Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When Will the 2016 Grey Cup Location Be Announced?

I've predicted that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will get to host the 2016 Grey Cup on this blog. The game hasn't been here since 1996 and before that 1972.

When will we find out the location of the 2016 game? The location for next year's game in Winnipeg, was announced earlier this year on March 24th. So expect only a few more months for the 2016 announcement. Ottawa might also be a possibility, but I'm thinking that 2017 might be a better possibility for them.

Although a question is would the league have back to back games in Ontario? With two new stadiums and the fact that Ottawa and Hamilton aren't super close, I don't think that's a big deal.

When Does the 2015 CFL Schedule Come Out?

Sure it still is 2014, but that isn't to early to start wondering when the 2015 schedule comes out. Last year the schedule came out somewhat early, coming out on February 12th. That seems strange considering both Hamilton and Ottawa had stadiums that would not be ready initially (and in Hamilton's case we all know it wasn't ready until Labour Day) and that meant planning the schedule  should have been more difficult than normal.

This year with Tim Horton's Field and TD Place done, scheduling should become significantly easier. Hamilton can have a game whenever they want now and Ottawa I suppose has to work with their soccer team, although I'm guessing the REDBLACKS have priority. Montreal has some limitations in that games at Percival Molson Stadium have to be on Sundays when McGill is in session, but they can have a game pretty much every week if they want.

The main problem for CFL scheduling is the Toronto Argonauts at the Rogers Centre and having to work around the Blue Jays and whatever other road blocks Rogers puts in the team's way. The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays schedule has been out for a while now. The Jays are away from July 3rd to the 12th, so having the home opener then looks plausible. The Jays are also away for the Friday after Labour Day, so the Ticats and Argos could potentially have a home and home. The last Jays regular season home game is on Sunday September 27th.

Strangely the schedule was released really late in 2013, only coming out around March 5th. In 2012 it was on February 18th. It was also February 18th in 2011.

So a good prediction might be February 12th this year, or maybe a couple of days earlier since the stadiums are all ready.

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 CFL Top Five Non-Import Tacklers

Traditionally CFL teams don't start many Canadians on defence. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were a bit of an anomaly this year, regularly starting three and occasionally four in 2014. If you don't start, you can't be amongst the top tacklers in the CFL.

So I decided to look at the top five non-import tacklers to try and figure out who the most valuable non-import defenders are in the CFL. Tackles aren't necessarily the best way to evaluate a player, but there is some valuable information there.

The player with the most tackles in the CFL in 2014 was BC's Solomon Elimimian with a massive 143 tackles, considerably more than Bear Woods of the Alouettes who was second with 89. That's obviously unusual.

The non-import with the most tackles in 2014 was the Argos' linebacker Shea Emry with 72 tackles (and a sack). That's good for 11th overall. Emry had 87 tackles in 2012 with the Alouettes.

Second was defensive back Antoine Pruneau from the REDBLACKS with 69 tackles, good enough for 13th overall. Pruneau was a rookie out of UQAM that I honestly didn't know much about, probably because I never paid much attention to Ottawa this season apart from how Burris was doing.

Third was former Ticat Matt Bucknor, who now plays for Winnipeg, a defensive back with 62 tackles, good enough for 23th overall with several players.

Fourth was another Winnipeg Blue Bomber, safety Teague Sherman, with 55 tackles, good enough for 31st overall.

Fifth was defensive end Ricky Foley from the Saskatchewan Rough Riders with 54 tackles, tied for 32nd overall with several players. Foley also had 12 sacks, which was close to the league leaders and I think the most for a Canadian in 2014.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Green Bay Packers Tryout for Ticats Receiver Luke Tasker has a report about Ticats receiver Luke Tasker havinga workout for the Green Bay Packers. That's not all that surprising considering the two seasons Tasker has had, although his size isn't particularly well suited towards the NFL game.

Tasker may well not make a game day NFL roster, but he could easily get an invite to a training camp, which would mean he would miss the beginning of the CFL season.  One would have to think the Tiger-Cats are in the driver's seat to resign the free agent among the CFL teams considering Tasker is from Buffalo.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ticats Resign Defensive End Eric Norwood

Good news for Ticats fans, as the team has resigned defensive end Eric Norwood through 2016. Norwood led the team with 13 sacks, which is impressive considering he didn't play all 18 games.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Photo of Percival Molson Stadium in Winter

Spent some time in Alouette land last week and wandered by Percival Molson Stadium at McGill on my way to Schwartz's for some smoke meat. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Did Pigskin Pete Ever Get on the Field For the 102nd Grey Cup?

Before the Grey Cup, Dan Black, the fourth of the Pigskin Petes, tweeted that he wouldn't be allowed at field level for the Grey Cup. Whatever happened with that? I didn't really notice him watching the game on television, but then again TSN has never seemed to have a lot of love for Pete over the years.

CFL Team Twitter Follower Numbers, December 2014

Which CFL team has the most Twitter followers? Which has the least? Unsurprisingly the Riders have the most (as of today):

Saskatchewan Roughriders 101,000
BC Lions 64,900
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 63,300
Montreal Alouettes 60,300
Toronto Argonauts 57,300
Calgary Stampeders 53,500
Edmonton Eskimos 48,300
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 47,600
Ottawa REDBLACKS 27,600

So the Ticats are second last in the CFL, ahead of the obviously new REDBLACKS. But they aren't that far behind the other teams. However the Ticats follow the least people, while some teams are following whores by comparison, which may be boosting their own follower numbers:

Saskatchewan Roughriders 18,900
Toronto Argonauts 13,900
BC Lions 3509
Montreal Alouettes 1364
Calgary Stampeders 680
Ottawa REDBLACKS 679
Edmonton Eskimos 620
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 447
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 139

I'm not sure why the Ticats follow so few people on Twitter, but they do follow less than one hundredth of what the Argos do. Do the Ticats follow all their players? Or maybe when a player leaves the team, they unfollow them because they don't want them cluttering up their Twitter feed.

I'm a little surprised that Edmonton has so few followers, but perhaps as a community owned team they're not as focused on social media as a private company would be. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

ESPN Clip of Stampeder Punter Rob Maver Being Destroyed By Justin Hickman

ESPN has a clip up of Calgary punter being annihilated by Tiger-Cat defensive end Justin Hickman during the second half of the 2014 Grey Cup. Maver left the game after the block, where he ended up hitting another Stampeder. Pretty vicious.