Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Grey Cup Sentimonies

Before I get to the Grey Cup game itself, I have to start by talking about the biggest news story coming out of this weekend’s festivities… I’m talking of course about what went down between Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca at an alumni luncheon. If you haven’t seen the video yet, you are really missing out…

Here are two 70 year olds getting into a physical altercation about a grudge that goes back over 40 years. I don’t think Vince McMahon himself could have staged something near that awesome. I mean this had everything build up, microphone work, foreign objects and hard hitting action. Only in the CFL could something so outrageous go down… at least since the demise of the XFL.

They should really consider making this an annual event as part of the Grey Cup festivities. Find two grizzled old alumni who still hate each other and have them square off in an epic old man fight. Charge money for admission and you could make big money on that kind of event. I know I’d be lining up for tickets. We could even invent feuds once we run out actual ones I mean Lex Luger used to play for the Alouettes and The Rock had a stint with the Stampeders.

For me, the only thing that could have made this whole ordeal better is if Mosca had been able to put up more of a fight… I mean come on the man was a former professional wrestler.

Okay now I should probably get around to talking about the actual Grey Cup game. Normally it would be my lead story but this Kapp/Mosca thing was just too awesome to pass up.

The 2011 CFL season came to close on Sunday as the BC Lions defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in front of a hometown crowd to win the Grey Cup. Personally I think the only surprising thing about the Grey Cup was the lack of rampant rioting.

Last week I said that I just didn’t the Bomber offense was good enough to keep them in the game and turns out I was right (shocking I know). I find it odd that in a year where Buck Pierce finally proved he could endure a full season (or at least as close as he’ll ever come) he simultaneously managed to disprove that he was a great QB.

You can talk all you want about the skill in the Winnipeg D but the fact remains that BC has a talented offense. The combination of Simon and Bruce is tough to contain let alone while at the same time having to deal with the other weapons they boast. If Winnipeg was to have any chance, their D (even on their best day… which this was not) was going to need the O to help them out.

I know that Odell Willis should have had that pick but he’s a defensive lineman people… they are not exactly known for their hands. They can’t all be Keith Shologan out their.

And so the drought continues for the Bombers. Over 2 decades without a Cup. They should just move the franchise to Toronto were that kind of futility is not only accepted but encouraged. While it sucks to lose a Grey Cup (believe I know), Bomber fans should actually be pretty happy with how far they came in one year. Dead last to tops in the East is pretty good. If they can find a solid QB this offseason (either internally in Brink/Elliot or externally) they have a pretty good chance of being back there next year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And the Nominees Are…

The 5th Annual Rider Prophet Awards are just around the corner and that means its time for you the readers to cast your vote for the Fan’s Choice Douche Bag of the Year. Voting will be open for one week after which this award, along with all the other Rider Prophet awards will be presented.

Your 2011 nominees:

Johnny Sears – For attempting to kill Stephen Jyles.

Dwight Anderson – The reigning douche bag of the year is back to try and defend his title. This year he is nominated for gouging Weston Dressler’s eye and then proceeding to get himself essentially kicked off the Als and not allowed on the premises.

Henry Burris – For a laundry list of items including but not limited to inadvertently sending a super inappropriate tweet and then claiming his account was hacked, the fist pump quote he was already awarded for and for taking his year end benching in stride and only mentioning that he is the reigning MOP twice per interview thereafter and making it clear that he won’t play anywhere that won’t automatically appoint him and his dwindling talent as the unquestioned starter.

The Trifecta of Terror (Hopson/Miller/Taman) – We need to blame someone for this train wreck of a season and based on our convoluted reporting structure I couldn’t single anyone out. 

If you have someone else you feel excelled in the field of douche-baggery  please vote for other and leave a comment with your nominee.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The 99th Grey Cup: Lions vs. Bombers

Almost five months and 76 games of football have come and gone in the 2011 CFL season and it all comes to one game for the biggest prize in Canadian football. It’s crazy how quickly we get spoiled with the Riders being in 3 of the last 4 Grey Cups. I watched and enjoyed the Grey Cup every year despite the fact that the only Riders making the trip to the big game were the Trailblazers (back before they did flips and shit and really just shook their pompoms). Yet this year I’m finding it hard to get excited for the game. Which is weird because I love all kinds of football and have devoted many hours to watching games with far less build up and featuring far crappier teams. I’m sure once Sunday roles around I’ll be excited like normal but the whole “Riders being good for a while” thing really messes with your perspective.

Sunday League MOP Travis Lulay (still can’t believe Calvillo didn’t win by default… not that Lulay is not deserving but voters just tend to go with Calvillo regardless. See: Richardson, Jamel) leads the Lions against the Blue Bombers led by Defensive Player of the Year Jovon Johnson (still surprised that Freeman didn’t win).  The Lions are looking to cap an amazing midseason turnaround from a horrendous 1-6 start. The Bombers are looking to complete their own turnaround from a league worst 4-14 last season. The message here is that there is at least hope for us Rider fans.

For me the game essentially boils down to this: Both teams have great defenses but only one team has a great offense. As good as the Bomber D is, I just don’t think their offense has enough talent to keep them in the game.

Reigning MOP throwing to Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce = way better than Buck “I was statistically inferior to Durant this season” Pierce throwing to Edwards and Watson. It’s that simple.

Buck Pierce has always been considered a great QB who could never play a full season. This year however, he played pretty much a full season but wasn’t very good. Makes me think that Buck only has so much talent and just looked good before because he condensed it all into 5 games. This year when you spread it out over a full season it doesn’t look so good.

Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bombers win their fans have been waiting so log since their last championship that most of their adult fans were in elementary school back then. To be fair though most of those adults are still in elementary school but that’s beside the point.

So Sunday my heart is on the Bombers but my wallet and brain are one the Lions. Either way odds are the will be some sort of riot after the game likely involving a bunch of people who do not even follow sports.

I just hope the game is exciting and a fitting finale to another great CFL season (minus the whole Rider gong show which I will soon have all offseason to write about).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: And Then There Were Two

We are less than a week away from the 99th Grey Cup. Let’s just hope that the divisional finals aren’t an indication of what we can expect from the big game because in terms of excitement they were severely lacking.

I wonder how long before the league just does away with the East Final and East Semi. Only once in the past 6 years has the 1st place team in the East not ended up playing in the Grey Cup... and in most cases the challengers haven’t even come close. That was certainly the case for the Ti-Cats who might as well just had their defenders stay out and play offense for how useful the offense was. Hell Winnipeg could have dressed no one but Chris Garrett and Jason Vega (that offense powerhouse) and still embarrassed the Ti-Cats. It really makes me wonder how the hell this team managed 50 points just 7 days ago.  

As for the other game, BC is just that good, plain and simple. Lulay made a Rich Stubler defense look like it had never heard of the hard count before.  Based on how that game went I’m not sure a healthy Jerome Messam would have changed much about that outcome.  As I said before, this is BC’s Grey Cup to lose.

I’ll be back later in the week with my thoughts on the big game. Also voting will start shortly for the Fans Choice Douche Bag of the Year so be sure to suggest worthy nominees.

Speaking of voting don’t forget to vote for me in for Best Canadian Sports Blog of the Year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Playoffs, Shologan, Coaches and Other Misc Thouhgts

The division finals go tomorrow  with a berth in the 99th Grey Cup on the line. Amazingly this year the 4 teams remaining were eliminated at this point last season and the four teams currently eliminated were playing.

The combination of the Riders being out and me having the attention span of a 4 year old means that you will be forced to endure my random thoughts rather than a well put together post... or in my case a half assed put together post.

-          Anyone want to place bets on whether Buck Pierce finishes the game? I hope the Bombers were forward thinking enough to give Brink a fair share of first team reps in practice.

-          Then again why should the Bombers worry? I mean what are the odds that an injury to their starter would ruin their Grey Cup chances?

-          At least Brink has that whole “Not Being Dinwiddie” thing going for him.

-          I was asked about my hatred of Dinwiddie last night and I responded that i would gladly withdrawn it if someone could point to something positive he has done in his professional career... I’m still waiting for a response.

-          I do love the Terrence Jeffers-Harris drama that unfolded this week. I have nothing aginast what Hamilton did... i just wish they were honest about. No one is buying this “we only want him for next year” schtick.

-          The Cup is really BC’s to lose, they are the most complete team (at least now that Messam is done)... that said I would not discount the veteran savvy of Ricky Ray (especially now that Bowman seems to have caught on to this catching thing).

-          I was very glad to see the Riders lock up Keith Shologan for 3 more years. He was one of the big 3 free agents this season for the offseason. A quality Canadian DT is hard to come by (hell it’s tough to find a quality import DT) so it was good to see the Riders act quickly to ensure he didn’t get away.

This brings me to the ongoing search for the Riders’ next head coach. Eight names have been floating around as possible candidates. In no particular order here are my thoughts on those 8.

Mike O’Shea – No. A guy with 2 years experience as a special teams coordinator is not ready to be a head coach. The guy hasn’t even been an OC or DC. Maybe in a few years but absolutely not today.

Mike Benevides – He’s not leaving BC, plain and simple.

Corey Chamblain – Taman loves the guy. He’s young, bright and enthusiastic (kinda the opposite of Miller). His hiring would spell the end of Richie Hall since they have polar opposite defensive philosophies... not that that's a bad thing.

Scott Milanovich – I personally think a young talented offensive mind like Milanovich is exactly what we need. We passed on him last time after he interviewed.  He will have to prove he’s not just been made to look good due to his association with Trestman and the best QB in league history.

Craig Dickenson – Has experience in the CFL and NFL but only on Special Teams. His results speak for themselves. I don’t think he’s the best candidate but I wouldn’t be opposed to giving him a shot.

Dave Dickenson – His offensive intelligence is beyond question but he’s still fairly inexperienced.  We would have to accept growing pains if we went with him. Can’t see him leaving Calgary though.

Tim Burke – Nothing against his success in Montreal in Winnipeg but I really think that much like Rich Stubler his defensive success won’t lead to success at the next level.

Richie Hall – For the love of God no!!!!!!!!!  Let’s not make the same mistake twice in a row and hire somebody that everyone else has passed on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Canadian Blog Awards 2011

It's time for the 2011 Canadian Blog Awards. This year I am looking to repeat my title as Best Sports Blog in Canada.

Please vote for me by going to this link:

Tell your friends, tell your family, tell strangers. Every vote counts. And remember everyone who doesn't vote for me supports terrorism. You don't want to be a terrorist supporter do you?

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Semi Final Thouhgts

I'd like to say that my effort level has dropped off now that the Riders are as relevant to the playoff picture as the band Len is to the current music scene, but regular readers will realize that I use the term "Monday Morning" Sentimonies rather loosely even on my good days.

Even though the Riders aren't in the mix, as a football fan, I was still interested in the East and West Semi. Here are my random thoughts on the games

- I was hoping for 7 OTs and 100 points on the board in the East-Semi. Holy points Batman! When you have 2 of the worst secondaries in the league go head to head, I guess that's what you get.

- Eric Deslauriers is irrelevant 95% of the year but always seems to sneak his way into the biggest TDs.

- How unbelievably painful did those splits Whitaker did look? I know I cringed. If that would have been me I would have retired on the spot.

- How do they keep finding records Calvillo hasn't yet broken?

- A very telling sign that your employment is in jeopardy is when you can be easily replaced by Luc Mullinder in a do or die playoff game. Enjoy free agency Stevie Baggs.

- Who was that long haired hippy playing defense for the Als? I have watched a lot of football this season and have never seen him... and you don't miss hair that

- As much as I would have loved to have seen Henry Burris sit on the sidelines while Tate led the Stamps on a long playoff run, seeing Burris completely blow the opportunity to be a hero is a damn nice consolation prize. That was a vintage Burris playoff choke. I also love how, sure of himself Henry still is. According to him he is still on MOP and doesn't want to stand on the sidelines because he's earned the right to play.... Well actually Henry you earned the right to be on the bench because you sucked, repeatedly. Good QBs don't get benched. By contrast you got benched and are headed either for unemployment or Toronto (which is much worse).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Who To Cheer For

The past few years the Riders have been in the playoffs right to the bitter end so I haven't really had to think about cheering for a non-Rider team in the playoffs in a long time. Now it's generally blasphemy to cheer for a team other than your own in an 8 team league but it just so happens that blasphemy in my specialty. I need to do something to keep things interesting (other than gambling on the games of course). But once I started to think  about it the task of choosing a team to cheer for became extremely difficult. I am a very biased man filled with hatred for various things so picking somehting I like (or a t least hate the least) is tough. So I'll have to do this by process of elimination.

I'll start off with an easy one a scratch the Stamps off the list. I hate them to the core. While it would bring me satisfaction to see Henry watch from the bench as a better QB wins it all, I just can't bring myself to cheer for them. F#@& the Stamps!

I'll also scracth Montreal off the list. I have nothing in particular against them and think that Whitaker and Richardson are among the best in the league (and that old QB of theirs ain't bar either) but I'm tired of them winning and need some variety. Le boo to the Als I say.

Normally I would be jumping on the Hamilton bandwagon but a) that bandwagon is headed for disappointment again and b) it would be a crime against all that is good in football for Marcel Bellfeuille to lead a team to a championship. For the good of the game, boo Hamilton.

By default I guess that means I'm backing the Bombers out of the East. Not particularly happy with that but its the lesser of 3 evils. I will cheer only for their defense though since I can't live in a world where Buck Pierce leads a team to the Cup.

That narrows it to a choice between the Esks and Lions in the West. I like watching BC play but I can't bring myself to cheer for Buono so I guess once again by default I'm left with the Esks.

So congratulations Bombers and Esks by virtue of me hating you the least you have earned my support. Based on the cataclysmic fall of the Riders, Vikings (and pretty much any team I cheer for) though, I would caution you that my support not be something you really want.