Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ticats Owner Bob Young Fined $10K For Criticizing CFL Officiating

The Scratching Post is reporting that the league has fined Bob Young ten large for criticizing a particular offside call in last week's Hamilton Toronto game at Dead Ted's Dome:

At issue is a fourth quarter offside call against the Ticats which gave Toronto a second chance after Hamilton stopped them on third-and-short near the Ticat goal line. But Hamilton was flagged for offside and the Argos used their second chance to score the winning points in a 26-24 victory.

“The biggest 'controversy' is not so much the call itself, but is the Toronto GM coaching the sideline judge during the play. The result was the official called a very marginal penalty,” Young wrote. “At the very least there should have been two penalties. The other for objectionable conduct to Toronto for their GM's blatant and successful attempt to influence an official on the field.”

I remember some calls against the Cats in that quarter, but I'm not sure exactly which one this referred to. I do remember Plesius being called for offside, but I'm thought that one wasn't on third down. Certainly was an important call in determining how the game turned out. Also pretty weird that Barker was down there right on the sideline.

A Look at the Last Hamilton at Toronto Game's Statistics

Here's a look at the stats from the Ticats 26 to 24 loss in Toronto.

Certainly one aspect of the game was how poor the Ticats, especially the offense played in the first quarter. Toronto outscored the Ticats 15 to 0, although it could have been worse as the Ticats defence
managed to hold the Argos from scoring multiple TDs.

Zach Collaros ended up having a statistically good game with 335 yards passing from 24 completions out of 36 attempts. Collaros had 3 passing TDs versus one interception. Curiously Collaros had no rushing attempts at all. Which to me seems a bit problematic, as a few runs by Collaros
would mix it up a bit for the Argos defence.

The Ticats had basically no rushing overall, with former Bomber Nick Grigsby rushing six times for six yards. Curiously Grigsby who had a lot of catches as a Bomber had none in this game, although obviously he just showed up in Hamilton. Madu had three rushes for six years returning for injury. Madu also had five catches 39 yards.

One issue for the Cats in this game was no Andy Fantuz, which I think was part of the woes the Ticats offense had in the first quarter. Fantuz is good at getting open and that option wasn't there and Collaros seemed to have trouble in the first quarter. There was again no Greg Ellingson either in this game.

Luke Tasker emerged as the primary receiver with nine catches and 138 yards. Giguere had a decent game with the three catches for 66 yards taking over at slotback for Fantuz. Banks and
Sinkfield had three catches each. Bakari Grant only had one catch for three yards which seems odd. Former Hamilton Hurricane Coates who has had a few catches over the past few games had no catches but started at Giguere's usual wide receiver spot most likely due to ratio issues.

Defensively only Reed from the middle linebacker spot was credited  with a sack while also having a forced fumble. Lawrence had two forced fumbles and Justin Hickman had one, while Rico Murray
had the interception. I remember Hall and Hickman having both a pass knockdowns although I can't verify it online (which is sad because while not being as good as a sack, for a defence a pass knockdown is an excellent result).

One statistical difference of note between the Argos and Ticats that  I think was important was the difference in punting average between Medlock and Swayze "Don't Call Me Patrick" Waters.

In perfect conditions inside Dead Ted's Dome, Medlock had a  42.9 yard average with 50 as his longest punt whereas Waters averaged a massive 51.8 yards. There was several times in the game where it looked like the Ticats would going to get good field position after forcing the Argos to punt and Waters ended up booming one and the Cats ended up with mediocre field position. Medlock's
kicking has been excellent, however his punting left something to be desired in comparison to Water's punting in this game.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

John Tory Wins Toronto Mayoralty, Good for the Argonauts?

So Tory has defeated Doug Ford, but a not particularly remarkable 6% and is now the mayor of Toronto. Of course of interest to CFL fans is the fact that Tory was also a former commissioner of the CFL in the 90s, including during some pretty dark days for the league.

Obviously with Toronto the current problem franchise for the CFL and owner David Braley being somewhat of a lame duck owner, having a former CFL commissioner as the mayor has to help. The biggest roadblock currently for the Argos is finding a way to play at TFC's BMO field and that involves dealing with Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment, the owner of the Leafs, Raptors and TFC.

Rob Ford certainly liked the Argos, however he was also a pretty big fan of bringing the NFL to Toronto (which somewhat like Quebec separatism seems to be on life support with the Bills having new owners). Somehow I don't think Tory will be leading a renewed NFL to Toronto charge (although there are rumours of the St Louis Rams leaving albeit back to LA not Toronto).

Hopefully Tory can find a way to facilitate a move of the Argos to BMO Field, while not totally screwing the Argos out of revenue from game day concessions and the like. The renewal of sponsorship for the facility is coming up and one would have to think that having the Argos at the stadium would be valuable for whoever the new sponsor is.

Certainly part of the value of the sponsorship for BMO is the fact it is right on the Gardner and a lot of drivers go by it everyday (part of the rationale of the Tiger-Cats having a stadium at Confederation Park besides the QEW and also why the Ticats want a city approved sign by the QEW (which the Ontario Ministry of Transportation doesn't want)). However the Argos draw considerably more viewers on television than TFC (whose viewership frankly is pathetic) across the country which would be valuable to a company like BMO which is national. The Argos should get some of this additional value, although I'm sure MLSE doesn't think the same (the Tim Horton's Field naming rights are rumoured to between $1 and $1.5 million)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ticats Lose to Argos and Lose 2014 Harold Ballard Cup

The Ticats lost to the Argos after being ahead late (and being behind early), losing the season series to the Argos and probably more importantly the playoff tie breaker with the Argos. The Cats looked weak early, with almost no yards gained in the first quarter, although the defence mostly held. Missing Andy Fantuz seemed to hurt Collaros in the first quarter.

I'll take a bigger look at the stats tomorrow, but this game was certainly disappointing. The Cats pretty much have to win against Ottawa and Montreal to guarantee a playoff spot in their last two games.

Not as big a deal, but the Tiger-Cats also lost the Harold Ballard Cup after winning it last year., named after the deceased former Ticat and Maple-Leafs owner. The Argos did have the advantage in having two of the three games at home (although for both games there was a large contingent of Ticats fans.

Luke Tasker played a great game in Andy Fantuz's absence. The Cats have also been missing Greg Ellingson at receiver at help which also hurts.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Go for 2014 Harold Ballard Cup and Playoff Spot

The Tiger-Cats are going for their second consecutive Harold Ballard Cup (presented to the season series winner between the Ticats and the Argonauts) in Toronto this afternoon. Both teams have won a single game and both games were by a single point. If this game ends in a tie, what's the tie breaker?  The Cats won the 2013 Harold Ballard Cup.

Ticat notable injuries are Andy Fantuz (that's not good), Cary Koch (meh), Marcellus Bowman (not great), Ted Laurent (very bad), Ellingson yet again (not great). Not having Bulcke and Laurent kind of screws with the Ticats ratio plans of having two defensive line starters and they'll have to cope with none. Playing three Americans on the offensive line, somewhat constrains them, although at least they have two other defensive Canadian starters. Not have Fantuz obviously hurts with ratio as well.

At least the Cats have Madu back at running back.

Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 18

Montreal at Ottawa
An obviously important game for Montreal. An emotional game overall considering the week's past events in Ottawa. I expect the REDBLACKS to actually play a better game because of the events. However Montreal's defence is just too strong.
Alouetttes 24 REDBLACKS 20

Saskatchewan at Calgary
I'm assuming that the Riders are going with Kerry Joseph again at quarterback, but I don't think it will matter much even with Jon Cornish skipping the game. However Calgary doesn't really need to care much anymore the rest of the regular season. I still think Calgary wins though.
Stampeders 33 Roughriders 25

Hamilton at Toronto
This game is interesting. Toronto didn't look good last week, while Hamilton only looked OK at home versus Ottawa. Hamilton will likely have enough fans for it to be close to a neutral site game. I think Toronto just doesn't have the horses late in the season though.
Tiger-Cats 25 Argonauts 23

BC at Winnipeg
I'm assuming that with all the Bomber quarterback injuries this game isn't going to be easy even if Winnipeg is at home. The Lions haven't impressed me lately, but Glenn has had a lot of time as the quarterback, so they have the advantage.
Lions 28 Bombers 24

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 17

1. Calgary Stampeders
Calgary just keeps winning and Bo Levi Mitchell is back. No doubt after clinching the top seed in the West and the bye, the Stamps will let up some. They will still be the best team though.
2. Edmonton Eskimos
It was close versus the Riders and they were down at the half, but ultimately the Eskimos prevailed. 
3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Sure it was against the REDBLACKS and they only won by ten, but it was a really windy game and the Cats mostly outplayed the REDBLACKS. Injuries are becoming a little concerning for the Ticats especially at running back, although surprisingly Sinkfield and Carter had well over 100 yards rushing between them.
4. Montreal Alouettes
This was a really important game for the Alouettes and they came in to Dead Ted's Dome (may he burn in the fires of expensive mobile bills) and beat the Argos, mostly with good defence, although Crompton's completion percentage was an excellent 70% (although his yards per pass attempt honked at 7.4 yards, indoors).
5. Toronto Argonauts
Ricky Ray didn't look very good in this game and it was at home. The Argos defence was OK, but ultimately failed to stop Crompton when they had to. The Argos pretty much have to win this week against Hamilton, or they are screwed out of a playoff spot.
6. BC Lions
Didn't play so there's not a lot to evaluate them with. Apart from blasting Ottawa, haven't looked good of late. 7. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders were ultimately better with Kerry Joseph as quarterback as opposed to Sunseri or Doege. However they're not good enough at this point in the season, despite probably having the best team besides the quarterback position.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
At least the Bomber didn't get blown out at home. Is former high school wunderkind Brohm out for the season after playing an OK game? Looks like the Bombers will not be in the playoffs again.
Only allowed the Cats to score 16 points at home, albeit on a windy night. On the other hand the REDBLACKS only scored six themselves and didn't look at all dangerous on offense. Maybe it is time for the REDBLACKS to look at some other quarterbacks. Henry Burris is a known quantity. Maybe some kid has some talent.