It is the same old story in the CFL.
A look at the standings shows the Western teams are again considerably better than the East.
This has been the same song and dance for 18 years (since 2004).
This year the gap is bigger than ever, at least through eight weeks (and one game of Week 9) of the season.
The two-time defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers are again the class of the league sitting at 9-0, with six of those victories on the road, including the 35-20 Thursday night triumph over the Montreal Alouettes.
Try this for perspective, Winnipeg has 18 points, and the entire East Division of four teams has 16.
— gary lawless (@garylawless) August 5, 2022
The Blue Bombers have won both of their head-to-head games against Calgary and that’s been the only two losses of the season for the (4-2) Stampeders.
The B.C. Lions are just like the Stampeders, with a perfect record against everybody other than Winnipeg.
The Lions already have as many wins this year as they did in both 2019 (5-13) and in 2021 (5-9).
(There was no season in 2020 due to the pandemic)
The (5-1) Lions have the second-best record in the CFL only behind the Blue Bombers.
Winnipeg, B.C., and Calgary are a combined 10-0 against Eastern opposition.
Even last-place Edmonton is 2-0 against the East and 0-5 in its own division.
Saskatchewan is 4-4 overall and 3-3 vs. the East.
Add it up and the West is 15-3 against the East.
Western teams have a combined record of 24-12 (12 games over .500) while Eastern teams are 8-20.
No team in the East has a winning record with Toronto on top at 3-3 and Ottawa at the bottom sitting 1-6.
Last year the gap wasn’t that big although each team played just 14 games with the West going 13-11 against the East.
Going back to full seasons, the fourth place team in the West had a better record than the third place team in the East in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2014 meaning of the six playoff teams in those seasons, four were from the West.
It is almost a certainty this will be repeated again this year.
Of the last 16 Grey Cups that were played, the team representing the West went 11-5.
If you are wondering what this year’s Blue Bombers have to do to have the best start ever there is still some work to do.
Calgary won its first 12 in 1948, B.C. was 11-0 out of the gate in 2005 while both Edmonton in 1955 and Winnipeg in 1960 had a 10-0 start.
Bombers closing in on history with undefeated record: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers stand alone atop the CFL mountain with a perfect 9-0 record following their latest win over the Alouetes, and the team is just a few consecutive wins away from… https://t.co/cLxLWwtfPP via @CFL #CFL pic.twitter.com/DbaSKlCo6Q
— CFL Headlines (@CFL_Headlines) August 5, 2022
While no one can argue the Blue Bombers have the most outstanding team, early on this season the Lions can boast of the Most Outstanding Player.
Quarterback Nathan Rourke has only finished one-third of the 18-game schedule but the highly-praised Canadian has eye-popping numbers after six games.
🎥 “When we get into a rhythm, the guys are feeling it. There is good energy in the huddle and on the sidelines.”
Nathan Rourke on what has made the offence click so far this season 🦁
WATCH 🎥: pic.twitter.com/dYwps7Qpn6
— BC LIONS (@BCLions) August 4, 2022
The 24-year-old Rourke was born in Victoria and selected in the second round (15th overall) of the 2020 CFL Draft after playing three years at Ohio University.
He has completed nearly 80 percent of his passes (79.3) this year for well over 300 yards per game (323.5) with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.
— Justin Dunk (@JDunk12) August 3, 2022
Winning football fans back to Vancouver continue to be a process.
Sure, they had 34,082 fans on a strong promotion opening night against Edmonton on June 11th but since then the Lions had a paltry crowd of 14,006 on June 25th vs. Toronto, 17,603 July 9th against Winnipeg (which at the time was the battle of the unbeaten), and 16,155 July 21st vs. Hamilton.
Over the four home games, the Lions are averaging 20,461, and that average drops to less than 16,000 (15,921) over their last three.
I don’t watch or follow the CFL nearly as much as I did 20 or 30 years ago, but it is good to have it back on a full-time basis.
It is not only a tradition but it also helps fill the gap until the NFL returns (Sept 8th).
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Amazing truth heard on KNBR: The late great Vin Scully’s career spanned 45% of MLB history.
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
A chess-playing robot broke the finger of its seven-year-old opponent when the little boy took his turn too quickly. Interesting—a kid that can master chess, but would have trouble with ‘Mother, May I?’
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
The Arizona Cardinals have removed the controversial “independent study” clause from QB Kyler Murray’s $230.5M contract but added one for cleaning up his room and being in bed by 10.
*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/
In Case You Missed It:
Three reasons New Zealand police recently charged a man who was biking in the nude: 3. To enforce a crackdown; 2. He got cheeky with the law; 1. He was signaling turns inappropriately.
*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).