The “staff” over at CFL.CA need to loosen up a bit. Their rankings are more or less spot on, but who wants competent analysis and reasonable opinions? Not me. Who do they think they are, Chris Schultz? I want more “Crazy” Chris Nye (or Jamie Nye, whatever) and his irrational Rider booster-ism or that one guy who’s always breaking CFL news that turns out to be wrong. What’s his name? Does he work for CFL.CA? He should; he’s awesome. And get Jock Climie, too. That sourpuss needs a CFL.CA column where he can just crap all over everyone every week, not just before games over at that tiny TSN CFL desk.
Anyway, here are my reckless and mostly irrelevant observations of the Nissan Titan Power Ranks, in order of the rankings themselves.
- EDMONTON ESKIMOS
This is still a good team, but great football teams require stability and continuity, and with an entirely new coaching staff, Edmonton will struggle. If it was Chris Jones replacing Jason Maas, things might go well, but the other way… nope.
And while we’re at it, crappy things like getting their head coach stolen 48 hours after winning the Grey Cup, or other bullshit stuff like that, used to only happen to the Roughriders. Now the cash-rich Roughriders are returning the favour.
Anyway, yes, the Grey Cup Champions should always be ranked first at the beginning of the next season unless, that is, their entire coaching staff has been removed. However, who else is there to take their place at the top right now? Nobody. So, by default, Edmonton goes first. Enjoy it while it lasts. They’ll likely stay put for at least a month, and then Saskatchewan, Toronto and Hamilton will begin to chip away.
- OTTAWA REDBLACKS
Götterdämmerung! Last season was a Twilight of the Gods thing. Just like Ron Lancaster in 1976, Henry Burris won the league MVP award in 2015 near the end of his career and lost the Grey Cup in heart-breaking last-minute fashion, but those two seasons both represented, respectively, the supernova stage of their spectacular careers. Burris’ 2016 season will be much like Lancaster’s 1977 season, with relatively good numbers but lots of interceptions. More importantly, like Lancaster, Burris will not be able to put the entire team on his shoulders any longer. No Grey Cup for you! (That’s two quasi-Nazi-related references in one paragraph. CFL.CA should try to work that weird stuff into their material. Go easy on the Nazi references, though. This ain’t Monty Python’s Flying Circus.)
Burris still looks like a Norse God in 2016, if Norse Gods were African-American (I believe Loki was Hawaiian), but everything must come to an end. Now, to be clear, Ron Lancaster looked like a rotting bloated green pumpkin run over by a Dad’s Cookies truck near the end of his playing career in 1977 (Bonus 1970s Saskatchewan reference!), but that’s how he looked at the start of his career, too. My point is that while Burris still looks like he can go in 2016, and Lancaster was a dilapidated catastrophe in 1977, Burris is still in the same late stages of his career in 2016 as Lancaster was in 1977. No man can outrun Father Time, even a guy like Burris who looks like he could beat the shit out of a whole decade of Father Times. Lancaster could not have outrun anyone, ever, period. Out-waddle, maybe. (Still the greatest all-time. I’m just saying.)
So, in summary, the 2016 RedBlacks are doomed, just as the 1977 Saskatchewan Roughriders before them. A solid decade of futility awaits. Hit the music, Wagner!
- CALGARY STAMPEDERS
So very tired; so very tired. This team is old and tired. Did I mention tired? And old? More to the point, it is complacent.
Yes-yes, Bo Levi Mitchell is young, but this team just reeks of oldness. Creaky, rickety, dusty oldness. And complacency. Stinky complacency.
By the way, I googled “Calgary Stampeder Quarterback” to make sure I spelled Bo Levi Mitchell correctly (Is “Levi” a middle name or some kind of hyphenated last name? Or is it just some crazy American South or Texas thing?) and it gave me a banner of quarterback notables: Burris! Flutie! Garcia! Kapp! And Daryll Clark? Uh… are you on drugs, google?
Even Jerome Messam, who is correctly described by the Nissan Titan Power Rankings as a “force carrying the rock”, is a sign that this team is old. I think Messam is a wrecking ball, but his career is cursed, and he brings that curse to whichever team he plays for. He is going to murder opposing defenders this year, but it won’t do any good. Calgary will end up in third place this year with a first-round exit from the playoffs. Messam will lead the league in rushing and touchdowns, but his own team won’t even nominate him for Calgary MOP candidate. I’m just saying.
Anyway, Dave Dickenson is going to be the unfortunate victim of this oldness. The Stampeders need to clean house and start over. They’re too complacent right now.
By the way, when I googled “Calgary Stampeder Head Coach” to make sure I spelled “Dave” correctly, I got–Who else?–John Hufnagel. Google, you’re fired!
- TORONTO ARGONAUTS
Head Coach Scott Milanovich is under-rated and should be in the NFL. He consistently builds really good teams from some really spotty talent. His bio is fascinating, too. It also helps that he often has Ricky Ray hucking the ball.
As for the aforementioned Ricky Ray, he is a robot; an escapee from Westworld. Not the HBO Westworld; the Yul Brynner Westworld. Creepy, dead-eyed and relentless. (What the hell kind of a name is Yul? Yul be sorry your name is Yul.)
By the way, when I googled “Toronto Argonauts Head Coach” to make sure I spelt Milanovich correctly, google’s opening page had a picture of him that looked like it was a mug shot of him when he was 25 (he had hair; like, actual hair). Then I saw that the picture was credited to “Mugshots.net”. Cripes, CFL, are you even aware that the Internet exists? It’s bad enough that you are pretending to ignore my spectacular blog, but this is just bone-headed. The poor bastard has to have his mug shot on his opening google page?
- HAMILTON TIGER-CATS
The only reason they did not make it three Grey Cup losses in a row last year was because their quarterback went down. This team should be ranked higher than this, even if it is still waiting for its starting quarterback to return. Their Head Coach is Stone Cold Kent Austin.
As a Saskatchewan fan, I can’t tell if I like Kent Austin or hate him, much like that entire pizza I just ate. However, I cannot deny that Mr. Austin is one of the best coaches that this league has ever seen (that pizza was pretty good, too). All he does is get teams to the Grey Cup. However, no one ever won a Grey Cup by losing a Grey Cup, so it’s time for him to prove that 2007 wasn’t just a Kevin Glenn injury fluke.
Hamilton will quickly rise to the top three of the Nissan Titan Power Rankings for most of the season. I predict another crushing Grey Cup loss this year. They are the Buffalo Bills or Minnesota Vikings of the Canadian Football League. Or the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Always a bridesmaid; never a bride. Actually, as a sports metaphor here, you probably don’t want to be a bride, either.
- WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
Until Winnipeg proves otherwise, no one should be predicting the Blue Bombers will make the playoffs, and they certainly belong at #6 on the Nissan Titan Power Rankings.
Head Coach Mike O’Shea seems like the mildest man in the league. I have no further comment. Move along.
- BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS
This team looks mediocre, with the possible exception of those two linebackers. You know who I’m talking about. Or, you know about whom I’m talking.
This will be a miserable season and Uncle Wally will end up looking like Don Matthews circa 2008.
This crew will not win more than five games, and somehow, all of them will be against the Roughriders.
- SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS
CFL.CA says that this team looks like championship material on paper. Correct! CFL.CA also points out that games aren’t won on paper. Correct! What’s your point, CFL.CA? Always rank the Saskatchewan Roughriders first, period. Once reality sets in after the inevitable Durant injury, you can quietly slide them down to the bottom. Until then, just rank them first, crack a beer open and watch the comment boards light up.
To be clear, I am not predicting another Durant injury, although I will edit this post if an injury happens and then I will claim otherwise, but for now, let’s assume Durant makes it through the season in one piece.
This team will not be setting the league on fire in July and August. There is too much change. The offense and defense will alternate between being good and bad during the first half of the season. One game it will be the defense that lets everyone down; the next, it will be the offense. The team will be a game over or a game under .500 through the first half of the season. Hence, while I am offended by this low initial ranking and I will be lodging an official complaint with CFL Commissioner and amateur Tiny Tim Impersonator Jeffrey L. Orridge, I am prepared to accept this as an innocent mistake caused by an overabundance of common sense. However, common sense is for losers.
The team will gel in the second half, and it will secure first place by the last or second-last game. The Labour Day Classic will be the catalyst. At that point, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have just completed a coaching change. Saskatchewan will be at the top of the Nissan Titan Power Rankings by the end of the 2016 season.
- MONTREAL ALLOUETTES
Montreal has now entered the “How long before this team folds again like the Allouettes and the Concorde before them?” stage of its existence. Anthony Calvillo would be rolling over in his grave if he wasn’t the Allouette’s Offensive Coordinator. Sam Etcheverry will need to do the rolling on this one.
I expect this team to be in Nova Scotia within two years. Meanwhile, this season’s cast of geriatric receivers (outside of Carter, of course) around Kevin Glenn will not turn out to be such a good idea when September arrives.
This team is decomposing just a little further ahead of the Calgary Stampeders as far as the deadly complacency that can settle in when a team is very good for a very long time, and takes success for granted.
So, my congratulations to Nissan Titan Power Rankings for getting this one ranking dead-on correct. Montreal will never rise past #7 this year. This doesn’t make up for the appalling Roughrider ranking mistake, so I expect to see the Roughriders at the top of the Nisson Titan Power Ranks by week two, even though the team doesn’t even play in week one.