Mark Stephen is Sports Director of CHQR Radio in Calgary and has broadcast Calgary Stampeder games since 1996. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkonFootball.
After two-plus decades as a very successful general manager and coach, is there anything B. C. Lions Wally Buono has yet to achieve?
The answer is yes. Despite great successes and numerous Grey Cup victories, Buono has yet to win a Grey Cup on home turf. On three occasions (1993, 200, 2005) he coached a division final game that would have vaulted him into a home Grey Cup . However it took until 2011 for everything to line up and allow him the chance to play in a hometown game.
Make no mistake---the pressure on the Lions is enormous. The team has energized Vancouver with their stirring late season run and Western Division Final victory over the Edmonton Eskimos. Now the time has come, to deliver.
It says here the Lions will do just that and bring home the sixth Grey Cup title in franchise history.
Led by league outstanding player Travis Lulay, there is an aura about the team. Lulay has emerged as a decisive leader for the Lions. His decision-making skills have grown exponentially as the season --progressed.
While Lulay leads the offense, it is a strong front four---actually front six---that may make the difference. The Lions front four combined with a mobile linebacking group will present a challenge to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
And, let it not be forgotten, the incredible kicking season of Paul McCallum. His remarkable year, at age 41, kept the Lions in many games. In fact his last play field goal on October 8 against Calgary all but sealed first place and home field for the Lions.
The Lions are favoured but by no menas should the Winnipeg Blue Bombers be dismissed. This team also boasts an aggressive defense, coached by Tim Burke. Winnipeg has also battled through adversity this season. How many teams could have survived the loss of their starting tailback and middle linebacker while still qualifying for the Grey Cup? That’s exactly what the Blue Bombers went through this year.
Winnipeg boasts the league’s defensive player of the year Jovon Johnson. He exudes the right mix of cockiness with confidence and has delivered all season
If the Blue Bombers are to win, they’ll need a big play or two from that tough defense. A couple of early turnovers could rattle the unflappable Lions quarterback Lulay.
Remember, it is a one game show down and anything can happen.
But it says here, the savvy, veteran Lions are going to prevail. Make the final British Columbia Lions 27, Winnipeg Blue Bombers 17.
And watch that new B.C. Place roof tremble.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|