Fools Of Us All: The Eastern CFL Playoff Picture
In week five, I made some bold predictions about the possible contenders for this year’s Grey Cup. I mentioned at the time how dangerous it could be, making predictions about this extremely volatile league. I may even have pointed out that only a fool would do so.
Again, the CFL has ways of making fools of us all.
With week twelve in the books, the picture has changed entirely in the east. Montreal has found its form, and has a firm–if not commanding–hold on the top spot; assuming Calvillo doesn’t suddenly begin acting his age, we’ll see a bye for the Als is the first round of the playoffs.
Toronto holds second place, and deservedly so. Ricky Ray has made the most of the tools at his disposal–including himself, but more notably, Chad Owens–and the team as a whole is strong enough to at least challenge any other team in the league. On a good day. If conditions are right. They have a great chance of taking second in the east, if they continue on their current form. After last week’s loss to the Alouettes, you might not want to lay down any money on them for winning the eastern final, but their odds of at least being there are strong.
And Hamilton. What, we would all like to know, is wrong with Hamilton? A dangerous, explosive, high-scoring offence–except when they decide to wander around like a flock of geese, with Burris tossing footballs in their general direction, except when he drops them. A stifling, hard-hitting defence that can frustrate any quarterback in the league–unless they give up big plays, big drives, and yawning holes for running backs to stroll through. Well, their kicking is pretty solid, and their special teams have really firmed up in recent weeks, but they’ll be lucky to fight off a crossover.
Winnipeg is the only team with a record worse than Hamilton’s, and their record would be worse if Hamilton hadn’t made them look so good in their two meetings this season. Buck Pierce is back, but high hopes and a glass jaw aren’t going to get the mosquito people anywhere; Matt Dunigan’s drooling on-air praise for Pierce notwithstanding, if Pierce manages to remain upright for the rest of the season, he’ll be lucky to end up with a .500 record considering his lack of decent options at receiver. But don’t worry–he’s bound to get knocked out of a game before too long, and then the second string QB–Brink? Elliot? someone else who meanders past CanadInns at just the right time?–will be able to finish off the season off about as well as it began.
So that’s the east at the two-thirds point: the least incompetent rising to the top, the most incompetent fighting for scraps at the bottom. The west, by contrast, has teams actively working to win the top spot, a startling and unsettling development we’ll look at next.