Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: March Sadness

I have never had that good of a track record when it comes to my annual March Madness picks. There is a reason I haven’t diversified into NCAA propheting. This may have something to do with not following college basketball at all and instead trying to determine which teams will win based on how much I like/dislike their school and team names… Wichita Shockers = good, each of the 1400 teams named the Wildcats = bad. While this system has yet to yield a successful bracket, I usually at least have a fairly successful first couple rounds before it all comes crashing down.

This year however has reached a new low for March Madness futility. Seems the Kansas-Villanova final I predicted won’t be coming to fruition. I'm used to having one of my Final Four teams drop off early but having the entire bracket ruined by day 3 is pretty bad even for me.

But you probably didn’t come here to listen to me complain about my NCAA bracket so let’s get to some CFL news.

- The Riders confirmed that training camp will be held in Regina. They would still like to hold camp in Saskatoon in the future but there were too many logistical problems to work through this year. Though I can see the PR value for the team in holding camp in Saskatoon, I still think it makes way more sense to keep it here in Regina. It just makes sense to practice on the field you will be playing on plus all the teams’ facilities (locker-room, training facilities etc…) are here. Also I was selfishly hoping for camp here so I can go down and watch. I mean slipping out at lunch to watch camp is one thing when it’s in Regina, but it might be a tougher sell to my boss if it involved 5 hours of driving.

- Last weeks signing of Danny Brannagan by the Argos was the first sign that a slight rule change regarding Canadian QBs is imminent. Word is the league is likely going to allow teams an exemption allowing them to bring a Canadian QB to training camp and not have him count towards the limit of 68 players. The Argos are just trying to get a jump on snatching up a decent Canadian prospect (which there aren’t that many of). The Ti-cats are also getting an early start by adding Erik Glavic to their neg list. Though we are a long time away from a Canadian QB cracking a CFL roster in any meaningful capacity, this is a small step in that direction.

- BC has hired Rich Stubler as their new DL coach. This is a great pick up for the Lions. Stubler is a defensive genius (terrible head coach… but defensive genius). I was always hoping that the Riders would hire Stubler. Not only would he be a phenomenal asset to our defense, it would also lead to the debut of the Rider sweater vest… which I have always coveted. But I guess at the age of 60, Stubler was just too young to qualify for our coaching staff

CFL Ins and Outs

In: RB Jamal Robertson (free agent signing)
This seems like an odd signing for the Lions. They rarely sign other teams free agents to begin with and have traditionally just found RBs internally via scouting (Joe Smith, Stephan Logan, Martell Mallett). Not to mention that Roy Shivers’ forte is supposed to be finding RBs. So why they are interested in a 33 year old from the Argos is beyond me. Robertson played pretty well the last couple seasons but to be fair, given that he played in Toronto anyone would have looked good compared to the rest of that putrid offense.

In: LB Markeith Knowlton (contract extension)
It used to be a given that any transaction the Ti-Cats were involved in could be easily mocked. The jokes pretty much wrote themselves. Now they have turned themselves into a fair legitimate contender and the jokes are getting harder to come up with. Never ever thought I’d see the day where I would struggle to insult a team run by Marcel Bellefeuille (2008’s Most Insulted Sports Figure).

In: DB Lenny Walls, DB Lawrence Gordon (free agent signing)
Well one of these DBs (Gordon) is a typical defensive signing (i.e. not very good). But the other is quite the opposite. Walls was 2nd in the league last year with 7 INTs. I have no idea what prompted the Bombers to release him a few weeks ago but their questionable decision making has led to a great opportunity for the Esks. Then again given the success that other elite DBs such as Omarr Morgan and Jordan Younger have had upon arriving in Edmonton, I think I’ll reserve my judgment on whether this will positively affect the Esks secondary.

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