2 - CASE IN POINT: Everybody follows the Ticats in Steel Town. So much so that the very first person we talked to - our server at a trendy restaurant on Hess St. - gave his opinion on the Johnny Manziel situation. As soon as he noticed we were CFL personnel, he immediately launched into why Johnny Football should be starting at QB for Hamilton ahead of Jeremiah Masoli. It seems to be a popular notion.
3 - THE GAME: The Riders beat the Ticats 18-13 two weeks ago in Regina, and then both teams went on a bye week. Now, they play each other for a 2nd-straight game. According to CFL Stats, that's never happened before. Hamilton is favoured by 11-points in this one and the forecast calls for sunshine and 27 degrees Celsius.
5 - AIR CANADA: Rider QB Brandon Bridge has 2 career victories in the CFL, and they're both against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. That has to be a good omen ... The criticism of Rider Coach Chris Jones' decision to rotate QBs Bridge and David Watford astounds me. Had they lost last game using that method, I could see it. However lost in the shuffle is the fact Bridge led Saskatchewan on a 77-yard TD drive in Week 5 to win the game in its final minutes. It's a treasure to be able to watch his young career play out before our eyes. These are the things we dream about when it's -47 in January. Enjoy it!
7 - WELCOME BACK CARTER: When the Riders reconvened after the bye week, Duron Carter was right back at CB and will start his 4th straight game on the island on Thursday night. There's no hidden agenda here, nor secret deal between Jones and the Carter family, or an NFL team. The Riders are pleased with Carter's progression at the position and feel he'll only continue to get better. Practice rosters are limited and Jones feels this is the best usage of his personnel. That's why he gets the big bucks.
8 - JONES'ING: Rob Vanstone wrote a Leader Post column last week about Rider fans' dislike of Chris Jones and former Rider Marshall Hamilton rips the Rider boss every week on our TV show In The Huddle. Why the hard feelings? Because the team isn't winning consistently. Once they are, and a Grey Cup or two is added to the mantle, Jones will be loved from border-to-border. It's that simple. You can't tell me any different.
10 - STATS: Saskatchewan has won four straight games against Hamilton going into Thursday's game ... From 2004-2009, the Riders beat the Ticats in 11 straight games ... Saskatchewan's defense leads the CFL with 31 forced 2-and-outs ... The CFL has never had two 6,000-yard passers in a season but Jeremiah Massoli and Mike Reilly are on pace for that ... Reilly is only 1 year younger than BC's Travis Lulay who - because of injury - seems like the oldest 34-year old on the planet. And yet, we pull for him because he's a Hall of Fame human being.
Enjoy the games,