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Say goodbye to byes

Regular season may also not start until July as schedule is reviewed

There are still 27 games to be played in the 2006 CFL season, but the look of the 2007 schedule has already become an intriguing topic.

Speculation has started that league executives will scrap bye weeks from next year's schedule, dropping it from 20 to 18 weeks.

That is based - of course - on Ottawa not coming back to the league until 2008, which now seems like a much more realistic option than 2007.

The rumour mill also suggests the regular season might not start until early July, nearly three weeks later than the 2006 schedule because the Grey Cup will be played indoors in Toronto next year, meaning weather in late November will not be a concern.

Edmonton Eskimo president Rick LeLacheur was unaware of the speculation when he touched down in Hamilton late last week, but you can add his vote to the idea of getting rid of byes.

"I'd rather not have the byes," he said.

"It's difficult for a team - like we did this year with 18 days off.

"If we are going to have byes, I'd rather the whole league shut down and then there would be no competitive edge."

Of course, there is no way in the world that would happen. Shutting down an entire league for two one-week blocks during a season would be ludicrous on many levels. But there's no denying the fact that bye weeks hurt some teams. Edmonton lost both games this season coming off a bye week.

Saskatchewan and Winnipeg have lost after a week of rest.

Granted, byes help teams get healthier and some players love getting away from the near constant grind.

But from a marketing perspective, bye weeks make it tougher to sell tickets because the team disappears from the public eye.

Thanks to the quirks of this year's schedule, Edmonton went nearly a month - Aug. 11 to Sept. 8 - without playing a game at Commonwealth Stadium.

In Vancouver, the Lions played just once - on the road - in a 29-day span this summer because of two byes sandwiched around one tilt.

That's a marketing headache.

At the moment, CFL teams are in the very early stages of a developing the body of next year's schedule.

LeLacheur admits the current template being circulated is a 20-week block, but that doesn't mean much.

The league can change to an 18-week block because a draft football schedule really can't be drawn up until after Major League Baseball sets its dates for Rogers Centre in Toronto.

HITTING THE ROAD: An Under-19 soccer tournament is going to boot the Eskimos out of Commonwealth Stadium for almost four weeks next year - from late June to July 20 - meaning the Green and Gold is going to have a tough early schedule, regardless of when the season opens.

i think thats pretty silly, i think the bi weeks are great for the players, especially the ones who are always away from their familly's. it also helps teams heal. i dont like this one bit

me neither, cuz it means were stuck with 8 teams for another year.

bring back ottawa for '07 not '08..sheesh

I hate the bye weeks, personally. There is, in my opinion, no need for them in an even-numbered team league.

I catch almost every CFL game on TV, or at least parts of most of them. I get a bit disappointed when there's only 3 games in a week. No more byes!

It truly is a waste of time in the schedule! I think the start time of the league should be moved up to the start of June!

I agree.
Lose the bye weeks they are not necessary with an even amount of teams.

I agree, lose the bye weeks until we get that "nineth" team.

Drummer, I know you'd like a ninth team in Ottawa, but the league needs to do their "home work" and get the right owner. I don't think the Ottawa fans could tolerate another "Glieberman" style owner.

..saw Ted Hellard on the tube talking about the return of the franchise in Ottawa ...during the interview it was made pretty plain that it will not occur until 08...He said the CFL is looking for long term commitment and that the next franchise to be installed in Ottawa is going to be a sound one...because there will not be another chance for a franchise there if this one fails. He also said that expansion plans are still on track :thup:

I realize from a fan's point of view that the bye weeks are not popular, but you guys should try to look at this through a player's eyes.

First of it helps with the bumps and bruises that are inevitable throughout the year which actually increases the on-field product.

Secondly, many of these guys arent even permanent residents of our country and the bye weeks can often be the only chance they get to see their families over the course of the season

Anyways i would be very surprised if the Cflpa agreed to this, I'm sure they would at least want to keep one bye-week, maybe forfeiting the second one

I want them to scrap the back to back games and create a more balanced schedule between the first half of the season and the second.

IE: if you play a team twice, there should be at least 8 weeks before you play them again. If you play a team 3 times, there should be at least 6 weeks before you play them again. If you play a team 4 times, then at least 4 weeks before you play them again.

Not a bad idea, FYB, but if they scrap the back-to-back with the Riders and Bombers on Labour Day and the week following, I'm gonna be ticked.....

I dont like it for 2 reason. On fairly even matched teams, they usually split anyhow and it just seems pointless as far as standings and the whole season goes. OTOH, if one team happens to be down by injuries, they dont have time to recover by the time they play again and losing 2 back to back games at least partly by injuries, to a division rival just plain not fair.

With regina and winnipeg right now, it is not such a big deal, but with alberta, or two eastern teams, it can be.

The problem is that with 8 teams there will be more of what happened this year.
Teams playing each other four times in the regular season and possibly two more times in the pre season. No wonder the TV numbers have gone down this year and may continue next year.
I'd say bring on the Gades for 07 and especially if the group that wins wants to start in 07.

it has nothing to do with the difference between 8 and 9 teams, and there is nothing wrong with playing the same team 4 times if it is spread out. And no reason why the team you play 4 times in the reg season should also be a team you play in just 2 pre season games.

No regular season games until July......that
would suck!

I can see a bye for the odd team out, but right now, 3 teams sometimes get a bye in that week. The schedule this year is pretty stupid, even I could have put a better schedule out in a couple of days.

I agreee the bye weeks are needed. So far this seasons Hamilton hasn't had a rest yet, are they in need of that rest, OH YEAH.

I think Hamilton will get a rest.....In November! :wink:

Yeah, how is it that BC has used up both of their byes, but Hamilton hasn't?

Who the heck is the schedule maker?

This season got messed up because of the late Ottawa departure. Another problem is the availability of the Rogers Centre with the Jays there.
I don’t mind waiting, at least hockey playoffs run until late May, early June. But I do like it the way it is now to be honest.
But whoever says playing someone 4 times is too much is nuts, heck, don’t teams like the Leafs and Senators play each other a whole heck of a bunch of times and no one seems to be complaining of that, or Oilers and Flames.