The CFL is back on ESPN2 as the channel carries a Sunday matinee from Molson Stadium in Montréal. The second half of the Sunday doubleheader features the RedBlacks (long ago Rough Riders) at the Roughriders. Ottawa is the only East team without 3 wins while Saskatchewan needs a win with Tino Sunseri in control.
The Argos stayed out West this week and will be in Vancouver for the Friday night contest. BC is coming off a strong win over a fading Winnipeg last week.
Hamilton tries to make it 2 straight over a West team at home, this time with Edmonton in the lone Saturday contest.
Winnipeg and Drew Willy need rest and recuperation and will get that chance this week.
Calgary @ Montréal, 1p (TSN simulcast)
Toronto @ BC, 10p
Edmonton @ Hamilton, 7p
Calgary @ Montréal, 1p
Ottawa @ Saskatchewan, 4p
Not great, but not bad. Sums up the ESPN ratings from September 7, going head-to-head with the opening weekend of the NFL season. Hamilton at Montréal drew 160,000 while the Banjo Bowl — Saskatchewan at Winnipeg — drew 104,000.
The last-minute switch of the first game from ESPNews didn't help; not having had a game on TV didn't help. The drop off in the 2nd game could have been a more prominent late NFL game. Let's not forget that ESPN2 has been the home of most of the CFL games, so fans might not have looked on ESPN for the CFL.
The NFL Network was reluctant to air games involving Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. Glad ESPN avoided that misguided logic. The fans were loud and fun, a great visual for the U.S. audience.
The key question for ESPN is how those numbers compare to what the channel normally draws against the NFL opening weekend.
Ricky Ray, Henry Burris (and possibly Drew Willy): as of this weekend, they will be the only CFL quarterbacks to have started every game this season.
Calgary is in good hands with Drew Tate finishing the amazing comeback. Winnipeg without Drew Willy? The Blue Bombers were free falling even before Willy's injury.
How much did Saskatchewan miss Darian Durant? Hamilton scored only the 4th win of an East team over a West team, and the first for the Tiger-Cats. Ottawa is now the only East team that is winless against the West.
Edmonton has a somewhat healthy Mike Reilly back in control, and right now the Esks look second-best in the West.
Then again, the 4th place West team will go East, and that might be a safer trip.
We noted last week that the East only had 1 road win all season. The Toronto Argonauts thought they had the second one in Calgary. An Argos collapse, but more importantly, a huge Calgary comeback.
No CFL team had successfully converted a 2-point conversion all season. Calgary converts 2 of them, both aided by penalties. If you think the CFL hasn't been exciting this year, go back and watch that game. I'm glad I watched it over last weekend.
Though football cards aren't as popular as baseball cards, football cards definitely can grow the sport, especially the CFL.
The CFL signed a multi-year deal with Upper Deck to be the exclusive trading card company. The cards will be available in stores early next month, starting with the first-ever 180-card CFL base set.
The collection will feature a bit of the old mixed in with the new.
If you take Anthony Calvillo as an example, it would be cool to see him in a Las Vegas Posse card or a Hamilton Tiger-Cats card. Or see how many different teams you could collect for Arland Bruce III.
I'm still catching up on the long ago CFL history, but trading cards would be helpful with past shots of Grey Cup glory.
Hamilton's new stadium can still only hold 18,000 of the expected 24,000 capacity, but Tiger-Cats fans got a bonus on Sunday.
Fans got "treated" to drinking water via the washrooms, though there are still no water fountains for the general public in the stadium.
Fans at the game were able to bring in empty bottles to fill with water from the washroom.
In my lone trip to Ivor Wynne Stadium, I had my empty water bottle confiscated. I was told I could put the bottle back in my car. Had no car, so they got to take my bottle.
If that policy is permanent and people can bring in empty water bottles, the new stadium will have one step ahead of the old place.
Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor started their weekend in northern Alberta on Friday and ended up in the 2nd game ever at Tim Hortons Field. Rod Black and Duane Forde worked the game in Southern Alberta Saturday night, while Gord Miller and Matt Dunigan handled the game in Vancouver.