Many people say that the CFL season only gets started at Labour Day.  Oh, if only that were true; the Roughriders might have a serious shot at the playoffs.  But let’s not kid ourselves.  A coaching change ain’t gonna do anything about all those penalties and the general boobery exhibited by this team in disarray.

British Columbia Lions at Montreal Alouettes

These are the two losers who never developed any Labour Day tradition or rivalry, except for being the two teams left over after everyone else paired off.

It reminds me of, say, grade four and you’re on a classroom canoe lesson and it’s two to a canoe, and the boys all pair up with boys and the girls all pair up with girls, except for the last boy and the last girl, neither of who managed to secure a same-gender canoe partner because they weren’t paying attention soon enough, and are now stuck all afternoon in a canoe with a member of the opposite sex.  Gross.  They have to watch everyone else have a great time while they unenthusiastically paddle around waiting for this uncomfortable travesty to end, constantly reminding themselves over and over to never, ever get stuck in this situation again.  However, each week the same thing happens because all the other kids just stay with their canoe partner from last week and these two kids start to dread the weekly canoe lessons, which are supposed to be a fun time outside the classroom. This never happened to me, just so you know.

And then there’s Ottawa.  Ottawa’s the misfit loser kid with whom no one wants to get stuck in a canoe because he wet his pants in grade two or he got caught picking his nose and eating it during music class, so he ends up standing on the shore alone because the class has an odd number of kids, and no one will paddle back to change off with him.  And because he’s used to being ostracized, he pre-emptively got a note from his mother saying that he cannot participate in canoe because he’s allergic to fresh air or some other lame problem (which is later recycled in high school to get out of track).  He goes on to found Microsoft.

So as for this game, this is a tough one for me since I need both teams to lose to increase the Roughriders’ longshot prospects for a playoff birth.  I’ll go with the Alouettes because, as we all know, BC sucks.

Montreal Alouettes over BC Lions

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders

My mom asked me about this game and I told her that the Roughriders would gut out an emotional win.  She took issue with this (and I quote):

Actually, I do not understand the reason for your prediction. Emotional because the players are glad the coach and manager are gone? Emotional because the fans need something to hang on to now that the coach and manager are gone? Emotional because a win would vindicate the hordes who have been calling for the coach’s head for a long time. Emotional because the players will want to show that they were never the problem; the coach was? Explain.

Jesus H. Christ, lady, what’s with the third degree here?  I guess I’ll answer her because she lets me live in her basement rent free (although she needs to stop hectoring me to ask out “that nice girl Wendy” who is my shift partner at 7-11).

The Roughriders will secure an emotional win because this team is back to being the hapless laughingstock underdogs of the league, and even though they drive Rider Nation crazy with iconic once-in-a-lifetime penalties, spectacular blunders that show up on highlight reels for decades, inexplicable unforced errors that leave one questioning their professionalism, and laughable decisions that always eventually blow up in their faces, we still love them because we know this team will inevitably provide, even in the deepest darkest seasons of soul-crushing futility, at least one shining moment in which they claw their way to an improbably victory that will be burned into our collective memories until the day we die (or until we forget about it a week later when they go back to getting pounded).  Rider Nation rejoices in these moments since they validate our unjustified and completely irrational (i.e. visceral) loyalty to a team that probably should have gone bankrupt years ago–but for a couple of embarrassing telethons.

(Cue the music from the game-winning home run at the end of The Natural.)

So in other words, no, I don’t know why it will be an emotional win.  It just will be.

Saskatchewan Roughriders over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Notwithstanding Hamilton’s rare home loss last week, they will start a new streak this week with a resounding win over the Argos.  Complacency crept into the Tiger-Cats, but they now know they need to do more than merely show up to win at home.  And Argos suck.  This game will be a preview of the Eastern Final.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats over Toronto Argonauts

Edmonton Eskimos at Calgary Stampeders

Warren Moon look-alike James Franklin is going to put in a very un-Moon-like performance against the best team in the league.

It’s not that Calgary is such a spectacular team, it’s more that the rest of the league is generally pretty crappy this year (a.k.a parity).

Calgary Stampeders over Edmonton Eskimos

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