Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: Minor League Baseball

There were a number of team names from minor baseball that weren’t quite good enough to make the other categories but are still worth ridiculing.

Top 10 – Minor League Baseball Team Names

10. Idaho Falls Chukars – The chukar is a type of partridge native to Pakistan and India… which clearly explains why a baseball team from Idaho thought it would be a good mascot. Stupid potato farmers.

9. Fort Wayne TinCaps – The only people I know who wear tin caps are conspiracy theorists who are trying to deflect mind controlling satellite signals. Personally, I would try and avoid associating myself with that crowd, but to each his own.

8. Lansing Lugnuts – Now I would have thought that the term lugnut was more of an insult that source of team pride. Maybe the team is so bad that that’s all the fans call them anyway so they just decided to roll with it.

7. Frederick Keys – The keys?! Obviously the team over procrastinated when it came to deciding on a name and panicked at the last minute and went with the first thing they found in their pockets. In fact it came down to a vote between the Keys, the Slightly Used Kleenexes and the Expired Coupons.

6. Batavia Muckdogs – The team used to be called the Clippers but changed their name following a fan poll. Let this be a lesson that people are idiots and giving them any kind of decision making power will have terrible consequences. I keep telling you people – democracy doesn’t work!

5. Everett Aquasox – History lesson for you. Many baseball teams, back when the sport was first popularized in the US, were distinguished by the colour of stockings the players wore. There were teams like the St. Louis Brown Stockings, St. Louis Red Stockings, Philadelphia White Stockings, and of course, the Chicago White Stockings and Boston Red Stockings. These were eventually abbreviated, resulting in teams like the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.

So that brings us to the AquaSox. Clearly they were handing out manly team colours to all of the Minor League Baseball teams, the Everett representatives were at the bar doing tequila shots, and ended up getting the distinguished choice between aqua and purple with hot pink stripes. But colour aside, I wonder if the team's fight song is Barbie Girl?

4. Traverse City Beach Bums – Nothing like building a poor work ethic right into your team identity.

3. Peoria Javelinas – Allow me to venture some guesses as to what a javelina is. It is either a) a miniature javelin b) a Spanish javelin c) the homosexual equivalent of a javelin or d) a combination of all 3.

2. Asheville Tourists –

Be sure to drop by the Asheville team and get into the true Tourist spirit with official gear such as bad Hawaiian shirts and really ugly fanny packs. Seriously, what a terrible mascot!

Winner: Modesto Nuts –

As if being the colour commentator for this team wouldn’t be a dream job.

“Thank you for supporting our Nuts”
“The GM has the Nuts in the palm of his hand”
“I’ve never seem a pair of Nuts like that”
“The Tourists can’t wait to get their hands on those Nuts”
“It’s a scorcher out there, the Nuts are sweating something terrible”
“And the arch-rival Javelinas have just dealt a devastating blow to the Nuts”
“The Nuts are really pounding those Beach Bums”

… trust me I could go on for days.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: So Close, Yet So Far

Training Camp finally gets underway next week, which means we can finally get a taste of some actual football. However, in the interim it has been another really slow news week… and you know what that means… it’s time for another installment of Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts.

- The Riders will induct Dan Farthing, Tom Burgess and Norm Fong into the Plaza of Honour this year. A very deserving group indeed: the 5th all-time leading Rider receiver, the guy who got us to the ’89 cup and most importantly the guy who for 30+ seasons ensured our players’ cups fit properly.

- The Riders held their State of the Franchise conference call last week. About the only thing worth passing along is that David McKoy is still hurt and Matt Dominguez has one more medical test to pass before we consider bringing him to camp. Or to put it another way, Dominguez has a better chance of being healthy enough for camp than McKoy… that’s pretty sad.

- The more I think about it, Fantuz is clearly an anomaly because all the other receivers we’ve drafted have either been perennially injured or played at a level where the fans wished they were perennially injured.

- The Riders added a couple DBs to the training camp roster, Daniel Francis and Jerron Wishom. While I wish these 2 the best, I’m guessing their stay here will be short lived.

- The Rider Prophet is adopting Gabe Nyenhuis as my favourite player heading into camp… and if history is any indication that means that his stay here will be about as short lived as those of Francis and Wishom.

- The government’s feasibility study on a new stadium is now in. While Brad Wall and Pat Fiacco are being coy and saying “they need time to examine the findings”, all that really means is that they need time to write their respective speeches for the press conference to officially announce the project.

- It took a few months longer than expected but the Blue Jays have remembered who they are and promptly fallen out of first place.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: QB Travis Lulay, WR Robert Long, WR Emmanuel Arceneaux, WR Terrence Scott, DL Gary Butler, DL Xavier Mitchell, DL Jonathan Williams (free agent signing)
It’s Monday so I am unable to feign interest in these signings.

In: RB Reggie Bradshaw, RB Cedric Thompson (free agent signing)
You may remember Bradshaw as the Rider draft pick who Tillman expected to be a contributor on special teams last year… that was until Stu Foord came along and stole the show.

In: WR Romby Bryant, RB Joe Smith (contract extension), K Bradley Pierson (free agent signing)
Out: OL Bobby Singh, DB Marc Beswick, LB Anthony Maggiacomo (cut)
Normally a kicker signed this late in the offseason is nothing more than a leg for training camp but in Pierson’s case he actually has a legitimate shot… mainly because his only competition is a really bad young kicker named Serna and a really bad old kicker named Giancola.

In: DL Stan Van Sichem, OL Mat Singer, DL Ivan Brown (2009 Draft Pick signing)
As if Van Sichem isn’t an awesome name for a defender.

In: WR Jason Barnes, WR Willie Thornton, WR Efrem Hill, WR Alan Turner (free agent signing)
Again… Monday… can’t feign interest.

In: QB Jason Boltus, LB Matt Castelo, DB Carlton Brown, DB Melvin Matlock, DB Jacob Patek, DB Desman Stephen (free agent signing)
Out: DB Jason Nedd (cut)
Man do I wish we had signed Melvin Matlock. I would be the first in line for a Riders’ Matlock jersey. I would also be the first to yell out “We want Maaattloooooccccckkk!!”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: The Forgotten

In honour of newly acquired QB Juan Woah-seph’s roots, for today’s salute I decided to take a look at the forgotten section of the NCAA known as Div 3. Unless you have ESPN 8 – The Ocho you likely won’t be seeing these “reputable” sporting teams in the news. Judging by the team names they came up with I can see why they tend to be ignored by the sporting world.

Top 10 - NCAA Div III

10. Salisbury University Seagulls – While I think the seagull is a terrible mascot I guess the good news is they didn’t call themselves the Steaks.

9. Saint John’s University Johnnies/ University of St Thomas Tommies – Ah the old pluralize a saint’s name trick… What’s next the St. Elmo Elmos?

8. Muhlenberg College Mules – The Muhlenberg Mules? Wow there’s some top notch creativity right there. And aside from the obvious lack of effort, is the retarded and completely impotent offspring of a horse and a donkey really what you want to symbolize your student body?… then again given the reputability of Muhlenberg College maybe it is a fitting mascot… who am I to say?

7. Tufts University Jumbos – As if the women’s side of their athletic department doesn’t feel ashamed of the unfortunate team name they have to be associated with.

6. Hollins University (No Name) Seriously, they have no team name. How reputable must your athletics program be for you to not even bother coming up with a team name? But I guess when you look at the other teams in this list that made an effort to pick a name, maybe Hollins U made a good decision by staying on the sidelines for this one.

5. Heidelberg University Student Princes – Heidelberg has really come full circle in terms of their team name. They started out as the Student Princes, then they became The Students Formerly Known As Princes, then just The Students, followed by that unpronounceable symbol before finally ending up back at Student Princes.

4. Williams College Ephs –

If they changed from a college to a university they could be known as Eph U.

3. Central College Dutch–

There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures… and the Dutch.

2. Whittier College Poets –

What better symbol for the athletic department than an artsy group that is traditionally too weak, feeble, clumsy, socially awkward and opposed to any displays of physical strength to participate in organized sport.

Winner: Mary Baldwin College Fighting Squirrels –

If an angry looking squirrel in a sweater isn’t intimidating I don’t know what is.

Dishonourable Mentions: Brooklyn College Bridges, Loras College Duhawks

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Tuesday Afternoon Edition

Well Rider fans started the long weekend in less than desirable fashion, receiving crotch kickingly terrible news not once but twice.

The first metaphorical shot to the crotch was the news that Wayne Smith blew his achilles tendon while working out and will now miss the entire 2009 season. That’s right, the season doesn’t start for close to a month and we’re already looking at putting someone on the 9-game injured list. Well that’s certainly a positive omen heading into the season. Will achilles tendon be the new fibula? Smith was arguably one of our top O-linemen (when his back wasn’t hurt) so although we’ve got enough depth on the line to be okay, it’s still a big loss for the team.

I must say the circumstances surrounding the injury are somewhat suspicious. Smith was working out with Mike Abou-Mecherek. Now Abou was not offered a contract this offseason but was told to “stay in shape” in case there’s some midseason injuries. Now I won’t go as far as to allege he took matters into his own hands… but it does seem like a rather convenial turn of events in Abou’s favour.

Then of course the second metaphorical shot to the crotch came with the news that veteran LB (and the Rider Prophet’s favourite player) Kitwana Jones was traded to Edmonton. I saw the logic in the Perry/Jyles deal, I was one of the few who approved of the Kerry Joseph trade so it takes a lot for a trade to anger me… but this one definitely did.

Word is that Kitwana showed up 20 lbs lighter than last year and as such “no longer fit into our plans” (I’ll ignore for the moment that the idea of Jones playing DE is absurd and completely misguided). Apparently there is no room on our team for a talented LB and special teams monster. Admittedly, he’s not the most talented player out there but he’s plays with unbelievable intensity and it translates into sacks, forced fumbles and tackles.

But let’s pretend you buy into the logic that he was expendable… the least you could do is get something better in return than a 4th string QB that Edmonton managed to unearth while combing the NCAA powerhouse known as Div III. We have plenty of young QBs so I fail to see the logic in trading away a starter for a practice roster QB. The only redeeming thing here is that in Edmonton, Richie will continue to squander his talent at a position he’s not suited to play.

So goodbye Kitwana, you will be missed.

As for this Juan Joseph fellow we got in return, I just want to clear one thing up… So phonetically, is it pronounced John Joseph or Juan Woah-seph? What’s the deal?!

Last week the Riders finalized their coaching staff by hiring Mike Scheper as our new DL coach. So far, Tillman has done a great job with the coaching staff he assembles so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. However, I’ll admit that on paper this move causes me some concern. Scheper is 29 years old, 185 lbs and played O-line in college. Scheper must have had one hell of a cover letter because his resume certainly wouldn’t jump off the page.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: OL Bobby Harris, OL Andrae Townsel (fee agent signing)
Bobby Harris played alongside Belton Johnson at Ole Miss… so apparently Rebels rank 3rd on our scouting priority list behind Rams and Canadian CBs.

In: Nik Lewis (contract extension), DB Dee McCann, DB Quinton Meaders, DB Davanzo Tate, DB Lakendrick Terrell, DL Mallick Jackson, DL Remond Willis, WR Vincent Marshall, WR Titus Ryan, WR Jermaine Jackson, WR Johnny Thomas (free agent signing)
Out: DL Montey Stevenson, DL Ryan Riddle (cut), LB Lenny Walls, DB Neil Ternovatsky (trade with Win)
It will be interesting to see if Marshall can stick with the Stamps. Let’s not forget that we cut Marshall a while back and the only reason he was even in the league last year was because of an outbreak of broken-fibulitis.

In: DB Kelly Malveaux (trade with Win), DB EJ Underwood, DL Michael Williams, QB Lestar Ricard, LB Greg Whelan, DB Elliot Richardson (free agent signing)
Out: RB Pierre Luc-Yao (cut), Fred Perry (trade with Winnipeg)
Wow! Talk about odd last names. Pierre Luc is as French as they come but Yao is about as French as politeness and good hygiene.

In: DL Fred Perry (trade with Edm), OL Kelly Bates (trade with BC) LB Lenny Walls, DB Neil Ternovatsky (trade with Cal) WR Ivan Birungi, DB Darrius Battles, DB Patrick Body (free agent signing)
Out: Kelly Malveaux (trade with Edm)
So after completely trashing Brendan Taman’s recruiting methods, Mike Kelly has separated himself from his predecessor… by doing the exact same things as Taman: Acquiring other teams over the hill veterans (Perry, Bates) and trading away any and all draft picks (has already traded 6 picks). Given the historical success rate of these methods, it’s a shame Winnipeg is no longer in our division.

In: OL Zac Carlson, WR Darcy Brown (2009 Draft Pick signing)
To summarize… Zac Carlson = good use of 1st round pick, Darcy Brown = bad use of 1st round pick

In: Todd Kristoff (offered a tryout as long snapper), DL Nickolas Morin-Soucy (2009 Draft Pick signing)
Kristoff is a Rams/Thunder product who once played touch football alongside legendary players such as Rider Prophet and Media Consultant. All the best TK.

In: WR Anthony Russo, WR Otis Amey, DB Mil’Von James, DB Trestin George (free agent signing)
Out: WR Eric McCain, Dereck Faulkner (cut), OL Kelly Bates (trade with Win)
I love how you can take a boring name like Melvin… alter the spelling a bit and add a random apostrophe and voila… a super cool name. I mean with a little creative liberty I could be the Ryd’a Prah’fit.

In: QB Stephen Reaves, WR/KR Jerome Mathis, DB Devonte Edwards, LB John Keith (free agent signing)
Out: LB Matt Hewitt, LB David Lofton (cut)
The Argos are quite of proud of the fact that they signed a former Pro-bowler in Mathis. The problem is that the Pro Bowl selection came back in 2005 meaning that this is just a continuation of their misguided fascination with washed-up NFLers including Mike McMahon, Bethel Johnson, David Boston and Mike Vanderjerk. In his spare time, Mathis enjoys letting his pit bulls run free in the neighbourhood and assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. What a guy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kitwana Jones Traded

Just heard that Kitwana Jones has been traded to Edmonton... apparently for QB Juan Joseph.

I'm too mad to even begin to comment at this point.

Check back Monday for complete details.

Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: Colour Me Unimpressed Part 2

Since my first post dedicated to teams that mistakenly thought colours would improve their terrible team name, I have unearthed a few more that deserve my mockery.

Top 5 – Adding A Colour To A Bad Team Name Doesn’t Make It Any Better Part 2

5. Lincoln University of Missouri Blue Tigers / Morehouse College Maroon Tigers (NCAA) –

I’m not an accredited zoologist, nor do I hold a degree in any of the environmental sciences. I'm just an enthusiastic young man with a 6th grade education and an abiding love for all of God's creatures. But I do know enough to call both Lincoln and Morehouse’s bluff here. Each school must have a significant supply of animal grade paint, or possibly mind altering drugs, because those are the only 2 possible explanations for a blue or maroon tiger.

4. Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Minor League Baseball) –

Seems odd to me to name a sports team after something Man In The Bush recently contracted… but what do I know?

3. NYU Violets (NCAA) –

While we’ve established that adding a colour to a bad name doesn’t improve it, I’d like to point out that opting instead to just go with a colour on its own is also a bad idea. Especially when you choose such a wussy colour. I do love how well the mascot relates to the team name though.

2. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds (NCAA) –

…and if you thought just choosing a solitary colour for a team name was a bad idea, as Wisconsin Eau Claire demonstrates, combining 2 colours together to form a new word is an even worse idea.

Winner: Gustavus Adolphus College Golden Gusties (NCAA) –

Now Gustavus Adolphus was known as the “Lion of the North” which explains the logo (you know except for the Golden Gusties having a black and white logo). But rather than do the logical thing and call themselves the Lions, the college for some reason decided to make up a word that closely resembles gusty, which describes the wind. Maybe the decision was based on the fact that GA College blows.

Dishonourable Mentions: Lancaster Red Roses (defunct CBA), Geneva College Golden Tornadoes (NCAA), Bluefield State College Big Blues (NCAA), Colby College White Mules (NCAA)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On This Day In Roughrider History: Gross Miscalculation

Not all noteworthy events in our illustrious team history have occurred on the field. For today’s installment of On This Day In Roughrider History we will remember one of the many off-field occurrences that are part of Saskatchewan Roughrider lore. While the subject of today’s post was neither a big event, nor anything overly significant in the grand scheme of things, I sill feel as though it deserves mention.

I’ll take you back in time one year to 2008. Riderville was still basking in the glory of being Grey Cup Champions. Merchandise was flying off the shelves at a record pace and fans were clamouring to snatch up as much Grey Cup memorabilia as they could… mainly because they knew that Grey Cup wins only come around roughly every 2nd decade.

The Riders, being the generous citizens in our community that they have been for years, decided to use this massive demand for memorabilia to benefit local charities. They began auctioning off autographed game worn memorabilia with the profits of the auctions going to charity.

It was on this day one year ago today that one of those many auctions closed… and the winning bidder got the honour of purchasing James Johnson’s game worn helmet for the low price of $2820.

This is possibly the biggest overpayment since Hamilton signed Casey Printers. Obviously the buyer was not very market savvy. I mean its common knowledge that a new football helmet will cost you between $100-200. Now having that helmet signed by a famous athlete will greatly increase its value. However, having it signed by James Johnson will actually devalue it roughly 50%. Furthermore you have to factor in that at the time of the auction James Johnson was at the apex of his career and has since plummeted like my pension fund. Today, that helmet would likely only be worth, at most, a 4th round draft pick. Which, interestingly enough, is more than James Johnson himself went for.

The buyer was no doubt hoping that this piece of memorabilia would be worth many more thousands once James Johnson established himself as the greatest defensive force of our generation… Unfortunately for the buyer, the only thing Johnson established himself as was the least talented player to ever be named Grey Cup MVP. At least he can take solace in the fact that his misguided overspending greatly benefited a local charity. I mean he would have been better off just donating the money directly and getting a tax receipt but that’s beside the point.

Misguided love for crappy players… an unfortunate part of our Roughrider heritage.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Is That All Of Them?

Somehow the Riders managed to unearth another player from Regina to sign. And as an added bonus, this one also happens to be a cornerback. In our continuing effort to corner the market on both Saskatchewan born players and Canadian CBs, the Riders signed Joel Lipinski over the weekend. Lipinski is a born and raised Regina boy who played for the Rams.

My favourite comment on our new recruiting strategy comes from Marc Parenteau’s blog on… “As you may know, due to last year’s injury plagued season there was some budget cut back so we could only afford to scout within the city limit and the coaches all shared one bus pass.”

The CFL’s Supplemental Draft goes today. It’s actually not much of a draft since there is only one eligible player… OL Zac Carlson. Basically, anyone who didn’t have their non-import status approved in time for the actual draft goes in to the supplemental one and teams pick in order of waiver priority. If a team actually drafts someone they forfeit the corresponding pick next year.

It is pretty much a lock that Hamilton will take Carlson in the 1st round (thus forfeiting their 1st rounder in 2010). Despite the steep price, this is a good move by Hamilton. Carlson was a projected top 5 pick this year and has the ability to play tackle. Hamilton is a good example of how you effectively use first round picks to improve your O-line. This is in stark contrast to the Blue Bombers who have somehow managed to trade away all their first round picks over the last decade (and already have a good start on the next decade) while simultaneously dismantling their O-line. Look, if Marcel Bellefeuille can figure it out… it can’t be all that hard.

Former Hamilton QB Casey Printers was back in the news last week. He has fired his agent (who just happens to be his uncle) and will now be handling all his own contract negotiations. This of course won’t be too difficult for Printers given that there are no contract offers on the table that need negotiating. Nor will there likely be any in the near future. He has apparently attempted to contact the Lions but he’s been about as successful in connecting with Buono as he was at connecting with receivers in Hamilton. No worries, being the smart business man that he is, Printers has a flourishing business as a motivational speaker to fall back on… seriously check out his website. (To be fair, it would be more accurate to replace the word “flourishing business” with “misguided pipe dream “, add the prefix “de” to motivational and replace “fall back on” with “complete his decent into utter failure” in the previous sentence).

Monday Morning Sentimonies wouldn’t be complete without a Michael Bishop update. In a surprising turn of events, Bishop’s Hammerheads broke a 3 game losing streak by beating the Odessa Roughnecks over the weekend. Michael Bishop played a big role in the win… he threw zero interceptions and didn’t even fumble. You’re probably asking yourself how this is possible… well I should add that the reason Bishop didn’t make any mistakes was because he didn’t set foot on the field. The Hammerheads finally realized that if they simply bench Bishop their odds of winning greatly increase (if only the Riders could have figured that one out a bit earlier). I really love being able to take pleasure in Bishop’s failure without it negatively affecting the Riders.

CFL Ins and Outs


In: DB Ryan Glasper, LB Mark Restelli, WR Kevin Wuthrich, LB Rod Davis, LB Rory Johnson, LB Shaun Richardson (free agent signing), OL Gord Hinse (2009 draft pick signing), OL Gerald Davis (trade with Hamilton)
Out: DL Tyler Clutts, WR Greg Prator, DL Adrain Baird (cut)
Hinse signed a 4 year plus an option contract… so either the contract was insanely lucrative or Hinse has a really bad agent because signing a 5 year deal is generally a pretty bad move for player.

In: LB Tray Blackmon, LB Kurt Campbell, DL Justin Brown, DL EJ Kuale (free agent signing), DL Ronald Hilaire (2008 draft pick signing)
Out: QB Ben Sankey, DB Richard Karikari, LB Saleem Rasheed, DL Howard Hodges (cut)
This is becoming an annual event. The Stamps sign Sankey because one of their QBs gets hurt, he lasts until the end of the season and then ends up getting cut. Then next year the cycle starts all over again. He’s like the football equivalent of a low grade booty call.

In: WR Jerel Myers (free agent signing), Justin Sorensen (2008 draft pick signing)
In case you were wondering Jerel is not related to Mike Myers or Devo drummer Alan Myers.

In: LB Isaac Brown, DB Virgil Gray, DL Elton Patterson, WR Jacob Willis (free agent signing), Simeon Rottier (2009 draft pick signing)
Out: DB Rontarius Robinson, WR Jojo Walker, LB Tim Goodwell (cut), OL Gerald Hamilton (trade with Edmonton)

Poor Ronta, he’s really sliding fast since winning a cup with us in ’07. First we don't offer him a contract, then his only offer is from the lowly Ti-cats, then after minimal playing time, they cut him. Media Consultant would like to pass along his best wishes to Cousin Ron.

In: Brock Ralph (contract extension), K Dan Giancola, DL Aaron McConnell, WR Tyrone Timmins, WR Chris Jackson (free agent signing)
Out: K Kenneth Byrd, DB Marlon Fair, DL Josh Miller, LB Roderick Johnson, LB AJ Nicholson (cut)

Last year, the Bombers had the worst kicker in the league in Alexis Serna. Clearly they needed to improve that this offseason. While Mike Kelly was smart enough to realize this, for reasons I have yet to figure out, he decided that this could be accomplished by signing a 39 year old kicker who hasn’t played in 5 years… and wasn’t even that good back then. This could go down as one of the worst kicking competitions in CFL training camp history. Troy Westwood must be beside himself with rage.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: Tooting Their Own Horn

Today we salute teams who have no sense of modesty or humility… even though they really should.

Top 5 – Most Boastful Team Names

5. Brampton Excelsiors (MSL) –

Excelsior can conjure up many different interpretations depending on who you talk to. Whether you take it to mean a spaceship from Star Trek 3, wood wool, or, like me, just picture Martin Prince and his band of nerdy friends proudly proclaiming “Excelsior!”
… the fact remains none of them have anything to do with soccer or sports in general.

4. Kannapolis Intimidators (Minor League Baseball) –

Man this is a messed up logo. You’ve got a letter K that seems to have developed a case of rabies as well of some sort of mutation that resulted in a hand on its head.

3. Arkansas Fantastics (defunct ABA) –

Perhaps if the team had lived up to their overly exuberant name they might not have ended up folding.

2. Anderson Champions (defunct ABA) –

The ironic thing is that Anderson never won a championship or even made the playoffs for that matter. How embarrassing…

Winners: Arkansas Tech University Wonder Boys (NCAA) –

Holy rusted nails Batman, what a hilarious team name! Perhaps it’s their love of spandex. Perhaps it’s their affinity for ambiguous relationships with older men also dressed in spandex. I don’t know, I don’t judge… well that’s a lie… but more to the point of the matter, this team name does make it seem as though Arkansas Tech is tooting their own horn a bit too much. Which is actually odd because you’d think a team named the Wonder Boys would be more likely to be tooting each others… well you get where I’m going with this.

Dishonourbale Mention: Lexington Legends (Minor League Baseball)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Draft Reflections

Thank you to those of you brave enough to join us for Live Draft Day Blogging. Overall it went pretty well though I did learn a few lessons. #1 – Real-time blogging really exposes my weaknesses in the areas of spelling and grammar. Hopefully they develop a real-time spell checker in time for next year. #2 – Look into start times prior to deciding to do things. If it hasn’t become painfully obvious by now… me and mornings don’t work well together (especially when I have to do live blogging).

As for the draft itself, I’m proud to say my pre-draft predictions were actually fairly accurate. In addition to correctly calling the Riders’ first pick, I also correctly called half the first round selections. So if you ignore the fact that my projected #2 pick went in the late 5th round it was overall pretty good.

The day before the draft the Riders swung a deal with Hamilton, sending Yannick Carter and Brandon Myles to Hamilton for Sasha Glavic, and we also swapped 3rd round picks. Brandon Myles we didn’t know ye at all, and Yannick, well we knew ye only slightly more. We essentially just swapped one special teamer for another. While this Glavic fellow seems like a decent pick up, I just have a hard time believing in the toughness of a guy named Sasha… though I guess his rather communistic last name somewhat redeems him.

As for the Riders 2 picks, I think they did alright. Tamon George was a solid pick up given our decision to repatriate the wide side CB. As for Nick Hutchins, I’m so-so on the pick. Hutchins is young, big and was a Canada West All-star last year. More importantly he’s got experience at centre which is a bonus for any OL. So he’s definitely a decent prospect. There were probably better players still available at other positions but given that we had no immediate needs I guess I can live with Hutchins. In the grand scheme of things anyone we drafted by the 3rd round was competing for a practice roster spot at best so I guess taking a local with a year of CIS eligibility left isn’t a bad call. I’ll admit our recent “Buy Saskatchewan” mentality has me wondering if budget cuts have limited our scouts to only destinations that are within driving distance but at least the guys we are getting have some promise.

Here’s some random musings on how the other teams fared…
- BC as always did very well, though as history will teach you, drafting 3 highly touted prospects in the first round doesn’t always turn out as good as you’d expect.
- Edmonton drafted mostly on the defensive side of the ball which should come as no surprise given their new head coach… though they were smart enough to also draft another Canadian RB.
- Calgary got some solid talent in Fraser and Black, but in the 4th and 5th they were able to load up on some players who were ranked highly going into the draft. If they end up panning out like many scouts predicted, they could very well be the steals of the draft.
- Winnipeg was wise enough to draft 2 O-lineman, however given that they only started picking in the 3rd round of a weak draft it probably won’t help much.
- Montreal was lucky enough to land French guys with half of their picks… un grand succès pour certain.
- Toronto started out with 2 really good picks but then things kinda went downhill. The good news is the downward fall kicked in 2 picks later than normal for the Argos.

As for the Ti-Cats they started out making some really good moves. Rottier was a solid pick. Also, they were smart enough to squeeze an extra pick out of BC. Hamilton had no intentions of drafting Jamall Lee but Obillivich was able to force BC’s into trading up in order to guarantee that they got Lee. It was at this point however that things went from smart to questionable. While I have no doubt that Darcy Brown is an intriguing prospect, I highly doubt the Ti-Cats needed to expend a 1st rounder to get him. There must have been at least 7 other team who were interested in finding out just who exactly Darcy Brown was.

One final note that I just couldn’t resist passing along. The Corpus Christi Hammerheads, led by Michael Bishop, suffered their 3rd straight loss, 47-44 to the Odessa Roughnecks. Bishop went 17 for 36 with 2 INTs in a losing effort. To be fair though, while Bishop does suck, this one can’t be blamed entirely on him. Corpus Christi’s kicker missed 3 of his 4 FG goal attempts in addition to missing 3 convert attempts… word is the kicker has now been placed on the Blue Bombers’ negotiation list.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: OL Martin Bibla, OL Darren Marquez, RB Amos Allen, RB Damian Sims, RB Emmanuel Marc (free agent signing)
Looks like Roy Shivers’ annual shipment of running backs has arrived.

In: WR Dave Stala (free agent signing)
Out: QB Richie Williams, WR Chad Rempel, RB Andre Callender (cut)
Hamilton tried out both Dave Stala and Corey Grant and for reasons I can’t comprehend opted to sign the one who spent the better part of 2 years in a leg cast.

In: DB Nick Kordic, DB John Eubanks (free agent signing)
Out: WR Jamie Stoddard, DB Aric Williams (cut)
I wonder if that Eubanks fellow is of any relation to Kevin Eubanks.

In: DE Kevin Huntley (free agent signing)
I wonder if that Huntley fellow is of any relation to 100 Huntley Street.

In: FB Mathieu Bertrand (contract extension), OL Greg Wojt (2008 draft pick signing), QB Jared Zabransky (free agent signing)
Out: DL Clinton Wayne (retired)
Wayne no doubt opted to retire when he heard that the Esks drafted the mighty Dee Sterling (who has been arbitrarily endorsed by the Rider Prophet since early Saturday morning).

In: Dave Dickenson (hired as Offensive Assistant)
I sincerely hope Dickenson is up in the booth during games because if he’s on the sidelines I can pretty much guarantee he will somehow end up concussed again.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

CFL Draft

Friday, May 1, 2009

Draft Strategery

Well draft day is almost upon us so I figured since I call myself the Prophet I should probably make some attempt to “predict” what’s going to happen in tomorrow’s draft. Prior to reading my thoughts on the draft please read the following disclaimer:

The Rider Prophet is not, nor does he pretend to be, a scout or anything resembling someone that can tangibly evaluate football skill. He is merely an opinionated bigot who feels as though he can predict the future based on his highly biased view of Canadian Football. Any thoughts or predictions contained in the following may not actually be based on anything factual and are a product of the 15 minutes Prophet spent following the CIS this past season. Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any falsehoods, fabrications, fairytales or outright libel contained herein. Furthermore, Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any injuries, sexually transmitted diseases or spontaneous combustion that results from reading this material.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up here’s a team by team breakdown in terms of Canadian talent heading into the draft.

First Pick: 9th Overall (Round 2)
# of Picks: 2
Strengths: Despite the fact that we somehow managed to end up with less picks than the Bombers (how embarrassing), the Riders already have a very solid base of Canadian talent. With the addition of Rempel and St-Pierre; our plethora (good word) of receivers; and 3 established Canadian RBs, we will definitely not be drafting on the offensive side of the ball.
Needs: While we don’t have any glaring holes on defense Canadian-wise, odds are this is where we will draft. Linebacker is pretty much full with McCullough, Carter and Wagner. Stadnyk and Shologan provide some young blood for the line (though if a decent DL prospect falls low enough we may grab him). This leaves only the secondary. We obviously traded up for a reason, and I believe that reason is Tamon George. Widely considered one of the top cover men in the CIS, I think the Riders have their eyes set on adding him into the mix with Mitchell and Alexander in the Canadian corner experiment. Not to mention the fact that he fits perfectly in our new “recruit only from Saskatchewan” strategy (which I’m pretty sure contravenes NAFTA if we were ever called on it).

First Pick: 1st Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 7
Strengths: Given that the 1st overall pick has been a Ti-cat tradition for years (4 of last 6), they have been quietly amassing some of the top young prospects at their respective positions… Bauman, Barker.
Needs: For Hamilton to become competitive again they need to start winning the battles in the trenches. That means they should be focusing on linemen… particularly on the defensive side where they are pretty weak.

First Pick: 2nd Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 7
Strength: None… years of focusing on NFL cast offs has left them with very little young Canadian talent. Though the offseason acquisitions of Pottinger, Picard and Keeping help a bit.
Needs: Everything. Seriously, no matter what position they draft they will be addressing a need. They will focus very little on the O-line as they have done a decent job addressing that in the offseason. What they really need is some offensive weapons not named Bruce… particularly now that Dorsey is gone. They are also desperately in need of some defensive players.

First Pick: 19th Overall (Round 3)
# of Picks: 4
Strengths: Even less than Toronto. Guess that’s what trading away all your first round picks for the better part of a decade will get you. Outside of Brown and LaBatte (and possibly Kahn if he’s healthy) this is a sad looking bunch.
Needs: You name it, they need it. Problem is they don’t pick until the 3rd round of a weak draft so its unlikely things will look much better when the draft is over.

First Pick: 11th Overall (Round 2)
# of Picks: 5
Strengths: They’ve got 2 good Canadian RBs (at least for a game or 2). They also have some solid talent at other spots: Braidwood, Peterson, the Comiskeys. And let's not forget the blitzing sensation that is Scott Gordon. Okay maybe forget him.
Needs: Last season underlined the need for a viable back-up for Braidwood and they’re thin in the O-line. But given their draft position a more realistic chance for improvement would be a half decent Canadian LB (which they currently lack).

First Pick: 4th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 7
Strengths: Buono consistently fields some of the best groups of Canadians in the league. Guys like Paris Jackson, Brent Johnson and Javier Glatt are among the tops in the league at their spot regardless of their birth certificate.
Needs: Their O-linemen aren’t getting any younger so with 3 picks in the first round this would be the perfect time to stock on some top prospects. They could also use a viable option to back-up Paris Jackson (and no I don’t believe O’Neil Wilson and viable option should be used in the same sentence). Apparently Buono is also extremely interested in Jamall Lee.

First Pick: 7th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 8
Strengths: O-Line features some of the game’s best (Chui, Flory), Sanchez is a ratio buster and that Mormon receiver they have is pretty good too.
Needs: Youth! While all those names I mentioned are pretty darn talented, they are also getting pretty darn old. When half the team retires next year they will have some big holes to fill. Their priority should be O-line, receiver and D-line in that order. And as per tradition, the Frencher the name the better.

First Pick: 8th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 8
Strengths: O-line is among the best in the CFL and some of them are just getting started. Names like Labinjo, DeAngeles and Teyo Johnson also stand out.
Needs: Overall Calgary has no glaring holes so I’m guessing they default to the tried a true “when in doubt draft linemen” strategy that has been a staple of this draft for years.

Two things have somewhat changed the landscape of the first round. First, OT Zac Carlson (who was pretty much a lock to be drafted top 3) didn’t have his non-import status approved in time to be draft eligible. He will instead be available in the supplemental draft on May 11th. Second, RB Jamall Lee, also a consensus top pick, signed a free agent deal with the Carolina Panthers. While Lee will still most likely be drafted high, this may drop him a spot or 2 since he will not be immediately available.

You have to look no further than last year’s draft to see the risk/reward of taking a chance on drafting someone who has signed in the NFL. Last year both Keith Shologan and Rolly Lumbala had signed NFL contracts but were drafted nonetheless and ended up on CFL rosters before the end of the season. By contrast, Samuel Giguere was also drafted but remained with the Indy Colts all last year and may not even return this year either.

Anyway, enough rambling, here’s how I see the First Round going down…

1 – Hamilton – OL Simone Rottier
2 – Toronto – DL Osie Ukwuoma
3 – Hamilton – DL Etienne Legare
4 – BC – RB Jamall Lee
5 – BC – OL Matt Morencie
6 – BC – WR Matt Carter
7 – Montreal – OL Dylan Steenberg
8 – Calgary – DL Dee Sterling
9 – Sask – DB Tamon George

Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for my Live Draft Day Blogging beginning at 9am (clearly I failed to consider the start time before deciding to do this).