Ticats, Riders primed for upsets this weekend
We have hit the 15th week of the CFL schedule and the Toronto Argonauts will meet the Hamilton Tiger Cats for the first time this season.
The main reason for this situation is both teams have no control over their home schedules this year; a temporary dilemma for the ‘Cats and a permanent problem for the Argos because of their Rogers Center landlords and their apparent utter contempt for the CFL. The Argos’ new theme song should be the old Animals classic We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.
Consequently the first Friday in October is the first time these two bitter rivals will meet each other this year. The rational choice to win the game is the Toronto Argonauts because they have been able to win four straight road games without the services of other-worldly quarterback Ricky Ray, weapon of mass destruction Chad Owens and 2012 Grey Cup MOP tailback Chad Kackert.
Imagine if you will a 1964 Beatles road tour without Lennon, McCartney and Harrison; a dark moment in entertainment where Ringo Starr has to carry that weight of success for the Fab Four. This kind of horrifyingly unimaginable scenario is essentially what the Argos faced on offence during the bulk of their road show-and they won every game.
Now Toronto returns to the lukewarm confines of Rogers Center in a match against the faltering Tiger Cats. Hamilton pivot Henry Burris has been in a bad slump for the past few games and one would assume ‘Cat coach Kent Austin will have a short leash on Hank for this game.
The pressure is squarely on Burris’s shoulders to dial up his game and torpedo the Argonauts. I believe he can do the job, if for no other reason than his wish to extend his football career past his current age of 38 years old. One falls off a big cliff in pro sports when time catches up to you and Hank is feeling the heat of old age.
Burris is a healthy but ancient pro football player and he needs a victory to legitimize his claim to the game as a CFL star in his twilight years. I believe Hank definitely has something left in the tank and the Cats win in an upset over the Argos.
Speaking of upsets, I predict a Rider victory in the Lions’ den on Friday night and no, I do not use hallucinogenic drugs. Some people may have noted my misgivings about Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant and my resentment over his exclusion from responsibility for severe Rider shortcomings on offence over the past few years.
The Riders have become an absolute disaster in the second half of the 2013 season because even Winnipeg has beaten them and the onus has been on Durant to step up his game. He has responded with more turnovers than a medium-sized bakery because he is not that guy in a Ricky Ray or Doug Flutie kind of way.
However Durant may see the return of tailback Kory Sheets for the Lion game and Sheets may be just what the journeyman quarterback ordered to beat the Leos. Riders upset BC in Lotus-land.
Montreal visits Edmonton in a Saturday afternoon game that will likely feature Mike Reilly behind center for the Eskimos and he will be the main reason I pick Edmonton to win this one.
I would pick Montreal if Edmonton was forced to use either raw rookie quarterback Jon Crompton or miled-out veteran quarterback Kerry Joseph in the game. The Eskimos would have been better off calling Tom Wilkinson to see if he was free to take snaps this weekend if Reilly was unavailable to play. Look for an Eskie victory if Reilly is good to go and pick Montreal if Kerry Joseph starts for Edmonton.
Last game of the weekend takes place in Calgary on Saturday when a team with three legitimate starting quarterbacks on their roster (Calgary) plays a team with no legitimate starting quarterbacks (Winnipeg). The thin list of plus factors for Winnipeg are their solid front seven on defence and the fact the season is nearly over for this hapless Bomber squad. The negative factors are absolutely everything else about the 2013 Bombers; including the fact their current roster does not include a priest to administer last rites to this pathetic team.