Thursday, October 5, 2017
10 THINGS I THINK I THINK FOR UNIVERSAL COLLISION CENTRE
2 - TRUST: It's the most important ingredient in a football locker room and this team has it in spades. Chris Jones never once thought about changing quarterbacks against the RedBlacks and his belief in Kevin Glenn paid off in the end. Granted, a punt return TD provided the spark and the defense found itself in the fourth quarter, but the team banded together for a "W" in adverse conditions. Most importantly, they finally all trust each other which makes them a very formidable foe.
3 - JONES 8 OTTAWA 0: The RedBlacks franchise has not beaten Chris Jones since it entered the CFL in 2014. Jones is 7-0 versus Ottawa in the regular season and also beat them in the 2015 Grey Cup with the Edmonton Eskimos. That's a very good omen heading into their next meeting on Friday, Oct. 13 in Regina and potentially in the playoffs.
4 - THE NATION'S CAPITAL: It's been a splendid week in Ottawa as the Riders will spend 11 days total in Eastern Canada. The beauty of this city is a well-kept secret (#3 in the CFL) and it's also a rabid football town despite its tepid history. The RedBlacks have slid since last year's Grey Cup title but their fans admit to still being giddy over their first championship in 40 years las season. The 105th Grey Cup will be played here on November 26 and it's going to be an absolutely incredible party. The city is already buzzing. Now we just really need to get a team in Halifax.
5 - ROLL TIDE: Call it the Crimson Tide Connection. Former Alabama stars Christion Jones and Trent Richardson figure to be a big part of the Riders' attack Saturday in Toronto. There have been plenty of American onlookers for Rider games all season long but Saskatchewan football is particularly hot in the Heart of Dixie right now. Some pundits down there are even calling the Riders "Bama North".
6 - ARRRRGOOOOOS: Rider games in Toronto are always special and Hogtown holds a special place in Rider history since half of Saskatchewan's Grey Cup wins have come there. However this Saturday's match-up at BMO Field could be a wet one. The forecast calls for rain and 23 degrees Celsius. The Argos are favoured by 1.5-points and they can clinch a home playoff game with a victory. Both teams have plenty to play for.
7 - OFFICIATING: A blown call in the Toronto-Hamilton game is what has the league buzzing this week and reports indicate the CFL acknowledged the error to the Ticats. A lot of good that'll do should they wind up missing the playoffs! The situation makes me think things: 1) Video challenges should be decided by the Head Referee on-site rather than the Command Centre and 2) Blaming officiating for losses is an easy out. Do you ever see Marc Trestman make a peep about bad officiating? Good teams don't leave the outcome of games in the hands of the officials.
8 - PRAY FOR VEGAS: The events of Sunday evening in Las Vegas still leave me speechless. Politicians and news commentators are busy sniping back and forth about gun control and domestic terrorism (perhaps rightly so) but one thing became clear to me: We can't live in fear. Go about your lives and travel freely rather than hiding from "the world out there". Fear is exactly what the bad guys want.
9 - FREEDOM: The tragic events in Las Vegas and Edmonton put the anthem debate in sports on the backburner but I thought the comments of some Royal Canadian Navy officers I was with in Ottawa were very illuminating. To a man, they said they are not offended by players kneeling for anthems. They serve to protect our freedom and the right to express ourselves however we want. True heroes!
10 - DROP THE PUCK: The marathon that is the NHL season began Wednesday night and the storylines across the NHL are tantalizing: The Penguins and Oilers are favoured to meet in the Stanley Cup Final, Jagr in Calgary, the birth of the Golden Knights, and here in Ottawa there are thousands of seats still available for the Sens' home-opener. This is a team who's made the playoffs in 16 of the past 20 years! Imagine if the Maple Leafs had had similar success. Meanwhile I have a bet that the Golden Knights will finish ahead of the Arizona Coyotes when all is said and done. Am I nuts? ... Meanwhile I see the Regina Pats have slipped out of the CHL Top 10 while Moose Jaw has snuck into 3rd. Let's pick it up Pats.