June! This means that the new CFL season is upon us. Let’s take a look at the teams:
The Montreal Alouettes (2010: 12-6) have lost receiver Ben Cahoon, running back Avon Cobourne, and kicker Damon Duval this off season. Nonetheless, experienced and capable replacements SJ Green, DeAndra Cobb, and Sandro DeAngelis will fill the void. General Manager Jim Popp asserts that the team must not be complacent; there are no guarantees. Every team must rebuild as soon as one player or coach has left. I believe Montreal will finish first in the east at 12-6.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2010: 9-9) have made relatively few roster changes. Most notably was the signing of running back Avon Cobourne. Hamilton has a composed quarterback, a robust defense, and a formitable special teams. However, Montreal remains a strong contender and Hamilton will settle for second in the east with a 10-8 record.
The Toronto Argonauts (2010: 9-9) were more impressive than year than I had anticipated. This was owing to their compelling defense and special teams. Kick returner Chad Owens boasted 2700 return yards and five touchdowns. Running back Cory Boyd aided Toronto’s poor passing game by rushing for over 1300 yards. With the quarterback situation still unresolved Toronto will continue to depend on its defense and special teams for the win. A 9-9 third place spot is in store for them.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2010: 4-14) will face another challenging season. Their main weaknesses are at quarterback and depth. Despite having the lead CFL rusher, Fred Reid, the team lacks a consistent quarterback and receiving core. Winnipeg will also need to make improvements on special teams. They will repeat with a 4-14 record.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders (2010: 10-8) have made several changes over the off season. Greg Marshall replaces Ken Miller at head coach and Richie Hall is back as defensive coach. The team also lost receivers Fantuz (NFL) and Bagg (injury) for the season. On defense the team will have some holes to fill as Omarr Morgan and Marcus Adams have moved on. I would really like Hugh Charles to win the battle for running back, but it is doubtful. The Riders should finally have a worthy special teams as they acquired kick/punt returner Tristan Jackson in March. The Riders will finish 10-8.
Four defensemen from the Calgary Stampeders (2010: 13-5) have left to play for other teams. I believe this will have little impact on their perfromance. The Stamps did however add defensive back Geoff Tisdale to their roster. Calgary’s strength is its depth in all aspects. The red and white will finish first in the west at 12-6.
The Edmonton Eskimos (2010: 7-11) will be in for a difficult year. Changes at the coaching and player levels will be noticed in the win column.Over twenty-five players from last year are gone including Mo Lloyd, Kamau Peterson, Tristan Jackson, and Dario Romero. The Esks will be at the bottom of the west this year with a 6-12 record.
The BC Lions (2010: 8-10) will continue to improve this year. Travis Lulay has established himself as an emerging quarterback. The Lions have signed Kamau Peterson and Ben Archibald to supplement their receiving and defense positions. The Lions will post a 9-9 record.
Montreal 12-6 Hamilton 10-8 Toronto 9-9 Winnipeg 4-14
Calgary 12-6 Saskatchewan 10-8 BC 9-9 Edmonton 6-12
Hamilton/Toronto = Hamilton
Hamilton/Montreal = Montreal
Saskatchewan/BC = Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan/Calgary = Calgary
99th Grey Cup:
Montreal/Calgary = Calgary