NOT THE CFL NISSAN TITAN POWER RANKINGS: WINTER EDITION

The CFL has entered that part of the season when the crappy teams start to figure out how to play football and the good teams start to relax a little, so the games all seem to tighten up.  It usually happens around the end of the middle third of the season or the start of the final third.  The crappy teams still lose, generally speaking, but they appear somewhat competent and the games are closer.  The fans of the good teams start to panic a bit and the crappy teams get a little false hope.  In the last two weeks of the season, things get back to normal and the cream rises to the top, but it make things a little more interesting for a few weeks.

This week I have to agree with the Power Rankings put out by TSN’s Scott Cullen, and not just because he has listed the Saskatchewan Roughriders at second this week. He always takes the long view, and his explanation for placing the Roughriders higher than the REDBLACKS!, who soundly beat them a few weeks back, makes sense.  I don’t agree, but he makes sense. I prefer not to make sense.  It will help me someday when I need to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.  I can say:  See?  I picked the Saskatchewan Roughriders to win the Grey Cup!  How can I be competent to instruct counsel?  You are free to go, sir.

Here is my review of what the Mighty and Holy Staff at CFL.CA had to say this week in its CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings.

  1. CALGARY STAMPEDERS

The Calgary Stampeders get fed another semi-pro team this week.  I like it.

Here’s the problem for the Stampeders.  They’ve gone soft with all this easy work recently, and they’re gonna get softer.  Montreal is not a real football team and the BC Lions are just barely hanging on. They need quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to start shooting his mouth off and stirring up trouble.

  1. OTTAWA REDBLACKS!

This week’s game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is the most intriguing.  We’ll see which team is for real.

  1. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

This week’s game against the Edmonton Eskimos begins a three-week losing streak that will have Rider Nation calling for the head of Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach, defensive coordinator, general manager, Vice-President of Football Operations, and guy who will wonder just what the hell is the matter with these people in Saskatchewan, Chris Jones.

Monday’s game will be a blowout Eskimos’ victory from start until garbage time late in the fourth quarter.  The Roughriders won’t know what hit ‘em.  Mosaic Stadium will begin with stunned silence and end with mighty boos. I’m worried that Zach (Zack) Collaros will get injured; that’s how bad I’m afraid things will go.  Mr. Jones will be winding up the stubbed toe metaphor after the game and trying to figure out how to swing a trade for Johnny Manziel before he bolts to the AAF.  Thereafter, the Roughriders will hobble into Winnipeg to get spanked by a revenge-thirsty Blue Bombers team, after which they will head to McMahon Stadium and leave with a close-fought but solid loss.

And then we’ll see what happens from there.

Or, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will shake off their history of shitting the bed at exactly THE absolutely undeniably WORST moment in the season, beat the Edmonton Eskimos soundly and proceed to smash the two other most dangerous West Division opponents in the following two weeks to seriously challenge for top spot in the CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings, as well as awaken long-dormant serious dreams of Grey Cup glory on the literally frozen tundra of The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium amongst Rider Nation.

Whatever. I’ll be in Edmonton freezing regardless of what the Roughriders do.  I’ll be staying at the palatial Sutton Place Hotel, having snagged a cheap room off Trivago a few weeks back.  You can see me every noon hour at the Chop Steakhouse and Bar pounding back filets the size of my head (after which I will adjourn to my room to spend a few hours of quality time in the bathroom).

Anyway, I just read that Brendan Taman tried to trade for Henry Burris after Darian Durant got hurt during the 2014 season.  See, that’s why I don’t get why Mr. Taman doesn’t have a job back in the CFL yet.  This guy knows how to build teams.  That 2014 Saskatchewan Roughriders team was a well-oiled machine that was still cruising through its glory years (until Mr. Durant went down, that is).  That trade would have changed CFL history, for the better.

  1. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

That Jeremiah Masoli fella is one hella good quarterback.  I still say this is the team to watch out for in the East.

By the way, once again I had to google “Hamilton Tiger Cats quarterback” because I forgot how to spell Masoli, and once again, every quarterback in CFL history pops up on the banner line at the top of the search, including Everett Golson (huh?) and Jacory Harris (double huh?), except Mr. Masoli.  Bad google, bad!

  1. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

See above; REDBLACKS!

  1. EDMONTON ESKIMOS

Okay Edmonton Eskimos, here’s the deal.  Your season is about to turn around.

You are facing the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a loud and possibly sold-out Mosaic Stadium on Monday (I have my doubts). The Roughriders have won six of the past seven games, and their offense seems to be catching up to their defense, if statistics mean anything (I have my doubts).  Head Coach Chris Jones always seems to do well against you guys, and a win against you might catapult the Roughriders into an unassailable second place finish in the West Division, especially when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in Ottawa and likely to lose to a surging REDBLACKS! team.  The Roughrider’s are likely very aware of all this, and they are feeling pretty good. The team is also aware the next two games are against quality Western opponents (Winnipeg and Calgary) and the likelihood of winning either one of those games is low, so they need to make hay while the sun shines.  Both Rob Vanstone and Brendan Taman are predicting a Roughriders’ victory (I have my doubts). The Six Horsemen of the Apocalypse over at CFL.CA have mixed opinions about a Roughrider victory, which allows the Roughriders to avoid the kiss of death that a unanimous selection amongst those writers would deliver.

Everything is coming up Roughriders.

You, on the other hand, are stumbling along, having lost three of your last four games.  Your team is reeling with injuries and Mr. Mike Reilly appears to have forgotten how to win games.  The offense appears to be as bad as the defense right now, and that’s not good.  You find yourselves sixth–SIXTH!–in the CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings after spending almost the entire year at second.  The Mighty and Holy Staff over at CFL.CA has an article up that asks the question:  IS IT TIME TO WORRY ABOUT THE ESKS? I would have gone with a different question, the always dependable “Is It Time For The Eskimos To Panic?” but I guess they don’t panic in Edmonton.

Everything is going wrong.

But you will beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders this Monday because this game has the two things that always means the Roughriders will lose.  First, this is a game the Roughriders should win, all things considered.  Second, the Roughriders will always lose to a team that desperately needs a win.  They are very obliging that way.

So relax and enjoy the long weekend, because come Monday night, everything will be just fine in Edmonton.  In three days you will commence your climb to the Grey Cup in November.

Or you will lose to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and start punching that panic button like a woodpecker on cocaine.

  1. BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS

The inevitable slide into CFL oblivion began last week.

Hark! Is that the Toronto Argonauts I see on yonder horizon?

Okay, the BC Lions get one more week of looking like they might make the playoffs, but that is absolutely it! I’m serious this time.  Enough is enough!

  1. MONTREAL ALOUETTES

I don’t know how the Montreal Alouettes have managed to stay out of the bottom of the CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings for the last five weeks or so.  I call it the Kavis Reed effect.  At least Mr. Cullen over at TSN.CA has the sense enough to place them last.  They are terrible. Terrible!

  1. TORONTO ARGONAUTS

I believe the only reason the Toronto Argonauts have not cut Duron Carter yet is because they are hoping the Edmonton Eskimos will want to trade for him, and they’ll at least get something for him.  The Eskimos have to be considering making a pact with the devil and pulling the trigger for Mr. Carter.  It’s just a matter of who blinks first.

Here’s the problem for the Toronto Argonauts.  Their best players didn’t get injured soon enough in the season.  If Mr. Ray and Mr. Wilder Jr. had gone down in the first quarter of the first game, they might be coming back on line just in time to make their charge for the Grey Cup. That’s just bad planning.

Timing is everything in the CFL.

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