2 - First off, it appears as though Friday night in the Alberta capital will be a great night for football. The Good News: the forecast calls for mostly sunshine and 22 degrees Celsius. The Bad News: the Eskimos are favoured by two touchdowns. Please Green & Gold, go easy on us.
3 - The Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones says Friday's game is tracking to be the highest-attended in the CFL this season. The prior mark was in Week 3 when 34,196 showed up at Commonwealth Stadium to watch the Eskimos beat the Roughriders in Edmonton.
"Canada's Team" anyone?
It's also Armed Forces Appreciation Night, which you know I'll get behind. Volunteers will be selling "Support Our Troops" t-shirts beginning at 6:00 pm at three gates around Commonwealth Stadium Friday night.
4 - Eskimos Ticketing boss Scott Murray (U of R Cougar hockey alum) told Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun that the reaction from the Rider Nation leading into this game has been phenomenal.
“They are so proud of their relationship with the club regardless of circumstances. It’s truly a remarkable concept, how their whole province supports them from one corner to all four corners of the province, and just about anybody who was born there and now lives elsewhere in the country,” Murray told the Edmonton Sun.
“The reaction we’re getting is ‘We don’t care what our record is, we’re still coming. It’s our team and we’ll support them no matter what the record is.’ ”
How about a little more of that attitude from the Rider Nation here in the 306? In truth, we can't complain. The last Rider home game was a sellout.
Other teams continue to be green with envy.
5 - The Riders are the CFL's worst team and yet they are still the most high-profile. Consider for a minute the expansive feature on the Riders on TSN's Sportscentre this week in which Chris Jones said he isn't altering the course he's laid out for the franchise. And as rookie defensive end Jonathan Newsome said in the story, "You're either with us, against us, or in the way".
In Hamilton, they'd rather write about the fact the Riders took down the billboard next to Tim Hortons Field which went up before last week's game than write about how well the Ticats played.
Sad. The Riders are still the CFL's #1 click-bait.
6 - It's all playing into the Roughriders' hands from a business standpoint. I was down at Torchy's Sports Imaging on Wednesday getting some cresting done on a Rider jersey and owner and proprietor Mark "Torch" Simpson was literally sweating from all the new Adidas Rider jerseys he's embroidering for Rider fans.
"Apparently the fans didn't get the memo," Torch smirked, alluding to the fact Saskatchewan is the CFL's worst team.
In truth, bad publicity is still better than none.
When the media and fans across the land STOP talking about the Saskatchewan Roughriders, we're going to be in huge trouble. Fortunately that may never happen.
By the way, Torchy says ROOSEVELT 82 is the most-popular selling jersey right now.
7 - FINALLY! We have a legitimate excuse for the Roughriders' poor record. According to this week's CFL Game Notes (which were splendid by the way), the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the youngest team in the Canadian Football League with 32% of their team being rookies. That accounts for a lot of the brain farts.
8 - The carousel of players under Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones has been insane. Through the first eight games, the Riders have dressed a total of 77 players. The club record in that stat was set all of last year at 84! The CFL record for most players used in a season is 88 set by the 2013 Hamilton Tiger-Cats. So ... Chris Jones is nuts but Kent Austin wasn't?
As Riders Assistant V.P. of Football Administration Jeremy O'Day said on our pregame show last week, "The right mix is the one that wins games."
9 - I've likened what's going on with Canada's Team to the construction of the new stadium. We would've loved for it to be built in a scant six months but that just isn't possible. Chris Jones is going about constructing his team the exact same way. Fans want the finished product NOW but that just isn't feasible.
By the way Scruffy blew my metaphor out of the water yesterday, and compared the Roughriders to Regina's current downtown Capital Pointe project which is taking forever to build, with considerable delays.
10 - JUST NOTES: My new go-to for lunch-on-the-go is Pizza Pizza. Four pieces of pizza and a Diet Coke for $7.50? It doesn't get better than that. Plus they're a sponsor of the SportsCage on 620 CKRM. ... John Chick will play in his 100th career CFL game Sunday when the Ticats visit Calgary. Meanwhile Darian Durant suits up in his 149th Friday night in Edmonton. ... Rider WR Naaman Roosevelt is on pace for 1,580 receiving yards this season. The last Rider to do that was Curtis Marsh in 2000 with 1,560. (There's the 2000 season coming up again). Marsh was an interesting story. The Steelers great was exiled from the NFL and came up to the CFL with the goal of leading the league in receptions and yards in a single season. After doing just that, he retired. ... Darian Durant now holds the CFL record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception at 323. That record won't last forever but for now, it belongs to Darian. Ricky Ray has the next longest streak at 247. ... Montreal WR Duron Carter is the CFL's leading receiver since Week 5 with 508 yards. Roosevelt is 4th (407) ... Teams leading after the third quarter this season are 29-7. ... There have been 90 coaches challenges so far this year compared to 102 all of last year. Edmonton's Jason Maas has thrown the challenge flag the most and is 8-6. Calgary's Dave Dickenson is 0-7. ... Devastated I'll miss the first two days of Regina Pats training camp but I'll see you at the Blue & White Game on Monday evening at the Cooperators Arena. GO PATS GO!
THAT'S IT! TALK TO YOU FROM EDMONTON ...