NOT THE CFL NISSAN TITAN POWER RANKINGS: 2017 WEEK 11

It is now mandatory for the theme to Jaws be played in the background any time the Saskatchewan Roughriders are mentioned on TSN.

As usual, the “Staff” over at cfl.ca have completely overreacted to current events, this time using the Roughriders’ three game winning streak as a reason to place the team at number two in this week’s Nissan Titan Power Rankings.  Over at tsn.ca, Mr. Cullen, as is his wont, takes a long view of things and places the Roughriders at number four, a far less hysterical reaction to what is, admittedly, a pretty impressive string of Roughrider victories.

Nevertheless, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have made four of the league’s elite quarterbacks look like crap in the last three games.  I say it’s the defensive line putting enough consistent pressure on the quarterback (without actually blitzing) that he cannot take advantage of a relatively weak secondary, combined with the sudden competence of said secondary.

Whatever the reason for this bizarre turn of events, the aforementioned reference to Jaws should be heeded, at least until we find out what happens in Winnipeg this Saturday.  If the Blue Bombers stomp on the Roughriders, as is likely, we can’t exactly dismiss the Roughriders, but the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders Grey Cup Champions Albert Street parade plans can be placed back into mothballs for a while.

Let’s review the Nissan Titan Power Rankings over at cfl.ca and see what fresh hell we have this week.

  1. CALGARY STAMPEDERS

The only reason that the Stampeders are placed at the top of every major CFL power rankings is they are clearly the best team in the league. That’s a pretty flimsy reason if you ask me.

Right now, if this team has any weakness, it’s that they just care too much. Or no; that’s my weakness (see page 2, Résumé).

I am getting sick of seeing that damned sideline horse. I’m just saying.

  1. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

As much as I love seeing my team at number two, I must insist that this is an unwarranted overreaction.  Now, I admit I don’t know much about football, but… actually, I’ll just leave it at that.

However, I can read.  Out of the blue, the Roughriders’ defense is suddenly second only to the Calgary Stampeders in points allowed.  How did that happen?  And the defense is at the top, or near the top, of a bunch of other statistical categories.  Maybe this Jones guy does know what he’s doing.

Huh.

On the offensive side of the ball, I don’t typically trust professional quarterbacks under 40 years of age, but 38-year old quarterback Kevin Glenn is playing like a 40-year old Tom Brady (not counting Thursday might; ugh) or maybe a 41-year old Grey Cup MVP Henry Burris. It helps that Mr. Glenn has a receiving corps that, including the guys who can’t even get into the starting lineup, can kill you to death six ways from Sunday. Whatever the exact reason for this youngster to be putting up these crazy numbers, I have to hand it to Mr. Glenn for overcoming his youth and inexperience.

Anyway, I’m not ready to completely climb aboard the Roughrider bandwagon yet, although I have already booked my flight (Air Canada) and hotel (Lord Elgin) for the Grey Cup.  That’s what constitutes not jumping on the bandwagon for a member of Rider Nation.

We’ll have to see what happens in Winnipeg this weekend.  A win means I will be tattooing “2017 Grey Cup Champions Saskatchewan Roughriders” on my chest, right next to the 1981 and 1997 Grey Cup tattoos. A loss will turn me into a mere puddle of a man, or at least more of a puddle of a man.

I’ll still get the tattoo.

  1. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Okay, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, if that is your real name, let’s see what you got. I am predicting a historic pounding of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Don’t make me look silly.  Or sillier.

You’ll never go broke betting against the Roughriders.  However, I wouldn’t bet a lot of money this time.  I’m still not sure if we are seeing the rise of an unstoppable monster or the last gasp of the Chris Jones era in Regina.

  1. EDMONTON ESKIMOS

I know we are all supposed to be terribly impressed that Derel Walker is back with the Eskimos, but he is going to have a major case of NFL-it is, so we should not be expecting much from him.

NFL-itis is the condition that inflicts CFL players who get a brief taste of the NFL.  They always come back as damaged goods.  Over the long term, they might return to greatness, but there is always an initial letdown.

Having said the above, in a perfect world for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos will lose this weekend, allowing the Roughriders a realistic chance of being tied for second place in the West in two weeks (after dispatching the hapless Hamilton Tiger-Cats next week).  However, things rarely go that smoothly for the Roughriders, so for that reason alone, I am predicting an Eskimo victory this weekend over the mighty Calgary Stampeders.

  1. OTTAWA REDBLACKS

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  None of the East Division teams should be placed higher than any West Division teams unless they actually beat a West Division team.  Otherwise, don’t waste my time with this malarkey.

Both tsn.ca and cfl.ca rank Ottawa higher that the British Columbia Lions.  Shame on you all.

  1. BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS

Look how the mighty have fallen!  It’s one thing to suffer a mid-season stumble, but when you end up being ranked below an East Division Semi-Pro team, that’s when you need to question your very existence.

If this team can’t beat the Montreal Alouettes tonight, it’s time to fold the franchise.  And I don’t mean move the franchise to Atlantic Canada or some damned place, I mean fold it right up and burn the uniforms.  Even those cool ones they never wear anymore.

  1. TORONTO ARGONAUTS

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  If you can’t beat the worst team in the league, you are the worst team in the league.  This ranking is too high.

  1. MONTREAL ALOUETTES

I still really like Darian Durant as a person and as a player, but Saskatchewan GM and Head Coach Chris Jones is looking pretty clever right now.  Now, I also believe that the Roughriders would have a better record if Mr. Durant was still the team’s quarterback, but I don’t know anything about football.

The Alouettes are kinda like the CFL’s Masters team. They travel to the league cities as part of a goodwill publicity tour: “See the Legends of Yesteryear Before they Retire!” It reminds me of an elderly Harlem Globetrotters, except they mostly lose to the Washington Generals every night.

I will be delighted if the 2017 Grey Cup pits a resurgent Darian Durant against the Saskatchewan Roughriders (I’ll also take an Ottawa/Saskatchewan 1976 revenge matchup), but right now this team looks old and tired.

A visit to Vancouver this Friday night, which will keep half this team up way past their bedtimes, ain’t gonna help.

  1. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

There is something not right about Hamilton Head Coach June Jones.  He looks like a head coach from the 1950s who is still complaining about the switch from leather helmets.

“What a bunch pansies!!  This ain’t ballet!  It’s football! In my day, if I didn’t have three concussions before breakfast, I’d throw myself in front of a train for lunch.”

Anyway, this team is going nowhere, and hiring a head coach who probably needs his grandchildren to operate the sideline Ipads is not the answer.

“What are these things?!  Computers?!  They look like cafeteria trays!  This is football, not art class!  In my day, we used clipboards!  Made of stone! And we used them to give each other our pre-game concussions!”

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