1 - The CFL's weekly Game Notes package cheerfully pointed out the Saskatchewan Roughriders need to go 6-1 over the remaining seven regular season games to have a hope at making the playoffs. They figure seven wins should do it, and pointed out the team with the least amount of wins to make the playoffs in the last 20 years was the 1999 Edmonton Eskimos (6). That season the Riders were 3-15 but weren't officially eliminated from post-season contention until the final weekend.
2 - I was initially shocked on Tuesday when Riders coach Bob Dyce said that although not many outside the team think the playoffs are a possibility at 1-10, that remains their goal. In retrospect, what else would you expect him to say? What else would you want him to say? The Riders need to keep fighting even though their margin for error is incredibly thin. At least something remains to play for, and it adds a bit of excitement for Saturday's home game against Ottawa (7:00 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM). I feel rather sheepish for saying the season is a write-off however if I'd said anything else, I'd have been laughed off the planet. Good thing the team doesn't feel that way.
3 - God bless her pea-pickin' heart. A nice lady by the name of Joanne called into the SportsCage on Monday to inform us her friend is a mathematics professor at the University of Regina and after running the numbers, he's found the Riders still have a mathematical chance at the 2015 CFL Playoffs. Thanks Tips! The trouble is the Riders need B.C., Winnipeg and Montreal to lose almost all of their remaining games in order for the stars to align. But it could happen the way things are going.
4 - Kevin Glenn will have plenty of motivation for Saturday night's game, even if he may not admit to it. Glenn didn't hide his disdain for the Ottawa RedBlacks franchise last season when he was initially claimed from Calgary in the expansion draft, but later deal to B.C. after the club signed Henry Burris. He was used as a pawn. In his last start against the RedBlacks - with B.C. on October 11 of last season - Glenn threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-3 drubbing. We have yet to ask Kevin his feelings on the matter this week, however Bob Dyce said it hasn't come up in meetings and Glenn'sfocus appears to be solely on getting the win on Saturday.
5 - Despite the two teams' records (Saskatchewan is 1-10 and Ottawa is 6-4), the oddsmakers have the Riders opening as 2.5-point favourites for the game. The forecast calls for sunshine and 20 degrees Celsius for the 7:00 pm kickoff.
6 - I'm starting to get excited for Saturday's game!
7 - Some long CFL playoff streaks are in jeopardy of falling. The Montreal Alouettes have a 19-season consecutive playoff appearance streak on the go dating back to 1996. They've never missed since returning from Baltimore. Meanwhile the B.C. Lions haven't missed the post-season since 1997 - a span of 18 seasons. The odds would suggest one of these will fall.
8 - Since the inception of the crossover playoff berth in 1996, no East Division team has ever crossed over into the West. However the way this wonky 2015 season has gone, now would seem to be the time.
9 - The Roughriders are non-committal on whether or not they've entered the sweepstakes for free agent linebacker Henoc Muamba who was cut by the Indianapolis Colts coming out of training camp. So far the B.C. Lions, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers have all made offers. We should know the Riders' answer by the end of the week.
10 - The same goes for linemen Brett Jones and Ben Heenan. The New York Daily News reported on September 5 that the New York Giants have placed Jones on Injured Reserve and his season is over with an MCL sprain. Meanwhile Ben Heenan suffered a meniscus tear while in camp with the Indianapolis Colts and published reports suggest he's received an injury settlement and been placed on waivers. However Ben's been spotted working out at Regina's Level 10 gym, if that report is to be believed.
11 - Many Rider fans have asked what's next for Corey Chamblin? If he isn't already, he'll soon be at his home in Phoenix calculating his next coaching move. We likely haven't seen the last of Chamblin in the CFL but the NCAA seems like a logical move. He's got a great resume, no doubt.
12 - Regina Pats Coach & GM John Paddock posed an interesting question at the end of our Tuesday interview in the SportsCage. Paddock asked, "If Durant hadn't have gotten hurt, would Chamblin have been fired?" Luc Mullinder and I thought about it for a minute and then both answered, "No". It really doesn't matter now but it simply seemed like a coach standing up for a fellow coach. Theirs is a large fraternity, just like broadcasters and trainers.
13 - Who from the CFL on TSN panel gains football employment first: Mike Benevides or Paul Lapolice?
14 - I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Anderson's Grade 9 English class at Campbell Collegiate on Wednesday and one of the questions from the floor was, "How do you explain the Riders' fall from Grey Cup champions to 1-10 so fast?" What a great question, but one I didn't have time to explain in a 43-minute period.
15 - That session at Campbell occured about an hour before the city-wide lockdown of all Public and Separate Schools due to an anonymous phone threat. What a dreadful world our children are being raised in.
16 - It was great to be back in the Brandt Centre Wednesday night to witness our beloved Regina Pats in preseason action against the Prince Albert Raiders. Things I took away: 1) There was no two-for-one Wednesday hotdog promotion like usual but I bought a pair anyway for $9 and was elated to see the weiners were flame-broiled. Absolutely delicious! They seemed to be dipped in a barbecue sauce. 2) Many fans wearing #39 STEEL jerseys were dismayed to learn the sophomore Pats phenom has changed his number to 23. Why? #39 looked so good on him (a la Doug Weight) but he continued to dazzle nonetheless. 3) A head-scratcher as to why Daniel Wapple started in goal for Regina when there's a battle for the #2 job behind him between Tyler Brown and Jordan Hollett? 4) I did not take the opportunity to look up first year Raiders GM Curtis Hunt. Figured he was busy and there would be plenty more opportunities this season. 5) Anybody with the Pats will tell you they're a very young team who will be taxed to make the playoffs but we'll tell you the talent is undeniable and they'll provide a winter of entertaining hockey. 6) The Brandon Wheat Kings might be able to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets.
17 - Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli conservatively predicted a 40-point season for Connor McDavid this season in an interview with TSN's Bob McKenzie. Bob's eyes nearly popped out of his head at that suggestion. I think we all expect McDavid will have 40 points by New Year's.
18 - TSN's Paul Lapolice admitted on Wednesday's SportsCage that, being from New England, he's a Patriots fan. It doesn't hurt that Paul is friends with Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia dating back to their days at RPI College. He also referred to Pats coach Bill Belichick as "a friend". Regarding the cheating and all the team's scandals, Lapo said the Patriots found loopholes in the NFL's rules and really don't need to make any apologies. Any Patriots fan feels the same way. Would you care if the Roughriders were guilty of such offenses? Likely not if they were winning championships because of it.
19 - Out of fear of being left out of conversations with my friends, I broke down and downloaded the Draft Kings app and entered two one-week NFL fantasy pools last weekend. How frigging addicting! But if this is the best way of attracting the 18-34 demographic to the CFL, let's get on it. By the way, I didn't win anything.
Tickets are only $40 each or $300 for a table of eight. Thanks to the Roughriders, Pats, CKRM and my Dad for already purchasing tables for what promises to be an eye-opening presentation.
21 - It's a playoff-game-come-early for the University of Regina Rams Friday. The 0-2 Rams visit the 0-2 U of S Huskies Friday evening at Griffiths Stadium. Towriss vs Gibson. 7:00 pm on 620 CKRM as Michael Ball and Braden Konschuh have the call. Gibson refuses to refer to the U of S by name, preferring instead for "that school to the north". Should be an interesting scene tomorrow night. Ballsy will have a lot of listeners.
22 - And the PFC's Regina Thunder look to snap a two-game losing streak Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg in a noon kickoff. Unfortunately there's no broadcast of the game. We're following the Thunder more keenly than usual this year because CKRM's Luc Mullinder is their defensive line coach.
THAT'S IT! THANKS FOR STOPPING BY ....