Another CFL season is on the brink and with that I figured I would go out on a limb, posting my predictions as to what I think will transpire this year.
There is of course the fine print clause that roughly reads something like this: all bets are off once the season actually starts.
Predicting professional sports is right next to weather forecasting in Alberta and herding cats. I think you get the picture but I will tackle it anyway.
In the west I look for the B.C. Lions to make it back to the Grey Cup after another strong season. The Lions have not taken a step back with personnel and so there is no reason to think they won’t be 13-5 this year or better.
Second place should be home to the Calgary Stampeders with Drew Tate at the helm and feeling more comfortable with running the Stamps offence, I put the Stamps at 10-8 this season.
Third place will go to the Edmonton Eskimos and that has more to do with their offence than anything else. Stephen Jyles is a very good back up but instead the Eskimo brain trust has him as the starter. Plan B is Kerry Joseph, need I say more? Eskimos could be 8-10.
I know a few Rider fans will be cursing me but I just don’t see anything there this season to make me believe they will rise from the basement this year. Darian Durant misses Kent Austin and his insight more than he might admit. Riders post a 5-13 record and keep rebuilding.
Over in the east, or as I like to call it, where older QB’s go to retire, the Hamilton Tiger Cats are my pick to finish in top spot. Hank Burris might have one more year left in him to push the Tabbies to first place with a 12-6 record.
Battling them all the way will be the double blue Toronto Argonauts with Ricky Ray tossing the ball to a very good receiving corps, made even better because the Argos have a running game with Cory Boyd. They could sneak into first but I put them at 12-6 as well with Hamilton winning the tiebreaker.
Third place will see the Montreal Alouettes close on the heels of the other two but the small print there reads only if Anthony Calvillo stays healthy. Montreal could be 9-9 at the end of it all.
Falling from grace are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and it all has to do with what they lost and did not replace on defence. Two gaping holes were left when Doug Brown retired and Odell Willis went west. The swagger is still around on defence but not nearly as much leadership is there and the offence, even with a new coordinator running the show, will still struggle. Add all that up and Winnipeg goes from penthouse to outhouse and fans wait for the new stadium to open in 2013 to have something to cheer about. Bombers go 6-12.