November 21, 2012

Cauz: Toronto vs. Calgary a case of Good vs. Evil

First the bad news about the Grey Cup, neither the Eastern nor the Western Division champs will be involved. For people who put a lot of stock in the regular season this is a very real negative.

I get this way of thinking. For fans of not just their own team, but with the league as a whole, you embrace the idea of seeing the “best” teams battling it out in the final game of the season to determine who deserves the crown, the championship belt.

100th Grey Cup Centre

The 100th Grey Cup Championship matchup is set, as the Calgary Stampeders will duel the host Toronto Argonauts. Here is everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s game.

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Well you aren’t going to get that this year. And for that we all should be thankful.

Hey I would have loved to have seen the Lions defend their title but I’ll be honest, beyond seeing what the heck Khalif Mitchell would do leading up to the big game I think most of the storylines of a Alouettes/Lions Grey Cup would have been fairly predictable. Also Montreal versus B.C. would be devoid of the one crucial element that makes for a great Championship Game, a villain.

Make no mistake about it; the Toronto Argonauts are indeed the villain for the 100th Grey Cup.

In fact unless you are an Argonaut fan or a bitter Lions fan I fully support you rooting for the Stampeders. How can any self respecting sports fan not be pulling for Kevin Glenn?

Glenn could not have handled his playoff demotion with any more class or professionalism. He did everything he could for the Stampeders during the regular season only to be relegated to 2nd string. At no point leading up to their playoff game against Saskatchewan did you hear any snippy/passive-aggressive comments coming from Glenn.

Instead, he kept quiet and stepped away from the spotlight. But the spotlight would be forced back on him as quickly as it had been taken away due to Drew Tate’s fractured forearm (more on that particular type of injury in a moment).

Glenn was masterful against the Lions. Executing a daring and brilliant Stampeders game plan that called for long bombs over safe check downs. He shook off a returned interception touchdown and threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Kevin’s last chance for Grey Cup glory was snatched away from him five years ago as a result of a freak injury, a fractured forearm (Fractured Forearm giveth and taketh away), forcing him to watch Saskatchewan defeat Ryan Dinwiddie and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

When you consider the past five year journey of Kevin Glenn how can you not root for Glenn over those evil big city Toronto Argonauts?

And that’s what will make for a great Grey Cup.

Because the flip side of the feel good Stampeders is the Argonauts and the city of Toronto. Oh you’ll hear the conspiracy theories of how the heck did they manage to get Ricky Ray? You’ll see the high lights of Adriano Belli doing Adriano Belli things. But this whole Good vs. Evil theme is not just about the teams.

Calgary will be painted as this good and pure city with an enlightened mayor and a massive swell of devoted fans that will descend on the CFL’s version of Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil city of Toronto. Oh sure they have a strong hard core set of fans, but nothing compared to the heartland of Canada. Toronto is the land of apathy, Bay Street snobs whose masses worship at the false idol of a blue and white Maple Leaf.
Again, I’ll ask, who the heck could possibly be rooting for Toronto? Again I’ll say Toronto in the Grey Cup makes the game better. Not only are they the Darth Vader to Calgary’s Luke Skywalker but Toronto’s presence brings so much more gravitas to a game that is being playing in the heart of the Death Star … the Skydome!

Well to answer my first question from the previous paragraph, I for one can root for Toronto. This is a city that has had little to root for beyond our wonderful lacrosse team and the recent trade with the Miami Marlins. 

Anyone who reads this column regularly knows I’ve been rooting for Toronto since John Candy was wandering on the sidelines. However if they do lose the Grey Cup there is no quarterback I’d rather see win than Kevin Glenn.

Before I go, I guess I should give my prediction.

I loved what Glenn did against the Lions but I wonder if that sort of performance is repeatable. Glenn hit on three passes of 40 yards or more, I doubt Chris Jones and the Argonauts secondary will allow that to happen again. One advantage Calgary would seem to have is their pass rush, tied for second with 43 sacks during the regular season.

However one of the keys to the Argonauts’ hot play over the last month has been their improved pass protection. Toronto’s offensive line has allowed just five sacks in their past 128 pass attempts. I believe Ricky Ray will have just enough time to make a couple more plays than his counterpart.

I will spare you the usual destiny related storylines regarding the 100th Grey Cup being played in Toronto. Instead I’m picking a Toronto team who swept the Stampeders in the regular season with a quarterback who is peaking at the right time.

Toronto: 27 – Calgary: 24.