Friday, August 1, 2008

To Beat A Dead Horse

First of all, I propose that we change the name of the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Saskatchewan Dangerfields. Because we just can’t get no respect. Maybe it’s the numerous injuries, maybe it’s the lack of dominant wins, but this has got to be the least feared 5-0 team in the history of professional sport!

All things considered though, I’m okay with that mindset. Actually I think it stems from when the Riders were still a bad football team that would celebrate a 6 win season. The rest of the league and its fans were right to disrespect those teams. But here we are in 2008 and we finally have a team that just somehow finds ways to win – going back to last season, the Riders have dropped only one of their last 14 games.

All of that said though, I do see the game in Calgary this weekend being the toughest test that the team has had to face yet. There are interesting match ups across the board in this one. For instance:
  • Calgary’s strong offense against the league’s stingiest defense – which is still relatively healthy
  • A Stampeders secondary that is susceptible to the pass against a quarterback that may be rusty and a receiving corps that has been devastated by injuries
  • Wes Cates, the league’s leading rusher and touchdown producer, against the team that has been best against the rush to date (although they have been somewhat untested in this area - personally I think Cates will run all over the Stamps)

    At first glance, not much to pick from between these two teams. But my favourite match up in this game, and the one that just might make all the difference, is the Riders ability to step up in the fourth quarter to win a game against Calgary’s ability to implode in the dying seconds.

    These breakdowns may be directly tied to the previous points though – Calgary fans have been heard to claim that their team would also be undefeated if only they hadn’t given up late touchdowns against Edmonton and Winnipeg. I disagree - it’s my opinion that Calgary may be undefeated if only they had bothered to invest in a secondary. I mean really, saying that those two plays made all the difference is like arguing that Chris Walby would have been a great colour man if only he could stop saying such dumb things - possibly true, but there’s really nothing anyone could do to stop it.

    The turning point in this one really could be home field advantage. So with that in mind, I gotta like the Riders chances! Now if you’ll excuse me… I have a plane to catch.


Anonymous said...

Now THAT is a well-written column.

I realize I'm reading this AFTER the game (moving and no tv/internet prior to game time made things pretty brutal) but Craig, your projections were pretty much right on the money.

I realize I criticized you prior to game 5...and I like to think I am fair enough to recognize a job well done. Way to go Craig!!!

You keep this up and Karwandy may have to start another blog!!! LOL

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Much appreciated!