Thursday, July 26, 2018
10 THINGS I THINK I THINK
2 - STAMPS AT RIDERS: Football maven John Lynch would call Saturday's Rider game an "E.S.B.G." (Early Season Big Game). The Roughriders look for a third straight win against unquestionably the CFL's top team, the 5-0 Calgary Stampeders. Can Saskatchewan knock Calgary off with Brandon Bridge at QB? Please tell me why not.
3 - TEMP/ODDS: It's going to be another perfect prairie night for football at Mosaic Stadium. The temperature calls for 25-degrees Celsius and sunshine ... Meanwhile the Stampeders are favoured by 6.5-points. Let's get it on 'cuz we don't get along.
4 - SELLOUT: Three days in advance of the game, the Riders announced that it's a sellout of 33,500 at Canada's stadium. How do you spell marketing? W-I-N. The bellyaching about Chris Jones has proven to be coming from a tiny corner of the Rider Nation and fans are supporting this team with their wallets. God bless 'em.
5 - COACHING: Twice in this column this season I've written that Chris Jones' biggest task will be managing the temperament of his players. The talent is there - with or without Zach Collaros - but if they're not "right" between the ears, they won't win games. Methinks that has as much to do with Jones losing it on his players last week as anything else. He woke them up ahead of the Ticats game, and it worked.
6 - "PLAYERS WIN, COACHES LOSE": That's one of my favourite sayings in football. When the Riders lost to Montreal, Jones and offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo were thrown under the bus by all however in back-to-back wins over Hamilton, the credit went to Marcus Thigpen, Christion Jones, Brandon Bridge and company. Not much credit was given to Chris Jones for winning the coaching battle in back-to-back games against June Jones and Jerry Glanville. Will these legends meet again in the Grey Cup in November?
7 - #TNF: The CFL has a hit on its hands with the branding of Thursday Night Football across the land. Tonight it's Edmonton at Montreal and ratings will be huge on TSN as the continent peers in to see if Johnny Football will see the field in his first game with the Alouettes. So many people say they're sick of Johnny Manziel and can't figure out "Why the hype?" Well, it doesn't matter if you're sick of him and his brand. The Tyler, TX product has a star quality to him and he's one of the biggest names in the game. But, the fact remains he's down to his last chance in football due his own life decisions and that makes this an incredibly intriguing story. Go Johnny Go.
8 - GREY CUP HALFTIME: It won't be long before the CFL announces the halftime act for the 2018 Grey Cup in Edmonton. Country singer Tim Hicks told the SportsCage on 620 CKRM "That would be like the Super Bowl for us" if his group got to play it. I'll put his name forth, but I'd really like to see Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes. The 19-year old from Toronto is one of the biggest stars in music and if the CFL got him for our marquee game, that would be a massive touchdown.
9 - ALLIANCE: News broke this week that American football players have recently turned down CFL offers in favour of the fledgling new Alliance of American Football which is headed up by Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, and begins play next year. The league is seen as a credible threat to the CFL.
"If it goes through and they're able to operate and pay the players the competitive salary that they'd mentioned then it's definitely a concern for us," said Jeremy O'Day of the Riders front office. "If a player has an opportunity - especially guys straight out of college or the NFL - to stay at home in the U.S., then you're comparing apples to apples. It may make us change how we scout and recruit."
10 - THINGS I'M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT: Toronto Argonauts attendance, the NFL's anthem debate, Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau. Things I'll never tire of hearing about: Saskatchewan sunsets, people enjoying Famoso Pizzeria, comeback stories and random acts of kindness.