I’m sure everyone has noticed, but for those who might have missed it, the Canadian Football League’s Eastern Conference is an embarrassment.
Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal are tied for first with sensational records of 1-3. Toronto is last at 1-4, but they’re even in the win column. My goodness, not one team in the East has scored more points than it has had scored against it. In five games, Toronto has been outscored 110-149. Even if a Western team is terrible this season, it’s still very likely that there will be a crossover team in the playoffs.
But there is good news. Toronto plays in Montreal this week so unless the game is postponed for, say, lack of interest, one of those two teams will be 2-3 by Saturday morning. Yay…
However, it’s very, very likely that the standings will look like this by the start of Week 7: Montreal 2-3, Ottawa 1-4, Hamilton 1-4 and Toronto 1-5. That’s freakin’ sad. By the end of Week 7, there is a legitimate chance that the Eastern standings could be Montreal 2-4, Ottawa 1-5, Hamilton 1-5 and Toronto 1-5. That’s even worse.
Oh well, makes our job easier and let’s be honest, both The Coach and Dr. Football have given the Eastern teams the benefit of the doubt this season. We bought into the TSN hype that some of these teams might even be competitive. We didn’t realize that they wouldn’t be all that competitive in the CIS.
Last week, Dr. Football went 3-1 against the spread while The Coach was 1-3. Like a recovering alcoholic, The Coach is in the midst of a 12-step program to rid himself of any belief that ay of the Eastern-based teams could beat a good college (cheerleading?) squad.
This week, the Doc is back from Vegas to write our reasoned opinions. The Coach just eats Nachos and takes all the Western teams he can.
Let’s look closely at Week 6:
WINNIPEG (4-1) vs. HAMILTON (1-3) LINE – HAMILTON by 4
Obviously the odds makers are going by the fact the Ti-Cats have beaten the Bombers five straight times covering the betting spread in the last four, but this is a chance to make some money. Sure Dan LeFevour had a strong game and made some great decisions and had the hundreds of sleepy Hamilton fans forget they were watching a CIS quality game, but it will all be forgotten Thursday. The Bombers seem to be focused, and despite all the injuries, they have leadership, and that will win every time. The Coach says: Dan LeFevour reminds me of Troy Kopp. Dan LeFevour will not beat that Blue Bombers defense.
Dr. Football: TAKE THE BOMBERS.
The Coach: TAKE THE BOMBERS.
TORONTO (1-4) vs. MONTREAL (1-3) LINE – MONTREAL by 3
Ricky Ray will no doubt go into the Hall of Fame someday, but if a great quarterback has no one to throw to, I might as well be behind center. And with an injury list that looks like their last year starting roster, things won’t get better in Montreal. The Alouettes had the week off to figure out their offense and get everyone on the same page, so look for Troy Smith and Chad Johnson to be in sync. The Coach says: One of my idols in the broadcasting game, Rod Peterson from Regina, asked me a couple of weeks ago if I thought the CFL was in good shape. I told him that because TSN’s contract is (for Canada) huge and the Players Association folded like a cardboard box, the league is in wonderful shape financially. I also said I’d have to wait to make a decision on the caliber of play. After Calgary beat Hamilton 10-7 in one of the least-entertaining football games I’ve ever seen at any level, I was concerned. This one, Toronto-Montreal could be worse. This has the potential to be a frighteningly bad football game. Or, on the bright side, a 54-50 final with 45 penalties and 22 turnovers.
Dr. Football: TAKE THE ALOUETTES TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE ALOUETTES TO WIN AND COVER YOUR EYES.
B.C. (2-3) vs. CALGARY (4-0) LINE – CALGARY by 5
B.C. couldn’t get anything going last week against Winnipeg, and McMahon Stadium isn’t the place to regroup. Calgary didn’t have anything going for them at least in the first quarter last week in Edmonton, but still managed to beat the Eskimos via some curious Edmonton coaching decisions. Bo Levi Mitchell will be going for his 8th win in a row in this one, and he’ll get it. The Coach says: The Bombers proved that it’s a pretty simple assignment: Shut down Andrew Harris and scare the beejeezus out of Emmanual Arceneaux and the Lions are kitties.
Dr. Football: TAKE THE STAMPEDERS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE STAMPEDERS TO WIN AND COVER.
SASKATCHEWAN (2-2) vs. OTTAWA (1-3) LINE – SASKATCHEWAN by 5
Saskatchewan starts a two game road trip in the nation’s capital where the RedBlacks are undefeated at home. The Roughriders OC George Cortez may have figured things out last week with a thumping of the Argos, and Will Ford might be the answer, or is he? We’ve seen many times a strong game from a guy in his first start that has something to prove, but then once the other teams get some film on him, they fade off. Ottawa is a well-coached team, and as we have seen so far, they can put up a fight. They won’t win many, but they won’t get blown out. The Coach says: The RedBlacks are destined for 1-17 but this time, thanks to the TSN money, it’s unlikely another Ottawa team will become extinct.
Dr. Football: TAKE THE ROUGHRIDERS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE ROUGHRIDERS TO WIN AND COVER.