The rankings come a bit later this week due to the Argos’ Monday nighter. Can’t say that game was worth the wait for Toronto fans, but hey, at least they got to see some Olympians. And while B.C. and Montreal went down to the wire, winning keeps them atop the rankings whereas the good ship Argonaut is starting to sink. Meanwhile, the Stamps and Eskies look about even heading into Labour Day. I hate to say this, but if you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose the better team, I’d probably hafta go with Edmonton–but only because if someone’s holding a gun to my head in Alberta, it’s most likely an Edmontonian.
Week 9 Power Rankings
1. B.C. Lions (6-2) Last Week: 1. With the best record and the best defence in the league, the Lions remain on top of my rankings for the third straight week–although a loss to Winnipeg sure would’ve made things interesting. Know what else should be interesting? The Lions and Alouettes face each other twice in the next 11 days…
2. Montreal Alouettes (5-3) Last Week: 2. When Marc Trestman opted not to go for two halfway through the fourth quarter, he knew that his team was going to score when they got the ball back, and they succeeded in having the ball at the end of the game against Hamilton, kicking the winning field goal with no time on the clock. Twas a little too close for comfort, perhaps, but that two-point win combined with an Argos loss gives the Als a bit of breathing room in the East Division.
3. (tied) Edmonton Eskimos (5-3) Last Week: 5. The stout Eskies D gave up two TDs to Toronto, but this time, it actually took more than 17 points to beat Ricky Ray and co, and the offence delivered. Edmonton found a bit of a spark thanks to 38-year-old Kerry Joseph, who completed 65 per cent of his passes to lead his team to victory, even with two picks. It was definitely the offence that won this game, weathering a 14-point Argo storm in the third quarter to pull this one off on the road. Not what you’d usually expect from the Esks.
3. (tied) Calgary Stampeders (4-4) Last Week: 4. While the sizzling Eskie offence was (sorta) lighting up the scoreboard in The Big Smoke, the Stamps got an unexpectedly strong performance from their D, pitching a shutout in Regina into the fourth quarter. Sure, the wind played a factor in what turned out to be the lowest-scoring game of the week, but the Stamps took advantage with the wind at their backs early, and held on to beat Saskatchewan for the sixth straight time. So now Calgary and Edmonton are tied in my books heading into the Battle of Alberta. But you know I’m still picking the home team in the Labour Day Classic!
5. Toronto Argonauts (4-4) Last Week: 3. While Ricky Ray can still get up to play Calgary, he doesn’t seem to fare as well against his former team. In the pass-heavy Argo offence, he still threw for 251 yards, but his new team was practically held off the board for three out of four quarters–and they certainly weren’t helped by his two picks. Plus, when you take away the 117-yard day from Dontrelle Inman, no other Argo had more than 40 yards receiving. Not exactly chucking the ball downfield there, is he?
6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-6) Last Week: 6. They may have the worst record in the league, but I’m keeping Winnipeg in the six spot for now. Hey, they gave B.C. a better run for their money than Saskatchewan, Toronto or Calgary did in the four weeks beforehand, and were a missed field goal away from sending the game into overtime. Of course, the firing of Paul LaPolice seems to come at an inopportune time, right when it looked like they were turning the corner, but I still think that Joey Elliott gives this team a chance to win week in and week out. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Bombers sweep Saskatchewan in the Banjo Bowl series, not in the slightest.
7. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-5) Last Week: 7. Sure, the Tabbies played almost well enough to beat Montreal last week, but the difference between a Grey Cup contender and a team in the midst of a three-game losing streak is that the winners get ‘r done. Henry Burris can still bomb the ball downfield, but take it from a Stamps fan: he can’t win the big one. The only year the Stamps even won a playoff game with him at the helm was the Grey Cup season of ’08. And right now, even making the playoffs is no guarantee for Henry. That said, I think they can steal at least one game from the Argos these next two weeks.
8. Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-5) Last Week: 8. The CFL’s longest losing streak was stretched to five as the Riders dropped an ugly game to Calgary with a mere 10-point performance. If there’s any team that should be firing its head coach at this point of the season, it’s Saskatchewan–mind you, it would be the second year in a row in which they’ve done so. A loss to the Bombers this weekend would only cement their status as the worst team in the West–and they might hafta kiss that crossover bid goodbye while they’re at it. Despite a couple of defensive upgrades, this team isn’t really that much better than the one that finished 5-13 last season. Here’s hoping it’s not too late for those Pilsner-box Heads to get a refund on the Grey Cup tickets they bought back in July…