It was a weird feeling for me on Sunday. Normally the first round of the CFL playoffs find me a lot less sober and a lot more stressed/nervous. Of course that is because I have grown accustomed to the Riders playing in the division semi-finals. But since the Riders won't play another meaningful football game for many many months (and you could argue haven't played a meaningful game in many, many months), I got to enjoy postseason football as a calm, cool and collected fan. Okay in full disclosure I may have stayed up late drinking and watching UFC the night before so the "calm and cool" may have actually been tired and "dehydrated" but I digress.
The games themselves were a weird hodge podge. The East semi was a very exciting game that featured some pretty bad football. The West semi was a not-so exiting game that featured some pretty good football (at least for one team). Both games went pretty much as expected. IN Hamilton, the Ti-Cats defense and special teams managed to compensate for such poor QB play I was mildly expecting to see Tino Sunseri saunter onto the field. There were times when Zach Collaros on crutches would likely have been a huge upgrade for them. The real winners in the East-Semi are Ottawa. Between the lack of a credible QB and the parade of injuries that occurred, you have to like Ottawa's chances next week. As much as losing sucks for the Argos, I'm sure they are secretly somewhat relieved this gong show of a season is over for them. Next year they get a new home that won't go out of its way to kick them out and owners whose interest in the teams goes beyond an obligation to not let them fold while trying to limit how much money gets lost in the process.
Out West, well the Stampeders just laid a good old fashion ass kicking on the Lions. They were just the better team in every aspect of that game. Defense was rock solid. Eric Rogers (in what is becoming a recurring playoff theme) was a monster. Even Jerome Messam got in on the action and ran all over the Lions. The only thing that remotely resembled drama in that game was when Calgary started losing all their O-linemen. You know you suck when you're opponent ends up starting 2 defensive tackles at guard and it makes absolutely no difference on the game. I don't like seeing players get hurt but I was kinda hoping it would continue just so we could get to a scenario where Paredes and Maver had to play guard. Could very well be the last time we see Harris and Lulay in Orange and Black... well Lulay will always be seen in orange but you know what I mean. I would complain about the lopsidedness of this game but I briefly switched over to the Denver/Kansas City game to watch Manning break the NFL passing record... when you see a guy break an all-time record and throw 4 picks and get benched in the same game, well let's just say it made the CFL look like quality viewing by comparison.
Bring on the division finals.