Some CFL teams, including the BC Lions, are at the halfway point of their regular season with nine of 18 games complete.
Here are three observations with the league into its 10th week, leaving 10 more to go after this one.
WEST IS BEST… AGAIN:
The BC Lions are fourth in the West at 5-4, but that record would be good enough for first in the East.
It was the same last year with the four best records all came from the West, although 8-9-1 Ottawa upset 15-2-1 Calgary in the Grey Cup.
This imbalance brings up a topic that comes up each year… does the league need to revise its playoff format?
The most common suggestion for improvement has all nine teams in one division with the top six to advance to the post-season; this would give teams one and two a first-round bye.
The East-West tradition has merit, but this could finally be the year of an all-Western Grey Cup as an example.
It’s highly likely the fourth place team in the West (BC as of today) will cross over into the East based on a better record than the third place eastern team (2-6-1 Ottawa).
One can argue it is better for a team to be fourth in the West rather than third because on paper, team four would get a weaker first round opponent than team three.
— CFL (@CFL) August 24, 2017
In other words, there could be incentive to lose during the last week of the regular season depending on the circumstance and this does not help with the league’s credibility.
“I would tip my hand and say that I’m a passionate believer in East vs. West. I think it is part of what has made the league special. It has that uniquely Canadian identity,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie told Ted Wyman of Postmedia.
“Having said that, I also know that we have to bring modern thinking to everything about our league. I’m willing to have the conversation for sure. We have to be open-minded because the world is changing around us and we don’t want to have our heads in the sand,” added Ambrosie, who has only been in charge of the league since his July fifth of this year.
To give Ambrosie credit, it did not take him long to answer concerns about the use of challenge flags by coaches this season.
Earlier this month, he announced that, effective immediately, coaches will only be allowed one video review challenge per game, down from two (or possibly three if the first two were successful).
“Fans have been very clear with me that they want a change,” Ambrosie said. “We are delivering that change.”
LULAY, THE BETTER LEO QB… FOR NOW:
Travis Lulay has completed 72.5% of his passes, which is best in the CFL for quarterbacks that have played five or more games; Jonathon Jennings has completed 63.8% which ranks him eighth.
Lulay has thrown for eight touchdowns and six interceptions, while Jennings has just four TD passes and eight picks.
Furthermore, Lulay has an efficiency rating of 107.5 compared to Jennings, 74.3.
— Travis Lulay (@TravisLulay) August 21, 2017
I realize the 25-year-old Jennings is the BC Lions quarterback of the future, but the 33-year-old Lulay should never have been sent back to the bench once Jennings was injured (shoulder); at least, not until he cooled down.
Long-term Jennings should not lose his starting job, but short-term Lulay was superb, and Wally Buono should have kept using him for the time being.
Jennings was brought back too early and the Lions have paid for that decision by losing their last two after Lulay guided the team to victories in three of their previous four.
Buono is arguably the greatest coach in CFL history (he has the most wins), but that doesn’t mean every decision he makes is the right one.
ARGOS SINKING SHIP AT THE GATE:
The Toronto Argonauts lack of attendance sticks out like an arm in a sling.
The Argos are averaging a paltry 13,709 fans, which is roughly 50% of capacity.
As a whole, the league is averaging 24,300, which is just slightly below last year’s average of 24,691.
The BC Lions are nearly identical to 2016 with 76% of capacity for an average of 21,057 this year compared to 21,055 last year.
The only teams up are Edmonton, Saskatchewan with help of their new stadium, and Winnipeg.
It should be noted attendance generally picks up in the second half of the season, although it appears interest in Canada’s largest city is arguably at an all-time low.
— WPG Blue Bombers (@Wpg_BlueBombers) August 21, 2017
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Several Cleveland Browns players took a knee during the National Anthem on Monday night against the New York Giants. Not because of any political or social protest, they were just too out of shape to stay on their feet through the entire song.
*Comedy writer Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/
Some members of Cleveland Browns knelt during the national anthem. The NFL isn’t too worried, not like the Browns are a team who’ll be on national TV or in playoffs.
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
The New England Patriots have become the first NFL team to buy their own planes to fly to games —
while the Cleveland Browns have been downgraded to the overhead bin on Spirit Airlines.
*Late Night host Seth Meyers
Football stadiums are going to get a delivery system that will bring food right to your seat. However,
if you’re a (LA) Rams fan, your food will most likely be intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
*Conan O’Brien of TBS
Colin Kaepernick has ruled out coming to the CFL because we don’t play The Star Spangled Banner before games.
*Comedy writer Tony Chong of Vancouver
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Top five reasons 51 teams competed in England’s 12-hour, overnight lawn tractor race:
- #5 = To make the cut
- #4 = They like to kick grass
- #3 = To go at a fast clip
- #2 = The mow, the merrier
- #1 = Nothing mulch else to do
Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to firstname.lastname@example.org
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