Well, the Labour Day weekend did give some close games, even if there was only one that could really be considered a classic. In a ceremonial matchup that’s been largely one-sided of late, the Roughriders bested the Bombers by a 35-30 score–the highest combined point total of any game since the B.C. Lions beat Hamilton 36-29 in Week Seven. Suffice to say such high-scoring contests have been few and far between in a season dominated by defence…and marked by the futility of the CFL Least Division. On that note, the dead-parrot race for first just got a little tighter with 2-6 Hamilton and 2-7 Montreal gaining ground on 3-7 Toronto. Did I mention that the Argos are still four points out of last in the West? Can’t we just have the Least Division winner play in the Vanier Cup this year or something?
1. Calgary Stampeders (8-1) Last Week: 1. The Stamps D kept another opponent outta the end zone, as Edmonton managed just 13 points on two field goals and a blocked-punt return. It’s now been something like six straight games since Calgary’s given up an offensive touchdown, and they’re allowing just under 15 points per contest. Hey, if defence wins championships, this team must surely be Vancouver-bound come late November…but I wouldn’t wanna jinx it or anything. :P
2. Saskatchewan Roughriders (7-2) Last Week: 3. Don’t look now, but the Riders have won six straight, climbing from fifth to second in the past five weeks. Most impressively, their offence finally showed up to play on (the day before) Labour Day, surpassing 30 points for the first time since they played the REDBLACKS!!!! four weeks back. That said, I would not be surprised to see Winnipeg take the rematch as the homefield advantage shifts for the Banjo Bowl. As a matter of fact, I’ll be there–and I certainly won’t be cheering for Saskatchewan!
3. Edmonton Eskimos (7-2) Last Week: 2. Not a whole lot went well for the Esks today, aside from that big special-teams play. But to be fair, they were without starting QB Mike Reilly, who hurt his hand early in Week Nine. Everybody’s saying he’ll be back for the rematch, but unless the Esks can contain Cornish–who rushed for 163 on just 17 carries–I’m not sure I see things going much better for them next weekend.
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-4) Last Week: 4. Winnipeg probably played its best game offensively in over a month yesterday, but still came up short in Saskatchewan, dropping them two losses back of the non-crossover teams out west. With B.C. facing the league’s worst team next week, the Banjo Bowl almost becomes a must-win for the Bombers, who could find themselves out of a playoff position otherwise…despite being a much better team than anyone east of them.
5. B.C. Lions (5-4) Last Week: 5. Idle B.C. is still better than every single team in the CFL Least Division. I dare you to dispute that statement!
6. Montreal Alouettes (2-7) Last Week: 7. That’s right, by beating The Worst Team in the CFL, and scoring more than one touchdown in the process, Montreal becomes the hottest team in the Least Division! OK, so it was their first win since July 4, but hey, they’re only half a game outta first place now, too…
7. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-6) Last Week: 8. Even when the Tabbies win, it sure ain’t pretty. Alas, the 18-thousand who arrived for the grand opening of Tim Hortons Field needed a lot of its namesake sponsor’s java to stay awake in a second half that saw the two teams combine for two points. But thanks to a 13-point outpour in the first frame, Hamilton hung on to beat the Argos in the
Little League World Series Battle of Ontario. Which makes them only the third-worst team in the league at the halfway mark.
8. Toronto Argonauts (3-7) Last Week: 6. With Montreal and Hamilton finally getting off the schnide, Toronto now has the second-longest losing streak in the league, having dropped their last three games. And that wasn’t the only thing the Argos were dropping, as Ricky Ray’s spotty performance was partially due to a distinct lack of stick-um on his receivers’ part. Now with their next three games against the West, all the Argos can really look forward to are their upcoming byes in Weeks 11 and 14. But hey, let’s see how long it takes anyone else out Least to win another game…
9. Ottawa REDBLACKS!!!!! (1-8) Last Week: 9. With yet another off-putting offensive output–and this, against one of the league’s weaker Ds–the REDBLACKS!!!!! have proven themselves to be the CFL’s worst team. Both in the standings, and in the minds of all but the true-black Ottawa supporters who still think Henry Burris is a starting-caliber QB. Then again, does Ottawa have anyone who’d battle for a spot in the lineup of a Western Division squad? I dunno guy, but I’ve heard that long-snapper Kevin Scott is pretty decent. But what’s this, he got hurt against Montreal!? Well that’s it, they’re screwed! But hey, at least they’ve still got the Sens, right?