Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bombers at Ticats Preview

Not that many changes to the Ticats roster from last week.

The offensive line still has three American starters. The tackles Olson and Lewis are both imports and both rookies, as is the right guard Simmons. The other guard, O'Neill and the centre Filer are Canadian.

Import Koch is one of the starting wide receivers as is Giguere. Ellingson is listed behind Koch so we'll see if he plays this week after missing last week. The slots are imports Grant and Tasker along with Chatham's Fantuz. Gable is the starting running back, with the non-import Prime as the fullback whenever the Cats aren't going with five or six receiver sets. Somewhat interestingly, Matt Coates is listed as a backup to Andy Fantuz. He's interesting as he is a rookie straight from the Hamilton Hurricanes.

LeFevour starts at quarterback, with Masoli and McGee backing up. Medlock kicks and punts, with A rookie, McDuffie as the punt and kick returner.

That would appear to be four Canadian starters on offense, five if Prime is in at fullback with Giguere and Fantuz.

On defence, the ends are both imports, Norwood and Coleman. The tackles are the usual non-imports Laurent and Bulcke, somewhat amusingly backed up by an import Hall.

The starting linebackers are all imports this week, with Lawrence, the hard hitting Bowman and the returning Rico Murray which I assume is the Cats favoured set when healthy. Laval's Plesius backs up after starting last week.

The corners are Breaux and the non-import Stephen. Half-backs are Stewart and Davis, with non-import King as the safety.

That's four Ticat starters on defence.

The Bombers have two American offensive tackles with three Canadians in the middle. In total the Bombers appear to start five Canadians on offense.

The Bombers start three Canadians on defence, including defensive tackle Thomas, dime linebacker Sherman and former Tiger-Cat Bucknor at cornerback.

2014 CFL Prediction Week 6

Winnipeg at Hamilton
Drew Willy versus Dan LeFevour. Who you believe in more is what this game comes down to. The Cats do have have home field advantage here which is definitely important in the CFL as I've posted about many times before. I'll be a bit of a homer here, but I think the Cats have the advantage this game. The Ticats D has looked good the past three games, and I think Drew Willy and the Bomber offense will come out rather flaccid against it. Look for a good game running and blocking by CJ Gable.
Ticats 35, Bombers 29

Toronto at Montreal
This matchup reminds me of the ass to ass scene in the movie Requiem for a Dream. I'm a little surprised that the Alouettes are favoured. The Argos aren't good right now, especially with their receiving corps banged up severely, but Ricky Ray is so much better than Troy Smith that I can't see the Montreal defence playing well enough to win.
Argos 23 Alouettes 19

BC at Calgary
Stamps, unbeaten and at home. Yeah I'm taking Calgary.
Stamps 41 Lions 21

Saskatchewan at Ottawa
I actually thought Ottawa played pretty well in Hamilton last week. Considering the game LeFevour had, the fact the Redblacks were in it until close to the end is impressive. The Riders seem improved so I'll take them, although I don't think the Redblacks are just going to roll over.
Riders 28 Redblacks 26

Is the August 16th Game Against Calgary Going to Be at McMaster

I've received no word as a season ticket holder yet whether the August 16th game will be played at Tim Horton's Field. Being the last day of July, I thought I would have heard by now. Seems quite unlikely at this point, especially considering the photo I posted that I took last Sunday of the stadium.

What about the Labour Day game? They have more than a month, so I would expect they could get the stadium to a state where a game could take place and still meet safety standards. It probably won't be pretty.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

CFL Week 5 TSN Television Ratings; Toronto FC's Television Rankings Suck

Yahoo's Chris Zelkovich has all the television rankings for the weekend for Canadian sports programs (which I'm sure are dwarfed by the Bachelorette's, but what are you going to do).

Once again the three CFL games are on top, although the Yankees Jays games weren't bad.

1. CFL, Bombers at Lions, Friday, TSN: 857,000
2. CFL, Argonauts at Roughriders, Saturday, TSN: 830,000
3. CFL, RedBlacks at Tiger-Cats, Saturday, TSN: 670,000

The CFL games on average were higher than last weeks (and also above last year's average) although sadly the  Ottawa Hamilton game's had the lowest rankings. I'm not sure if Ottawa being a new team should help or hinder their rankings. Nonetheless those big numbers for Western based teams probably means good value for the money for Humpty's and Wendy's. Too bad Hamilton basically has neither.

Zelkovich also reported this nugget:

"DOG OF THE WEEK: Saturday's MLS game between Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City drew a paltry 22,000 viewers to TSN2. Even by TFC's low standards for television, that's alarmingly low considering how much MLSE has invested in this team. It truly is a bizarre situation, with the team selling out its stadium but unable to attract flies to its TV product.
If anyone was hoping for a bump in interest after the World Cup, it obviously didn't happen. A Vancouver Whitecaps game on Sunday did better on the main TSN channel, but still failed to crack the 100,000 mark.
The answer: maybe the only ones who care are the 20,000 who show up at BMO Field."

Ouch. Considering all the money MLSE has spent on TFC transfer fees this season, that's not good for profits as this team needs TV money because just relying on the gate won't cut it. As a Bell shareholder which owns a part of MLSE, let's just say I'm disappointed. 

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 5

1. Calgary Stampeders
Undefeated, beat Edmonton on the road despite a huge number of fans drawn by an epic 50/50 draw. As long as they keep Drew Tate from starting, they're good.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
So they lost to the Stamps at home. If not for an ill-timed third down gamble, there was a possibility to win this game. A lot better than the Eskimos of last year, that's for sure.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Still only one loss and hung on on the Lions last week, who some probably still consider a good team.

4. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Kind of a bipolar team (no offense to bipolar people). Gets waxed by the Argos at home, waxes the Argos on the road. Both the offense and defense it somewhat mediocre.

5. BC Lions
They have two wins so they have to go here. Also all five Western teams are ranked above the Eastern teams, which is amusing.

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Banished from the basement on the strength of a quarterback performance for the ages by Dan LeFevour, the Cats are tied for first in the East with a win. Collaros is apparently out concussed for some time longer, but LeFevour seems like an OK replacement. Pass defence the last two games has been surprisingly good, considering the number of Canadians starting.

7. Toronto Argonauts
Ricky Ray. That's pretty much enough for seventh. Also despite all their receiver injuries, they're cobbling a corps together that isn't totally shit. In theory, when everyone gets healthy there should be some Darwinian battle for starting spots that should lead to good things. That's looking pretty far ahead for power rankings.

8. Ottawa Redblacks
Actually, considering they were on the road and LeFevour's crazy stats, the Redblacks were in this game and had a chance until they couldn't convert a third and two late. A mediocre defence and mediocre receivers (although the just signed Onrea Jones should help, although why he wasn't signed earlier by Ottawa or Toronto for that matter is puzzling) is holding Ottawa back.

9. Montreal Alouettes
Maybe the Alouettes shouldn't have bet on Troy Smith, who some are calling Cleo Lemon 2: Electric Boogaloo. Although Cleo bizarrely managed to win some games for the Argos despite his shitty stats.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Photo of Tim Horton's Field Taken Yesterday

Here's a photo I took yesterday at the old Ivor Wynne site. There's been progress but a lot still needs to be done. I'm skeptical about the August Ticat game taking place there. 

Interestingly I counted seven people working on Sunday, which I have never seen on a previous Sunday. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dan LeFevour Runs and Passes His Way to a Ticat Victory Over the Redblacks at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster

Hamilton gets off the schneid at Ron Joyce at McMaster tonight with a satisfying 33 to 23 victory over Henry Burris and the Redblacks.

Dan LeFevour had a game for the ages. LeFevour went 21 for 30 passing with 361 yards and a TD. He also ran ten times for 109 yards and a TD. He did have a pick, but to me that was more on Koch letting it get ripped from his hands.

C.J. Gable had an excellent game with six rushes for 62 yards and a TD, plus three catches for 105 yards. Seven Cats had a reception.

Stewart and Davis both had six tackles, but Marcellus Bowman made some monster hits on the night. Butler had a nice pick.

If Hamilton had lost, things would have looked pretty grim, but with a home win, albeit at McMaster things are looking up.