Who Will Enter the History Books?

The CFL this year has seen a number of changes shocked the CFL with more moves than usual in the offseason. It was a very turbulent offseason and it was all for one reason as teams looked to make that run at the Grey Cup this year. The overall theme for teams seemed to be to make the most moves or the least moves in order to make a run at the Grey Cup. There seemed to be a division between the two sides of the country as the West was the sellers and the East was the buyers. In the West most of the teams looked to get rid of veteran talent and got younger at key positions. Legends in the game left for the East but the western teams are betting on their young talent to carry them to the Grey Cup. In the East this year seemed to be a big push to add as many impact players as possible especially for the two teams closest to the Grey Cup this year. The East brought in most of the big names on offence but many of the defences lost more. It was the decisions of the teams to go one way or the other but it seemed that the divisions were of different opinions. The true test will be the season as the East and West fight it out to see which theory of team building works best. Will it be the teams who loaded up on big names or will it be the teams who let their talent develop. It will all come to a head this November when the best of the West faces off against the best of the East or at least that is the plan. There is always the possibility of the crossover this year as well with the Eastern Conference looking much better and the West having some weaker teams. This means the real battle may come down to a fight between the last team in the east and the two bottom teams in the west. This looks to be the case though as the East looks to be improved while the West may see some struggles in the bottom of the league. Of course this is all speculation as teams can make as many great or bad moves as possible but it is up to the players to prove everyone right or wrong. That is why they play the game as everyone has a chance at the Grey Cup on Canada Day Weekend and over the next 18 weeks the best will come to play and the rest will go home as only one team will be named the 100th Grey Cup Champion.

 

Western Division

 

 

 

The Western Division saw a small divide between the four teams much like the Eastern and Western divide. Two teams got rid of legends, two teams will go with younger QBs, and one team will stay the same as all look to rule the West. The defending champion B.C. Lions stayed the same for the most part and why not as they won with the team last year. They did lose some defence but they have remained generally unchanged for the champions. The Lions are still a team going with a young QB who showed his ability last year as Lulay remains under centre for them as he looks to make it another great year. The Edmonton Eskimos were close last year but could not make it and so they made some major changes. The Eskimos traded away franchise QB Ricky Ray and replaced him with Stephen Jyles. The rest of the team is not overly powerful as Ray and reigning Canadian MOP Jerome Messam are gone leaving the Eskies with less big impact players. Their provincial rivals in also moved a legend as Henry Burris was traded after the team decided to go with Drew Tate as their starting QB. The young QB will start for his first full season while working with an offence that has plenty of weapons to go to. The Saskatchewan Roughriders were one of the teams who did not make many moves as they added some key role players but no impact players on offence or defence. A new coach will hopefully bring a new attitude to help them get back to the playoffs. For the west though it just seems that Edmonton and Saskatchewan did not do enough to improve their team. As a result of this the West may see two teams out of the playoffs with BC and Calgary taking the top two spots. BC and Calgary look good this year as the Lions did not need to change to be good and the Stamps, although they lost their franchise QB, have too many weapons to overlook. This year the West could see a visitor in the playoffs as the crossover rule could come into effect with the Riders and Eskies on the outside looking in.

 

Western Semi-Finals:

Calgary Stampeders 45 – 38 Toronto Argonauts

– Drew Tate has so many weapons to help him in his first year and that means there will be just too much power for the Argos who will have a young defence that will not be able to cover the many receivers that Tate will throw to spoiling the Argos party for the Grey Cup at home

 

Western Finals:

B.C. Lions 44 – 42 Calgary Stampeders

– Travis Lulay is essentially Drew Tate with one more year of experience and that will help when they face off for the Western Championship as Lulay will help his team in a tough game that will be very close and will see the defence of the Lions overcome the power of the Stamps offence

 

Eastern Division

 

 

 

The Eastern Division was much the same as the West as the four teams divided but the East saw much more clear divisions. The Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers believed that they were good enough last year to stay essentially the same. For the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts their seasons last year were not good enough and with the Grey Cup so close to home they made some major changes. Last year’s Eastern Champions were one of the more silent teams as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers did not make a lot of moves but did add some receivers to help out the oft-injured Buck Pierce. He will try lead his team back to the finals this year and take it one step further to win the Grey Cup. The Montreal Alouettes took the same type of attitude as they made few changes and the changes they did make were to fill holes left by stars with stars. They look strong again this year with Anthony Calvillo under centre and the rest of a powerful cast behind them. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats did great last year but for them it was not good enough. They reloaded their offence with Henry Burris, Andy Fantuz, and Sam Giguere provided one of the scariest offences on paper as they look to play for the Grey Cup close to home. The Toronto Argonauts could play at home for the Grey Cup and this offseason it looked like they realized. Adding a new coach plus Ricky Ray, Maurice Mann, and Jason Barnes could give the Argos what they need but a number of losses on the defence could stop them. The East added some big names this year as teams look to play in the Grey cup closer to home. It was a year where the Argos and the Ti-Cats felt the pressure to perform with the Grey Cup so Close. The Alouettes and Bombers stayed the same with a successful plan already in place from last year. At the end of the year the improvements will likely mean that all four teams will make the playoffs. The order is up for debate but the Bombers and Alouettes seem too good for the improved Argos and Ti-Cats will still be have an impact but will fight to stay out of the crossover spot.

 

Eastern Semi-Finals:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 38 – 34 Winnipeg Blue Bombers

– The Bombers strength has never been their offence and despite improvements a long season may take its toll on the offence while the Ti-Cats will be too powerful to stop even for the best defence in the league

 

Eastern Finals:

Montreal Alouettes 52 – 45 Hamilton Tiger-Cats

– The Alouettes will get their revenge for last year in the Finals as they will have the defence to stop the speedy Ti-Cats while the Ti-Cats defence will not be able to do the same against Anthony Calvillo and company

 

100th Grey Cup:

Montreal Alouettes 45 – 44 BC Lions

– It is almost too close to call as two teams who stayed relatively the same over the offseason will face off in a matchup between Travis Lulay and Anthony Calvillo where Calvillo will show that experience trumps youth winning the 100th Grey Cup

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