Let’s be honest, beyond the novelty of watching football on a Tuesday there is nothing good about the bye week.
Two games, four teams in the middle of summer is the opposite of fun times considering the lack of quality sporting options around in early August.
Well fret no more! Our national nightmare is over; we can now return you to your regularly scheduled programs.
So in honour of a full slate of games this weekend here are some storylines, matchups and useless statistics for Week 8:
|Power Rankings: Week 8|
A loss to their rivals wasn't enough to knock the Roughriders off their perch atop the CFL.ca Power Rankings. The same couldn't be said for the Als, however...READ MORE
Hamilton vs. Winnipeg
This game got more interesting with the addition of Marcel Bellefeuille to the Blue Bombers staff. While he never got Hamilton over the top, Bellefeuille did mange to guide the Tiger-Cats into the playoffs in all three years he was the head coach.
I’m sure Bellefeuille will say nothing bad about his former team because I’m guessing he is more of a professional than I would be, but deep down you know there has to be some resentment towards the Tabbies somewhere deep in the cockles of his heart. I wonder who will get a head coaching position first, Bellefeuille, Doug Berry or Paul LaPolice? I expect about 500 shots of the coach during the game.
If Coach vs. Former Team doesn’t tickle your fancy, may I interest you in some good old fashioned organizational shuffling? The big story in Winnipeg is of course the dismissalsof GM Joe Mack and President and CEO Garth Buchko.
On top of that, wasn’t it just a week ago that Justin Goltz was named the starter for “the rest of the season”? Now Max Hall will be in his place this week. I’m guessing whoever is in charge right now wasn’t exactly thrilled with Goltz’s 13-28, 112-yard, one pick performance in the team’s loss to BC.
As I’m writing this I wouldn’t be shocked if Damon Allen is throwing passing in a Blue Bombers uniform by game time.
As for Hamilton I’m just curious to see what they look like when they’re fully healthy. According to the Guelph Mercury the team has send out over 70 players onto the field so far this season.
Montreal vs. Saskatchewan
This game for me is all about how Saskatchewan will rebound after suffering their first loss of the season. Some teams will nose dive in this situation. Let me be the 1000th person to remind you the Roughriders started the 2012 season by winning three straight games before dropping their next five.
On the flip side, is there a more desperate team in the league than Montreal? Beyond the devastating injury to Jamel Richardson this team is running out of excuses. Montreal could not have looked more sloppy than they did in their 38-13 loss to Toronto.
I don’t even recognize this team anymore. They’re one more loss away from an awkward job interview scenario involving Dan Hawkins. The rest of the East is all waiting to see if Jim Popp can get this season corrected.
As for Saskatchewan here is my expert coaching advice: You may want to think about giving the ball to Kory Sheets more than 4 times in the first half. Now that is some insightful and hard hitting X’s & O’s analysis!
Bold Prediction of the Week: Darian Durant will throw his first interception of the season. Chip Cox will be on the other end of that throw.
Calgary vs. B.C.
Let’s all agree this is the primetime game of the week. Sorry Saskatchewan, you know I am right.
The last time these teams met was in Week 1 when Calgary beat the Lions 44-32 as Jon Cornish did Jon Cornish things all night long, going off for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Of course, I have no idea what he can do for an encore after last weeks 175-yard, four touchdown masterpiece against the Riders. I don’t know what the record is for most times an individual player has won the Canadian Player of the Week Award, but I feel I feel if Cornish wants it, the record is easily his for the taking.
Speaking of which, his main competition will be on the other side of the field in Andrew Harris. This game has more Can-Con stars than a bad rock radio station!
Great to have Emmanuel Arceneaux back in the league. He is the only player with double digit receptions who is averaging more than 20 yards a game. Yes, a short, precise, low-risk passing attack will help you win on most nights but deep down I think we all prefer the low percentage deep stuff.
|Top 10 Plays of the Week|
The 'Flyin' Hawaiian' took off again this week but where does his missed field goal return touchdown rank in the Top 10 Plays of Week 7?...WATCH
Should I be more invested in the Travis Lulay has yet to throw for 300 yards in a game storyline? After his shakey night against Toronto two weeks ago I may have jumped on that story, but his bounce back game last week against Winnipeg has kept me from overreacting, for now.
What I love about this game is the level of stakes for both teams and we are not even at Labour Day yet. As mentioned above, the Lions were outplayed by Calgary in Week 1 as they were during the playoffs last year. Even if the game doesn’t mean much in the bigger picture for the playoffs, psychologically this game is huge for the Lions. They need to know they can beat Calgary.
Edmonton vs. Toronto
I promise I will not make any obligatory, low hanging fruit jokes about the Ricky Ray trade. I would say I am better than that, but really I’m not.
As an Argonauts fan it'sodd to think of them as the best team in the East. That is an unfamiliar feeling. Yes the team has won Grey Cups in 2004 and last season, but the team finished the regular season 10-7-1 and 9-9 respectively during those aforementioned campaigns. The 2004 squad got hot in the playoffs while last year's team didn’t hit its stride until late in the year.
But after convincing wins over Winnipeg and Montreal plus a gutty win with Zack Collaros at the helm against the Lions, Toronto is starting to round into form. Now all that enthusiasm is tempered every time you see Ray get hit and he starts gimping (is that a word?) around on the sideline.
Trust me on this, every Argo fan is thrilled to death with Ray’s play and conversely scared to death about his health.
As for Edmonton the big blow is the loss of their heart and soul JC Sherritt, who needed surgery after breaking a thumb last week against Hamilton.
This injury just stinks, I love watching him play and hate whenever a star goes down. Considering his words after last week's loss to Hamilton, where he stated the fans “deserved better” from the team you wanted to see him on the field trying to give the city a win.
On a more practical note, considering Edmonton’s rush defence was already last in the league, look to see more Zoolander-Model/Running Back Curtis Steele this week.
Well there is just a quick little primer for this weekend’s slate of games. May your TV remote have fresh batteries and your track pants have plenty of give, enjoy Week 8.
Matthew Cauz is the Weekend Host for 'GAME DAY' on TSN 1050 Radio. Previously, he was a producer and football analyst for SUN TV where he appeared regularly on the “Casino Rama Grill Room” and he spent seven years working for TSN's “Off The Record”. Follow Matthew on Twitter @mcauz56.