|z-Winnipeg||6||10||BC, @CAL, Bye|
y-division winner; x-playoff spot; z-eliminated from playoff contention
The CFL doesn't play too often on Sunday afternoons in the late fall … except for Montréal home games. The most important game of the year since last week will be on Sunday afternoon as the Alouettes host Toronto.
The Alouettes can't play home games on Friday night or Saturday in Molson Stadium. Too bad Olympic Stadium isn't an option since this game could sell a lot of tickets.
Hamilton starts out the weekend with Friday Night Football in the nation's capital. Ottawa came close at home last week in an emotionally charged contest. The Tiger-Cats need to keep pace in the East Division race.
Saturday's doubleheader starts out with Winnipeg at Calgary where no playoff position will be affected by the outcome. With the bye next week, this is the last Blue Bombers game of the season. The BC Lions, hoping for a slim shot at hosting the West semifinal, will play at Edmonton, the team that need to go through to reach that goal.
Saskatchewan gets a badly needed break after suffering through a Calgary comeback. The Roughriders have a playoff spot clinched, but might finish the season at .500.
Hamilton @ Ottawa, 7:30p
Winnipeg @ Calgary, 4p
BC @ Edmonton, 7p
Toronto @ Montréal, 12p
Only one team — Montréal — in the East Division can finish above. 500. Hamilton and Toronto can't finish any higher than .500.
The Alouettes haven't lost since September 12 in Edmonton; the last home loss was also against Edmonton on August 8.
If the Alouettes beat Toronto on Sunday, Montréal will clinch at least a playoff spot since the Als will be 2 games up on Toronto with a game to play. Throw in a Hamilton loss and the Als clinch a week off.
If the Argos pull off the win, Toronto would have the tiebreaker with Montréal and be tied in the standings. Assuming Hamilton beats Ottawa, Toronto already has the tiebreaker with the Tiger-Cats and be tied in the standings in a 3-way tie at 8-9.
Toronto hosts Ottawa in the final week, setting up a Hamilton-Montréal winner take all, assuming an Argos win.
If Montréal is a game ahead of Hamilton going into the final season with a playoff spot on the line, the Tiger-Cats need to win by more than 7 points. The teams only play 2 games and the Alouettes won the first game by 7 points.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was there for the game and ceremony. Makes a symbolic difference having a CFL team in the nation's capital.
Former CFL commissioner John Tory is now the mayor-elect of Toronto. CFL fans, not just in Toronto, wonder what impact Tory will have on the Toronto Argonauts stadium dilemma.
Rob Ford is a huge football fan, yet as mayor, Ford didn't do anything to help the Argos with the stadium situation and the Bills Toronto series is now in serious doubt.
Yes, BMO Field needs provincial and federal help for the renovations. Toronto needs a mayor who can work with other governmental bodies. Tory should have a huge advantage over Ford in that department.
Tory will be the mayor of Toronto starting December 1 until late 2018. By then, the Argos will be gone from Rogers Centre. Let's see what Tory will do to help out the Argos.
The Argos came really close to drawing 20,000 for last Saturday's game against Hamilton, 19,258 was the announced attendance and a lot of the fans were dressed in yellow and black instead of the double blue.
Hamilton has drawn at or near the maximum for its home games. Ottawa has drawn close to the max at home. Montréal's numbers aren't at the max, but usually well above 20,000. Toronto is the only CFL team to not draw at least 20,000 to a game this season.
Everything has to go right for the BC Lions to host the West semifinal. Even if Edmonton loses to the Lions Saturday, the Esks would still host the West semifinal if they don't lose to the Lions by more than 6 points.
The two teams only meet twice, and Edmonton won the first game 27-20 in Vancouver on June 28.
I watched the East Division games. No slight against the West, but playoff implications are more severe east of Winnipeg. A few observations:
- Henry Burris threw his first TD pass in the city of Ottawa. Burris is now third all-time in CFL TD passes, having passed Ron Lancaster. Only Anthony Calvillo and Damon Allen have thrown more TD passes in the CFL.
- In the Montréal-Ottawa game, a Montréal receiver wanted pass interference called. The ref gave him an objectionable conduct penalty for wanting a PI call. The play was challenged and the call was overturned, yet the receiver was still penalized. That technically fits the new rules, but looks bad.
- Also in that game, the refs had a borderline fumble call with about 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Rod Black and Duane Forde gave the impression that the refs had to call a fumble to provoke an automatic challenge. Forde was spot-on in identifying that the Als receiver's leg was down. While the referees made the correct call, this also looked bad on TV.
- Ottawa challenged an automatic review of that play about 8+ minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Challenging a challenge seems illogical only in that the referees just looked at the evidence. So looking at the evidence again so soon isn't going to result in a different call. The challenge to the challenge cost the RedBlacks a timeout. Just some of the issues the CFL can take a look at in the off-season.
- Hamilton pulled off an amazing feat with a 109-yard TD drive. The returner looked like he had been tackled for a safety, but the ball was placed at the Tiger-Cats 1-yard line. You can brag about that to your friends who are NFL fans.
The last two ESPN TV telecasts set new season highs and lows. The October 17 Friday night game at Tim Hortons Field with Ottawa as the opponent drew 313,000 on ESPN2. That is more than 10% of the previous high mark. Perhaps Tim Hortons Field drew more U.S. viewers than anticipated.
The Sunday afternoon contest on October 19 with Edmonton at Saskatchewan drew 64,000 viewers. The previous low had been 76,000 viewers on ESPNews on August 1.
The Sunday telecasts have their issues going up against the NFL. But those numbers are so extreme: one really good, one really horrible.
We will be very curious about the potential ratings for the CFL playoffs on ESPN television.
Rod Black and Duane Forde were in Ottawa and Toronto to cover the East Division playoff race. Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor stayed out west in Calgary and Winnipeg.