So you may have noticed that this blog's CFL coverage is scaling backwards. No, this doesn't mean a series of layoffs have hurt the 'Eh' Factor's editorial content, it just means that the CFL playoffs race has become vapid and uninteresting, and while I still love watching the games, meaningful play is become increasingly rare in this 18-game, 6-out-of-8-teams in the playoffs puzzle.
Even though Calgary has dropped a couple and find themselves just a game ahead of Saskatchewan, they still have another game between each other. Toronto and Hamilton are neck-and-neck in the East, but as it turns out, you can't look at either team and say that they deserve home-field.
The way to fix this is to hold off on gimmicky late-season games in Moncton and actually expand the league by two teams and reduce the number of playoff teams to four. Fewer matchups against the same opponents and more games that will tangibly matter. Though your most intriguing matchup on paper this week is Calgary/Montreal, the one that really matters is BC/Winnipeg.
Ah well, enough with the whining.
Montreal/Calgary - Tonight at 9:
Unfortunately, with a bit of a sunny spell hitting Western Canada, its October and there's no cold weather games to speak of this week. Anthony Calvillo threw for 477 yards last week and could have hit 500 if it weren't for some illegal play by Winnipeg defensive backs. Also, he's an absolute beast. Ben Cahoon hit 1000 career catches last week, with two big ones on that final drive, and needs seven to pass former Alouette Terry Vaughn for the all-time record.
Calgary have dropped two straight, with last week's performance against BC going down as one of the dreaded good-teams-looking-like-pure-shit games. This isn't an important game for the Stampeders with just the standings in mind, but if they lose here, they go on the road for consecutive weeks into Montreal and into Saskatchewan, which is the only really tough stretch on their schedule.
Interesting stat: While Henry Burris and Anthony Calvillo have pretty well locked horns for Most Outstanding Player finalists (after all, this can only go to a quarterback, right?) their respective backups Drew Tate and Ricky Santos boast perfect passer ratings at 158.3.
Winnipeg/BC - Saturday at 10:
Holy hell, the Lions have won 3 of 4! Travis Lulay is going to start! The Lions invaded McMahon with a balanced offense last week! Yonus Davis is a little bit of awesome running back kicks (see what I did there?) Things are looking good in BC, although with six weeks left in the regular season, I'm weary they make be peaking too early.
Winnipeg have dropped 3 of 4, (the loss last week, though, can ENTIRELY be chalked up to the officials, though, right?) Steven Jyles had a QB rating of 137 last week, put 40 points up on the board against the apparently vaunted Montreal defense and still managed to lose.
Thanks to the cross-over, this game, and their subsequent matchup at CanadInns Stadium are quite important. Can BC, already one game up, stare down Winnipeg from their rearview mirror once this is all over, or will the Bombers leap-frog the Lions for that chance to go play at Mosaic in the middle of November? Or, more likely, will the teams split the home-and-home and have a choke-off in the final month to determine entry to the playoffs?
Saskatchewan/Toronto - Saturday at 3:
Toronto get to debut their new starting quarterback, Dalton Bell. We know this story: since Lemon made the team coming out of camp, it would be unfair for him to lose his job due to an injury. This means Bell will put up good numbers for the couple of weeks Lemon is out, and Jim Barker will completely not pull an Andy Reid and bring Lemon back to continue getting sacked, throwing interceptions and underthrowing mid-range receivers.
Hamilton/Edmonton - Sunday at 4:30
I hate to say it, but do you know what looks better to watch from a fan perspective on Sunday? All four late afternoon NFL games, yes, even Houston/Oakland. Hamilton are a mediocre 6-6 beating the week teams on their schedule. Edmonton flat-out suck, pulling a decent performance out of their asses ever so often. This could not be a more unintriguing matchup, unless a freak blizzard hits Edmonton. I would gladly watch a 7-6 game for that.