As I sit in my hotel room and type this I can barely contain my excitement. In just over 24 hours we will witness our Riders attempt to bring home the franchise's 4th Grey Cup. Its almost surreal to think that a team that once went decades without making it to the Grey Cup is now appearing in their 3rd once in 4 years. My how the times have changed.
I could write pages on this being a rematch of last year, our chance at redemption, a chance to re-write history... but quite frankly I'm sick of all that talk.
Whether we like it or not (and if you like it there's something wrong with you), nothing can change what happened last year. It's over, forever etched in history and above all, it's in the past. This is a new year and 2010 is all that matters, o that's what I will focus on.
The 2010 CFL season will end the same way it began, with a battle of the league's 2 best teams. This game has a weird build up. I can't remember the last time a team that was favoured was expected by so many people to lose. The Als are a very good team but the majority of people are expecting the Riders to win. In fact the Als have some big conspiracy theory that the league wants the Riders to win. While it may be true that a Rider victory is better for the league financially than an Als repeat, it's a little far fetched to think that they are going out of their way to make it happen.
As for the game itself, I expect 1 thing... an all out aerial assault on both sides. On one side you have the ageless wonder Calvillo and his cast of talented receivers. On the other side you have the pass happy RIder offense matched up against an Alouette pass defense that is actually very crappy or le brutal as the French might say. It is one of their few weaknesses. And they also have a tough decision to make in regards to how to cover the Rider receivers. If you play them straight up Fantuz and Dressler will make big plays. If you focus your attention on those 2, Getzlaf and Koch will hurt you. Pick your poison.
For whatever reason Dressler always has monster games against the Als and with the added incentive of playing in his first Grey Cup I expect another one this week.
The Als have the best run D in the league so I don't expect a big game from him. I just hope that like last week he makes every yard count.
Defensively, the Als are as tough to stop as we are. That said, last week I watched our D shut down the best O in the league with their most inspired performance of the year. If they can bring that intensity again tomorrow it could make for a long night for Calvillo. The pressure will be on our secondary to step up.
As always I am just praying that our special does just enough not to screw us over. Please, please, please.
I expect an extremely close game that will come down to the very end. But when the final whistle blows I know that we will see the Green and White hoist the Cup for the 4th time ever.
Riders by a Weston Dressler TD.