This week begins with a clash between the B.C. Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night. One team has temporarily pinned its hopes on a young quarterback who appears to have enough talent to play in this league. The other team is Winnipeg and the beat goes on for the hapless Bombers while they search for a young quarterback just like BC’s interim starter, Thomas DeMarco.
It is a little dangerous to anoint young pivots like DeMarco as one of the future quarterback stars in the CFL, but he is already better than any of Winnipeg’s current or former pivots from the past few seasons. I list former pivots because former Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce spelled off DeMarco for a brief time against Saskatchewan last Sunday with predictably poor results.
Buck Pierce’s best days as a quarterback were a few years ago before the hellacious beatings he has taken to play football exacted a heavy toll on him. If he was forced into play against his old team, then I would pick the Bombers to win this game because the Lions’ third string quarterback is also a former Bomber by the name of Joey Elliot.
But I will pick the BC Lions in this game because the only light left at the end of the tunnel for the Bombers is they will be more than two-thirds of the way through the season after they lose this game. This season has been one long root canal surgery without anesthesia for Bomber fans.
Saturday’s earlier game matches the Hamilton Tiger-Cats against the Calgary Stampeders in Guelph Ont., the temporary shelter for the homeless ‘Cats.
I lean toward Hamilton to win this game because they have assembled a semblance of a defence from the CFL and NFL discard piles since the start of the season. The result is a lights-out offence and an adequate defence for Hamilton as the ‘Cats round the clubhouse turn on the 2013 regular season.
Calgary is a very good team, but they have trouble playing in the East and will feel the wrath of spurned former Stamp quarterback Henry Burris following his team’s road loss in Calgary a few weeks ago. The game in Calgary was decided by a poor field goal kicking game by Hamilton and this game will be decided by Burris.
The late game on Saturday matches the Alberta Argonauts against the Edmonton Eskimos. Alberta has been home for the Argos since their game against Calgary last weekend because they never left the province.
The team stayed in Calgary this past week, unlike the Montreal Alouettes, Toronto Argonauts and Baltimore Stallions, all of whom made Red Deer a home base in the past during the week between games in Alberta.
Toronto is acclimatized to Mountain Daylight Time and will be acclimatized to football victories over Alberta teams after the game against the Eskimos. Edmonton is buoyed by the two consecutive wins over the Bombers, but that is like a Harlem Globetrotter victory in basketball. Toronto quarterback Zach Callaros is the real deal and he will be too much for the Eskies in this game.
The last game of the weekend takes place in Montreal on Sunday morning when the Alouettes host the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Riders do very poorly in their early Sunday games against host Montreal because they are scheduled too soon after a Montreal Saturday night on the town for Regina-based players.
It is very difficult to concentrate on football when the bright lights of a cosmopolitan city like Montreal beckon for young players who live in Regina during the season. The social life change is a little like the difference between a Chevette and a Corvette for these guys.
Saskatchewan will lose even if the team tucks in early in Montreal because the Riders have learned where they really stand when every component of their offence is not available to them. They have lost two starters on the offensive line and star running back Kory Sheets who was well on his way to a CFL rushing record before he was injured a few weeks ago.
The pressure to win games was placed squarely on Rider quarterback Darian Durant with very predictable results: he tanked and the team has lost three games in a row. The trend will continue in Montreal because the Riders will lose another game. Durant can win under ideal conditions but these are hardly ideal conditions for a quarterback with his limited skill set so make it four losses in a row for the Riders after this game.