5 reasons why.... will win the Grey Cup

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Masters: Why your team will win the Cup
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November 10, 2009

Mark Masters

On the opening week of the Canadian Football League season there is hope and Grey Cup dreams in eight cities. It is a wondrous time for the lover of three-down football.

Now that feeling remains and is amplified in six cities. In Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Hamilton and Montreal the hope that this November will bring a championship remains. That’s right, even the BC Lions have to believe that despite their train-wreck of a regular season finale, they too may be able to hoist the silver chalice at month’s end.

In sports hope is one of the things that unites fans of all allegiances. With that in mind, here are five reasons why your team will win the Grey Cup.

Five reasons the BC Lions will win the Grey Cup:

  1. Wally: You may have heard that Wally Buono has amassed more victories than any other coach in CFL history. Basically, he’s been very good for a very long time. He has more head coaching experience on one finger than the rest of the five coaches in the playoffs combined. If there is one area where the Lions have the edge it is on the sidelines.

  2. Everyone thinks they’re done: After losing the last two games of their season at home nobody thinks the Lions have what it takes to make a serious playoff push. They are the ultimate underdogs meaning the pressure will be squarely on their opponent.

  3. Nobody played Montreal tighter: Crossing over to the East Division may be a blessing in disguise for the Lions. BC struggled against Calgary and Saskatchewan this season, but against Montreal they played some of their best football. They beat the Als by seven at home and then fell by only four points at Molson Stadium. Combine the two results and BC is plus three points head-to-head against Montreal.

  4. Sack attack: A big hit can dramatically change a game and in the playoffs momentum can be a fickle thing. The Lions led the league in sacks (45) with six more than second-place Montreal. Ricky Foley led the way with 12 quarterback take downs and will draw lots of attention during the playoffs. If the Lions sack attack can get to opposition quarterbacks they will be able to keep games close and maybe give their faltering offence a chance to win.

  5. Printers should be back: The Casey Printers comeback story took a hit last week when an injury forced him out of action. He should be back in time to face his old team. Printers can finally put his ugly Hamilton years behind him with a playoff win at Ivor Wynne Stadium. And he’s been here before. Printers experienced playoff success in leading the Lions to the 2004 Grey Cup game. Deep down Lions fans must believe he can do it again.

Five reasons the Calgary Stampeders will win the Grey Cup:

  1. They’ve done it before: Nothing will come as a surprise for the Stampeders. They went all the way last season and won the Grey Cup in hostile territory. They can win ugly and they can win in tough places. Nothing will faze John Hufnagel’s team.

  2. Reynolds: The Stampeders boast one of the most exciting players in the league in Joffrey Reynolds. The Most Outstanding Player nominee amassed more yards from scrimmage than any other player this season with 1,806. He has the ability to take over a game. When you have a player like this you are never out of it.

  3. Field position: In playoff games, which tend to be close, field position often plays a big factor. Calgary punter Burke Dales led the league in average yards per punt (45.8), while place kicker Sandro DeAngelis ensured the Stamps took advantage of the field position even when they didn’t get in the end zone. The Canadian kicker connected on 87 per cent of his field goal attempts this season.

  4. They have the ultimate home-field advantage: The Stampeders know that whatever happens in the first two rounds of the playoffs the Grey Cup game will be in Calgary. All they have to do is get there.

  5. Henry Burris: There is no substitute for a veteran, playoff-savvy quarterback with a Grey Cup ring. Burris finished second in passing yards this season, behind only Ricky Ray, and if we learned anything from last year’s run to the Cup it is that Burris plays well when it matters most.

Five reasons the Edmonton Eskimos will win the Grey Cup:

  1. Strong finish: The Eskimos won three out of their last four games to qualify for the West Division playoffs. In their final two games they outscored their opponents 81-23. Sure they were facing sub-par opposition in the Toronto Argonauts and banged-up Lions, but still, that’s some major-league momentum heading into the second season.

  2. Whitlock’s emergence: Running back Arkee Whitlock has been a revelation for the Eskimos this season. He takes the pressure off Ray and gives Edmonton a more balanced offence. The added element of a potent ground game ensures opposing defences have to respect both the run and pass. Whitlock can also make big plays averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He was second only to Reynolds (6.4) in that category.

  3. They can win close games: Of the six remaining playoff teams no squad played more close games than the Eskimos. The Green and Gold played 10 games this season where the differential in the final score was seven points or fewer. The Eskimos won six of those games. If the team can keep it close they have a track record that indicates they can win the nail biters.

  4. Stamps of approval: They have the best receiver in the CFL this season in Fred Stamps and when you have a playmaker of that caliber on your team then you can make life very difficult for opposing defences. Stamps led the CFL in receiving yards and yards-per-catch this season and could be the difference in a tight playoff game.

  5. Nothing is certain in the Battle of Alberta: On paper the Stampeders look to be the clear favourites in the West Division semifinal based on their 3-1 record against Edmonton this season. But the Battle of Alberta can be unpredictable and if Edmonton stays close they may be able to pull out an upset and then go to Saskatchewan where they have already won twice this season.

Five reasons the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will win the Grey Cup:

  1. Unfinished business: Kevin Glenn is on the ultimate comeback tour. First stop: Winnipeg where he eliminated the team that cut him. Next stop: the playoffs. His last foray into post-season football ended with an injury. He never got a chance to play in the Grey Cup and could only watch as his Bombers lost to Saskatchewan in the 2007 final. With Quinton Porter waiting in the wings this may be Glenn’s last shot. How’s that for motivation?

  2. The Cinderella factor: This is Hamilton’s first playoff berth since 2004 and their first home playoff game since 2001. They won’t let the pressure of the occasion get to them, because they don’t know any better. For neutral observers this team is likely the bandwagon of choice. Perhaps the Ticats can channel this goodwill and get some good bounces en route to a magical playoff run.

  3. They play Montreal tough in Montreal: Forget the blowout loss at Hamilton. The two games Hamilton played at Montreal were tight into the fourth quarter. In football it is hard to beat the same team four different times in one season. If Hamilton takes what they learned in their three losses to Montreal they may be the team best positioned to upset the highly-favoured Als.

  4. Turnovers: The Ticats have been very good at not turning over the ball this season. Hamilton tossed only 13 interceptions on the year and eight of those were from Porter who, unless Glenn gets injured, will not see much action this post season. Also, no team fumbled fewer times than Hamilton (23) on the season. Turnovers can change the momentum of any game, let alone a playoff encounter, and Hamilton’s ability to hold on to the ball will put them in good position to make a run.

  5. They’re having fun: How about that speedboat celebration last week in Winnipeg? Great stuff and it’s clear this team is relaxed and just enjoying the ride. That’s the right attitude and could translate into playoff wins.

Five reasons the Montreal Alouettes will win the Grey Cup:

  1. They are simply the best: If you looked at each CFL team roster and compared them player-by-player the final analysis would reveal that the Alouettes are simply better. They have more talent at almost every position and no blatant weaknesses.

  2. Hunger: They lost in the ultimate game last year and that defeat is likely still fresh in the memory banks of many of their players. When you come that close and fall short the motivation to ensure you never feel that way again is an intangible you can’t underestimate.

  3. Anthony Calvillo: Sure he’s great. He’s always great. But, this season he was the best quarterback by far. He was consistently good game in and game out. Every other pivot in the league seemed to struggle at some point this year. Not Calvillo.

  4. Rest: They clinched the East Division back when dinosaurs roamed the earth … or something like that. Their key players are rested and healthy. Meanwhile, their opposition had to slug it out to the final weekend of the season to determine playoff positioning.

  5. Inevitability: This team is just too good. They beat Saskatchewan and Calgary – the top two teams out West – handily this season. They have been good before and then had a letdown in the big game. Statistically it is improbable for this team to not win another Grey Cup.

Five reasons the Saskatchewan Roughriders will win the Grey Cup:

  1. Home field advantage: Roughriders fans have waited 33 years to host the West Division final and they will look to take full advantage of playing the CFL’s penultimate game on home turf. The Watermelon Warriors will be out in full force making sure the opposing quarterback has trouble calling plays at the line of scrimmage. Plus, if the Riders advance to the Grey Cup, you can expect their loyal fans to travel en masse to Calgary creating a relative home-field advantage at McMahon Stadium.

  2. Close calls: No team played more close games down the stretch than the Roughriders. Of their final eight games of the season six were decided by 10 points or fewer. The only two exceptions were the loss in Hamilton two weeks ago and the win at home against Calgary on Saturday where the Riders pulled away at the end. The team is already in playoff mode and they know how to play in close games.

  3. Receivers: No other team seems to have as much depth at the receiver position. Eight different players caught a pass for the Riders during their division-clinching win against Calgary. Of those eight, five players have two or more catches. Andy Fantuz is emerging as the team’s top threat and the Western Mustangs product has answered the call. When it comes to shutting down the Roughriders offence the mission will be a difficult one for opposing defences.

  4. Discipline: The Saskatchewan Roughriders were penalized for fewer yards (1,146) than any other team during the 2009 CFL season. That statistic must make Ken Miller and his coaching staff smile. In the playoffs, where emotions can overflow, the team that best keeps their cool and maintains their poise will likely win it all. If you’re looking for a distinction between the closely-matched Roughriders and Stampeders look only at number of penalties assessed: Saskatchewan was flagged 149 times while Calgary saw yellow on 170 occasions.

  5. Durant is the real deal: In a league where a team is lost without a strong quarterback it is Darian Durant who is emerging as a big-game pivot in Saskatchewan. When his team needed a big performance this season it is Durant who stepped up. Look no further than his 296-yard, two touchdown performance Saturday night against Calgary. Durant didn’t throw an interception in the game that clinched the Roughriders the division title.

tweets of the week left off, you can got read them if you want.


interesting read so far (haven't finished it yet). I hope he is right about Montreal, but as we all know it all seems to go their way, and then it all falls apart in the big one (like Collingwood in the AFL). Funny how he mentions just last year, and doesn't add 2006, 2005, and 2003 (and for the heck of it, 2000, but they won it in 2002, so that doesn't count IMHO).

anyway, I'll have more to say once I finish the article. What do you guys think?

One reason he missed for the Eskimos is that Edmonton has won 66.6% of the Grey Cups played in Calgary.

If they get that far.

If they get that far then they will have won 75% of the Grey Cups played in Calgary.

Who ever wants it bad enough and shows up will win it!

  1. Discipline: The Saskatchewan Roughriders were penalized for fewer yards (1,146) than any other team during the 2009 CFL season. That statistic must make Ken Miller and his coaching staff smile. In the playoffs, where emotions can overflow, the team that best keeps their cool and maintains their poise will likely win it all. If you’re looking for a distinction between the closely-matched Roughriders and Stampeders look only at number of penalties assessed: Saskatchewan was flagged 149 times while Calgary saw yellow on 170 occasions.

nice :thup:

off topic, but is Durant related to the other Durant in the NBA?

seems like the Riders will be the team to beat, and I say that only because Montreal has gone to the GC so many times only to blow it.

Couldn't ask for a better playoffs, except for Winnipeg being absent.

The Top Dog: Montreal
Power Houses: Saskatchewan, Calgary
Dark Horses: Edmonton, Hamilton
The Outcasts: BC

again, IMHO, it's going to come down to the team that plays the most like a mid level NFL team that will win the Grey Cup, those two teams are Montreal and Saskatchewan, w/o a doubt.

I believe it will come down to Montreal vs Calgary or Saskatchewan with no real favourites IMO.

I think that Hamilton might surprise all of us and beat Montreal next week. ( pretty much a gimmie to them to beat BC this week)

I know what you're talking about! :rockin: On my one visit to Melbourne I saw Hawthorne beat Collingwood on a beautiful day at the old VFL park. The next day's news story began "All the elements of a Grand Final were there: a record crowd, the sun was shining, and Collingwood lost." :lol:

Yep, everything always goes right for them in the season and finals, and then in the Gran Final, they lose it. Mind you they did win in 1990, after like 10 appearances.

Melbourne is was I was born (Box Hill, technically, but that's a like a suburb of Melbourne anyway), and the Hawthorne Hawks are my favorite team. That's very cool! :thup: I have been to VFL Park (which has long sense be demolished) but not for Aussie football, but for a baseball game of the now defunct (along with the league) Waverly Reds, where I saw Chipper Jones play before he became a MLB star. :rockin:

I woud say the Als are the favourites to win... but most of the teams are fairly even.. anyone can beat anyone on a given day, so IMO, this is the most wide open playoff season in a long, long time, even for the CFL. Everyone has been complaining about boring games over the past 2 seasons, but I have a feeling the semi-finals and finals will make up for it. It will definitely be more exciting than the MLB playoffs were... the team with one the higher(actually the highest) payrolls wins the World Series again.. what a shocker... :thdn:

Pfft . . . :roll:

After reading that article, the only team's five reasons that had legitimacy was the Roughriders' five reasons.

(Warning: Extreme bias may or may not have been used by the author of the above comment)

I know there were a few games that I could have missed, but I;m surprised people have been saying that especially given the great results we have had in the last two playoffs (Prairie Grey Cup, one of the greatest in history just for it's result alone, gives me chills just to think about it, and the possible Battle of Alberta Grey Cup, which ended up being Mon/Cgy, but it was a good game that wasn't a bad game as 2006 was, and 2006 was just ok).