We are now into the back nine of the CFL season and most teams are planning a candlelight vigil to find their still-missing-and-presumed dead offence. The main suspects are pressure defences, inconsistent quarterbacks, club-handed receivers and suspect O-lines.
The situation will eventually remedy itself, but the supply and demand issues for quality Canadians has been magnified with expansion this year. Canada does not produce enough pro-ready football players, so my solution is to allow each team to designate two American players on each team as Canadians-if they have played with the same CFL team for five years.
They would be ineligible for Canadian status if they signed with any other CFL team, or in any other league. The incentive for the players would be job security because of their Canadian status, while the incentive for the team would be retention of talented players.
Back to football.
The first game of Week 11 features the 1-8 Ottawa RedBlacks at home to the 5-4 B.C. Lions. B.C. has been a disappointment this year and this game should help them stay in the hunt for a West Division playoff berth.
Bad teams have chronic problems with inopportune penalties and crucial mistakes during games. The RedBlacks are poster children for this concept in their first year and I expect the Lions to feast on expansion team prey in this game.
The rematch between 8-1 Calgary and 7-2 Edmonton at Commonwealth has been moved from Friday to Saturday this year and will give both teams an extra day to heal after their Monday game.
Calgary is currently the best team in the league while Edmonton is punching well above its weight, in my opinion. A healthy Jon Cornish will be a big asset to Calgary in the stretch run and he plays very well against the Esks. Calgary will once again burst Edmonton’s bubble in this game and send the Eskimos closer to their true status in the CFL standings as the Esks face better opponents in the latter part of the 2014 season.
The 2-6 Hamilton Ticats visits the 2-7 Montreal Alouettes on Sunday morning and these two football titans will have second place on the line, despite the fact neither team is even close to respectable in 2014. The ’Cats will continue to improve if they can keep quarterback Zach Collaros healthy enough to win games for them. Collaros will be more than enough to beat the sad sack Alouettes en route to a run at first place in the East.
The last game of the weekend is the Sunday afternoon rematch in Winnipeg between the 6-4 Blue Bombers and 7-2 Saskatchewan Roughriders. I like Winnipeg sports fans because they have been incredibly loyal to the Bombers, despite their woeful record and the return of the NHL to Winnipeg.
Winnipeg fans are loud and proud of their football team. They treat the Bombers with the proper kind of respect owed to a pro sports franchise with a long legacy and the Winnipeg sports fans have not turned away from the CFL like other cities with NHL/CFL franchises.
The Bomber fans will be rewarded in this game because I believe Winnipeg will beat the ’Riders. The Bombers have surprised everyone this year and owe their success to better coaching and a competent quarterback.
The ’Riders won a close game at home and I suspect the Bombers will have enough of a home field advantage to win the rematch in Winnipeg. Bomber fans are noisy and should create enough confusion for the ’Riders to draw a few penalties, because the 13th man also suits up for Winnipeg.
Look for a close Bomber victory in the last game of Week 11 in the CFL.