth at defensive tackle.

The linebackers are Lawrence, Reed and Harris. Big hitting Bowman is listed as a backup.

Again Breaux and non-import Stephen are the corners. Stewart is one halfback and Rico Murray is other moving from linebacker. tacking over from Davis. Non-import Butler is the safety.

That's four Canadian starters on defence this week, which as I have noted most weeks is a lot for a CFL team.

Globe and Mail Article on Tim Horton's Stadium Construction

The Globe and Mail has a good article on what caused delays with the new Tim Horton's Field. I found this interesting:

"However, under its lease with the Ticats, the city is also responsible for paying the team $3-million in compensation for the three missed home games."

What about the losses for playing in a stadium for three (hopefully) games in only a partially finished stadium? Certainly for the Labour Day game if the stadium had been done on time the Cats would have sold out.

There's going to be a lot of fallout from the stadium situation (i.e. lawsuits). Who knows what will happen, but we'll be hearing about the stadium for years to come.

Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 12

Montreal at Edmonton
Edmonton has lost back to back games against Calgary, but the Alouettes aren't the Stamps. The Alouettes did manage to win at home last week with Crompton as their starting quarterback, but looked absolutely dreadful in the first half. Even if Reilly doesn't start for Edmonton, I would take Nicholls over Crompton especially at home.
Eskimos 41 Alouettes 25

Toronto at Calgary
One team only has one loss, is at home and the other team has no receivers (although I thought I heard something about Durie being back). So not really a hard call (East versus West this generally isn't a hard call in general).

Winnipeg at BC
So no more Lulay. Not that BC was any better with him last week compared to Glenn. This game is on the road for the Bombers who have lost two straight, albeit to the Riders. I'm going to go against the grain and pick the Bombers.
Bombers 29 Lions 21

Saskatchewan at Hamilton
Besides the quarterback position this week, the Riders have more talent than the Ticats (although for a two win team at this stage of the year, the Ticats' talent isn't that bad). However with no Durant, the Riders have to start some guy Tino Sunseri at pivot. The Riders now have Dressler back which would help, but not much with an inexperienced quarterback. The Cats start Collaros who has looked mostly good since returning for a concussion. The Riders have a great pass rush, but Collaros has looked relatively adept at picking up blitzes compared to most CFL quarterbacks who mostly just shit the bed whenever a blitz comes. The Cats are at home, but the difference in quarterbacks will be the game.
Tiger-Cats 24 Riders 22

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Picture of Pigskin Pete (Paul Weiler) Taken October 31, 2009

Third Pigskin Pete Paul Weiler Passes Away Yesterday

Tigercatatonia was sad to hear the news of the third Pigskin Pete, Paul Weiler passing away yesterday. Tigercatatonia was always a fan and also amazed at how long Paul held the position.

I once asked on an internet forum if any other team had someone like Pigskin. The answers seem to be no, just the typical mascots like Stripes (and that creepy spherical one the Cats have). Since the role dated from the 1920s Pigskin Pete was like a throwback to another time, although a throwback that survived because it was a good idea and associated with a good person.

Pigskin Pete is also a uniquely Hamilton story and icon. In an internet age where everything global seems local, someone like Pete is one of those hyperlocal things that still matter. We'll miss you Pete

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 11

I worked on this yesterday before the Darian Durant being out for the season broke and I subsequently updated it with that information.

1. Calgary Stampeders
Beat the Eskimos back to back and this time on the road. Their regular season record would suggest they are one of the CFL's best ever teams. I certainly don't disagree that they are right now the best team in the league, but they don't really seem to be an all time team (mainly because they don't seem to have a lot of blowouts).

2. Edmonton Eskimos
Last week's score was closer than how the Eskimos played. Not having Mike Reilly at quarterback definitely hurts, although Nicholls seems to be quite good by the standards of backups in the CFL. Is Reilly guaranteed back this week? Who knows. He could be back though, unlike Darian Durant.

2. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Also won back to back against the same team and also this time on the road. The Riders looked mediocre at the beginning of the season, but have seemed to regain their form from winning the Grey Cup last year. Dressler is now back and their defensive front four is quite ferocious.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Close, but still a loss at home in the Banjo Bowl. Drew Willy is playing better than I thought he would have at the beginning of the season, although not fantastic. This will probably continue (unless he too gets injured). Considering the way quarterbacks are dropping like flies, Willy is pretty good.

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Like Calgary also won back to back against the same team and also this time on the road. The Riders looked mediocre at the beginning of the season, but have seemed to regain their form from winning the Grey Cup last year. Dressler is now back and their defensive front four is quite ferocious. But today word came that Durant is probably gone for the season and some guy named Tino or something is the backup. That's not good. The Riders are talented enough at running back, offensive line and on defence to not totally fall off the wagon, but there definitely will be problems with no Durant.

5. BC Lions
How long is Lulay gone for now? Is this addition by subtraction considering Lulay didn't look particularly good against the expansion REDBLACKS? At least they have Glenn as backup. If they didn't this season would be quite different.

6. Toronto Argonauts
Didn't play so they didn't lose. They didn't look great the previous week against Hamilton, but they did lose on the road by only a point which is actually pretty good this low on the power rankings. I'm assuming a week's rest really helps the Argos. Not as much as actually getting into BMO field, but somewhat.

7. Montreal Alouettes
The Als won, despite looking dreadful in the first half against the Ticats. One thing the Alouettes did have was good special teams throughout the game. Crompton looked improved in the second half as a quarterback and Duron Carter and Chad Johnson actually looked good as receivers. Montreal's defence also looked good in the second half.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
After the first half, the Ticats looked like they were going to go up in the power rankings. The offense until Collaros was kicking ass and the defence was looking good. Then they fell apart somehow in the second half to a not particularly great Montreal team. What can you say about this team? Their talent is good, but they can't seem to find a way to win. They also need to learn to step on other teams' throats.

Well they came come close to beating BC. They've got a reasonable defence. Unfortunately their offense can never seem to get it done. Maybe they can upgrade their imports with NFL cuts. 

Darian Durant Out For Season, Conveniently For Tiger-Cats

Sportsnet's Arash Madani just reported on his Twitter feed @arashmadani: "BREAKING: The announce QB Darian Durant suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow that will require surgery. Season likely over."

That's obviously not good for the Riders, but good for the Ticats who are playing Regina at home on Sunday. Apparently the Rider backup is some guy named Tino. The Cats have managed to screw up a lot of games they had a chance to win this year (like last week against Montreal). Let's hope they don't look this gift horse in the mouth and step on their throats.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ticats at Alouettes at Half-Time

The Tiger-Cats have looked excellent ahead 21 to 7 against Montreal, although the Als are lucky to only be behind by two TDs. Good that the Cats were able to come back after giving up an early TD on offense.

Madu has looked good catching the ball from the running back position (maybe even better than Gable) and Collaros has spread the ball around passing for 226 yards. The defence has looked great although I'm not sure how much that's a function of a bad Montreal offense with Crompton on his second CFL start as quarterback. It's hard to tell how good the Ticat defense is against East teams.

Rico Murray had a pick six and is having a great season at linebacker.

Former NFL star Chad Johnson caught a pass at least for the Larks. Johnson's been quite underwhelming this year. I think that whenever a team signs some crotchety former NFL star, you know that season isn't going to be good for that team.

The Ticats Letting Burris Go Was the Right Decision

I watched parts of the BC at Ottawa game on Friday (which apparently was the lowest scoring game since 1979). Burris didn't look particularly good although maybe that's partly due to his crappy receiving corps.

The Cats had to make a decision to sign Collaros and part ways with Burris. Considering how both Ottawa and Burris have done this year (still just one win) I think the Cats made the right decision. Even if they had one more kick at the can this year with Burris they would have had to figure out what to do next year. After last week seeing Collaros in action, the Cats should have good quarterbacking next year barring injury. 

Ticat Game Day Lineup, in Alouettes

Here's a look at who's starting for the Cats this week in Montreal for a game with playoff implications.

The offensive line stays with three Americans, Olson and Figueroa as the tackles and former tackle Simmons as a guard. O'Neill is the other guard along with Filer as the centre. Is Dyakowski coming back this season to take over for Simmons?

The receivers are Tasker an import and Giguere. Slots are Grant, Fantuz (obviously a Canadian) and Ellingson. Quarterback is Collaros with Masoli backing up. Hopefully Masoli has been working on his sneaks after last week's goal line debacle. Madu is back as running back with Gable out. Prime is the fullback.

Tasker leads the Cats in receiving with 308 yards, way down the list of the league leaders. Grant is next with 254 yards.

As usual Medlock punts and kicks (and is an import).

On defence, Scott and Coleman are the defensive ends. As usual non-imports Bulcke and Laurent are the defensive tackles. No Linden Gaydosh yet apparently in the lineup.

The linebackers are Lawrence, Reed and Murray. Bowman is a least listed as a backup.

The corners are Breaux and the non-import Stephen. The halfbacks are Stewart and Davis, with the non-import Butler in his usual spot as safety.

On offense the Cats look like they're starting four Canadians (five if Prime is in at fullback and Fantuz and Giguere stay in, although maybe only Fantuz stays in in that case).

On defence there's four so the Cats are basically over by one.

Friday, September 5, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week

BC at Ottawa
Uh Lions? Ottawa has disappointed me. I knew they would be bad, but not this bad.  They're at home, but it won't matter.
Lions 30 REDBLACKS 12

Calgary at Edmonton
Last I heard Edmonton's Reilly won't be good at quarterback. Nicholls the backup isn't bad, but not Reilly good. Plus Cornish is back for Calgary and looking good.
Stampeders 39 Eskimos 31

Hamilton at Montreal
Crompton looked decent for Montreal last week, but Collaros looked way better for Hamilton in his return. Hamilton's defence also looked dominant against Ricky Ray and Crompton is no Ricky Ray.
Ticats 28 Alouettes 26

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
I'm going to go with the Bombers at home. It was a close game between these two last week in Regina and I think the Bombers will be fired up.
Bombers 28 Riders 27

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ticats Upper West Stands Won't Be Ready for Next Two Home Games

Just heard that the unfinished upper West stands at Tim Horton's Field won't be ready for the next home game against Saskatchewan or the one the next week.

Edmonton Sun Article on Signature Jersey Sales

Tigercatatonia loves to cover the business aspect of the CFL, especially merchandise sales.

The Edmonton Sun has a decent article about the new signature jerseys driving merchandise sales Unsurprisingly, it will probably be mostly in Saskatchewan.

Last year the Riders did a record $13 million in business.

“That’s just from the four stores we operate — $13 million,” said Mark Habicht, the director of retail operations.

For the last decade they’ve had 50%-70% of the league merchandise sales.
“We’ve pushed as high as 70% but usually we’re in the 50% to 60% range,” he said.

Edmonton sells a lot less merch than the Riders:

The Eskimos are a long way back of Saskatchewan’s $13 million in merchandise last year.

“We came in just under a million,” said Rhodes.

The Eskimos ordered significantly less stock than Saskatchewan — only 800 jerseys in all. The team has averaged about 4,000 jersey sales a year recently.

Interestingly the Ticats have reported a million dollars in merchandise sales in previous years so Hamilton must be close to Edmonton. Of course the Ticats under Bob Young have been pretty good at offering a good selection of merchandise.

What's a little sad is that the stadium problems have no doubt really hurt merchandise sales for the Ticats. If everything went as planned this year (and the team was better) the Cats would have had an awesome year for merchandise sales.

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 10

1. Calgary Stampeders
Can't argue with 8 and 1 and defeating their hated provincial rival with a good record. Cornish is back too and effective.

2. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Beat Winnipeg at home, have Dressler back and as far as I know Durant doesn't have any health issues.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Still have an 8 and 2 record, but quarterback Mike Reilly's health seems shaky of late. Don't mind the backup, but Reilly has had a good year.

4. BC Lions
Left out of the Labour Day weekend games. Lions are looking like a decent team this year even without Lulay and a week's rest never hurts.

5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Only lost by five points to their prairie rivals in Regina. The Bombers are still better than any Eastern team.

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Managed to play in their new, uncompleted stadium and doubled their win total against the Argos. Collaros was back and looked fabulous. Defence was good too, even getting an uncharacteristic five sacks.

7. Toronto Argonauts
Ricky Ray didn't look very good (and certainly won't be East nominee for most outstanding player like last year (which was pretty dubious itself)) and the Argos mostly stunk. However they did only lose by a single point on the road. So there's that.

8. Montreal Alouettes
Managed to beat Ottawa, proving they're the best of the two worst teams. With a new starting quarterback in Crompton no less.

I thought Ottawa would have more than one win at this time. Maybe the team can retool with the NFL's final cuts.

Non-Import Linden Gaydosh Defensive Tackle Signs with Ticats

Just saw that the's Justin Dunk @jdunk12 that the Cats first overall pick in the 2013 draft Linden Gaydosh just signed with the Ticats. Gaydosh is a defensive tackle and spent time with the Carolina Panthers (mostly injured).

The Cats already (quite unusually in the CFL) play two Canadian in the defensive tackle position with Brian Bulcke and Ted Laurent. So obviously the Cats can spell them off, but it is a bit of a logjam, but probably won't matter much this year. It does give good depth if either of Bulcke or Laurent get injured though.