CFL Conference Finals: Hard not to love B.C. and Montreal

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Anthony Calvillo

Can Kevin Glenn play with a high level of consistency? Is Anthony Calvillo done? Can Ricky Ray get the ball into the end zone? Is Andrew Harris better in the clutch than Jon Cornish?

The Canadian Football League’s conference finals kick off this weekend as the road to the 100th Grey Cup heads right through Montreal and Vancouver.

On Sunday, in the East, the Toronto Argonauts meet the Alouettes in Montreal at 12 Noon. Montreal is favored by 5 ½ points. Then, in the West, Calgary plays B.C. at 3:30. The Lions are favored by 6 points.

Drew Tate has a broken arm so Glenn will start at quarterback for Calgary. Historically, Glenn is one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks in CFL history. However, this year, he’s been solid. In fact 10 of Calgary’s 12 wins have come with Glenn under centre. Who knows? He has enough tools at his disposal. Maybe Glenn will be the answer.

There is one thing we know for sure: The four best teams remain in the hunt for the 2012 Grey Cup. Sunday afternoon, we should see two solid football games.

In the meantime, back here in Winnipeg, more changes and plenty of whining.

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Joe Mack: The Hard Way.

Two weeks ago the Bombers dumped assistant general manager Ross Hodgkinson after 27 years with the club and now it appears as if the No. 1 candidate to take over the position is TSN analyst Duane Forde.

Last week, the Bombers sacked linebackers coach Chip Garber, a guy who also acted as de facto defensive coordinator after Tim Burke became head coach.

However, it was apparent that Burke and Garber didn’t agree so Burke fired Garber. Rumour has it that Burke wants to replace Garber with Hamilton defensive coordinator Casey Creehan, the man responsible for the worst defense in the CFL in 2012. I think most Bomber fans would prefer Greg Marshall, but one thing about the Bombers, if you have two choices and one is solid and one is questionable, expect them to choose questionable and then call a news conference to defend it.

Then came a real odd one for an employee of a Canadian Football League club. Jeffrey Bannon, the team’s director of marketing, wrote the following in a promoted Facebook posting that went semi-viral: “The Winnipeg Sun keeping Winnipeg down one day at a time! Glass always half empty. Someone needs a hug. # 1 Employee is Debby Downer!”

That’s not something you see every day from (a) the marketing director of a professional football club and (b) a corporate partner, but as most Winnipeggers would agree, the Bombers always do things a little differently.

Of course, the Bombers aren’t playing this week. Let’s look at the four teams that are playing on Sunday. Two of them will win a trip to the 100th Grey Cup game:

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Ricky Ray

Toronto Argonauts at Montreal Alouettes, Sunday 12 Noon, Nov. 18: Last week in Toronto, Argos quarterback Ricky Ray ripped it up. The Argos 33-year-old QB — who won two Grey Cup championships in Edmonton — went 23-for-30 for 239 yards and two touchdowns as the Argos drilled the Eskimos 42-26 in last week’s Eastern semifinal. This week, however, the Argos have to go into the Big Owe in Montreal to face a very well-rested Alouettes team led by a 40-year-old quarterback who has already played in eight Grey Cup games (but only won three of them). Despite all sorts of great players – Jamel Richardson, S.J. Green, Chad Owens — ultimately, this game will be about Ray and Calvillo. The two best quarterbacks in the CFL will determine which one plays at Rogers Centre in the 100th Grey Cup game. I like the old guy. Montreal is favored by 5 ½. Take the Alouettes to win and cover.

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Kevin Glenn

Calgary Stampeders at B.C. Lions, Sunday 3:30 p.m., Nov. 18: This is probably the biggest game of Kevin Glenn’s career. Back in 2007, Glenn led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the 95th Grey Cup game in Toronto. Sadly, he broke his arm in the Eastern Conference final and couldn’t play in the Grey Cup. Glenn has a history of inconsistency, but he did throw for 4,220 yards this season, fourth best in the CFL. B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay, despite a couple of injuries, finished third in passing with 4,231 yards but amazingly, Glenn had a slightly better completion percentage — 66.7 to 66.5. If there is a big difference between the two QBs, it’s touchdowns to interceptions. Glenn had 25 TD passes and 16 interceptions while Lulay had 27 touchdown passes and only 10 interceptions. And since this is a playoff game and turnovers will probably determine the outcome, I’ll go with the guy who protects the football. B.C. is favored by six points and I’ll go with the favorites. Take B.C. to win and cover at B.C. Place Stadium.

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(Watch Scott Taylor and the legendary Voice of the Jets Curt Keilback on Major Misconduct, at www.majormisconduct.tv and listen to Scott Taylor every Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on NCI FM and Streetz 104.7 FM in Winnipeg, every Wednesday morning at 10:05 CST on The TEAM 1260 in Edmonton, every Thursday this fall with Boomer and Andrew Walker and Pools & Props at 7:45 a.m. MDT on The FAN 960 in Calgary, with Marty York  regularly on the York Report at nextsportstar.com and with Eric Nelson on The Big 8-3-0 WCCO in Minneapolis and at Minnesota Score Radio on ESPN 660. Scott can also be seen on “The Huddle” Football Show, weekly on Shaw TV and on Safeway Goldeyes Baseball Broadcasts on Shaw all across Manitoba. You can also read Scott at goldeyes.com, thehuddle.co, fantrax.com, gamedaygold.com, manitobascore.com, Senior Scope and Boomer Buzz, ChristianWeek Magazine, One Magazine, Seven Magazine. The Huddle Magazine — out this Saturday, Oct. 27 — and at Grassroots News.)