I want to start this week on a local football note because the Central Alberta Buccaneers finally climbed that mountain and beat the Calgary Wolfpack for the first time in their team history last weekend. Well done gentlemen, it was a pleasure to be in Lacombe to witness your moment.
Week 3 in the CFL begins with a Toronto-Saskatchewan game at Rogers Center. I was pleased to see almost 30,000 fans at the home opener in Toronto two weeks ago and expect to see a similar number at this game.
However a significant chunk of the crowd will be Green People because there are many prairie transplants in the Big Smoke who still love their Riders.
The Roughriders are the only undefeated team in the league as they head into the game and have been full value for their two wins, but I suspect they will lose in Toronto. The Argonauts have been very strong under the Dome since mid-season of last year and I expect this trend to continue against the Riders.
I may be rowing upstream with my Argo pick but the Riders will have to contain dangerous return man Chad Owens as well as quarterback Ricky Ray in this game and that may be a tall order. The Argos are a physical team on defence and will exert pressure on Rider quarterback Darian Durant.
Calgary visits Montreal this weekend and I believe the Stamps will leave with a victory. The Alouettes have both a new head coach and offensive coordinator who have a combined total of zero CFL experience prior to this season. The result is an incredibly poor Alouette offensive game plan that has already produced a mind-boggling 11 sacks in two games on Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo, a man who was sacked 30 times in 18 games last season.
AC will be 41 years old on August 23 and we all hope he will be healthy enough to celebrate the occasion, but the new Alouette offensive scheme does not play to his strength as a quick release quarterback.
One can only hope the new offense does not have to play to the strength of Calvillo’s orthopedic surgeon.
Winnipeg visits Guelph on Saturday and this game is a head-scratcher for me because the Bombers are finally playing somebody other than Montreal. The ‘Cats were unable to win or sell out their watery home opener in Guelph last Sunday in a game decided by a stronger swimming squad from Edmonton.
This weekend the Tiger Cats will presumably get an opportunity to play football instead of water polo and I predict a Hamilton victory at “home” in Guelph, a city with a sparse collection of CFL fans. The Bombers have played strong defence and their defense has been able to counterbalance Winnipeg’s incredibly bad turnover record thus far in 2013. Expect the winless ‘Cats to be in a very bad mood on Saturday and register their first win of the season in front of close friends and family.
The last game of Week 3 is a BC Lions visit to Commonwealth Stadium for a reunion with former B.C. quarterback Mike Reilly and his new band of Eskimo friends.
The football reunion will be a little like a family reunion with the warm and fuzzy part of the event completely removed from the equation. B.C. will show little in the way of affection for Reilly and he will be under fire during the game because the Leos want to send a simple message to him and the rest of the West in this game: Fear the Lion.
I predict the Lions will be very poor guests at Commonwealth and will leave town with a win over their old teammate Reilly and his new Eskimo buddies.