NOT THE CFL NISSAN TITAN POWER RANKINGS: SEMIFINAL WEEKEND

The Saskatchewan Roughriders never sell out home playoff games. What is the matter with you people? Is it the weather?  Let me tell you something about the weather.

I sat through the 2010 West Final at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.  It was a thousand below.  That’s what real members of Rider Nation do.  They go to games under ridiculous conditions, freeze, and then get their toes amputated.  If you are a member of Rider Nation with all your fingers and toes still intact, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  In for a penny, in for a pound. (The 2013 West Final in Calgary was no picnic, either, but I was there.)

Here are my thoughts on what the Mighty and Holy Staff at CFL.CA had to say this week in its CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings.

  1. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

I really wish the Blue Bombers had crossed over to the East because I like everything about this team.  They could have certainly handled anything that either the Hamilton Tiger-Cats or the Ottawa REDBLACKS! would have thrown at them.  But the Blue Bombers ain’t gonna win at Mosaic against a jacked up Roughriders team.

The 31-0 blowout in Winnipeg last month was an aberration that has created a false narrative; Fake News if you will.  The Blue Bombers think they’re all that, and they are all that, but they’re not all that that. CFL prognosticators across this great nation, including the Staff that puts out the CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings, have perpetuated this myth, and now the Blue Bomber are believing their own press.

They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.

(The same goes for President Trump, but the way.)

  1. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

Here comes the whirlwind.  This week’s West Semifinal at Mosaic Stadium will be a demolition.  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be blown out. They have no idea what’s coming.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are a tightly wound spring that will burst, offensively and defensively, all over the Blue Bombers this Sunday.

The defense will be ready to tear holes in the Blue Bombers, having sat around with nothing to hit for two weeks and still smarting from those aforementioned 31 points in Winnipeg.

I fully expect Marcus Thigpen to be brought online and added to the fresh lumber possessed by Cameron Marshall and the steady jackhammery of Patrick Lavoie to create a nasty, explosive and unpredictable ground game.

A calm, solid and experienced Zach Collaros will methodically carve up a Blue Bomber secondary using receivers that are less experienced than I would like, but nevertheless capable of highlight-reel receptions on almost every play.

Giving Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach, defensive coordinator, general manager, Vice-President of Football Operations, and guy who appears to have no life outside of football, Chris Jones, an extra week to prepare for a playoff game is like giving a guy who has no life outside of football an extra week to game-plan for a possibly career-defining playoff run.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have no chance.  Nothing.

I have one tiny, tiny inconsequential doubt; barely worth mentioning, really.  I was watching the 2010 and 2013 playoffs on Youtube.  If Weston Dressler has a good game for the Blue Bombers this Sunday, that might change everything. But let’s just move on; dumdee dumdum… nothing to see here.

  1. OTTAWA REDBLACKS!

These guys have a bye so I have nothing to say.  Nothing!

Well, one thing.  I would not be opposed to a REDBLACKS!/Roughriders Grey Cup since we will have our revenge for 1976. And to a lesser degree, 1969.

  1. CALGARY STAMPEDERS

The cracks are starting to show in the Stampeders.  They are lucky to have held on to first place.  The victory over the British Columbia Lions last week was merely the result of a Lions team that had nothing to play for.  As weird as it is for the team with the best record in the league to be ranked fourth, it is the correct ranking.

By the way, the effort to bring a CFL team to Halifax seems to be focused on the issue of a stadium.  I don’t know why.  The Calgary Stampeders have done very well for years without a CFL stadium. Uhthankyouverymuch.

  1. BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS

One and done, folks; one and done.

  1. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

I am hoping for a Tiger-Cats/Roughriders Grey Cup, just so we can have our revenge for 1967 and/or 1970.  Some might argue that our revenge was 1989 or 2013, but those people are wrong. You can never have enough revenge.

  1. EDMONTON ESKIMOS

I can’t see Edmonton Eskimos Head Coach Jason Maas making it through to next season, but the real interesting question is whether Mike Reilly sticks around.

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders do not win the Grey Cup this year (and even if they do win), I suspect they will be in the market for a new quarterback next year, and while there have been murmurings of Mr. Reilly heading west to BC, he would be crazy not to head to Saskatchewan.

Mr. Reilly ain’t getting any younger and the only weakness in the Roughriders is their quarterback.  If Mr. Reilly really wants to win, being plugged into a stacked Roughriders team for two or three years of Grey Cup appearances ain’t the worst plan in the world.  Going to BC or staying with the Eskimos means playing out your career on rebuild projects.

When Mr. Collaros is not concussed, he is a perfectly acceptable and occasionally outstanding quarterback with plenty of gas left in the tank.  I actually see plenty of “up-side potential” for him next year if he sticks around the Roughriders.  However, his porcelain nature is an obvious drawback that has to be considered, especially given his salary.  If the Roughriders are already dropping $430,000 on a starting quarterback, adding another hundred thousand for a new quarterback like Mr. Reilly will not break the bank or mess too badly with the salary cap.

Earlier I thought that head Coach Chris Jones would be trying to nab Mr. Manziel since Mr. Jones loves athletic playmakers, but if Mr. Reilly is willing to listen to offers, I think Mr. Jones could be quite persuasive.

And I understand Mr. Jones and Mr. Reilly know each other.  Vaguely.

As for what’s best for the Edmonton Eskimos themselves, I would throw a truckload of money at Mr. Reilly to get him to stay since he’s the only thing they got.  Without Mr. Reilly, their offense will be as bad as their defense, and then we are looking at a couple of years (at least) of rebuilding. And, if they want to attract a quality coach–coughTrestmancough–they need a good quarterback.

  1. MONTREAL ALOUETTES

Well, they weren’t the worst team in the league this year.  That’s pretty good. Pretty good.

  1. TORONTO ARGONAUTS

I’ll give the CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings full credit for not once using the “Taking on Water” or “Sinking Ship” metaphors this year to describe the Argonauts. Well done, Staff.

In mid-October, I wrote that had it not been for the last minute of last year’s East Final, people would be talking about the failed experiment of bringing Jim Popp and Marc Trestman back together in Toronto.  Well, I guess I was right, although I’m not sure why the Argonauts kept Mr. Popp.

Mr. Trestman will be the new head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos next year. Maybe he’ll bring James Franklin back with him if Mr. Reilly bolts from the Eskimos.

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