CFL Potential Winners and Losers in 2020 ‘Labour Day Season’

Mosaic Stadium in Regina

Yesterday the CFL provided a much-needed public update to the state of its 2020 season. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s message had three key points: a potential season start date, the cancellation of Touchdown Atlantic, and a new Grey Cup host (possibly).

Debating over the likelihood of the 2020 season being played would be endless, so hypothetically looking at this shortened season would be more beneficial. After all, hypothetical and sports have a close relationship right now.

So, where would teams specifically land if this shortened 2020 CFL season got the green light? Who benefits from the proposed best-team-host-city Grey Cup format?

Potential Winners

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Before coronavirus even surfaced, the Roughriders were in a damn good spot to clinch first in the West again and give the West Final another go on home field. Saskatchewan’s core around Cody Fajardo is intact and in their prime. William Powell, Shaq Evans, Cam Judge, Nick Marshall — the stars go on.

That said, Saskatchewan would have a shorter path to the Grey Cup. Fewer games means fresher bodies and a better chance for the “reloading” teams to shine due to the turnover.

Looking bigger picture, the host city rule to the Grey Cup may remove the Riders from a home Grey Cup. But there’d be a good chance Saskatchewan could earn a home Grey Cup through their regular season performance, and then suddenly Regina is hosting two Grey Cups in three years.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The defending champs didn’t change much by choice in the off-season. Winnipeg’s big free agency move was the retaining of Zach Collaros and Willie Jefferson. Now like Saskatchewan, Winnipeg is reloading with their eyes set on a home-field playoff run.

What the Bombers and Roughriders have in common is a massive home-field advantage (and a knack for instant classics in the Prairies). If either team gets first in their division and hosts the Grey Cup, it may as well be curtains.

Then there’s Andrew Harris. It’d be a shame if a year of the 33-year-old’s career was lost. Winnipeg would likely hit the ground running, and could really make a statement if their first game is indeed the Labour Day Classic.

B.C. Lions

The Lions would be a sneaky team to catch fire at the right time. With a 35-year-old Mike Reilly in his second season with the Lions, a much-improved offensive and defensive lines could be what makes B.C. click.

The Lions have a solid amount of talent on paper and should know a thing or two about complacency to begin a season. Who’s to say Reilly doesn’t come out firing to Bryan Burnham and the newly acquired Dominque Rhymes?

Plus, B.C. is the only team with an indoor stadium. That alone is a winner in my books.

Potential Losers

Toronto Argonauts

No team’s gone through a more significant off-season turnaround than the Argos. Toronto’s brought in a first-year coach, a new veteran quarterback, and revamped their defence. Yes, I’m still talking about the Argos and not the 2019 B.C. Lions.

As we saw with B.C. last year, it can take time for a ton of new and inexperienced pieces to gel. Nearly every move the Argos have made in the past few months has made sense.

Even Ryan Dinwiddie seems like a strong out-of-the-box hire, while Matt Nichols should do some work with new offensive weapons. On defence, the secondary is looking stout and the likes of Bo Lokombo, Nick Shorthill, Craig Roh, and Drake Nevis could be huge upfront. But at the end of the day, it’ll likely take time — which isn’t on Toronto’s side.

Calgary Stampeders

It’s yet another season where key Stampeders go to the NFL, others depart in free agency, and some question whether Calgary can keep up their winning ways. Calgary’s extremely vulnerable this year, especially in their makeshift secondary after the losses of starters Tre Roberson, DaShaun Amos, and Brandon Smith.

Then playing devil’s advocate, if the Stamps do find a way behind Bo Levi Mitchell and take it the distance, what will this do for Mitchell’s legacy? He’d be 3-2 as a starter in the Grey Cup, but would the third ring come with an asterisk from the shortened season?

The bottom line is it really seems like a lose-lose for the Stamps, and especially for Bo.

CFLPA

Like the current situation in the MLB, money and more specifically players’ salaries is going to be a pretentious topic over the next months. The CFLPA’s surely going to try their best to get players their best possible payout, but what’s that realistically going to look like?

Americans making close to minimum salaries are already taking him a poor income across the border. Now throw in the health and travel risks associated with playing football in large cities. Then presumably cut these salaries in half, and you have to assume there will be many players stepping up and saying “what’s the point?”

If there’s a 2020 CFL season, the CFLPA is fighting a losing battle when it comes to compensation.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images


3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. In a shortened season, especially if the games are played in Regina & Winnipeg, those 2 would have a massive advantage for sure. But in an 8 game season, anyone can get hot & it’s wide open. What home field advantage do you have if there are no fans? After 3 or 4 games everyone is used to the wind conditions etc.. A hot start is essential. The past 3 years the Riders were 4-8 in the 1st 4 games of the year. They have an old team, an OL which is likely to pass more with Maas & gave up more sacks in the West than anyone except BC with fewer dropbacks than anyone but Winnipeg. Maas has been great with QB’s but had Ray as QB coach in TO, Burris & Harris as OC in Ottawa, Reilly & Harris as HC in Edmonton. How is he going to be with Cody & can he adapt to fit his style? In Edmonton he got Reilly away from running. He’s already stated he wants to do that in Regina. So I have some questions about QB. Fajardo may be good or he may be Jennings. I like Winnipeg a lot & I think Campbell & Milanovich are huge additionsfurther West. Discipline problems killed the Eskimos in Maas’ tenure along with really questionable decision making. The Bombers & Eskimos are the 2 teams who have the best personnel in the trenches. The Riders just don’t add up for me. That DL w/o Micah is very ordinary especially with Hughes now 36 – the short season helps him though. I see a 1st place club who, but for 1 more loss to the Bombers, end up 3rd. They faced a Bomber club w/o a suspended Harris for the 2 game Labour Day set, w/o Collaros or Nichols in all 3 games, a TiCat team right after Masoli was injured & Dane Evans in for his 1st start vs the Riders, an Eskimo team in the final 2 games who had nothing to gain, sat most of their starters on defence for much of Game 18 & were gifted an easy INT by their 4th string QB to finally sew up the win. Meanwhile the Bombers & Stamps had to play a 2 game set. And let’s not forget the forfeited game in Mtl. The Riders had a lot of breaks go their way last year. The Bombers look like the team to beat. I don’t put the Riders in the same class as all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *