Week 5 Previews

Over the last week or so – basically since the CFL released those penalty infographics and everyone went nuts, a lot has been written about the CFL’s prospects.  Some of these rants, like Jack Todd’s over-the-top column(that stole my flag reference) or this Rider fan’s open letter to the CFL, are heralding the new rules as the beginning of the end of the CFL.  Others, like Glen Suitor, think the CFL will be all the better after the transition,not unlike the NHL after it clamped down on clutching and grabbing (personally, I still prefer a bigger ice surface, World or Olympic-style).

While I’m not much of a fan of the new rules, I have to admit that they’re not as distracting as I first thought they would be.  However, for the casual CFL fan, they could be a big problem.

The issue is that NONE of the rules – not even the old ones – are being correctly applied on a consistent basis.  CFL Command Centre seems to make up new interpretations every week. Case in point: Last weekend, Rider DB Michael Carter was flagged for “illegal contact that became pass interference”.  First of all: what the h-e-double hockey sticks does that even mean?  Glen Suitor’s explanation that it became pass interference once the ball was thrown has some merit, but based on the replays, the ball was clearly thrown before the contact took place.  Second: the receiver started it.  Now this may sound rather childish, but the new illegal contact rule is supposed to cut both ways.  Third: the contact was minimal.  My concern when the new rules were announced is that even if a DB grazed a receiver, a flag would be thrown.  This play has not assuaged my fears.  For the most part, I do think the referees have been doing a somewhat decent job with the new rules, but in this instance, they got it completely wrong.  The fact that CFL Command Centre upheld the call was ludicrous.

Suffice it to say that the quality of the officiating in the CFL has a long way to go before it gets to the level it needs to be.

Here are this week’s games:

Week 5

And here’s a preview of this week’s games:

  • This game is likely going to be the second shellacking the RODBLACKS will take this year.  The first?  By the Schmoes.  I still can’t believe MATTY ICE beat them that handily two weeks ago.  Anyway, Jon Cornhole appears to be getting his game back after a slow start, but the Stumps still have a ways to go before they even begin to resemble the team that basically steamrolled its way to the Grey Cup last year.  The RODBLACKS pretty much gave away last week’s game, so they’ll have to play their absolute best (which ain’t all that great) in order to be able to even try to keep up with the likes of the Stumps.  Prediction: Stumps by 18
  • The Arblows had last week off, but that likely won’t matter a lot because almost anytime an Eastern Division team travels west, they lose.  Even the mighty mighty Alouettes of the Anthony Calvillo era couldn’t win in BC (although there was that one time where they actually did, but Murray Clark – whom I just realized is no longer a CFL referee [interesting] – whistled the play dead.  That was a problem).  The Next One (Trevor Harris) may be good, but I don’t think he can overcome the time difference.  The Lions did not play all that well last week, but they managed to eke out a win on the road.  Playing at home on dry turf should be a piece of cake compared to last week’s soggy mess that was Taylor Field.  Prediction: Lions by 5
  • Oh, Bumblers.  How I enjoyed watching you bumble your way to a loss last week.  This game is going to come down to which team makes the least amount of mistakes.  Or which team takes the most advantage of the other team’s mistakes.  And given how these teams have played over the last couple of weeks, there will be LOTS of mistakes.  I think MATTY ICE will throw 2 interceptions, and the Bumblers will fumble once and Free (Drew) Willy will throw one interception. Prediction: Schmoes by 3
  • About this week’s game, which we’re attending, my Mama says: “Maybe we’ll actually see the Riders win a game this year!”  Yes, Mama, that would be nice! Coach Chamblin has been surprisingly quiet, especially given last week’s theatrics.  Seems that a loss took a bit of the wind out of his sails.  The Riders continue to be ravaged by injuries, although the Kitty Cats haven’t exactly had it all that easy on the injury front, either.  Hamilton is a bit of an unknown quantity this year; I thought they’d be stronger out of the gate, but they’ve definitely stumbled.  I also thought that Hamilton won a lot at Taylor Field.  I was clearly very wrong.  The Riders’ record against the Kitty Cats as of late has been pretty good, and for some unknown reason, I expect that to continue on Sunday. Prediction: Riders by 8

2015 CFL Preview – Part 1 of 4

One of my work colleagues said he was waiting with ‘bated breath’ (a turn of phrase that I did not believe he had in his vocabulary) for my first CFL note of the year.  And why was he so excited?

Because it’s…


Why yes it is – and it’s about time!

After what felt like an interminably looooooooooong off season, CFL training camps finally got underway this past weekend. And that means three four things:

1. The hockey season is almost done (THANK GOODNESS).

2. Summer is (supposedly) here.

3. Your email inbox will be filled with CFL-centric missives for the next 6 months if you subscribe to this here blog.

4. AND, I will spend an inordinate amount of time writing said CFL-centric missives and finding appropriate pictures to post with them.

Don’t you love this time of year??

As part of my four-part series (yes, four (4) part series) setting up the 2015 CFL season, this week we’ll look at the new rules being implemented by the CFL and highlight a few of the other important changes that occurred around the league during the off-season.

Rule Changes

Kim Murphy and all other CFL refereeing crews are going to be busy this year. (John Mahoney / THE GAZETTE)

The most obvious rule change is moving the convert after a touchdown back to the 32 yard line from the 12 yard line. ‎This is supposed to make single point converts less automatic and tempt coaches to go for a two-point convert more often. Helping make the choice to go for two even more tempting is the rule change bringing the scrimmage for a two-point conversion up to the three yard line, from the five yard line. Personally, I don’t have any major issues with these changes. The two-point convert option is underutilized and it’s a far more exciting play than lining up for a regular convert.

The other major rule change is prohibiting any contact between a receiver and a defender five yards past the line of scrimmage. To me, this change is a complete overreaction to the lack of offence last season. The lack of offence last year can be rather easily explained by the number of starting QBs that suffered major injuries and the number of rookie starting QBs.‎ People will be frustrated for the first half of the season as flags fly on every other play. Defenders will get used to the rule, but it will take some time – and fans will have to be patient. Get ready for some long games during the first few weeks of the season as everyone adjusts to the new rule and Jake ‘Methuselah’ Ireland (he’s gotta be 90 years old by now) and his crew in the CFL Command Centre figure out how to interpret it.

New Commissioner

Quote from a colleague: “He’s done more with his law degree than I have.”

Jeffrey L. Orridge (who, like a true lawyer, still uses his middle initial – even in press releases) was appointed CFL Commissioner earlier this year.  As an American and Harvard law grad, he wasn’t on anybody’s list of top choices for the Commissioner job. A closer look at his resume, though, shows that he brings a wealth of corporate sports experience, including at the international level, and a unique set of skills to the top job. He’ll need those skills to fill the shoes of the affable Mark Cohon, who was a fan favourite.

Other notable league-wide events:

  • The Arblows finally found a home. After a protracted negotiation, MLSE bought Toronto’s least favourite team. The Arblows should fit in well with MLSE’s other commodity, the Leafs – Canada’s least favourite (and most grammatically incorrect) team. The Arblows’ eventual move to BMO Field will hopefully right their sinking ship like it did for Les Alouettes. Regardless, it’s nice to have all nine CFL teams owned by ‎nine different owners again and end the multi-year conflict of interest.
  • The CFL extended its broadcast deal with TSN through 2021. ‎ Unfortunately this probably won’t motivate TSN to get rid of Rod Black anytime soon.

Next time I’ll preview the East Division.