Saturday, October 18, 2014

Toronto Star Article on John Tory and the CFL

The Toronto Star has a good article about Toronto mayoral candidate John Tory and his time as CFL commissioner.

I have to think with Tory likely to win an election (for once) that has to be good news for the Argos trying to make a deal to move into BMO field.

Friday, October 17, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 17

Ottawa at Hamilton
Could Hamilton shit the bed here? Sure. I would expect though that after losing a heart breaker against the Argos in Dead Ted's Dome the Ticats will be itching to lay a beating. One issue, no Madu this week or Gable so there will be a new running back. Of late, the Ticats have really relied on the running back catching passes, especially if Collaros is in trouble. Madu had good hands, but wasn't a particularly great runner, so expect maybe a bit more running from Hamilton.
Tiger-Cats 33 REDBLACKS 22

Montreal at Toronto
Interesting game not just because the game means a lot in the standings, but also that the teams are somewhat close. Montreal has somewhat inexplicably won five of six. Crompton has emerged as a reasonable starter and far better than his predecessors (including the now departed Troy Smith). However Ricky Ray is still a far better quarterback at this stage and has Chad Owens. Montreal has a good defence, but the Argos have home field advantage.
Argonauts 29 Alouettes 24

Calgary at Winnipeg
Winnipeg is in free fall, sucking and releasing running backs. Bo Levi Mitchell is back and the Stamps can clinch first in the West. This does not go well for Winnipeg. Expect Mike O'Shea to do a slow burn on the sidelines.
Stampeders 41 Blue  Bombers 29

Edmonton at Saskatchewan
So rumours are that Kerry Joseph starts for the Riders. A desperate move but somewhat understandable. Still Edmonton looked good last week and if the Riders try and run a ton (which is pretty likely) the Eskimo defensive line is going to have a good day.
Eskimos 33 Roughriders 19

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Montreal Alouettes Release Troy Smith

Well that took forever. The Alouettes have finally released former NFL and Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith after basically sucking all year and being supplanted by Crompton as the Als quarterback.

Smith had a 52.6% completion percentage in 2013 and then an even lower Michael Bishop like number of 47.7% this year. I'm a little surprised that Smith was kept around for so long, considering he was probably getting a reasonable salary.

Smith seemed like one of those dubious CFL experiments where someone washed up in the NFL gets heralded upon arriving in the CFL. Like Chad Johnson. Who I also wonder about.

CFL Week 16 Television Ratings

Chris Zelkowich has the Canadian weekend sports television ratings out for last weekend here.

The CFL had a decent weekend, placing fifth, sixth, seventh and thirteenth with considerable hockey and NFL competition. Both the NFL and NHL benefits from being broadcast over the air versus CFL viewers only able to view if they have cable and TSN.

5. CFL, Bombers at Eskimos, Monday, TSN: 843,000
6. CFL, Roughriders at Alouettes, Monday, TSN: 782,000
7. CFL, Ticats at Argonauts, Friday, TSN: 636,000
13. CFL, RedBlacks at Lions, Saturday, TSN: 424,000

It is a little disappointing that the Ticats and Argos didn't draw better considering the ending, but I noticed while attending the game that some Argos fans left early so maybe some viewers did too, as it looked dire for the Argos for a while.

The BC Ottawa game was a little disappointing, although with Ottawa way out of the playoffs and the game a blowout, not particularly surprising. Zelkovich does point out that the Senators didn't draw a lot of fans:

"But Ottawa-Tampa Bay on Sportsnet One attracted only 112,000 and the Washington-Boston game on FX was watched by a paltry 15,000. Even Toronto FC outdid that (55,000 on TSN.)"

TFC has continued their week ratings. How MLSE expects to make a profit on the team with massive transfer signing bills and no television revenues is a mystery.

The Bombers and Eskimos managed the highest CFL ratings on Thanksgiving even though it was blowout.

2014 CFL Power Rankings Week 16

1. Calgary Stampeders
Didn't play last week so they couldn't embarrass themselves out of the top rank. Also a week off probably helps them out a lot with Cornish and Mitchell. Besides the Stamps have pretty much locked up the top seed in the West so I'm not sure about them doing their best best in the regular season from now on.

2. Edmonton Eskimos
Absolutely hammered Winnipeg. Which isn't saying much. Still they've got Reilly healthy and a good defence.

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Ticats lost a heart breaker to the Argos in Dead Ted's Dome by a single point after being way up. Still only losing by a point away is pretty much a victory on neutral ground in my book. Collaros is looking good and the defence now seems capable of sacking the opposing quarterback. Apart from shitting the bed in the last five minutes of the last game.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Ricky Ray is a good quarterback, you can't deny that. After playing mostly mediocre football last game, Ray and the Argos were able to turn it on late. Not much of a run game, but the team is certainly better when Chad Owens is playing.

5. BC Lions
Absolutely hammered the REDBLACKS at home. That's something I guess. Not having Andrew Harris didn't seem to hurt, although Antolin rushing for 157 yards on 17 carries is an adequate replacement. A little hard to judge the Lions against such a crappy team.

6. Montreal Alouettes
The Alouettes also hammered a team, namely the Riders. However the Riders were afraid to pass and were on the road, which generally isn't a good combo. Crompton has emerged as an OK CFL quarterback and the Alouettes decent is serviceable. Meh.

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Yes the Bombers sucked against Edmonton on the road. However the Eskimos are a good team and Willy is better at quarterback than whatever the Riders have. Still it is interesting to see the Bombers collapse after such a good start and will pretty much miss the playoffs. There's always next year, which is pretty much the Bomber fan mantra considering how long it has been since they've won the cup.

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
I would say that Sunseri sucks at quarterback, but in the last game against the Alouettes he only had 13 attempts with eight completions so it is a little hard to judge. But overall from his oeuvre of play this year Sunseri sucks. So much so that the Riders have went out and signed crotchety quarterback Kerry Joseph. Who will probably be an improvement over Sunseri and Doege, but the team will still be crap. And will still make the playoffs with a 9 and 6 record.

Oh Ottawa. Hopefully next year goes better.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Upper West Stands Won't Be Ready for the October 17th Game Against Ottawa

Forgot to mention that the Ticats have told season ticket holders that the Upper West stands won't be ready for the next game against the REDBLACKS. The last game of the season is November 8th against Montreal, so there has to be a good chance they will ready for that game. Although considering the history, one might bet against it.

If the Cats hold a playoff game, there's one more chance as well. If the Cats don't host a playoff game, there's a chance the stadium won't be finished for a home game at all in 2014.

Thoughts on the Ticats Loss in Toronto, Harold Ballard Cup All Tied Up

I attended the Ticats game at the Rogers Centre on Friday against the Argos, which the Ticats ended up blowing a big lead and losing 34 to 33. Being in the stadium was fun as a Ticat fan for majority of the game until the Argos managed to win with two late TDs. My section was mostly an Argo one, although there were plenty of Ticat fans overall and certainly by sound, Ticats plays were cheered loudly (my guess is that the average Ticat fan was at least thrice as loud as the average Argo fan).

The Argos outscored the Ticats 21 to 3 in the final quarter versus the Cats outscoring the Argos 30 to 13 through the first three quarters. Did the Argos make the biggest comeback in the CFL this year? One related point I've made about the Ticats is that the truly good teams in the CFL step on the throats of an opposing team when they get ahead and keep scoring points to absolutely guarantee victory. The Cats were almost there this game, but basically needed another field goal.

The Tiger-Cats did actually have a good chance to win at the end of the game when Sinkfield managed to return the Argos kickoff after the go ahead TD to the Ticats' 51 yard line with around a minute left (Sinkfield actually had a fabulous game returning kickoffs and punts). With the game indoors and having Medlock, that wouldn't have required many yards for a field goal. But the Ticats managed to totally screw up that possession, ending it with a bad snap on a long third down.

Stats wise, Collaros had a pretty good game, going 23 for 32 for 302 yards with two TDs throwing and no picks. Collaros also had seven runs for 65 yards and at TD which is impressive.

Madu had a great day catching the ball with 87 yards on six catches, but only 14 yards on three runs. The Cats don't use the running back to run much, but do use the position as almost the primary receiver. Fantuz had a good day with seven catches for 77 yards and a TD and Tasker had three catches for 71 yards and a TD. Tasker has emerged as the best import receiver.

One interesting reception, Matt Coates caught a single pass for fifteen yards. Who's Matt Coates? I had to look him up. He's a rookie non-import (23 years old, 6'3" 197 lbs.) who came from the Hamilton Hurricanes rather than the CIS or NCAA. I assume he was on the roster for special teams, but another no-import receiver making a catch besides Giguere and Fantuz is always news.

The Cats defence also had a good game until the fourth quarter. Lineback Taylor Reed led with seven tackles. Norwood is also having a great year a defensive end, with six tackles and three sacks, putting him at 11 sacks on the year. Hickman had a tackle. Non-import defensive tackle Ted Laurent had a sack, putting him at seven sacks, which is good for an interior defensive lineman.

Ricky Ray didn't look good for the first three quarters, but ended up with good stats, with 34 completions on a massive 48 attempts for 431 yards, three TDs and a pick. Ray has to be coming close to being a lock for the eastern nominee for most outstanding player, which he won last year (but not the overall award).

Chiles had a great day, with eight receptions for 123 yards. Chad Owens also had a great day with 109 yards from six catches and the game winning TD.

One last thing, the Harold Ballard trophy race (presented to which ever team wins the season series between Toronto and Hamilton) is tied, with each team having a win apiece and the total points scored also tied. If the Cats and Argos tie their next game, I'm not sure what the tie breaker is.