THOUGHTS FROM MONTREAL
1 - SUNNY MONTREAL: The Roughriders travel to Montreal on Thursday and will square off Friday night against the Alouettes in a battle of 1-3 football clubs. The forecast calls for sunshine and 27 degrees Celsius at the 7:30 pm ET kickoff (5:30 pm Sask Time) at Percival Molson Stadium.
2 - ALOUETTES THE FAVOURITES: Montreal is favoured by 2.5-points by SportsInteraction. Oddsshark.com has the game as a "pick 'em" (no favourite) while Bodog.net has the Als installed as 1.5-point favourites. Does this surprise anyone besides me?
3 - ONCE YOU POPP, YOU CAN'T STOP: Montreal Head Coach & GM Jim Popp could be forgiven if he doesn't like the Saskatchewan Roughriders much. Popp is 2-6 lifetime against the Green Riders while Saskatchewan Head Coach Chris Jones has a 4-0 career record against the Alouettes. Incidentally Popp's first CFL job was as Receivers Coach with Saskatchewan in 1992 while Jones' first CFL posting came in 2002 with Montreal as an assistant coach.
Popp's overall career coaching record is 20-30 while Jones is 27-13 lifetime.
4 - MORE NOTES: Several media outlets have latched onto the phrase Gale Force, and how it refers to the prolific play of Rider quarterback Mitchell Gale. You will remember the phrase was spawned in this column last week ... Meanwhile the term "chill bumps" has not yet caught on like I thought it would. Rider defensive tackle Corvey Irvin said on CKRM's postgame show that the Rider Nation gave him "chill bumps" during last week's win over Ottawa.
And of all the Post cereal the CFL office has sent me, the one I like the most is the Honey Bunches of Oats featuring Mike Reilly and Adam Bighill on the cover.
Also the City of Regina held an open house last night to inform citizens of how traffic and parking will be affected in the New Mosaic Stadium. Elphinstone Street between Dewdney Ave. and Victoria Avenue will be closed during Rider games as a safety issue.
If you can believe, members of the B.C. Lions actually walked from their downtown hotel to Mosaic Stadium for their game here two weeks ago. Believe it or not, it can be done.
5 - "LOW": The Quote of the Week came from CTV/TSN's Lee Jones who quipped on Monday, "What did Flo Rida do to the Eskimos at halftime?" The popular HipHop artist performed at halftime at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night but in the third quarter, the Eskimos' 31-6 lead collapsed and the Ticats scored 31 unaswered points to escape with a 37-31 victory. The implosion by the Eskimos goes into the books as the sixth-biggest blown lead in CFL history. The largest blown lead came in 1975 when the Edmonton Eskimos came back from a 27-point deficit to top the Calgary Stampeders.
6 - ESKS HAVE BEST HALFTIMES: While watching the entertaining halftime show Saturday night, one of the ladies I was watching the game with asked, "Why can't we have Flo Rida perform at halftime?" Good question, but hats off to the Eskimos for leading-the-league in halftime shows so far in 2016. It was nothing for Flo Rida to pop in a CD and employ four booty-licious gogo dancers in the endzone at Commonwealth Stadium but it was an impressive feat nonetheless.
7 - CUDDY OR RYDER?: Speaking of entertainment, Sportsnet Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun asked me to poll Rider fans on which act they'd most like to see at the Gregg Zaun Grey Cup Bash in Toronto this November: Jim Cuddy or Serena Ryder? Of the hundreds of votes cast, the two artists finished in a dead-heat at 50/50. Clearly - for some reason - Zauny is going away from the country acts which have made his event so popular over the past several Grey Cups. If it wasn't for Rider fans, there wouldn't be many people at these parties at all and Gregg knows it.
8 - AGE OF ADARIUS: Eskimos receiver Adarius Bowman has started the season with four straight 100-yard receiving games. The only other CFL'er to accomplish that feat is David Williams of the B.C. Lions back in 1989. Bowman will stage the Drive For 5 Thursday evening when the Esks host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Esks are favoured by 9.5.
9 - RIKESTER CHASING KENT AND THE RIFLE: Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly has a streak going of seven consecutive 300+-yard passing games. The CFL record is nine straight held by Sam Etcheverry and Kent Austin.
10 - The Montreal Alouettes are 9-7 against Saskatchewan dating back to 2008 but the Riders have won the past two in a row including a sweep in 2015.
11 - JOHN FRENZY: Rider fan Joe Loomis is circulating a petition which has over 300 signatures on it encouraging the Plaza of Honor selection committee to induct John Lynch into the Rider Hall of Fame. The list includes Premier Brad Wall, Carm Carteri, several Rider alumni and yours truly. Here's hoping the committee does the right thing.
12 - ARRRRRRGOOSSSS: Is there a more-tired debate in the CFL than the one about poor attendance at Toronto Argonauts games? They're blaming hot weather and the Wednesday and Monday home dates however that doesn't stop 40,000+ from showing up at Blue Jays games! It'll come around if they stick to their current plan. And the 16,048 at Monday's 30-17 win over Montreal is a respectable number.
13 - NEW REGINA STADIUM?: Speaking of attendance at baseball games, the Regina Red Sox crammed 1,688 fans into Currie Field for Tuesday's home game against Yorkton. The WMBL club's blossoming attendance has team brass pining for a new stadium. Is this possible? Where would it go? And most importantly, who would pay for it?
14 - REINSON'S RICH: Former Regina Ram Roger Reinson - a former linebacker with B.C., Edmonton and Calgary - won $100,000 in a putting contest at the Calgary Stampeders Alumni Golf Tournament this week.
15 - CRIM TO SIN CITY?: The hooting and hollering coming from the Brandt Centre on Wednesday was from members of the Regina Pats doing the Happy Dance over the news Brandon Wheat Kings boss Kelly McCrimmon is poised to join the Las Vegas NHL team as Assistant General Manager. The story was circulated by Guy Flaming of TSN 1260 Radio in Edmonton Wednesday afternoon and it got all WHL East Division teams feeling a tingle all over. If McCrimmon leaves the Dub, every other team will immediately get that much better. They just can't find a way to beat him, and Crim would be a splendid addition to the Las Vegas front office.
WEEK 6 RODPEDERSEN.COM DRAFTKINGS LINEUP:
QB: Mike Reilly EDM
RB: Chris Rainey BC
WR: Adarius Bowman EDM
WR: Kendial Lawrence SK
FLEX: Patrick Lavoie OTT
FLEX: Derel Walker EDM
THAT'S ALL FOR THIS WEEK! ENJOY FRIDAY'S GAME ...