Thursday, November 8, 2018
10 THINGS FOR CAPITAL CADILLAC
2 - THE MATCH-UP: It seems like we've known for at least a month that the Riders and Bombers would meet up in Round 1 so it wasn't a shocker when Calgary won at BC on Saturday night to clinch first. It would've helped if the Lions had actually shown up and played like they cared, but it's hard to manufacture emotion. Regardless, no matter who the Riders face in the playoffs, it was going to be a tough opponent. In this one, I'll take the Riders to win by 3-7 points.
3 - THE SEASON SERIES: As we all know, the Riders won the 3-game season series against the Bombers by a 2-1 count with 31-23 and 32-27 victories in the Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl respectively, followed by a 31-0 October loss in Winnipeg in a game Head Coach Chris Jones called "inexplicable". While it seemed like the sky was falling at the time, the Riders have played their best football since and that game may have been a major turning point in their 12-6 season. However had the Riders won that game, they might've finished first and knocked the Bombers down to 4th or 5th. Who knows.
4 - THE QB'S: This is a match-up of two QBs with a lot to prove. Some Bomber fans cheered on Twitter when they learned Saskatchewan's Zach Collaros was cleared to start Sunday's game. Even some Rider fans are skeptical. It seems, for some reason, Collaros still hasn't won everyone over. Across the way, Winnipeg's Matt Nichols still has never won a playoff game however that hasn't stopped the Bombers from having 100% confidence in him. The winning pivot this Sunday will earn some major stripes while the loser may face the firing squad.
6 - 1988: That was the year the Riders ended an 11-year playoff drought and hosted the BC Lions in the WSF. It's also the year I became a full-on Rider fan after Jeff Fairholm visited our school earlier in the season and I thought to myself, "This guy's cool". Up until then, hockey and baseball were my primary sports. I bought a ticket to that game mostly because of hype and that whacky rap video the Rider players and broadcaster Geoff Currier did called, "11 Years, That's Enough". Kent Austin and the Riders got spanked 42-18 by Matt Dunigan, Tony Cherry and the Lions that FRIGID night, but I will never forget it as long as I live. If you go to this game on Sunday, I promise you'll never forget it either. Playoff games in Regina are special.
7 - THE KEYS #1: A host on Winnipeg radio CJOB asked me this week what the Bomber weaknesses are. I laughed and said it's not my job to find those things or point them out. But, to me, their biggest strengths are coordinators Paul Lapolice and Richie Hall. They're proven here in Money Time, even if Mike O'Shea and Matt Nichols are not. The Bomber playcallers are critical for their success, not unlike Saskatchewan's Stephen McAdoo and Chris Jones. However in the end, the players will decide it.
8 - THE KEYS #2: These are two great teams and the oddsmakers predict a field goal will win it. This is a match-up that makes your guts churn and we all know after watching these games for so many years that the outcome will come down to turnovers and mistakes. Even the playoff experience between these two teams is very similar. Who won't be affected by the cold? You can hold onto a slippery ball? You can kick a frozen rock? Who can stay focused? THAT'S what will decide this game. Although homefield is going to be a decided advantage and I'm glad the Riders have had the benefit of practicing on their own frozen tundra all week.
9 - ELSEWHERE: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are favoured by just one (1) point over the B.C. Lions in the Eastern Semifinal at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday. That shocks me. The Ticats whalloped the Lions 40-10 in The Hammer as recently as Week 16 and that's one thing Hamilton is pointing to as to why this will be another rout. Sorry Wally. ... The Calgary Stampeders are cooling their heels after another first-place finish. Say what you want about them, but they're 13-5. On the line in the WSF is a trip to Calgary for the WDF where the temperature is in the high single digits all of next week. That seems so warm right now. ... Meanwhile up in Edmonton, the Eskimos broke the news on 630 CHED Wednesday night that Head Coach Jason Maas will NOT be fired, and will be back to run the team in 2019. Good for Jason!
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: As far as the Battle of Alberta goes, it says here the Flames will finish ahead of the Oilers this year and probably be the only one of the two teams to make the playoffs. Imagine G Mike Smith on the Oilers! ... I'm two episodes into Part Two of Making a Murderer. Please give me a reason to continue because the series is not. ... Pats Assistant Coach Brad Herauf telling me this week, "We need more wins!" He's right. The 5-12 Pats are not on course to make the playoffs but if #1 goalie Max Paddock cures what currently ails him, they'll have a good shot. He's got the tools, but John's nephew is in a big-time funk right now. ... Regina mall parking lots were not designed for Saskatchewan vehicles (i.e. gigantic trucks). Please do your best to park between the yellow lines this Holiday season! ... There's only one Magnum P.I. ... Jugo Juice or Booster Juice? I've become a huge fan of both. ... Book your office or team Christmas Party at Famoso Pizzeria Downtown! We have plenty of space and award-winning gourmet pizza. Call 306-789-0011 or stop in and see us!