HT Blog: Labour Day signifies the start of the CFL season

Although the CFL season is already nine weeks old; one could argue that the real season begins with the Labour Day Classics.

Wrongs can be made right and teams can begin to supplant their spots in the ever so tight standings — made even more possible by the home and home series’.

Here’s what we’re looking at:

Edmonton 5-3 (10)
Saskatchewan 4-4 (8)
Calgary 4-4 (8)
BC 3-5 (6)

Montreal 7-1 (14)
Hamilton 4-4 (8)
Winnipeg 3-5 (6)
Toronto 2-6 (4)

As for the home and home series’ that spread over week 10 and 11:

Toronto at Hamilton, Hamilton at Toronto
Edmonton at Calgary, Calgary at Edmonton
Montreal at BC, BC at Montreal
Winnipeg at Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan at Winnipeg

While the Argos’ season to this point has been a disappointment, they could potentially be controlling home field in the East by next weekend. Crazy, isn’t it? The Tiger-Cats own 2nd place heading into week ten and hold a four point edge over Toronto. A sweep by the Argos, and not only do they sweep all three games (including their week one win) against their QEW rivals, they also leapfrog Hamilton in the standings. Whether it’s second or third place depends on how Winnipeg does in their series against Saskatchewan. The incentive for Hamilton to sweep is just as significant; win both games, and eight points separate you from Toronto with only eight games remaining. Speaking of incentive; I wonder what Arland Bruce III has in store for his former Argo teammates and fans?

The winner of the Battle of Alberta (in the event that they don’t split) will earn the right to be considered the best team in the West. Edmonton seems to have the overall edge to this point but two wins by Calgary and the balance of power could very well shift in favour of the defending champs. Both teams can make major statements in this series; the Stampeders can remind Canada who the Grey Cup Champs are while the Eskimos can seriously deflate an inconsistent Calgary club and assert themselves as the best team in the league after a rocky start to the season. If you don’t think the rivalry is heated for whatever reason; Calgary has added an extra 5,000 temporary seats to McMahon Stadium to accommodate the crowd. Edmonton holds the 29-18-1 edge in the Labour Day Classic since 1949.

Montreal and BC may not be divisional rivals and won’t have to worry about competing with one another for playoff spots but they have plenty of incentive in their own right. Montreal is the top team in the league at 7-1 but sometimes when you’re too perfect, it’s easy to find flaws. The Alouettes have to be secretly weary of how beatable they’ve appeared as of late. Sounds nitpicky, doesn’t it? Well consider that Montreal has been down this road before where they’ve breezed through the regular season without being battle tested enough come playoff time – only to fold. It’s tough to beat any team twice in a row but you’d have to think that if the Al’s don’t win both, they’ll be disappointed. BC on the other hand, is in a completely different predicament. At 3-5, they NEED to start winning as soon as possible. What better way to boost confidence and load up on momentum going forward then to beat the first-overall Alouettes. The Lions have a good enough team, where a win or two against Montreal may be enough to get them over the hump.

The Banjo Bowl between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg fits under the “non-divisional matchup? category but the storied rivalry, coupled with plenty to prove on both ends makes this an intriguing duel. The Bluebombers had been written off within the first quarter of the season but managed to put themselves in a decent position. They sit in third place but only trail a guaranteed playoff spot by two points. The Riders have had a somewhat Jekyll and Hyde season but they’re solid in just about every facet of the game. I say “just about? because their quarterback play has still been average and Darian Durant will have his hands full against a tough defense. Speaking of having something to prove; Adam “Pacman? Jones has his career on the line right now. Yes, NFL teams know he can play but can he play while staying out of trouble? From what I hear, Saskatchewan isn’t exactly the strip club capital of Canada so Winnipeg can at least count on him to be focused in hostile Rider Country. Also, the cross over rule could certainly come in to play between these two teams — adding playoff implications to an already important matchup.

From Pacman to Arland to first place and playoff spots; whether you’re a CFL fan, football fan or just a sports fan in general there will be plenty of intrigue in the next two weeks in the Canadian Football League.

Just think of how different the standings and overall outlook of the league could be by week 12.

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