Wed, July 30, 2008
UPDATED: 2008-07-30 02:27:43 MST
By DAN RALPH, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Take a look at the CFL standings and it's clear to see where the league's power base is.
All four West Division teams have winning records led by the Saskatchewan Roughriders' perfect 5-0 mark. But Edmonton, Calgary and B.C. are all tied for second at 3-2.
Compare that to the East Division, where both Montreal and Toronto are tied for top spot with 2-3 records. Hamilton and Winnipeg are tied for third at 1-4.
If that trend continues through to the end of the season, then all four Western clubs will make the CFL playoffs. The fourth-place squad would cross over into the East Division as the No. 3 seed based on having a better record than the Eastern conference's third-place finisher.
The West Division's dominance is clearly evident in head-to-head matchups with its East Division rivals. The Western clubs are a stellar 10-2, with just Winnipeg and Toronto having managed victories for the Eastern conference.
The West Division also dominates the CFL's individual statistics, too.
Calgary's Ken-Yon Rambo and B.C's Geroy Simon are the CFL's top receivers. Saskatchewan's Wes Cates is the league's rushing leader.
A bright spot for the East Division has been the play of Montreal's Anthony Calvillo, the CFL's passing leader with 1,653 yards, 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions. But the next three leading quarterbacks are Calgary's Henry Burris, Edmonton's Ricky Ray and B.C.'s Jarious Jackson, respectively.
Defensively, B.C. Lions end Cameron Wake, who was the CFL's top pass rusher last year with 16 sacks, again leads that category with six sacks, more than double his nearest competition.
And Lions safety Barron Miles leads the league in interceptions with four, one more than Saskatchewan's Lance Frazier.
East Division teams get a bit of a break this week as all of their games are inter-conference affairs. Hamilton is at Montreal on Thursday night, then Winnipeg is in Toronto on Friday night.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have picked up where they left off last year.
The Riders cemented second in the West Division standings last season by winning five of their final six regular-season games. Then the club beat Calgary and B.C. in the Western playoffs before capping its year by downing Winnipeg in the Grey Cup game.
Despite the off-season departure of head coach Kent Austin to Ole Miss and trading of CFL MVP Kerry Joseph to Toronto, the Riders are again the toast of the CFL. Under new head coach Ken Miller, the Riders are the league's lone undefeated team at 5-0.
And Saskatchewan has managed to find different ways to win despite an abundance of injuries.
Saskatchewan defeated Toronto 28-22 on Sunday night at Mosaic Stadium despite losing quarterback Darian Durant (broken ribs) and receiver Andy Fantuz (broken leg). Don't forget that Durant was subbing for injured starter Marcus Crandell (hamstring) and earlier this year the Riders lost stellar receiver D.J. Flick (ankle).
When Durant went down, No. 3 quarterback Steven Jyles came in and merely completed 14-of-18 passes for 201 yards with a touchdown and interception. Both Durant, who was 3-of-5 passing for 29 yards before being hurt, and Jyles did a nice job of spreading the ball around. A total of eight Riders receivers caught passes against Toronto, which boasts the CFL's top pass defence.
It didn't hurt, either, that Cates ran for 130 yards on 24 carries and scored two TDs.
And the Riders were already without defensive lineman John Chick and receiver Weston Dressler due to injury.
Yet through it all, the club finds itself 5-0 for the first time since 1934.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will have a new quarterback under centre Thursday night when they face the Montreal Alouettes.
Richie Williams will get the start after incumbent Casey Printers suffered a thumb injury in last week's 19-13 home loss to Edmonton.
Printers has been a decent passer so far in his first full season with Hamilton, having completed 77-of-121 (63.6 per cent) for 987 yards. But Printers has yet to throw a touchdown pass this year while having given up four interceptions.
Printers' rushing figures are rather average, too. He has run for 107 yards on 20 carries and scored four touchdowns but also fumbled three times.
However, Printers can't shoulder all the blame for Hamilton's three-game losing streak. Last week against Edmonton, the Ticats surrendered eight sacks and have given up a CFL-high 15 sacks so far this season.
Also, Williams won't have veteran receiver Tony Miles to look to downfield. Miles will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury.
The Ticats will also feature a different look on defence after releasing veteran defensive linemen Kori Dickerson and Canadian Clinton Wayne. And defensive back Jykine Bradley might not play. He injured his shoulder on the hit against Jason Tucker that resulted in the Edmonton receiver having to undergo season-ending neck surgery.
Adding to Hamilton's woes is the club's recent history in Montreal. The Ticats haven't won there since 2001, a stretch of eight straight games.
STEGALL TO RETURN
Just what Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie needs: Another capable receiver to throw to.
All-star slotback Milt Stegall is poised to make his '08 CFL debut for Winnipeg on Friday night in Toronto. Stegall has missed the Bombers' first five games recovering from off-season knee surgery.
Dinwiddie got the start against Calgary last week ahead of incumbent Kevin Glenn. Dinwiddie certainly made the most of it, completing 24-of-39 passes for 450 yards and a touchdown in rallying Winnipeg to its first win of the season, a thrilling 32-28 decision.
Dinwiddie was at his best with the game on the line, hitting Romby Bryant with the game-winning 35-yard TD strike with 29 seconds remaining. Dinwiddie's heroics came after Calgary's Henry Burris hit Jeremaine Copeland with a six-yard TD strike with 58 seconds remaining put the Stampeders ahead 28-25.
Stegall, 38, will come into Friday's game with 14,695 career receiving yards. He needs 197 yards to pass CFL career leader Allen Pitts, formerly of the Calgary Stampeders.http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/469274
There you go Billy Soup done just for you took me three seconds to find it on google. Maybe next time do lest crying and do some research.