Monday, November 30, 2015

Should the Ticats Try and Keep Matthews and Masoli for 2016?

With the Grey Cup done, it is time to start thinking about the Ticats 2016 season. With quarterback Zach Collaros recovering from ACL surgery, and recent comments from him indicating he may not be ready for the start of the 2016, the Ticats backup quarterback situation becomes more important.

With backup Jeff Matthews injured with a concussion in the penultimate game of the regular season for the Ticats at home against Ottawa, Jeremiah Masoli ended up playing the end of the regular season game against Ottawa, the playoff win versus Toronto and the playoff loss versus Ottawa. Masoli is a free agent in 2016. In all three games, Masoli passed for 638 yards, with 53 completions on 81 attempts for a 65.4% completion percentage, with four TD passes versus two interceptions. Masoli rushed for 129 yards on 28 attempts, for a 4.6 yards per carry average.

Matthews in 2015 passed for 1296 yards, with 98 completions from 142 attempts, with 6 TDs and 6 interceptions and a 69% completion percentage. He rushed 33 times for 94 yards for a 2.8 yard average, although a lot of those were short conversions.

Certainly Masoli wouldn't have got much consideration to keep around before the Ottawa playoff game, as his previous two games were mediocre at best. With a bit more luck Masoli could have won the Ottawa playoff game if Nadon had managed to hold on to the ball for an interception late or Greg Ellingson not made his spectacular catch.

Masoli being a free agent though means other teams could want him and Masoli himself might prefer to go to a team where he might have a shot at being the starter, as once Collaros is back, barring injury, the starting job is his. The Cats may well just decide to go with Matthews as the backup and likely season starter until Collaros comes back. If say Collaros is out for the first six games, who gives a better chance of winning, Masoli or Matthews? At this stage I'm more inclined to say Masoli, as Matthews likes to stay too much in the pocket for the wide CFL field and his running ability is weak.

Friday, November 6, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 20

Last week of the regular season. Three meaningless games.

Winnipeg at Toronto
Last regular season Argos game at the dome. I suppose somewhere along the line it could be used for a Grey Cup again, but don't bet on it. Won't really be sad to see it go. I predict that Toronto manages to pull it out.
Argonauts 31 Blue Bombers 27

Hamilton at Ottawa
The one meaningful game. Hamilton is down to their third string quarterback. Hamilton could win, but that's not the way to bet.
REDBLACKS 23 Tiger-Cats 12

Calgary at BC
Meaningless game although it is a preview of the West semi-final. Messam and Harris will compete for the rushing title. Take BC because it is at home.
Lions 29 Stampeders 28

Saskatchewan at Montreal
A sad game, two teams not in the playoffs. Maybe the Riders have enough pride to get to three wins.
Roughriders 35 Alouettes 26

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 20

1. Edmonton Eskimos
You can't really argue with tops in the division. Plus a strong victory over Montreal.

2. Calgary Stampeders
Wiped a weak Saskatchewan team and they now have Jerome Messam as well. Top two teams are quite close.

Are the REDLBLACKS better than the Ticats led by Jeff Matthews? After last week's away game it would seem so, even though they didn't score any TDs.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Toronto hasn't looked great of late although they were close to beating a motivated BC team. The Argos are deep at quarterback now.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Now Jeff Mathews is injured. And he didn't look that great against Ottawa. Still a really good defence though. Offensive line injuries are also a problem.

6. BC Lions
Getting somewhat hot late in the season with a rookie QB.

7. Montreal Alouettes
So the Als end up missing the playoffs. It was a good run.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
After a bye week I suppose they are healthier. Still no Drew Willy.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Lost big rather than by a small margin. There's always next year, but I'm not sure I trust Durant to not get injured.

Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions 19

Crunch time.

BC at Toronto
Ricky Ray starts at home instead of Trevor Harris, which may or may not be a good idea. The Argos looked poor last week against Montreal but at least they are in their real home this week, Dead Ted's Dome. BC looked good against Hamilton last week. They are fighting for a playoff spot so I think they are more motivated.
Lions 30 Argonauts 23

Saskatchewan at Calgary
I can't really see the Riders winning this one. Best team versus worst team.
Stampeders 37 Roughriders 20

Ottawa at Hamilton
This one is interesting. If the Cats can win, they pretty much lock down a home playoff spot. I think the home crowd at the Timbit should be enough.
Tiger-Cats 28 REDBLACKS 22

Montreal at Edmonton
This game is interesting. The Alouettes really need to win if they have any hope of making the playoffs. Against my better judgement, I'll pick desperation.
Alouettes 26 Eskimos 24

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 19

1. Calgary Stampeders
Didn't play, but that doesn't change them being the best team in the CFL. They have Messam now too, and if anything, not playing probably made them healthier.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
Beat Saskatchewan on the road. Admittedly that's not super impressive, but it still is a victory and quarterback Mike Reilly is rounding into form after his injury.

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Ticats didn't look very good in BC, but it was on short rest and the game started at 10 pm EST. The defence actually held its own, however the offense couldn't seem to get it going after an initial drive for a TD, which is somewhat worrying.

Beat Winnipeg and Matt Nichols on the road. Henry Burris is having one of the better years at quarterback than anyone other than Bo Levi Mitchell.

5. Toronto Argonauts
Got waxed at their pseudo-Hamilton home by Montreal, but they are going to start Ricky Ray next game so at least they are strong at quarterback.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Looked good beating the Argos and still have a shot at a cross-over playoff spot. GM and head coach Jim Popp must be happy.

7. BC Lions
The Lions won at home against an Eastern team and strengthened their chance of grabbing the last playoff spot in the West. New quarterback Jonathon Jennings is looking good.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Pretty much out of the race for the last remaining CFL playoff spot. There's a chance, but it is small.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Still losing games. At least they have two wins now.

Friday, October 23, 2015

2015 CFL Prediction Week 18

Montreal at Toronto
The Alouettes really need to win this game if they're going to make the playoffs. Kevin Glenn at least has had more practice. Toronto really needs to win this game if they want to win first in the CFL East. This is another pseudo-home game for Toronto in Hamilton. Harris is just better than Glenn at this point, even with a lot of practice.
Argonauts 30 Alouettes 22

Hamilton at BC
Rookie quarterbacks going against each other in BC. Hamilton has the better overall team, although winning a night game in Vancouver is always tough for Eastern teams. Still I think the Ticats take it.
Ticats 35 Lions 33

Ottawa at Winnipeg
Winnipeg really needs to win this game. Ottawa needs it if they want a home playoff game. Winnipeg is at home, although that hasn't seemed to help much this year. Ottawa's superior receivers win.
REDBLACKS 23 Blue Bombers 20

Edmonton at Saskatchewan
Only the Eskimos have something to play for. So there will be some unhappy Green Rider fans.
Eskimos 35 Roughriders 20

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 18

1. Calgary Stampeders
The Stamps beat the Argos last week a bona fide good team in a pseudo away game in Hamilton. Calgary keeps winning. Can't argue against them.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Ticats haven't collapsed with the injury to Zach Collaros. They have excellent special teams and defence, plus an above average set of receivers. Matthews has put up remarkable completion percentage numbers of late. That's hard to beat.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
The Eskimos have won a lot of games this year. They're a good team, although maybe not a great one.

4. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos have had some impressive wins and some losses. If they were at BMO field this year, they might have a better record, but being on the road seems to be their lot in 2015.

Eked one out over the Bombers in the Peg. The REDBLACKS have been impressive, but mostly against bad teams.

6. BC Lions
Quarterback Jonathon Jennings seems to be actually decent for a rookie pressed into service. Too bad they can't win too many games.

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers just seem snake bit this season. At least with Nichols as the quarterback they're not totally screwed.

8. Montreal Alouettes
I'm not sure getting Kevin Glenn this late in the season is going to help much, but we'll see.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
There's always next year for the Riders. Evaluation time.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Jeff Matthews Had an 84% Completion Percentage in the Cats' Montreal Victory

Probably the most impressive thing in Hamilton 23 to 11 victory over Montreal (in Montreal thus breaking the regular game losing streak) was that quarterback Jeff Matthews had an 84% completion percentage. That came on 21 passes on 25 attempts for 241 yards, with a TD and no interceptions. Mind you the yards per completion average was only 11.5 yards, but who really cares with a completion percentage that high. Matthews the past two weeks has basically been the best quarterback in the CFL, which is definitely heartening for Ticats fans after Collaros went down.

Matthew's former university receiver Luke Tasker had 107 yards on eight catches. Tasker is now at 858 yards and barring injury is pretty much a lock for over 1,000 yards this year. Sinkfield also had a good game with 90 yards on eight catches with a TD. Sinkfield now has 915 yards receiving and should also easily reach 1,000 yards receiving this year. Fantuz came back and had two catches.

One problem with the Cats this game was their lack of TDs, settling for field goals. Something the Cats are going to have to work on.

Curiously the Cats had no sacks, but three interceptions. I'll take the interceptions. Plus they kept S.J Green to only 23 yards receiving.

Linebacker Simoni Lawrence and running back Michael Ford had injuries and left the game. At least this year the Cats have a reasonable Canadian running back in Woodson to back up, who made a nice catch.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tiger-Cats Week 17 Depth Chart Versus Alouettes is Now Up, Fantuz and Norwood Are Back, No Bakari Grant

The Ticats have now listed their depth chart against the Alouettes for tomorrow's game. Noteworthy is that Canadian slotback Andy Fantuz is listed as a starter as is import defensive end Eric Norwood.

A bit of a difference on the offensive line from last week. Import Howard is in at the important left tackle position for Figueroa. Import Lewis is the right tackle. The Canadian interior is the 2015 usual, with Dyakowski and Bomben as the guards and Filer as the centre.

At wide receiver, both are imports, Underwood and Collins who wasn't in last week. No Bakari Grant. Slots are imports Sinkfield and Tasker plus Fantuz.

Running back is Ford, with non-import Prime as the fullback. Matthews is the quarterback with Harris backing up. That's four Canadian offensive starters.

Defensive ends are imports Hickman and the aforementioned Norwood, with import Hall and non-import Laurent in the middle.

Linebackers are the usual imports, Lawrence, Reed and Harris.

Corners are the import Carter and non-import Stephen. Half-backs are the non-imports Stewart and Davis, with the Canadian Butler as the safety.

That's three defensive Canadian starters.

Ticats Don't Have Their Alouette Depth Chart Up Yet

It's less than 24 hours until the Tiger-Cats play the Alouettes and there is still no depth chart up on the Ticat website. That's pretty annoying. I'm assuming that Andy Fantuz and Eric Norwood will be playing.

2015 CFL Predictions Week 17

Unfortunately due to lack of access to the internet I missed a couple of games this week. Here's the last three.

Calgary at Toronto
In Hamilton. Both teams should be motivated, trying to win first place overall in their respective divisions. The Argos have proved to play well with Trevor Harris as their quarterback all year long, despite their issues with playing in the Roger Centre. The Stamps have added Canadian back Jerome Messam second overall to their running attack, which should help, although I'm not sure there's enough carries for both Messam and Jon Cornish. I'll pick Toronto in Hamilton, which is bizarre, but the CFL is kind of weird.
Argonauts 33 Stampeders 29

BC at Edmonton
BC would seem to have a lock on the third and final playoff spot. However Edmonton is a lot better team and this is at home and the Eskimos are still fighting for first.
Eskimos 26 Lions 19

Hamilton at Montreal
Montreal has had Hamilton's number all season even when the Cats had Zach Collaros playing quarterback for them. Now the Alouettes have traded for erstwhile quarterback Kevin Glenn in a desperate attempt by coach and GM Jim Popp to make the playoffs. Statistically the only real way the Alouettes can make the playoffs is via the cross-over and winning today would definitely help as they're currently tied with BC on points which would mean BC would get in. The Cats do have Andy Fantuz and Eric Norwood back which should make their offense and defence significantly better. New quarterback Jeff Matthews was able to beat Kevin Glenn in his last game when he was with the Riders, I think he does again with the Alouettes trying to get by with Glenn and a new playbook.
Tiger-Cats 30 Alouettes 23

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 16

Not a fan of Tuesday night CFL games.

Ottawa at Toronto in Ottawa
If the game actually happened in Toronto like it was supposed to, I would probably pick Toronto. However being in Ottawa in front of how many fans, I'm still going to pick Toronto. I don't think the REDBLACKS are as good as their record indicates.
Argonauts 28 REDBLACKS 26

Saskatchewan at Hamilton
The Riders shit the bed against BC last week so even though Hamilton doesn't have Zach Collaros, I'm guessing the Ticat defence will carry the day. Plus Jeff Matthews has another week of practice under his belt and really wasn't that bad considering the hurricane conditions in Hamilton last week.
Tiger-Cats 29 Roughriders 26

Edmonton at Calgary
It is in Calgary and Edmonton wasn't that impressive against the Bombers last week. That's enough for me (plus the fact Cornish is back, which sets up Mitchell's passing game).
Stampeders 33 Eskimos 25

Winnipeg at BC
This is a weird one. One would have thought with all the BC quarterback injuries that they would be screwed but apparently not. The Bombers almost won last week, but ended up sucking. It is in BC so I'll take the home field CFL advantage.
Lions 28 Blue Bombers 25

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 15

Thursday game this week.

Montreal at Ottawa
Just saw on the Twitter that Jonathon Crompton is back on the six game disable list, not long after getting off it. Weird. Who starts for the Alouettes, Cato or Marsh? Who knows? I think that Ottawa bounces back at home with Burris having a decent game.
REDBLACKS 30 Alouettes 25

Calgary at Hamilton
Too bad for the Ticats that in their first game without Zach Collaros they have to go against Calgary. I think Matthews can do against the bottom four teams, but Calgary is excellent and has a decent pass rush. No doubt the Cats will try and run the ball a little more, but even with their defence (barring an injury to Bo Levi Mitchell) I don't think the Cats can finish.
Stampeders 29 Tiger-Cats 19

Edmonton at Winnipeg
Winnipeg is home again and against their quarterback Matt Nichols' former team, the Eskimos. The Bombers haven't been a good team without Drew Willy, although last week they played tough against Calgary at home. Against my better judgement, I'm going to pick the Bombers at home.
Blue Bombers 23 Eskimos 21

Saskatchewan at BC
Two bad teams going against each other. BC is at home, but the Riders have Glenn back at quarterback and he hasn't looked bad. I'll go with the more experience quarterback.
Roughriders 25 Lions 18

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 14

1. Calgary Stampeders
A lot closer game than one would expected versus the Bombers in Bomberland, however Calgary pulled out a win at the end, aided by a botched call by the officials. Still Calgary just wins.

2. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos proved that they still have it after beating the REDBLACKS in Ottawa. Who cares about Ricky Ray? Quarterback Trevor Harris is still getting it done.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Bounced back from only 49 yards the week before to beat BC. Mike Reilly is looking better and they still have a good defence.

Lost to the Argonauts. The REDBLACKS seem to have trouble with the better teams. Still looking good for a playoff position.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
How bad are the Cats without starting quarterback Zach Collaros. Not great, but they still have a great defence and good special teams. New starter Matthews will have a good receiving corps to past too, although obviously he's quite inexperienced.

6. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders looked decent winning with Kevin Glenn against Montreal at home last week. They have Jerome Messam at running back and one of the better running attacks in the league. Who knows, maybe they will make the playoffs after all.

7. Montreal Alouttes
Maybe Crompton isn't that good after the Alouettes lost to the Roughriders. GM Jim Popp's record after taking over as head coach isn't so great.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Managed to stay close to Calgary with Matt Nichols as quarterback and were eventually screwed on a bad call. This team seems snake bit this year.
9. BC Lions
Way down on the quarterbacks, the Lions just don't seem to have it in 2015. Harris is having a good season though as is Bighill.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

When Was the Last Time a CFL Team Won with 49 Passing Yards?

Lost in the Edmonton at Hamilton game last week amid the season ending injury to Tiger-Cat starting quarterback Zach Collaros, was the number of passing yards that Edmonton had in their 25 to 18 victory.

Mike Reilly passed for just 49 yards in the game, with seven receptions from 22 attempted passes, including an interception. That was the entire passing output of the Eskimos that day in quite good conditions. What I'm wondering, when was the last time that a team passed for 49 yards or less and was actually victorious in the CFL? I actually have no idea and don't really have time to go and look, but it seems to me it could be some years, although there's probably some bad weather game in there somewhere that could be worse.

I did have time to look for 2015 and so far, the second least number of passing yards for a winning team was 127, for BC's 27 to 24 victory over Saskatchewan on Friday July 27th in week four. That is a low number of yards, but still considerably higher than 49 yards.

Friday, September 25, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 14

Calgary at Winnipeg
Yeah I don't really see the Stampeders losing in Winnipeg this week, home field advantage be damned. Although Winnipeg should be motivated since they are still in the playoff race and the Stamps aren't really that far from locking up first in the West.
Stampeders 31 Blue Bombers 19

BC at Edmonton
Considering that BC is having quarterback injury problems and Edmonton actually has Mike Reilly back (although he only passed for 49 yards last week in Hamilton) and Edmonton is at home, that smells like an Eskimo victory.
Eskimos 27 Lions 16

Toronto at Ottawa
This game is definitely interesting. Both teams have winning records. Ottawa hasn't been particularly good against good teams this year in the CFL compiling their winning record and at times has been blown out. I'm going to go against home field and pick Toronto.
Argonauts 26 REDBLACKS 24

Montreal at Saskatchewan
Crompton is back, as is Glenn. The game is in Saskatchewan, where the Riders achieved their single lone victory of 2015. On neutral ground, I think Montreal is a better team, however the Riders weren't terrible last week, although they again managed to lose a close one to Ottawa. Montreal has playoff motivation. I think the Riders manage to pull one out for once.
Roughriders 30 Alouettes 28

Thursday, September 24, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 13

1. Calgary StampedersWith Zach Collaros' injury, let's face it Calgary is alone and Bo Levi Mitchell doesn't have competition for the best quarterback anymore. Plus they beat BC this past week.

2. Toronto Argonauts
Still have Trevor Harris healthy. Don't really have much in the way of fans, but that hasn't really helped the Riders this year so I don't think it is that important.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
The fact they only had 49 yards passing in Hamilton last week is troubling. They do have a good defence, though and Mike Reilly is back. 49 yards though. Jeez.

Henry Burris has been healthy all year long which is an accomplishment in the CFL. Looks like a pretty good shot to make the playoffs after a two win season in 2014. That's pretty good for an expansion team.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
So no Zach Collaros and Matthews didn't really impress in his relief roll. The Tiger-Cats do have the best defence in the CFL though.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Beat Winnipeg and Jonathon Crompton is back. Need to see more from them to move up the rankings, although they are looking good for the cross-over.

7. BC Lions
Down to their third string quarterback and lost again. Not looking good for the Lions.

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Almost won at home. Still stuck at one win. Glenn is back, which is something.

9. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Not a good time in Bomberville. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Does Jeff Matthews Have What It Takes to Be A Successful Starter This Season for the Ticats?

Obviously Zach Collaros' knee injury on Saturday isn't good for the Cats. At best he is likely to be gone for a number of games. Jeff Matthews would seem to have a decent chance to start for the Cats, although his play on Saturday in relief wasn't good and it would not have taken much to defeat the Eskimos.

Matthews tossed three interceptions, two that were pick sixes and one in the Eskimo end zone. A couple of them seemed down right baffling. Matthews also fumbled and lost the ball on a running play. However, having seen bad Ticat backups forced into the game (Billy Dickens, Timmy Chang) Matthews wasn't terrible. He didn't have two and and out after two and out after getting blitzed repeatedly which is what happens to most CFL rookie backups. He went 7 for 10 with 90 yards and a TD before being yanked, which was more yards than Reilly had the entire game (49 yards on 7 for 22 attempts). This week is a bye week, and no doubt Matthews will get considerably more snaps. Plus the Cats will likely try to add more of a running game to help out Matthews, including using four receivers and a fullback more often (which the Cats have rarely done). Weirdly while Matthews was in on Saturday, he often played with six receiver sets, which Collaros doesn't do that often.

The Ticats defence is arguably the best in the league right now (i.e. giving up 49 passing yards) and their special teams are up there too. Besides Collaros though, the Cats have other injury problems, including Dyakowski, Bomben and Olson on the offensive line in the last game alone. Plus Gable and Fantuz are still out, who both would be especially useful on a Matthews led team.

Are the Cats the favourite to win the Grey Cup still? No. Can they still make the playoffs? I think they can, although losing this past game against Edmonton where they had chances to win is going to hurt. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ticats Edmonton Depth Chart

Pretty much the same as last week's game. Ellefsen is in for Gascon-Nadon as a backup non-import defensive end. Holley starts at running back with Woodson backing him up, no Grigsby.

Wide receivers are Tolliver and Coates. Slots are Sinkfield, Tasker and Underwood.

2015 CFL Predictions Week 13

Again late on my predictions.

Edmonton at Hamilton
Two good teams battling in the Hammer. Based on Hamilton's recent hotness and also their record at home, the Ticats have to be the favourite here, despite having some key injuries (Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz, C.J. Gable amongst others). Edmonton finally has quarterback Mike Reilly back and an excellent defence. Reilly is good, but Collaros is in the middle of a great season.
Ticats 29 Eskimos 27

Ottawa at Saskatchewan
Battle of the Roughriders/Rough Riders. I'm not convinced that Ottawa is a particularly great team, but they are at least OK in 2015. The Riders not so much. They do have Kevin Glenn back as their quarterback, which is something, although it wasn't like the Riders actually won when he started earlier in the season. Henry Burris had a great game last week, so one pretty much has to go with the Riders, although Burris does have a tendency to suddenly suck at times.
REDBLACKS 26 Roughriders 22

Winnipeg at Montreal
Not really sure about this one. An important game for both teams if they want to make the playoffs. Jonathon Crompton could be back for Montreal as the quarterback which I guess may be an improvement although I'm not positive. I'll go with home field advantage here. That's usually quite safe in the CFL.

Alouettes 22 Blue Bombers 19

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 12

A bit late on the power rankings this week.

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
A road win by eight points, even if a bit messy is nothing to sneeze at. Plus the Cats completed the regular season sweep of the Argonauts, which was nice.

2. Calgary Stampeders
Sure they lost at home, but with the imminent return of Canadian running back Jon Cornish, the Stampeders become an even better team.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Quarterback Mike Reilly is back and playing well. Beat the Stampeders at home this past week, although one should be nervous about Reilly's health.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Admittedly they have lost two games in a row to their archrivals and they are being booted by the Jays for their playoff run, the Argos are still a decent team and quarterback Ricky Ray is healthy again.

Are the REDBLACKS for real? Seems so after beating BC handily on the road. Quarterback Henry Burris is looking good rather than crotchety and the team has a winning record later on into the season. Not sure if they can beat a good team, but there are a lot of loser teams in the CFL in 2015.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Didn't play last week, which must help for injuries. Plus quarterback Jonathon Crompton is supposedly healthy again. I don't think that helps much, but there are worse quarterbacks in the league.

7. BC Lions
Not a great season for BC. Does Wally Buono still have it as a GM?

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Won the Banjo Bowl solidly with Matt Nichols as quarterback. Picker up quarterback Tajh Boyd from the Ticats for a pack of smokes. Still not a good team.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
After winning their first game of the season, the Riders came back to Earth last week. At least Kevin Glenn is back, although the Riders managed to lose a lot of games with him as the starter.

Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 12

Hamilton at Toronto
Often in the CFL it is hard to win back to back games against the same opponent. The Ticats were so dominant last week against the Argos at home, especially on offense, that I think the Tiger-Cats will take this one. The Cats were successful even with all their injuries. Plus there should be a healthy number of Ticats fans at Dead Ted's Dome tonight.
Tiger-Cats 31 Argonauts 29

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
The Banjo Bowl and a rematch from last week. The Bombers lost but will start Matt Nichols at quarterback who they obtained from Edmonton. Can the Riders make it two in a row? I think they have the momentum, although they are not a good team by any means. They are playing Winnipeg however.
Roughriders 25 Blue Bombers 20

Calgary at Edmonton
The Esks are at home after losing the Labour Day classic last week. Their offense didn't do much, but their defence was good as usual. Mike Reilly could potentially play more. I'll pick the home team here.
Eskimos 19 Stampeders 16

Ottawa at BC
Eastern team often don't do well in BC, however this game is at 4 pm Eastern, which is a lot better than an 8 pm Pacific start. The Lions don't have Lulay this week, but that didn't really stop them against Montreal last week. I'm going to go with the home team this week. Ottawa just isn't very good on the road.
Lions 27 REDBLACKS 19

Guard Bomben is Back for Ticats in Argonauts Rematch

The Ticats have released their depth chart for the rematch against the Argos in Toronto tonight. Probably most noteworthy is that Canadian guard Bomben is back in after being injured. O'Neill had started in place last week and the line was quite good overall.

Rico Murray is out. Also so is running back Nic Grigsby with Canadian Woodson taking one of the running back spots with Holley starting.

Hamilton has already won the Harold Ballard Cup against the Argos, and thus the season series and the tiebreaker for the playoffs. A win for Hamilton would really solidify their chances of taking home field advantage in the East.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

View From West Stands of Tim Horton's Field

Snapped this photo from the West stands during the Labour Day Classic. 

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 11

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Crushed Toronto despite a lot of injuries. The true hero was Zach Collaros who continually burned Toronto's zone defence. The Hamilton defence was decent, even missing Norwood.

2. Calgary Stampeders
The team with the best record, but definitely not the best offense. Benefiting from games against the loser Riders and Bombers

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Mike Reilly is sort of back. The Eskimos need to get their offense on track to be really good.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Not a very good outing against Hamilton. Still better than a lot of teams in the CFL and Ricky Ray now seems to be somewhat healthy giving the Argos a lot of depth at quarterback, which is something pretty much unheard of in the CFL of 2015.

Didn't play, didn't lose. That's good enough to stick at the fifth position.

6. BC Lions
Beat Montreal with backup Beck after Lulay was injured with a knee ligament sprain. The Lions were not particularly good with Lulay anyways. Perhaps more distressing was that Andrew Harris rushed 21 times for 65 yards, with the longest run being 8 yards. That's not going to beat the good teams in the CFL.

7. Montreal Alouettes
Lost to the Lions, which is basically the team that they are most alike in the power rankings. After playing reasonably well to beat Hamilton, Tanner Marsh went 16 for 30, passing for 103 yards and count them, five interceptions. Ouch.

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Off the Schneid! And no longer at the bottom of the Tigercatatonia Power Rankings. The no longer winless Riders are still a crap team. But now at least they are a crap team with one win.

9. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
I'm assuming that with Winnipeg acquiring quarterback Matt Nichols that they will be somewhat better eventually once they learn the playbook. Although after the beating they took by the Riders, the Bombers aren't exactly looking good.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2015 Labour Classic Tiger-Cat Depth Chart is Out

The Cats just released their depth chart for the game against the Argos.

For the offensive line, as per usual, American tackles with Olson and Lewis. Bomben is out at guard with the veteran O'Neill in. Dyakowski and Filer are still at guard and centre. As per usual the three interior positions are Canadian.

Bakari Grant is still out. Coates is in as the lone starting Canadian receiver at wideout. Tolliver is the other wide receiver, with Sinkfield, Underwood and Tasker as the slots.

Grigsby is listed ahead of Holly at running back, with non-import Prime as the fullback. Collaros is the quarterback with Matthews backing up and likely in for sneaks.

Medlock punts and kicks this week as punter Hugh O'Neill is out injured (likely beard related), with Banks as the returner.

That's four Canadian starters on offense.

On defence, Norwood is out injured at defensive end and Sears Jr is out in the secondary. Import Tracy comes in for him, with Hickman as the other end. Non-import Laurent and Hall are the defensive tackles. Lawrence, Reed and Harris are the starting linebackers.

Gainey and non-import Stephen are the starting corners. Rico Murray and Davis are the starting defensive halfbacks. Non-import Butler starts at safety. So that's three starting Canadian defenders.

Norwood, Grant, Bomben and Sears Jr. being out injured definitely hurts, although not fatally. The question is O'Neill a big downgrade at guard for Bomben and whether Tracy can get pressure on the quarterback in place of Norwood. Laurent, Henry and Hickman are still three solid players on the defensive line.

Also interesting will be the performance at Grigsby at running back. Expect more passes to him, although I doubt a lot of runs. Can Grigsby pass block adequately is another question.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 11

Looks like I missed the Thursday game, as I thought there would be a Friday game.

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
Ass versus ass. The bottom of the CFL barrel. The Riders have cleaned house, but obviously they still suck. Winnipeg isn't good either. Will the Bombers send their prairie rivals to 0 and 10? Since they are starting Brian Brohm at quarterback, which isn't very good, I'm not sure. Even though the Riders are at home, they've shown incredible ability to lose close games. So Brohm and the Bombers.
Blue Bombers 20 Riders 18

Toronto at Hamilton
Hamilton has a lot of injuries. Losing Norwood and Sears to the six game injury list definitely hurts the defence. The Cats are still missing Fantuz. Others may well be injured, but the Cats haven't released their lineup cards yet so I'm not sure of the composition of their offensive line. Both teams are coming off of losses. I think the Cats still have a bit of an edge due to Tim Horton's Field (although that didn't help last week).
Tiger-Cats 26 Argonauts 22

Edmonton at Calgary
The Eskimos traded Nichols to Winnipeg and will go with Franklin at quarterback. On the road and against a now experienced Bo Levi Mitchell, the Stamps have to be favoured, even with the superior Eskimo defence.
Stampeders 33 Eskimos 27

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Can Secure 2015 The Harold Ballard Cup With A Win Over The Argonauts on Labour Day

The Ticats lead the season series with the Argos 1-0 after a win at Tim Horton's Field earlier in the year. With three games against the Argos this year, the Cats can secure the Harold Ballard Cup award to the winner of the season series between the teams. The Cats won the 2014 Harold Ballard Cup and the 2014 Labour Day classic 13-12 in a nail bitter.

Harold Ballard of course was a former owner of both the Cats and the Argonauts. Probably more important for the Cats than winning the Harold Ballard Cup (although that would be awesome) would be that the Cats would lock up the tie breaker with the Argos in case they finished the season with the same number of points. With both teams sporting 6 and 3 records that could be important for who hosts the East final. Given the Cats record at Tim Horton's stadium, hosting the final would definitely help their Grey Cup chances.

I'm always a little surprised the Cats don't make a bigger deal about the Harold Ballard Cup (it isn't even on Wikipedia).

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 10

1. Calgary Stampeders
I put Calgary up this high, mainly because they aren't totally ridden with injuries. Plus they dominated in the second half against the Bombers (which isn't really impressive, but it is something).

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Cats did lose at home last week versus Montreal, but more importantly they have a ridiculous number of injuries now, they likely won't be able to compensate for (Canadian offensive linemen and defensive end).

3. Edmonton Eskimos
The Edmonton Eskimos seems better now with Franklin in as quarterback. Plus they have a great defense.

4. Toronto Argonauts
They lost to Edmonton, although it was on the road. Still a decent team and Harris has emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in the league this year. Probably most important for Toronto is that Scott Milanovich is arguably the best coach in the league.

Ended up beating the Riders at home, although the first quarter was close. The REDBLACKS aren't really that great a team, but they do have an experienced quarterback and some decent receivers and that isn't too bad in 2015 and not bad at all for an expansion team on its second year.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Won in Hamilton with their backup quarterback Tanner Marsh with Jim Popp as coach. We will see how long this lasts.

7. BC Lions
Didn't play so at least they are rested. No Solomon Elimimian at middle linebacker. That's not good.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Things aren't looking good without their Willy.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Fired their coach, GM and Tino Sunseri. It is a start. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thoughts on Montreal's Win Over the Ticats

I only caught slightly over half of the game at the stadium due to arriving at Pearson at 6:30 pm, although I did hear most of the rest on CKOC 1150's broadcast. Not a big fan of that broadcast although I do like Coach Sal. Obviously the home winning streak ended, which is sad, but not the end of the world.

I think compared to the Ticats's five game win streak prior to this game, the Cats didn't get out to a big lead early. That made things more difficult; teams that get way behind, even it was just bad luck don't play that well. The Cats were constantly in catch up mode themselves, but to be fair they never let the game really get away from them and only lost by three points.

Should the Cats go with Grigsby over Holley as their main running back? Holley hasn't done much (although the Cats don't run a lot) and but he is a better blocker in pass protection to warrant starting over Grigsby.

The Cats missed Andy Fantuz in this one. Due to the ratio, Coates takes his spot, and apologies to Coates, he isn't Fantuz. He didn't catch a pass and I only saw one pass thrown in his direction (although that resulted in a Montreal penalty). Montreal was blitzing a lot and had six sacks; Fantuz likely would have made a better quick target for Collaros to get rid of the ball quickly and avoid the rush. The Cats themselves didn't get a lot of pressure this game with only one sack, although they managed to knock Cato out of the game. Underwood had a good game with three catches for 93 yards.

Sears Jr. led the Ticats with 7 tackles, which I'm not sure is necessarily a good thing but I'm glad he's healthy again.

Strangely after the Cats knocked out Cato, Tanner Marsh seemed to play better than Cato did. That's unusual for a backup and I never thought Marsh was that great when he was playing before the ascension of Jonathon Crompton to the Montreal starting quarterback position.

In terms of victory, to me there were a few second and longs the Cats had Montreal in where if they could have prevented Montreal from getting the first down, things could have been very different (especially the final FG drive of Montreal where the Cats had the Alouettes relatively deep in their own end).

On to the Argos next week on Labour Day in the annual classic. Toronto lost the Edmonton yesterday on the road so the Cats are tied at 6 and 3 with Toronto. A win on Labour Day would have the Cats winning the season series tie-breaker and winning the vaunted Harold Ballard Cup.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 10

Montreal at Hamilton
The Cats are hot, are at home where they are even hotter and the Alouettes have just fired their head coach Tom Higgins and replaced him with GM Jim Popp. The Alouettes actually played tough against Hamilton the last time they met at McGill coming away with a victory. The Cats are a better team now, especially their defence. Certainly anything can happen, but given Montreal's chaos and relatively lacklustre play of late, I can't see the Ticats losing.
Tiger-Cast 35 Montreal 22

Toronto at Edmonton
The Eskimos were humiliated at home last week by Hamilton, while the Argos won yet again. Edmonton's supposedly good defence didn't do too much against Hamilton, although to be fair the offense was continuously turning over the ball. The Argos have a surprisingly good offense with backup quarterback Trevor Harris and a mostly anonymous receiving crew. Argo head coach Scott Milanovich is likely a big reason the Toronto offense is so good. The Eskimos are starring Franklin over Nichols at quarterback, which might help, or it might not. The Eskimos are at though home, which still counts for something in the CFL.
Eskimos 26 Argonauts 24

Calgary at Winnipeg
Given the Bombers' struggles with quarterback Drew Willy injured, I can't see Winnipeg winning this one, even though they are at home. Marve might eventually become a good quarterback for the Bombers, but the Stampeders Bo Levi Mitchell is already there. I'm also not sure how much protection Marve will get.
Stampeders 29 Blue Bombers 19

Saskatchewan at Ottawa
The Roughriders have lost every game and managed to lose a whole lot of close games. The REDBLACKS have looked decent and then absolutely crappy. Ottawa is at home though and the Riders are not a great team. I think Burris manages to use his receivers well at home and the team takes fewer penalties than the previous week. Rider sucking continues, going into the Labour Day classic with the Bombers.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 9

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Another week, another spanking of a team by the Ticats. This time it was supposed to be a defensive battle with the Eskimos, but it didn't turn out that way with the Cats hanging 49 points on Edmonton through capitalizing on turnovers. This was also an away game. Despite the Cats still having several important injuries, the Ticat offense kept rolling with whichever receivers were available. In the land of the blind that is the CFL, the Cats still have Zach Collaros.

2. Calgary
A close road win in Saskatchewan. Bo Levi Mitchell is obviously way better than the current average starting CFL quarterback. Not a bad defence.

3. Toronto
They just keep winning with Trevor Harris at quarterback. Credit has to go to head coach Scott Milanovich.

4. Edmonton
So they got spanked by Hamilton at home. They still have a good defence, especially against the wankerly offenses of the CFL. Still no Mike Reilly at quarterback, but at least they decided to start Franklin.

Could have beat the Argos on the road if they hadn't got so many penalties. I fully expect the REDBLACKS to continue to get a lot of penalties.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Won on the road, fired their coach, installed Popp as coach. I can't really see this ending well, but stranger things have happened in the CFL.

7. BC Lions
Losing to Montreal at home. Ouch. If somebody had told me Lulay had managed to play this long without his shoulder disintegrating I would have thought they would have had a better record. Not having reigning CFL MOP Eliminiam hurts.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Bye week for Winnipeg, but still no Willy.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
They just keep finding ways to lose. Sure it was close, but the Riders manage to play just badly enough to lose every game. That's weird.

Friday, August 21, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 9

Missed the first game this week. Damn.

Hamilton at Edmonton
The Cats have looked great lately despite injuries to CJ Gable, Bakari Grant and Andy Fantuz among others. However the Ticat defence has been fantastic. Edmonton's defence is also great; their offense without Mike Reilly hasn't been so great and now they are missing their start receiver Adarius Bowman. Normally I would go with the home team here, but Hamilton has been looking so strong lately and has an advantage at quarterback, it is hard to go against them.
Tiger-Cats 28 Eskimos 22

Calgary at Saskatchewan
The Riders aren't a 0-7 team so they have to win eventually. Most likely it will be at home. I just don't think it will be against Calgary this week.
Stampeders 33 Riders 22

Ottawa at Toronto
Toronto just keeps winning with Trevor Harris as their quarterback in the absence of Ricky Ray. I'm not sure the Argos get much of a bounce from Dead Ted's Dome (aka the Rogers Centre), but Ottawa didn't look good last week. Toronto for sure.
Argonauts 29 REDBLACKS 23

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 8

I wrote this earlier in the week but didn't post it before the Thursday game.

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
It would be hard to argue against Hamilton as the top ranked team. They have won four in a row, are unbeaten at home and absolutely destroyed BC last week,
offensively, defensively and with special teams. That's despite injuries to Andy Fantuz, CJ Gable, Bakari Grant ad that safety. The Cats are deep in both import and non-import talent and their defensive front seven is second to none in the league. Another Brandon Banks punt return TD, plus a passing TD for him, is an endorsement for special teams coach Jeff Reinebold.

2. Calgary Stampeders
The Stamps demolished Ottawa at home, showing that apart from Hamilton, they are a cut above the other CFL teams. In a league rife with backup quarterbacks forced into starting, Bo Levi Mitchell is considerably better than the average quarterback. Even with an injury to start Canadian running back Jon Cornish, the Stamps offense is still formidable.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Considering that the Eskimos have been missing starting quarterback Mike Reilly for weeks, the Eskimo defense has kept the team winning, even with some mediocre quarterbacking from backup Matt Nichols? Eventually Reilly will be back and the team will be even better. Adarius Bowman
being out hurts.

4. Toronto
Toronto keeps winning with Trevor Harris and basically some no names. I'm not sure how long it can last, but they are a decent team with Harris.

Spanked by Calgary and their own incompetence last week, Ottawa is having trouble while receiver Chris Williams is injured, even though they have a lot of other receiving options.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Rakeem Cato isn't looking as good as his initial games. At least the Michael Sam distraction is over.

7. BC Lions
They were dominated by Hamilton last week, even with Lulay and Harris. Now their best linebacker Eliminiam is out. Not good.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
With Drew Willy out, the Bombers finally tried out Robert Marve at quarterback against the Argos at home. He didn't look bad, so at least there is some hope in Bomber land for making the playoffs until Willy returns. Not a lot of hope, but the West isn't that great this year.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
They're 0-7 and Durant and Glenn are hurt. Maybe next year Saskatchewan.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Should the Tiger-Cats Start Anthony Woodson Over Ray Holley?

With Andy Fantuz and CJ Gable injured and out for some time, the Cats have to find a way of replacing them and being mindful of the ratio. Last game the Cats used import Ray Holley at running back for Gable and non-import Matt Coates at receiver for Andy Fantuz, keeping their import non-import ratio the same for these two positions.

Holley hasn't really done much when he's played at running back, gaining 112 yards on 28 attempts for a 4.0 yard per carry average. Admittedly the Cats mostly passed when Holley was playing. Woodson has gained 61 yards so far in 2015 on 11 carries for a 5.5 yard average, a lot of that after Gable was injured early in a game. If the Cats aren't going to run much if Gable isn't in, I don't see why the Cats don't start Woodson at running back over Holley. Holley doesn't seem that much better than Woodson and Woodson is a non-import. If the Cats start Woodson, they could start another import receiver over Matt Coates who hasn't caught a pass yet in 2015 and balance the ratio. Underwood or Sinkfield could come in place of Coates.

The one issue is that the Cats would need another Canadian running back to back up Woodson and play special teams.

CFL Cameraman Winnipeg Blue Bomber at Hamilton Tiger-Cats

2015 CFL Picks Week 8

Edmonton at Montreal
The Eskimos have a great defence and the Alouettes defence isn't too shabby either. Edmonton is missing Adarius Bowman, their top receiver which obviously hurts. Edmonton has managed to be a good team despite missing Mike Reilly and going with Matt Nichols, who has been kind of meh. Rakeem Cato has been impressive for Montreal, although their record hasn't been great. I'm going to go with that old CFL standby of going with the home team.
Alouettes 26 Eskimos 25

Toronto at Winnipeg
If Bomber quarterback Drew Willy wasn't whacked while playing in Hamilton last week, I would go with Winnipeg. The Bombers are going with Robert Marve at quarterback who is quite green. The Bombers have lost other players to injury so I think the Argos with Trevor Harris have the advantage. The Argos have shown no problems winning on the road in 2015.
Argonauts 30 Blue Bombers 21

BC at Hamilton
The Tiger-Cats have CJ Gable and Andy Fantuz out with arm injuries, but they still have Zach Collaros at quarterback plus a lot of decent receivers including Luke Tasker and Bakari Grant to drive the offense. Holley at running back is a bit of downgrade to Gable, but the offense is still good. The Lions have been up and down, although non-import Andrew Harris is having a great year at running back. Hamilton's defence and special teams have also been good and the Cats are undefeated at Tim Horton's Field. I don't see that changing.
Tiger-Cats 29 Lions 23

Ottawa at Calgary
The REDBLACKS have surprised this year by being better than they were expected to be. Calgary is good, but not as good as last year's Grey Cup winning team, plus Jon Cornish is out with a thumb injury. Chris Williams is still on the one game injured list as of today, which definitely hurts Ottawa. Ottawa still has a lot of receivers, but Williams when healthy is one of the most dangerous threats in the CFL. Assuming Williams doesn't play, plus Calgary being at home means a Stamps victory.
Stampeders 33 REDBLACKS 24

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 7

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
I don't think one can argue with the Cats as the top team in the CFL. They dismantled Winnipeg and all three phases looked good, offense, defense and special teams. Collaros is looking great passing outside the pocket. The only weakness was Holley running in the absence of CJ Gable. The receivers didn't seem to miss Fantuz too much.

2. Calgary Stampeders
Didn't play this week so I assumed they got healthier. Still have Bo Levi Mitchell, but not having Jon Cornish for a while hurts their offense.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Sure they lost to the Lions, but it was on the road and it was close. They have a great defense and a reasonable offense in the absence of Mike Reilly.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Beat Saskatchewan, but that's not really saying a lot considering they are 0 and 7. Still with Trevor Harris at quarterback and a decent receiving corps, the Argonauts are a decent team.

Still not exactly sure if the REDBLACKS are totally for real, they looked OK beating the Alouettes, although they needed a weak pass interference call at the end to win. Burris played well, which is important if Ottawa is going to go anywhere in 2015.

6. BC Lions
Lulay and more importantly Andrew Harris came through for the Lions in a victory over the Eskimos at home. How good are the Lions? Who really knows. They have good linebackers in Eliminian and Bighill which is something.

7. Montreal Alouettes
While Rakeem Cato is great after losing your first two quarterbacks to injury, he isn't the best quarterback in the CFL. One wonders if the Sam controversy has been holding Montreal back.

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
After losing Durant and Glenn at quarterback, Brett Smith didn't do bad against the Argos on the road. The team is bad, but not 0-7 bad. They'll get a win someday.

9. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers seem to go as Drew Willy does, and he was injured against Hamilton. The Bombers looked terrible against Hamilton even in the first half with Willy still in. Now they have Brohm and Marve as their quarterbacks. Doesn't look good for the Bombers until Willy comes back.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

2015 CFL Week 7 Picks

Edmonton at BC
The Eskimos are missing their starting quarterback and the Lions have theirs. Strangely though the team without their starter has been doing way better. That's mostly because the Eskimos have an awesome defence. It is also partly because BC quarterback Travis Lulay hasn't done much lately. However I think that the Eskimos have to lose occasionally and I'll pick BC at home.
Lions 28 Eskimos 27

Montreal at Ottawa
This is a hard one. Is Rakeem Cato for real? Is Henry Burris too old? I'm not really sure, but I do know the REDBLACKS are at home and have an excellent receiving corps, including Chris Williams. That's enough for me.
REDBLACKS 27 Alouettes 22

Saskatchewan at Toronto
The Riders have been sucking all regular season and now backup quarterback turned starter Kevin Glenn is on the injured list and the Argos have Trevor Harris. The Argos didn't look good in Hamilton on Monday, but the Roughriders aren't the Ticats at home by any stretch. More tears in Regina.
Argonauts 33 Roughrider 17

Winnipeg at Hamilton
The Bombers have done well with Drew Willy healthy and been demolished when he gets hurt. Last time these two teams met in the Peg, Hamilton injured Willy, then proceeded to annihilate the Bombers. While there's no guarantee that the Ticats will injure Willy again (but it is certainly possible) the Cats are really good at Tim Horton's Field. Unfortunately the Cats will be missing CJ Gable and Andy Fantuz from the offense, but they have enough talent and the special teams talent to win this game.
Tiger-Cats 31 Blue Bombers 21

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 6

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Cats had a masterful performance against the Argos at home Monday, dominating in all three phases of the game, including an on-side punt that flummoxed the Argos defenders. Unfortunately they lost both CJ Gable and Andy Fantuz to the six game injured list. Previous to this, the Cats didn't have much of a running game without Gable, but non-import running back Anthony Woodson was able to pick up yards with Gable gone early. Losing Fantuz definitely hurts, but the Cats have Luke Tasker back so the receiving game shouldn't totally drop off.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
Despite not having quarterback Mike Reilly, the Eskimos have been able to get it done with Matt Nichols as the quarterback. The Eskimos have Adarius Bowman having an excellent season as a receiver and a stellar defense, likely the best in the CFL.

3. Calgary Stampeders
The Stampeders don't seem to be as good as the 2014 edition, but they still keep winning games, including a close one versus Montreal at home. They have however lost non-import running back Jon Cornish which definitely hurts. The Calgary offensive line is also a patchwork unit of late, which is probably the main difference from 2014.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Sure the Argos weren't great at Tim Horton's Field on Monday, but they have effectively played five road games and won three of them. Trevor Harris can be argued to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league and Ricky Ray might not start whenever he comes back.

5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers are a decent team if quarterback Drew Willy stays healthy and a bad team with backup Brian Brohm in. Right now Willy is sort of healthy so the Bombers get an OK power ranking, although he could potentially get injured at any time.

Ottawa had a bye week this week, but got back on track the previous week, winning at home. Ottawa is starting to take advantage of their off-season receiver signings and former Ticat Chris Williams is still one of the CFL's most dangerous weapons. How Ottawa does really depends on how well Henry Burris can play quarterback at an advanced age. At least he is healthy.

7. Montreal Alouettes
The Als lost a close one on the road in Calgary. Rakeem Cato would seem to have a lock on the quarterback position even if Jonathon Crompton returns. However Montreal overall just isn't that great and one wonders if the whole Michael Sam thing has been a distraction.

8. BC Lions
Travis Lulay is back and the Lions are very good. Andrew Harris has been good at running back, but the Lion defense lead by linebackers Eliminian and Bighill is just meh.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Lost yet again (and probably out of the playoffs). Both Glenn and Durant are injured. Time to play for next year.  

Ticats Put Both CJ Gable and Andy Fantuz on Six Game Injury List is reporting that the Ticats have put both import running back CJ Gable and non-import receiver Andy Fantuz on the six game injury list. Both Gable and Fantuz had arm injuries, but being at the game Gable's seemed more serious at the time.

Fantuz had 311 yards on 30 catches and no TDs in 2015. That was one yard behind Bakari Grant for the team lead. Fortunately the Cats have import receiver Luke Tasker back. I'm assuming the Cats will do what they did last year when Fantuz was injured and play former Hamilton Hurricane Matt Coates to take his spot in the starting lineup for five receiver sets (which the Cats use a lot of).

Gable was injured to start the year and the Ticat running game was non-existent while he was injured and then revived with his return. Now the Cats turn to Holley and Nic Grigsby has apparently been added to the practice roster. Non-import running back Anthony Woodson had 54 yards on ten carries after Gable went down. Personally I didn't think Holley did much in his time starting and prefer Grigsby.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 CFL Picks Week 6

BC at Winnipeg
Surprisingly, Drew Willy is supposed to be starting at quarterback after getting sandwiched last week against Edmonton. The Bombers have been good with Willy and poor with his backup Brohm. BC has been somewhat meh this year, despite Travis Lulay playing and not being injured. Since it seems both quarterbacks could be suddenly injured at any time, I'll pick the home team.
Bombers 24 Lions 20

Saskatchewan at Edmonton
The Riders are now 0 and 5, Kevin Glenn was just placed on the six game injured list and the team is down to whoever their third string quarterback is. Edmonton on the other hand is starting their former second stringer Nichols even though their third stringer Franklin looked good last week. The Riders are on the road and have found any way possible to lose. I expect it to contain with much bitching in the province.
Eskimos 30 Roughriders 17

Montreal at Calgary
The Stampeders are still a good team, although their offensive line isn't as good as last year and Jon Cornish is injured. The Alouettes seem to have found a keeper in quarterback Rakeem Cato, himself essentially the fifth stringer in camp. Still the Stamps are at home, where they are 3 and 0 while the Alouettes are 0 and 1 on the road.
Stampeders 26 Alouettes 17

Toronto at Hamilton
Arguably the premier game in week 6. The Argos have fashioned a 3 and 1 record with backup quarterback Trevor Harris. Hamilton is 2 and 2 after four games on the road. Importantly the Ticats are home at Tim Horton's Field where they were undefeated in 2015. Plus the Ticats are starting to get healthier, including CJ Gable who last week against the Riders resurrected the Tiger-Cat running game with over 100 yards. Expect a hard fought game, but Gable and Ticat kicker Justin Medlock to make the difference.
Tiger-Cats 27 Argonauts 25

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 CFL Week 5 Power Rankings

1. Toronto Argonauts
I really didn't expect Toronto to be here at this point before the season started, but here they are. One can make a pretty strong argument that Trevor Harris is a better quarterback at this point in time than Ricky Ray even when healthy. The Argos have won a lot of games on the road (including their pseudo home opener in Fort Mac). That's impressive in a league with a big home field advantage.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Cats bounced back with a big road win over Saskatchewan. Sure the Riders are in last place, but they have been in most games. The Cats are 2 and 2 on the road, which as I mentioned previously in a league with as big a home field advantage is impressive. The Cats actually discovered a running game with the return of CJ Gable who is a big upgrade on Holley at running back. Eric Norwood returned at defensive end and the return of receiver Luke Tasker is imminent.

3. Calgary Stampeders
Calgary lost on the road to the REDBLACKS. Jon Cornish got injured and Bo Levi Mitchell didn't look that great without him. Between injuries and losses to the NFL, the Calgary line isn't that great. The Stamps are still a good team, but not nearly as good as last year's team.

4. Edmonton Eskimos
The Eskimos demolished the Bombers, but was probably most promising was that the Eskimos did most of the demolishing in the second half with James Franklin as quarterback instead of Matt Nichols. With Mike Reilly still out, Franklin emerging really helps Edmonton out.

5. Montreal Alouettes
Montreal didn't play, so at least they didn't pick up any more injuries. The Alouettes are lucky Rakeem Cato emerged out of the fifth string role at quarterback to become a successful starter. Cato looks better than Crompton has, so maybe even when Crompton returns, Cato will keep the starting job.

So maybe the REDBLACKS are for real after winning a close one against Calgary and coming on in the second half at home. Receiver Chris Williams got a ton of yards, and the receiving corps mostly did well, although there were a lot of drops in the first half. Looks like Henry Burris can still get it done at 40 in some games.

7. BC Lions
The Lions lost a close one at home to the Argos. The Lions are a decent team and Travis Lulay at least isn't hurt, but he hasn't been dominant either.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Quarterback Drew Willy keeps getting injured in games and then the Bombers fall apart. It happened again last game, which makes one wonder about the quality of the Bombers offensive line. The backup is one time wunderkind Brian Brohm, who is no longer particularly young and not particularly wonderous.

9. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
The Riders are 0 and 5. Sure you can argue they've lost some heartbreakers, but at some point, they have to win a game.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2015 CFL Week 5 Picks

Calgary at Ottawa
A couple of weeks ago, I would have gave Ottawa more of a chance, but after two losses in a row, I'm not quite so confident in Ottawa's chances. The Stamps have a lot of injuries, but have managed to win games. This is on the road though. I'm going to do something odd and take the REDBLACKS.
REDBLACKS 24 Stampeders 20

Toronto at BC
Yet another Toronto road game. Is Trevor Harris better than Travis Lulay? I'm not sure, although I think that Lulay has a lot bigger chance for his shoulder to spontaneously explode midway through the game. Again I'm going to take the home team. In the CFL that's often a safe choice.
Lions 30 Argonauts 26

Winnipeg at Edmonton
Is Edmonton crap without Mike Reilly at quarterback? They beat Ottawa in a home and home, but I'm not sure how much that says. Winnipeg, apart from one game has been solid this year and quarterback Drew Willy is having a decent year. I'm going to deviate from home teams and pick the team that still has their opening day starter.
Bomber 19 Eskimost 15

Hamilton at Saskatchewan
The Riders keep finding ways to lose with backup quarterback Kevin Glenn. Hamilton, despite some good play is only 1 and 2 after three road games. The Cats are getting back Eric Norwood on the defensive line and perhaps even injury prone running back CJ Gable. The Riders are a team in disarray. Expect the Tiger-Cats to blitz like mad men.
Tiger-Cats 34 Roughriders 27

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ticat Defensive End Eric Norwood Tweets That He's Back At Practice

Just saw that injured Ticat defensive end Eric Norwood just tweeted "Great 1st day of practice...#BackLikeINeverLeft", which is certainly good news for Hamilton. Norwood was injured in a home knife accident which is pretty strange.

Norwood led the Cats with 13 sacks last year, even though he didn't play in every regular season game. Hopefully Norwood partnered with Justin Hickman on the other defensive end spot will lead to an even stronger pass rush with Ted Laurent and Bryan Henry in the middle this Sunday in Regina against the Green Riders.

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 4

1. Calgary Stampeders
The Stampeders aren't as dominant as last year's Grey Cup winning squad, but they are winning (edging Winnipeg last week),  despite their offensive line getting decimated. Obviously they still have Bo Levi Mitchell, even if he isn't putting up particularly great stats. Fortunately for the Stampeders, many of the rest of the league's starting quarterbacks have been injured, so Mitchell is even better relatively.

2. Toronto Argonauts
Sure it is a bye week, but the Argonauts have played pretty well this year, considering all their games have been on the road (including their opener in Fort McMurray which was an away game for all intents and purposes). Frankly if I was the Argos brass, I would hope that Ricky Ray stays injured until Trevor Harris stops playing well. Harris is a way smaller cap hit than Ray (who since is on the six game injured list, his salary doesn't count against the cap while he's on it) to boot.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Sure they got blown out in one game and they lost by a point to Calgary last week, but the Bombers aren't a terrible team with Drew Willy as their quarterback.

4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Sure they lost to Montreal, but it was on the road and the Cats have started their season on the road. They won't always be on the road and with injured players on the mend, the Cats are still a formidable team.

5. BC Lions
So apparently Travis Lulay's career isn't over. Yet. While he's still healthy, the Lions are a decent team (although I'm not sure beating the Riders is particularly impressive). I'm just now sure when Lulay's shoulder will suddenly explode.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Rakeem Cato has surprised as the succesful third string quarterback for the Alouettes. Montreal the past few years has had a decent defense, but even without Crompton and LeFevour and Duron Carter, the Montreal offense is OK. Truth be told, Cato may be an upgrade on Crompton. Geezer receivers Fred Stamps and Nik Lewis have turned out to be playing well so far, although they may run out of steam by the end of the season.

7. Edmonton Eskimos
They don't have Mike Reilly at quarterback for a while, but Matt Nichols has been decent backing up. Their last two wins have been against the REDBLACKS, which isn't saying a lot.

Ottawa just lost a home and home to Edmonton after winning the first two games. Looks like they are regressing to last year's team. Still they are 500 right now, which is more than you can say for the next team. Should Ottawa stick with Henry Burris or try to move on from the 40 year old?

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders keep finding ways to lose. Even with a credible backup in Kevin Glenn, they are still losing. I'm not really sure what to say. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Montreal Alouettes Depth Chart, Thursday July 16th, 2015

Still no Luke Tasker, CJ Gable or Eric Norwood back this week. No Courtney Stephen or Johnny Sears Jr. either.

The offensive line has changed up a bit with import Figueroa in at right tackle, with import Olson as the other tackle. Dyakowski and Bomben are the guards with Filer as the centre, all Canadians. So three Canadians on the oline.

Collaros is obviously the quarterback with Matthews as the backup. Imports Tolliver and Underwood are the starting receivers. Imports Sinkfield and Grant are the slotbacks with non-import Fantuz as the other slot. Non-import Prime is the fullback. I'm assuming that Fantuz is the only true Canadian starter besides the offensive linemen, so that's four Canadian starters on offense.

Medlock is the kicker and the bearded one, O'Neill is the punter. Banks is the kickoff and punt returner.

Defensive ends are imports Tracy and Hickman, with import Henry as a tackle and non-import Laurent as the other defensive tackle.

Linebackers are all imports, are Lawrence, Reed and Harris.

The corners are Gainey and non-import Daly, which strikes me as a little weird. Imports Stewart and Davis are the defensive half-backs, with Butler as the non-import safety. So that's three Canadian defensive starters.

2015 CFL Week 4 Picks

Hamilton at Montreal
The Tiger-Cats have a week of rest, and hopefully some players back from injury. The Cats looked great last game away in Winnipeg with all three phases of the game working, offense, defence and special teams. Expect the Ticat defence to blitz and then blitz some more on Cato.
Tiger-Cats 29 Alouettes 26

Edmonton at Ottawa
Obviously the Eskimos crushed Ottawa last week with Matt Nichols as quarterback. Is Ottawa reverting to last year's team? I don't think so. Their receivers are certainly better. Plus they are at home this week and have had a look at Nichols. Expect more Ottawa pressure.
REDBLACKS 24 Eskimos 20

BC at Saskatchewan
The Riders haven't been terrible under Kevin Glenn but have found ways to lose. BC has been OK, losing to Ottawa in their opener and then beating the Riders at home last week. I think that the Riders will be better at home.
Roughriders 23 Lions 21

Winnipeg at Calgary
Winnipeg has been decent two out of three games and actually has Willy at quarterback. Calgary also has been good two of their three games. Most important here is that Calgary is at home, plus Cornish looked good last week.
Stampeders 29 Blue Bombers 23

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 3

1. Hamilton
Didn't play, but didn't get any injuries either. Likely Eric Norwood and Luke Tasker will be back soon which will make the team even stronger. Has their starting quarterback.

2. Calgary
Bounced back with a home win against Toronto, proving that their Montreal game was likely an anomaly. Also has their starting quarterback, plus Jon Cornish is looking more like Jon Cornish.

3. Toronto
Almost beat Calgary on the road and Trevor Harris makes you wonder if the Argos want Ricky Ray to come back as quarterback.

4. Winnipeg
Beat Montreal at home after getting pummeled by Hamilton the week before with Willy at the controls.

5. BC
Evened their record at 1 and 1 with a win against the Riders. Still not exactly sure who this team is, but they aren't truly terrible.

6. Ottawa
Didn't look very good against Edmonton in an away loss. Is Ottawa regressing back to last year's team?

7. Montreal
Lost to Winnipeg, but not that badly with new wunderkid quarterback Raheem Cato. Is Cato better than Crompton at this point?

8. Edmonton
Beat Ottawa soundly at home with Nichols at quarterback. There's some hope now at least.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Finding ways to lose at the end is never good for your power rankings. No one wants to be the team that leads in low point losses.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hamilton Tiger-Cat Stat Leaders for 2015 Through Two Games

Zach Collaros has had a good start to the year, with 635 yards pass through two games, with a 74.6% completion percentage. He has two TD passes and an interception.

Three Ticats are bunched up with similar receiving yard numbers. Fantuz leads with 156 yards on 17 catches. Sinkfield is somewhat surprisingly second with 8 catches for 154 yards. Bakari Grant has 8 catches for 145 yards.

The Ticats rushing leader Holley only has 40 yards on 14 carries.

Gainey leads the Ticats with 15 tackles, Reed is second with 8.

Sears Junior has two interceptions.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 Week 3 CFL Picks

Ottawa at Edmonton
If you asked me at the beginning of the season who would be favoured in this game, it wouldn't be Ottawa (although I might have thought Mike Reilly was injured). If this was in Ottawa I would give it to the REDBLACKS for sure, but it is in Edmonton. Still I don't think a lot of Matt Nichols at quarterback without more starts and Henry Burris has a lot of weapons at receiver. So REDBLACKS it is bizarre as it may seem.
REDBLACKS 27 Eskimos 22

Montreal at Winnipeg
Willy will play at quarterback for the Bombers this week, which is a little surprising after getting sandwiched by Hamilton's defenders last week, but there you go. Obviously Rakeem Cato kicked ass as quarterback for the Alouettes last week. Do the Bombers have a good enough defence to get him off his game? I'm not actually sure. The Bomber defence didn't look particularly good against Hamilton last week. Still I think Willy has more experience that Cato and they are at home. So the Bombers it is.
Bombers 26 Alouettes 22

Saskatchewan at BC
BC has only played one game and managed to lose it to Ottawa. So I can't think they are that great a team. The Riders almost won last week, then lost to the Argos at home because they couldn't stop Trevor Harris. The Riders now have Kevin Glenn as their starter for the season now. I'm inclined to pick the Riders, just because BC hasn't shown much and I'm wondering if their new coach is going to be a bust.
Roughriders 22 Lions 19

Toronto at Calgary
Sure Trevor Harris has looked great at quarterback for Toronto in place of the injured Ricky Ray and Calgary shat the bed in Montreal last week. However I have to think that the Stamps will play better at home and up to their standards. Plus Harris will probably come back to Earth.
Stampeders 29 Argonauts 27

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Through Two Weeks of the 2015 Season, CFL Teams Are 79.2% On Extra Points

With the rule changes to extra points and two point converts for the CFL in 2015, it no surprise that extra point kicking percentages are down from near perfect last year through the first two weeks of the season. CFL teams were good on 19 of 24 attempts for extra points which is now equivalent to a 32 yard field goal.

Hamilton's Justin Medlock is perfect in seven attempts, while Winnipeg's Hajrallahu has missed both his attempts. It is certainly possible that the accuracy will rise as the season goes on, although bad weather is more likely later in the year. No indoor games have been played yet either.

Considering that for a two point convert, the ball is scrimmaged on the three, being successful half the time would yield considerably more points on average throughout the season.

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 2

A pretty confusing week of games in terms of power rankings.

1. Hamilton
After demolishing Winnipeg and almost beating Calgary, despite having a number of injuries, Hamilton has to be considered the top team right now. Having Collaros and an excellent receiving corps, plus an incredibly aggressive defence is a good combination, especially in a league missing a lot of starting quarterbacks. Hamilton is lucky they have a bye week this week and could get back some of their injured players.

2. Calgary
I'm not about to write off Calgary despite an ugly road loss in Montreal. Bo Levi Mitchell is going to have a bad game occasionally, although perhaps Calgary's offensive line isn't as decent as last year (after losing centre Brett Jones to the NFL). They still have Jon Cornish although he hasn't done a lot in the first two games. Calgary should bounce back.

3. Toronto
You can't really argue with two wins, although both teams they faced didn't have their starters the entire time. Trevor Harris has emerged as a surprisingly good quarterback and Chad Owens is in good form. What the Argos do against better teams is a question, although who the better teams in the league are, is is also a question.

4. Winnipeg
The good news is that apparently quarterback Drew Willy is coming back this week to play, otherwise the Bombers would be farther down the list. With Willy they are a decent team, without him as shown last week against Hamilton, they aren't that great. The Winnipeg defence wasn't great against Hamilton, which is a negative.

5. Ottawa
The REDBLACKS have managed to win their first two games. I'm still not certain that it is for real, hence sticking them in the middle. They are certainly playing better than they did in the pre-season. With all the quarterback injuries, Henry Burris actually isn't looking too bad.

6. Montreal
Montreal loses their first two quarterbacks and then settles on Rakeem Cato to start at quarterback and he has a great game against Calgary. The Alouettes have a good defence. Whether Cato can continue to be successful is a good question.

7. Saskatchewan
The Riders aren't as bad as last season when they lost Darian Durant as their starting quarterback, having Kevin Glenn, but they haven't won a game either. The Riders don't appear to be among the elite teams in the CFL this year.

They have only played one game this year and they lost to Ottawa with Lulay, which isn't a good sign.

9. Edmonton
The Eskimos are a good team with Mike Reilly at quarterback, who unfortunately is now gone for some time. They haven't been as good a team with Nicholls as pivot. Hopefully Reilly comes back soon.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Justin Medlock Has Made All His Extra Point Attempts Through Two Games

The biggest rule change in 2015 in the CFL was the moving back the ball to the 25 yard line for extra point attempts, which is a 32 yard field goal attempt. The Cats kicker Justin Medlock is one of the better kickers in the league, especially at longer distances. Having a better kicker means the rule change is a good one for the Cats in 2015.

Medlock has made seven of seven attempts at extra points through two games, including five alone last Friday in Winnipeg. After two games, the Cats look to have the best offense in the CFL, which normally would mean the Cats should consider going for two from the three yard line, especially if they can succeed more than 50% of the time. However with Medlock's success, the Cats probably aren't going to go for two unless they really need it at the end.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thoughts on the Ticats Blowout of the Blue Bombers, 52 to 26, in Week 2

There was a brief period when I thought that Winnipeg might win the game against Hamilton, but then Drew Willy was injured (yet another CFL quarterback down in five regular season games) and Brandon Banks scored a TD on a punt return and the rout was one.

Zach Collaros had a pretty good game, going 26 for 33 for 354 yards with 2 TDs and no interceptions. The Ticats run production was again weak, with Holley have six carries for just 16 yards, but with the passing offense working, it didn't need to be.

Bakari Grant ended up having the best performance with five catches for 117 yards, although he did have a fumble in the first half. Sinkfield also had a good game with 3 catches for 78 yards and Fantuz seems to be doing especially well this year with 8 catches for 73 yards.

Medlock kicked three field goals and five extra points, while Hajrullahu missed both his extra points.

Defensively the Ticats were pretty dominant and even had three interceptions.

I was a little concerned that the Ticats wouldn't perform well after a heart breaking loss to Calgary, however the team bounced back which is important considering the fact the team started with a number of road games. It is interesting the Cats are doing well despite all their injuries. Luke Tasker would seem to be the biggest problem, although the team seems well stocked with import receivers. Holley is probably worse than Gable or Grigsby, but given how pass oriented the Ticats are, the difference in player quality isn't that much.

With Willy gone, at least for a couple of weeks, the Bombers are a bit screwed, although considering the number of other starters out in the CFL, things could be worse.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Week One CFL Television Ratings

Chris Zelkovich has the Canadian weekend sports television ratings here. Of the three weekend games, the Bombers at the Roughriders were top at 780,000, with the Eskimos at Argos at 498,000. The Friday night Ticats at Stampeders game was lowest at 455,000 which is a bit disappointing considering how good the game was. Those are pretty low ratings, although there was a lot of competition in the first week. The Blue Jays are still in the playoff mix for once, which makes a big difference. No idea what the ESPN television ratings for the CFL are for week one, but I'll look for it.

2015 CFL Week 2 Power Rankings

1. Calgary Stampeders
Even though it was close Hamilton, Calgary still won and no one was injured. Plus with all the injured quarterbacks, Bo Levi Mitchell looks even better and they still have Jon Cornish and Charleston Hughes.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
But for a fifty yard field goal, Hamilton would have won in Calgary. Perhaps most impressive was Hamilton's defence, which forced five Calgary turnovers. Johnie Sears Junior looked especially good.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Drew Willy doesn't suck apparently after having an awesome game against the Riders. Although the Bombers kicked ass early last year and look how that turned out for them.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Didn't expect them to beat Edmonton in Fort McMoney and was a little surprised by Trevor Harris' performance (although not totally). Chad Owens did well, which is important. Do the Argos even want Ricky Ray back now?

5. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Well Durant is already out for the entire year with a blown Achilles, but at least the Riders had the sense to sign Kevin Glenn as a backup so they're not totally in the toilet like 2014.

6. BC Lions
Haven't played yet, so a bit of a cypher. Assuming that Travis Lulay isn't injured yet, although considering the way CFL quarterbacks are dropping, my guess is his shoulder pops out as he steps onto the field.

Well the REDBLACKs won, their first road victory ever. However it was against Montreal who got to find out how their third string Canadian quarterback was going to play. So I'm not convinced yet of Ottawa's prowess, but with all the backups in, an old Henry Burris isn't so bad.

8. Edmonton Eskimos
Well quarterback Mike Reilly is gone for 10-12 weeks already. So the Matt Nichols era begins. At least a lot of other quarterbacks are injured so that's something.

9. Montreal Alouettes
Lost back Dan LeFevour for the season and also Jonathon Crompton to the six game list, the Alouettes are down to their third string quarterback Canadian Brandon Bridge. That's not good, although I suppose it is for fans looking for a Canadian quarterback to start. Michael Bishop time?

2015 CFL Predicitons Week 2

Hamilton at Winnipeg
This a little tougher than I thought it would be a week ago, because Drew Willy had a great game against Saskatchewan. Zach Collaros also had a good game against Calgary, but was more impressive was that the Hamilton had a great game against Calgary with five turnovers. I think that Hamilton has a better game in week two and get pressure on Willy.
Tiger-Cats 27 Blue Bombers 23

Calgary at Montreal
Considering that Montreal lost both their starting and backup quarterbacks in week one and could be potentially starting a Canadian quarterback and Calgary won against a tough Hamilton team in week one, I don't think Montreal is winning. The Alouettes are at home, but Charleston Hughes is too opportunistic at defensive end for whoever ends ups at quarterback, plus Calgary's offense is excellent as well.
Stampeders 29 Alouettes 14

British Columbia at Ottawa
BC hasn't played yet so I'm assuming that Travis Lulay will start and isn't injured yet. Ottawa won their last game on the road, however that was against Montreal who blew through two quarterbacks.
I'm going to go with BC here, although they are on the road, mainly because I still somewhat believe in Wally Buono.
Lions 29 REDBLACKs 27

Toronto at Saskatchewan
The Riders also lost their starting quarterback in Durant for the season with a blown Achilles. At least this year they have Kevin Glenn as a backup. Toronto managed to win their home opener on the road in Fort Mac against Edmonton with Trevor Harris at quarterback rather than Ricky Ray. That's impressive and better than how I thought the Argos would do this year without Ray. Can Harris beat Glenn on the road in Saskatchewan? If it was at home I would take Toronto, but I think the Rider fans make the difference.
Riders 24 Argos 20

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ticats Lose Season Opener to Calgary on Last Second Field Goal

The Tiger-Cats lost a heart-breaker to Calgary in the season-opener, losing 24 to 23 on a last second 50 yard field goal from Paredes. The Cats were up 18 to 10 at the half and only ended up scoring 5 points in the second half.

Collaros had a pretty good game, going 27 for 38 for 281 yards and a pick. Bo Levi Mitchell didn't have a particularly good game going 22 for 35 for 263 yards with a TD but 3 picks including a pick six in the opening drive. The Cats seemed to be missing Luke Tasker and relied mainly on Andy Fantuz who had nine receptions for 83 yards. Sinkfield had 5 for 76 yards.

Holley the new running back didn't really do a lot, getting 24 yards on eight carries. Cornish didn't do a lot compared to what he does normally, with 13 carries for 70 yards.

The Cats defence was most impressive, with two turnovers on quarterback sneaks plus three interceptions. The Cat defence also had four sacks. Sears had a good game with two picks, and a sack. Butler also had a pick and a sack. Gainey had 11 tackles, although considering he's in the secondary, I'm not sure that's a good thing.

The Cats lost yet another season opener, however they looked good on the road against Calgary and I think most would say Calgary is probably better than any other CFL team besides the Ticats right now. The Cats have a bye week, so let's hope some of the injured players are back by then, including Tasker and Norwood.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hamilton Ticats at Calgary Stampeders Half-Time 2015 Opener

Exciting half. Pick six by Sears starting out for Hamilton on star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell which was awesome. Calgary answered with a TD, but Hamilton ended up ahead at the half, with a contribution from a Brandon Banks punt return TD (revenge for the 2014 Grey Cup).

Zach Collaros looked good with 11 of 14 passing albeit for not a lot of yards.

Sears looked great with a sack and a pick for six and the Hamilton pass rush looked good overall with three sacks despite the line being somewhat injured.

Holley started out well as the new starting running back, but then not much was seen from him until the end of the half.

Andy Fantuz looked great until he took a hard hit near the end of the fourth quarter. Hopefully he is OK.  Grant had a couple of catches, but I was expecting more considering Tasker is out.

Bo Levi Mitchell looked better in the first half than the second after the Ticats started getting after him. Cornish hasn't been very Cornish like so props to the Ticat defence.

Ticats at Stampedes Preview Week 1 CFL

I've looked at the Ticats website and no sign of the depth chart yet. Seems pretty strange as they had one for the last pre-season game. So I will have to go by some assumptions.

I'm not exactly sure which offensive tackles will start but I do know they will be Americans. Figueora I believe is on the injury list so not him. Likely in the middle will be guards Dyakoski and Bomben plus Filer as centre, all non-imports. 

Collaros will start at quarterback and a lot of how the game goes will depend on him. The problem is that Gable, Grigsby and Madu are all injured at running back and Steve Tasker is out at receiver.

The Cats do have import Bakari Grant who looked good in the pre-season and if the Cats are going to win, is going to have to have a good game. Non-import Fantuz is healthy and will also need to have a good game. I'm assuming that Brandon Banks will play some five and six receiver sets. The new import Tolliver will likely start as a receiver and hopefully he pans out as the new 2015 receiver find for the Ticats. The non-import Coates could possibly also see a little bit of time.

The new running back Holley at least had some time in the last pre-season game taking over from the injured running backs. How he does receiving will be important for the offense. Prime is likely the non-import running back. Medlock obviously kicks and punts and it will be interesting what the Cats do on the new points after rule.

On defence, the line will be Justin Hickman as an end, Henry as a tackle and non-import Laurent as another tackle. If Norwood hadn't injured himself in a household accident he would have started (he had 13 sacks in 2014) and I'm not sure who replaces him.

Linebackers are I'm guessing Harris and Reed although without the depth chart I'm not sure exactly who the third is. Rico Murray is unfortunately injured.

In the secondary, Brandon Stewart is likely one of the starting corners with Gainey or Sears as one of the others. Butler a non-import starts at safety.

Calgary obviously has Bo Levi Mitchell and Jon Cornish and the defence will at least have to slow them down. I can see the Cats minimizing production from Cornish but then getting torched from the air. This game could be a shootout although I'm not sure that is recipe for the Cats winning.

Apparently the Cats haven't won their home opener for ten years, which is kind of depressing. Hopefully Collaros comes up with a monster game.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015 CFL Picks Week 1

Well the regular season is already starting. Here we go.

Ottawa at Montreal
I didn't think Alouette quarterback Jonathon Crompton looked good in the pre-season and I didn't think that he was really as great as some said last year. I felt his stats weren't fantastic and Montreal's defence was really good. I wonder if Dan LeFevour will eventually take over as starter from Crompton. Still Montreal is a fairly talented team, especially on offense and GM Jim Popp is usually good at finding import talent (although Michael Sam didn't work out great).

Ottawa has loaded up on receivers, but are still going with the rather ancient by CFL standards Henry Burris at quarterback. Ottawa to me still doesn't have a lot of depth and as a ways to go, although they should be better than last year. Probably not good enough to beat Montreal at home however.
Alouettes 22 REDBLACKS 16 

Hamilton at Calgary
Despite all Hamilton's injuries I still like the club, but they are missing some key parts like DE Eric Norwood and receiver Luke Tasker. They are in Calgary though and Calgary is still the class of the CFL, with most of their team from the Grey Cup winning squad last year around, plus they have Bo Levi Mitchell. The homer in me would like to take Hamilton, but they have historically played Calgary poorly in Calgary. Collaros could have a great game, but that's a lot to depend on.
Stampeders 29 Hamilton 23

Edmonton at Toronto
Technically this is a home game for Toronto but it is being played in Fort McMurray. That's obviously not that far from Edmonton which probably means a pro-Eskimos crowd. And Ricky Ray is still hurt from last year, meaning Toronto has to depend on quarterback Trevor Harris. The Argos have been bought by Bell and Larry Tanenbaum, but they are still probably suffering somewhat from the Braley era of cheap spending in terms of talent beyond Ray. Although they still have Chad Owens

Edmonton is a good team, but the wheels kind of fell off the bus at the end of the season with quarterback Mike Reilly being injured. I'm assuming Reilly is staying healthy to start the season (I'm not sure how long that will last) and thus the Eskimos should be good. And better than the Argos.
Eskimos 23 Argonauts 18

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
I'm not sure exactly how good the Riders will be this year. Last year with Darian Durant in, they were good, without him they were terrible. This year they have Kevin Glenn in as a backup in case Durant goes down again which is something. The Bombers have Drew Willy, who isn't terrible although I'm not sure he's great either. I have to think for this game that home field advantage has to be the deciding factor. Plus the fact that Winnipeg didn't look very good at all in their last pre-season game versus Hamilton.
Riders 24 Bombers 20

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hamilton Ticat Defensive End Eric Norwood Put on Six Game Injury List Due to Household Accident

In a bit of a bizarre story, Eric Norwood was put on the six game injury list due to cutting himself at home. That's a bit of a blow to the Ticats considering their injuries already on the defensive line (Bulcke and Gaydosh). They have defensive end Justin Hickman, tackles Bryan Henry and Ted Laurent who are solid and combined with Norwood that would have a been a good starting front four despite the other injuries. Norwood had 13 sacks last year (and that wasn't in 18 games either) and one would assume that whoever replaces him won't have that production. Hopefully Hickman can produce from the other end spot.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 CFL Post Pre-Season Power Rankings

1. Calgary Stampeders
Wins both pre-season games, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is looking good and they have Jon Cornish. The Stampeders didn't lose that many players in the off-season after winning the Grey Cup. Pretty much every other team in the CFL looks mediocre and with a lot of questions compared to Calgary.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Hamilton does have a lot of injury problems, with Spencer Watt and Linden Gaydosh gone in dual off-season Achilles Heel injuries. Gable and Grigsby are banged up at running back. Eric Norwood is injured as apparently is Luke Tasker. However the Cats do have Zac Collaros apparently healthy at quarterback and still have Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz and Brandon Banks at receiver. The defensive line still has Justin Hickman, Ted Laurent and Brian Hall which is impressive, plus a good linebacking corps. Justin Medlock is a great kicker and an OK punter. Even more injuries to Canadians will definitely hurt the Cats, but for now they should be able to put together a good lineup.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
One could argue that the Eskimos should be ranked higher than the Ticats, but they will basically go as far as quarterback Mike Reilly will take them. The question is how long will Reilly stay healthy as he takes a beating when he plays. The Esks do have a great defensive end in Odell Willis that just makes the defence that much better overall. Nate Coehoorn is a non-import receiver that could be in for an excellent season, plus Adarius Bowman is a good slotback.

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders
With Darian Durant in at quarterback last year the Riders were great, without him they sucked. Durant's injury was somewhat curious so exactly how healthy he is this year is a good question. The Riders have a good roster besides the quarterback position, although they lost a few pieces like Ricky Foley. As long as Durant is healthy, the strong Rider running game can work and combined with their defence they are one of the better teams in the CFL.

5. BC Lions
Is quarterback Travis Lulay healthy. Can he stay healthy or will his shoulder spontaneously put out on an innocuous play in the season opener. I'm leaning towards spontaneously popping out in the first game. Wally Buono generally puts together a good roster (and generally doesn't have much sentimentality (see Paul Mccallum)), so the team won't be totally bad, but the team desperately needs a backup quarterback who is capable of succeeding Lulay. The combination of linebackers Bighill and Elmimian is one of the best in the CFL so the defence should be OK. Non-import running back Andrew Harris playing well is important.

6. Toronto Argonauts
This seems to be the beginning of the end of the Ricky Ray era in Argoland. He's on the six game list, so he can't really count towards this week's power rankings. The Trevor Harris era is beginning at quarterback and at least he looked good against the Alouettes in pre-season. Can Chad Owens stay healthy and make a connection with Harris? The rest of the Argo roster has suffered somewhat under David Braley's lame duck leadership, however GM Jim Barker has been a master at putting together decent teams despite this. The Argos might be better at the end of the season, but before week one they are not great.

7. Montreal Alouettes
Quarterback Jonathon Crompton didn't look good at all in the Als last pre-season game against Toronto. Former Hamilton backup Dan LeFevour looked considerably better, although I don't think the Alouettes have the stones to have him be the starter for the opening game. Personally I never thought Crompton's stats were all that great anyways; Montreal's late season success in 2014 was more about defence than anything Crompton did. Crompton also doesn't have Duron Carter to help him out anymore, although the Als still have SJ Green. One does wonder if signing Michael Sam was a good idea as the hoopla seemed to overshadow the team.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers didn't look good in their last pre-season game against Hamilton. Drew Willy didn't do much when he was at the controls and if he isn't successful, the Bombers will be terrible.

9. Ottawa REDBLACKs
The REDBLACKs looked awful in the first pre-season game in Hamilton and one has to wonder if after winning two games in 2014 if they will be awful again in 2015. The REDBLACKs did sign a bunch of receivers, however if they don't have any quarterbacking, that isn't going to matter. I watched the first pre-season game in person and Ottawa struck me as not having a lot of depth compared to Hamilton. Ottawa may well win three more games than last year but that would still be a five win season.