Stampeders won't take foot off the gas in rematch
This may seem like a déjà vu weekend for CFL fans because every game is a rematch from the Labor Day schedule.
The big question is whether results may vary in these games, so let’s try and sort out the rematches.
One of the mysteries of the CFL is the traditional rematch between Calgary and Edmonton on Friday after they just beat the hell out of each other on Monday. The teams have just three days to heal between games and prepare another strategy to once again beat the hell out of each other.
Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly looked like a real-life Rocky in the game. All that was missing was a frightened Burgess Meredith screaming “Stay down!” at Reilly, but he kept getting off the canvas and played one of the most courageous games of football I have ever witnessed.
Quarterback protection has been left at the X’s and O’s stage on a chalkboard in Edmonton and practical application of the general quarterback protection theory by the Eskimo O-line is not evident this season. Edmonton has one of the biggest offensive lines in all of pro football, including the NFL, and they also have one of the least effective O-lines in football.
Calgary took their foot right off the gas in the last game and nearly blew a 30-point lead against the pesky Eskies. I doubt we will see the same pattern in the rematch. Calgary wins the game.
Saturday features a rematch between B.C. and Hamilton in Guelph.
The game will likely be close again, but there is no truth to the rumor that overtime will be decided by a game of checkers in the end zone. Actually I expect the Flying WildCats to win the game.
Hamilton has gone retro for the game and will play in red and white Hamilton Flying WildCats uniforms to salute the 1943 Grey Cup champion squad.
I expect Hamilton to win the rematch, but I seriously question the tactic where coach Austin pulls starter Henry Burris and throws back-up quarterback Dan LeFevour into the game, usually at a point when Burris has built momentum in an offensive series and moved the team into scoring territory — but not the red zone. It is either a stroke of genius or a really stupid and pointless manoeuver and I know where I lean on this one.
Sunday is a CFL double-header and the early game features a rematch between the Argonauts and Alouettes in Montreal.
The game will once again feature rookie quarterback vs. rookie quarterback and makes it difficult to nail down a winner because of that unpredictable factor in these matchups.
Tuesday’s game showed how mistakes decide football games and we can expect more of the same in the Argo-Als rematch, given the lack of field experience for both quarterbacks. Both defences will bring serious heat in this game because they know the young pivots will be targets for pressure tactics. I predict an Argo victory in Montreal because I saw Argo quarterback Zach Callaros begin to exploit the Montreal pressure defence a little more in the second half of the Tuesday game. He used his slots and running backs fairly effectively in a short pass game and thus he was able to find a few seams in the Alouette blitz packages.
The last game of the weekend is the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The Roughriders visit their prairie friends in Winnipeg for a rematch and I believe the final result will be the same in this game. The Riders are too much for the Bombers to handle this year and I have little reason to pick one of the weakest football teams in recent CFL history to win the game unless I get a serious case of sudden onset brain damage.
I admire the fans in Bomber-land because these are the times that will severely test their loyalties and so far they have answered the bell, even if their team has not.