Let’s start off this edition with some dancing, because it’s FRIDAY!
I have no idea what the ‘Dougie’ is, but I love John Beck’s enthusiasm and commitment to it!
After the big shakeup in Riderville last week and the buildup to the exciting weekend of football that is the Labour Day Weekend, it was a comparatively slow week in the CFL as teams dug in and prepared for their upcoming rematches. So let’s get to it!
Here are this week’s games:
So far I am 23/44 in terms of my picks this season. Considering how unpredictable the CFL has been this year, I don’t think that’s too bad of a ratio.
Here are my picks for this week:
Hamilton v. Toronto
Neither team has had a lot of time to prepare for this game, as they just played on Monday. I’d blame the CFL, but unfortunately Arblows have to take whatever they can get from Rogers in terms of available dates at Rogers Centre. It’ll be so much better when the Arblows are out from under the thumb of Rogers and take up residence at BMO Field. Anyway…
Arblows’ Head Coach Scott Milanovich quickly put any rumours about a QB controversy to rest this week, stating that Trevor Harris will be the Arblows’ QB going forward basically until he gets hurt. I don’t know how much I believe that, but psychologically, Milanovich had to make that statement so that Harris can play without feeling like he has to look over his shoulder every play.
In my humble opinion, the Kitty Cats are getting stronger every week. Sad Sack Collaros had a career game last week, and given the short week, Toronto’s defence isn’t going to have time to make a lot of adjustments. I think Hamilton will win this game handily.
Prediction: Hamilton by 12
Saskatchewan v. Winnipeg
Even as the Chamblin-Taman regime fades into the recesses of Rider history, we continue to get little bits of information as to what life was like for Rider players under Chamblin’s watch. Take this quote from Jeff Knox Jr.:
“It’s all about what Coach Dyce lets us do,’’ Knox said after Wednesday’s closed practice at Mosaic Stadium. “He told us to go out there, play free, don’t worry and play mistake-free and we’ll correct it on the film. That was good for all of us to hear and not be worried about being screamed at on the sidelines. We could go out there and play with a clear head in a big game. It makes it a lot better having someone tell you just to go out there and play football.’’
And this one:
“Positive reinforcement is better,’’ said Knox, who leads the Riders with 58 defensive tackles and nine special-teams tackles. “We’re in a tight football game and those guys are football players like us and they get paid to play ball just like we do. Unfortunately we’re going to make mistakes. It’s better to from someone to say ‘’keep pushing’’ than to say ‘’you’re doing bad.’ ’’
It’s also pretty clear that having Chamblin run the defence led to many communication issues:
“There has been a lot of voices, a lot of pressure and a lot of things happening,’’ Quick said. “Now there are less moving pieces. Just the simplification of the communication process and the simplification of the hierarchy, all that led to our players being more relaxed.’’
Hopefully the Riders will keep progressing and manage to go into Winnipeg and beat the Bumblers, who are reeling (see sad Mike on the right). They fired their special teams coordinator (honestly – special teams was the least of the Bumblers’ problems last week) and quickly announced that recent acquisition Matt Nichols, aka MATTY ICE, will start on Saturday.
The Riders have a decent record in the Banjo Bowl, but I’m betting that MATTY ICE won’t have had enough time to get comfortable with Marcel Bellefool’s offence, as simple as it is. I also think the Riders will continue to improve as they got over the hump by getting their first.
Nevertheless, the rivalry is still fun.
Prediction: Saskatchewan by 8
Calgary v. Edmonton
It was an interesting week in Stumps-land, as it was announced that Jon Cornhole is set to return to the Stumps’ line up next week, and John Hufnagel was forced to release a statement to quash rumours that he was set to jump ship to the Riders in the offseason:
“In response to rumours regarding my future in the Canadian Football League with a club other than the Calgary Stampeders, I feel the need to express the fact that I am extremely happy and proud to be a member of the Stampeders, I’m under contract with the club beyond the 2015 season and I intend to honour that commitment. I’m very pleased with our organization and all we have achieved, and I look forward to many future successes. After reconfirming these intentions to our fans, players and organization, I hope everyone’s focus remains entirely on having a tremendous 2015 season, not speculation or false rumours about the future.”
When I heard this, my face was basically like Charleston Hughes’ up there. Honestly, I can’t seen Hufnagel coming over to the Riders. But, I fully support the person who started the rumour, because it distracted the Stumps. However, I don’t think it distracted them enough to allow the Schmoes to beat them – even if Mike Reilly is back.
Prediction: Calgary by 4
Ottawa v. BC
This is a match up of geriatric QBs, as 34 yeard old John Beck takes on 40 year old Henry Burris. While the rest of this week’s games are rematches, the poor Leos, RODBLACKS and Alouettes don’t have a proper rivalry among them. So sad, but too bad.
As it’s after Labour Day, the playoff race has truly begun. The Lions are 3rd in the West and need a win to basically eliminate the Riders from playoff contention. Yes – the 1-9 Riders are still technically in the playoff race. In the East, a win by Ottawa would give the RODBLACKS a four point lead over the Alouettes and would go a long way to solidifying their grip on 3rd place in the East.
So while this game doesn’t have a rivalry to create excitement, it does have important playoff implications.
Then again, Emmanuel Arceneaux was running his mouth off again this week…
Prediction: BC by 6