So, yeah. That happened.
Let’s talk last week’s CFL games.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 33, Ottawa RedBlacks 20. Nice capper to an outstanding season for the Bombers in this one. Particularly outstanding was Darvin Adams, with two touchdown catches. Brock Jensen – Is that not a fantastic quarterback name? The Madden name generator could do no better –started at QB for the RedBlacks, but Brock can’t spin the scoreboard like Henry Burris, who gets two weeks’ rest thanks to the DNP.
And so the 2016 Ottawa RedBlacks become the first CFL division winner (at least in the modern era) with a sub-.500 record. That says … something.
The Shame and the Glory. Quincy McDuffie got smacked in the face by instant karma – only, the good kind – in an insane third quarter in Ottawa. Having produced a workmanlike 30- and 13-yard returns previously, McDuffie set up to receive a punt at 10:37 left in the third quarter. Except, d’oh, fumble.
After McDuffie’s muff of this punt, Travon Van (man, that dude just keeps disappearing and reappearing for this team) quickly turned into RedBlack points, all McDuffie did on the subsequent kickoff was go for a 95-yard return. What’s the old expression? “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”? That.
And we all shine on…
Montreal Alouettes 32, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 25. While the Ticats somehow get to continue their season, the Alouettes’ underwhelming 2016 campaign is over. As an Alouettes fan, I personally would like to state that I’m glad the Alouettes played out the season for the fans, the defense was just as awesome as ever this past four weeks going back to the Calgary game. And it was brilliant to see a flash of special teams’ greatness: Stefan Logan returned a punt for 86 yards and a TD; his other six returns, at 89 yards combined, barely matched the single long romp.
And then came the news that general manager Jim Popp has resigned his positionin Montreal. I think all Montreal, a position he’s held since before the relocation of the champion Baltimore Stallions in 1995, a time span which until last year had the team in the playoffs for 19 consecutive seasons.
Alouettes fans do owe a debt of gratitude despite his dismal record as a head coach, i.e. a 22-36 mark over four stints to go with a 1-4 (ugh) mark in the playoffs. As a general manager, Popp may tkae credit for landing all-time CFL great Anthony Calvillo as a free agent in 1998 and eventually taking three Grey Cups. But for Calvillo and the 2000s alone, Popp gets kudos.
And in Montreal, full rebuild mode is in effect for 2017.
Edmonton Eskimos 41, Toronto Argonauts 17. The South didn’t watch this game, already made irrelevant by Winnipeg’s win. I see that James Franklin totaled a ridiculous stat line of 18-of-23, 355 and 4 TDs, and he looks swell in the highlight clip. But who wanted to watch the Argonauts’ egregious exit from a season of which the descriptor “disappointing” is a massive understatement for team, club and franchise? Let this team slink out in peace…
BC Lions 41, Saskatchewan Roughriders 18. Now, the South did tune in to this one, primarily in the hopes that Saskatchewan would put up more of a fight. At least Chris Jones gave us a few minutes’ worth of excellent TV on the sidelines; don’t ever tell this dude his team was eliminated, like, a month and a half ago!
Once again BC brought excellent defense, but let’s face it: If BC Lions take the Grey Cup this year, it’ll have been made possible by the running game. In this one, emergency substitute Chris Rainey went for 89 yards on *nine* carries after Jeremiah Johnson went out. And that’s not even including Anthony Allen, who didn’t play.
So let’s see, three (at least 2½) options at running back while the weather – and BC’s road to the ‘Cup – gets colder and colder … yeah, things could get dangerous for the Lions’ potential prey.
Weird Canadian News Story. I’m sure you heard about this, the very culmination of what the “Weird Canadian News Story” item is all about.
Canadas citizenship and immigration website has crashed 😂😂😂
— Bushra (@baden45) November 9, 2016
Of course, The South would be more than willing to bet this: The majority of the trash-talking middle-class folks who were steadfastly avowing as recently as Monday that “if Trump wins, I’ll move to Canada” were doing little more than converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. In fact, this cross-section likely figured their words were baseless in fact; after all, most of us figured Hillary Clinton, the all-time great choke artist, had this election in the bag.
And look: You big talkers now have an excuse. America’s neo-liberal talkshow hosts – beginning with the suddenly even more irrelevant Stephen Colbert – are all set to play apologist for those who, again, were merely talking smack for 18 months.
Sure, okay. Do something here in America. But here’s a tip: Firing off angry comments from either side is not *doing* anything beyond, at best, mental masturbation. Join a protest, get involved in community outreach, work for charitable causes, learn about your crumbling environment and/or the dissolving American Empire, join a “third party” – something. Something *active*.
Frankly, it’s too bad you were all just kidding. As one who has expatriated himself from the United States (twice), I can attest with my testimony and perhaps hundreds of others I’ve met personally that travel outside of one’s land to experience another culture is an amazing, edifying experience. In 15 of so total years abroad, I’ve gained appreciation for my own culture as well as a critical eye to its (extremely deep) faults.
If you are of middle-class income level with reasonably transferable skills, you can easily afford such a move. If you have no spouse, significant other and/or kids, you have the freedom to do so. Plus, Canada is an English-speaking country east of Quebec province, meaning no language lessons or struggles with the simplest matters. Think about it, severely dissatisfied/terrified Americans: Why couldn’t you do it?
And Canada is, in my opinion and admittedly relatively limited, a great country. You know the good twin/evil twin trope?
You don’t have to be a 10-year resident of either country (or Dr. Hibbert) to determine which country is which in the Bart-and-Hugo equation, but you who crashed the Canadian Immigration Services website had probably already made up your minds.
Too bad most of you won’t follow through. You don’t know what you’re missing beyond the borders (and someday the walls) of America…
— Mark Fulton (@FenderGuy69) November 9, 2016
Meanwhile, up in the Great (literally, for some) White North, the CFL divisional round playoff games go off.
In the East, it’s the Edmonton Eskimos at Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It feels like Hamilton’s season has been over for a long time, doesn’t it? While Edmonton enters the postseason on a 5-1 run, Hamilton’s 2-4 over that span. Now, dudes like Mike Goodpaster and the CFL Pick ‘Em Show bunch tell us that these teams start the postseason 0-0, but The South isn’t sure the regular season is utterly meaningless.
True, these teams played two weeks ago and the Esks barely squeaked by, thanks in part to a contentious late-game call by a ref, winning 29-26; perhaps resultantly, bookmakers have the Eskimos as just 2½-point favorites, so maybe the Tiger-Cats…
Nah. About the Tiger-Cats, what can we know? Zach Collaros played only one quarter last week, and going into the game had amassed just a 4-6 record as starter. Throughout the season, on one podcast and another, in one View From The South column and another, I’ve lamented that the Ticats have yet to play a complete game this season. This sort of inconsistency will not stand in a single game against Edmonton, The South believes. I’ll go with the fully-developed side and await the 2015 Grey Cup rematch: Eskimos win.
Canadians in the NFL. How about those Kansas City Chiefs? Remember them, the other team in a division with the Defending NFL Champions, the Surprise Team Of The Year and the NFL’s Heart-Attack Team Of The Year? No? Hey, the under-the-radar Chiefs may yet stick around until playoff time.
Quebec native Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been seeing some quality time in Kansas City due to injuries on the offensive line there and has of late been acquitting himself well – at least in the eyes of Kansas City sports media, an often pessimistic lot.
And adding to Duvernay-Tardif’s awesomeness: He’s also a med student at McGill University. Nice.
In the Western half of the playoff bracket, it’s the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Lions. After watching the BC Lions the past month or so, the South has been promulgating the dogma that Wally Buono will be emphasizing the run game in this round and subsequent rounds in the playoffs. Winnipeg is dead in the middle of the CFL table in running yards allowed at 88.1 per game, but here’s to thinking that they’ll be seeing a lot more carries by [insert running back name(s) here] in this one.
The Bombers had their last-minute tune up against Ottawa last week, reaffirming the simple ecret to Winnipeg’s success: That outstanding turnover differential. But after throwing just three interceptions combined through the first 12 games of this season, Matt Nichols has accounted for six picks in the last three games; however, this includes a 35-32 *win* over BC Lions in week 17.
Miracle wins aside – and considering the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Cubs and whatsisname, 2016 has turned out to be quite a year of upset victories – the Bombers cannot afford to turn this ball over. The same goes for the gunslinging Jonathon Jennings as well, incidentally, and again I’m counting on the running game.
For the South, though, it’s all gonna come down to this question: Do you really believe that Wally Buono would lose to a team of equal or slightly lesser talent three times in a single season? Me neither. BC Lions win.
Next week: Yeah, like The South is even gonna make a humorous prediction after this week…