Today I want to talk football but first I have to jump into the fire about ’Rider colours on Canada’s junior hockey team. For some reason this has angered a lot of people, including ’Rider fans. What an incredible overreaction. The ’Riders represent a significant part of Saskatchewan’s culture and I think it is fitting that their link with the province will be honored in the World Juniors. Incidentally, red and white is a color choice that also represents the Liberal Party and they have spent the better part of the last 100 years as the governing party.
We just got used to their subliminal color choice after all of these years, particularly after the 1965 flag color choice.
Anyhow, back to football. Tonight’s game is very important to the Eskimos who host Toronto in front of the league’s angriest fans right now. The Eskimos have a chance to make the playoffs, but they need to beat Toronto to keep their dream alive in a nightmare of a season. It probably won’t happen.
Toronto has one feather in their cap and that is their defense. The Argos will have little trouble with Edmonton’s O-line and Ricky Ray will be in another free-fire zone in the backfield. The opposite factor is the Eskimo defense has been brutal this year and will offer Argo quarterbacks the path of least resistance toward basic respectability. Argos will win this one.
Saturday has a double-header and there are many playoff implications in both games. Hamilton will host Saskatchewan and an aura of uncertainty hangs over the Tiger-Cats. Worst case scenario has Hamilton in a familiar role as spectators in the playoffs and best case has them as congenial hosts for the East semi-final next weekend. In between is the prospect of a coveted playoff berth.
This is a tough game to call but I lean toward the ’Riders in this one. The Saskatchewan defence played very well against the elusive Casey Printers last weekend. No Hamilton quarterback will offer the ’Riders the same problems and the result should force pressure on the ‘Cats to open up a short passing game. Receiver Arland Bruce is a serious weapon for Hamilton but he will need a little help and the Ticats are a little light in talented receivers. I pick the ’Riders and I bet nobody saw that as a prediction.
The B.C. Lions play Calgary in the late Saturday game and I would suspect that they are motivated by the possibility of a playoff game at home, complete with fake crowd noise to mask the real indifference of Left Coast fans.
The Lions have a rash of injuries on both sides of the ball, so the job will be very difficult. They also have the unpredictable Casey Printers in their fold and he is the reason I think B.C. will beat the Stampeders.
Winnipeg visits Montreal in the last game of the week and the game means everything to the Bombers. Last week they managed to annihilate Montreal and I don’t think the Alouettes want to slump into the playoffs.
Look for an Alouette beat-down on the Bombers to send a playoff message to the rest of the league.
Jim Sutherland may be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com