Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CIS Season Kickoff Arrives and the rankings are:

The CIS kicks off the 2011 season on Thursday as the McGill Redmen take on the Universite du Montreal Carabines, the first of three months of football leading up to the Vanier Cup in Vancouver at the end of November, part of the Grey Cup weekend festivities.

Along the way, schools from coast to coast will take to the field each week, ancient rivalries that go back many decades stacking up with newer arrivals, eager to make their mark and stake their claim for University football superiority in Canada.

As the first game prepares for kickoff, the CIS Rankings have been released, listing the Top Ten teams that have offered up them most notice heading into week number one.

At the top of the list is Laval, the Quebec City university that has been so successful in the last few years that a good number of pro teams could probably learn a few lessons, once again there are high expectations in the Quebec capital that the Rouge et Or will be travelling off to claim the Vanier Cup. The road to Vancouver starts on September 3 when they take on Concordia.

Number Two is another perennial favourite the University of Western Ontario Mustangs, London's fall passion which brings a large volume of fans to the UWO campus, fans who will get their first look at this years Mustangs when they play Waterloo on Labour Day.

McMaster gets the nod as another improving squad, equal to UWO in the Ontario conference, ranked at number three heading into the opening weekend of action, they play Queens on Labour Day.

The Defending Vanier Cup champs the Calgary Dinos are pegged in at number four at the start of this years campaign. They Kick off the season in Winnipeg when they play the Bisons on September 3rd.

Football mad Saskatchewan holds down the next two spots, as the University of Saskatchewan Huskies grab number 5 in the rankings, the Saskatoon based University looking for more than provincial bragging rights this year opens up it season in Saskatoon on September 2nd against the University of Alberta.

Right behind them at number six are the University of Regina Rams, who are hoping that they can change the current atmosphere for football in Regina these days, they get to work on September 2nd against UBC.

We're back in Quebec for number seven, with the Universite de Montreal getting the nod from the experts, Montreal hosts a cross city clash with McGill on the schedule to kick of the season on Thursday night.

Sherbrooke adds the third Quebec university to the rankings, taking the eight spot and hoping to add to their record of 5-4 of last year, they open the season at home on September 2nd against Bishops.

The only representative  from the Atlantic Conference arrives at the number nine spot, a familiar name to CIS fans, St. Mary's is hoping that a renewed effort will lead to success and provide some entertaining football for Halifax and area residents.  Acadia comes to town on September 3rd.

The tenth and final spot in the Top Ten belongs to Laurier, who are striving to bounce back from last years heartbreaking 32-31 loss to Ottawa in the semi-finals, the Hawks open up their regular season making the break from Kitchener to Toronto to take on York.

CIS football can be seen from a variety of sources across the nation from University Rush on the Score, to regional broadcasts from Shaw and Eastlink to SRC in Quebec.

CanadaWest is providing Internet streaming of games in their conference, while other Conferences have games scheduled to be streamed through SSN 

The Twelve Men Blog offers up this review of CIS teams heading into the 2011 season, updates arrive as we discover them.

CFL Players of the Week - Week 9

With more than a few highlights to choose from in week nine action, the selection panel for the Gibson's Players of the week had their work cut out for them this time around.

With the Stampeders showcasing a suddenly red hot offence it's no surprise that Henry Burris was given the nod as the Offensive player of the week, his frequent target on Saturday Johnny Forzani also makes it onto the Gibson honour roles selected as the top Canadian of week nine.

On Defense it was the success and leadership of Joe Lobendahn that put the Bomber at the top of the Defensive players for week nine his second award of 2011, while Sean Whyte gets the nod for Special teams for his efforts with Montreal in their loss in Calgary, it also was the second time that Whyte had been recognized by Gibsons', both of his awards coming in August.

The full review of week nine awards can be found below.

Official website for the Gibson's Player Awards

See Video replay here

Offensive Player of the Week
Henry Burris
Calgary Stampeders - Quarterback

Defensive Player of the Week
Joe Lobendahn
Winnipeg Blue Bombers - Linebacker

Special Teams Player of the Week
Sean Whyte
Montreal Alouettes - Kicker

Canadian Player of the Week
Johnny Forzani
Calgary Stampeders - Wide Receiver  

Items of Note

Burris, Forzani headline Players of the week
Top Ten plays of Week Nine
End Zone replay Week Nine

Gibson's Award Archives for 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week Nine Review (ending August 27)

Hamilton at Winnipeg

Week Nine's opening act showed promise to be the more memorable of the two weekend games, but as events would provide on Saturday, it was to be but the pre-meal nibblers, to Saturday's main course.

But man, what an appetizer it was.

The Hamilton Tiger Cats marched into Swaggerville and served some notice that if the Bombers want to keep that title they will have to play the full sixty and fight to the end to carry it off.

Friday night Football's marquee attraction brought everything to the table and left little behind to be disappointed in, though Hamilton fans probably will have some regrets over missed opportunities that could very well have allowed their squad to take those two points from the Bombers and knock down the Blue a few pegs on the Swagger meter.

However, in front of a more than sold out CanadInn Stadium (temporary seats were opened up to boost attendance over the 30,000 mark on Friday) the Bombers fought their way back from a deficit to snatch away that potential Tiger Cat upset and in the process secure first place with a bit of space heading into Labour Day's battle with their long time rivals the Roughriders.

If ever there was a good session in the run up to that always entertaining Labour Day contest, Friday night provided it as the Bombers battled back from a 27-20 deficit in the fourth quarter, with Buck Pierce seemingly playing off the energy of the sold out stadium to lead the Bombers on down the field, bringing the Blue even with the TiCats with less than eight minutes to play.

With the Bomber defence stepping up in the late stages once again, Pierce would get the ball back with less than six minutes to go and position the Bombers for a 21 yard field goal attempt, which Justin Palardy made successful to provide the winning margin of 30-27 on the night and securing the Bombers their fifth straight victory and undisputed hold on first in the CFL east.

For the Cats who played a strong game, the frustration of letting a 17-3 lead get away from them post half time could detract from the strong message that they sent the Swaggerville gang, but as they say you do your talking on the field and then count the points up at the end of the game and when sixty minutes was up it was Swaggerville 30, Steeltown 27 and the Bombers would be adding to the mythical nature of this season and the march to destiny that they seem to be embarked upon this year.

Still, there is much football to be played in the second half of the CFL schedule before November's playoffs begin, victory in August could soon be forgotten when the weather changes and the football becomes desperate.

Yet you have a feeling that the Bombers believe this year, in their mission and themselves, backing up all the talk with their work ethic on the field.

There may yet be another match up between Hamilton and Winnipeg for a much larger prize and a much anticipated one it may very well be, considering all the pre game hype that was generated in the run up to Friday night's game.

If that's how an Eastern Final should shake out by November, we could do a lot worse, as Friday night's showdown was as almost as good as it can get in the CFL, though we imagine we are in store for much of the same through the next three months.

Winnipeg Free Press-- Swagger 30, Hammer 27
Winnipeg Sun-- Blue blood, sweat, cheers
Hamilton Spectator-- Rookie mistakes costly in 'Peg
National Post-- Bombers edge visiting Ticats Swagger-lite Bombers slip past Tabbies

Montreal at Calgary

While we were still sitting back in amazement at the pace and fury of Friday night, the Stampeders and Alouettes served notice that the road to a Grey Cup in Vancouver isn't going to be a push over for anyone.

In what turned out to be a showcase review of why Henry Burris and Anthony Calvillo have both been among the tops of CFL quarterbacks for many years now, the two offences combined for hundreds and hundreds of yards of offence and 69 points on the score board, which like Friday night showed all why the CFL is such a great game.

The air duel between Burris and Calvillo dominated the game, as two of the CFL's top quarterbacks matched each other pass for pass, the only difference in the game, one pass too many from the Montreal quarterback that was picked off and set up the winning points for Calgary.

But before we arrived at the last minute twist, this was about as entertaining a CFL game as we've had all year, and could rank as one of the best of the last five years or so.

If featured a preview of what Stampeders hope may come in the future, a Burris to Johnny Forzani combination that provided for two Stamps touchdowns, though to be fair to the Als, they clearly missed the absence of defensive back Mark Estelle who was injured in the first half and never returned, creating a hole in the Als defence which Burris exploited in the final thirty minutes.

For Montreal's offence the most successful of tandems was the Calvillo to Richardson combination which also provided for fourteen points.

And while a score of 38-31 might suggest that there were defensive lapses, that wasn't really the case, the defence still made its plays and made some hard hits, it was just the ingenuity of the offensive schemes combined with the experience of the two quarterbacks that provided for the offensive explosion on Saturday.

In the end, as it always seems to be in such closely fought battles, a turnover here or a mistake there determined the outcome, the Calvillo interception late in the game, something that we rarely seem when he's in his two minute zone made for the difference in the thriller, a game many suggest could be a preview of November's Grey Cup, though we imagine there's a team in Winnipeg that might offer up a differing opinion on that potential final match up.

Calgary Herald-- Forzani's career game propels Stamps to win over Als
Calgary Sun-- Stamps get halftime message
Globe and Mail-- Surging Stamps rally past Alouettes Montreal Alouettes' defeat in Calgary: "We let it get away"
National Post-- Alouettes suffer rare second half letdown

Saturday, August 27, 2011

CFL Game Day: Montreal at Calgary (August 27, 2011)

Two teams anxious to showcase that they are still the real deal when it comes to favourites for this falls Grey Cup take to the field in Calagry this afternoon, as the Alouettes travel to Alberta to take on the Stampeders.

With two of the CFL's top coaches on the sidelines and a pair of marquee quarterbacks in charge on the field an offensive display is anticipated for what promises to be a large McMahon Stadium crowd.

The wrap up game to the second bye week of the CFL, offers up a showcase opportunity for the CFL heading into the midway part of the CFL season with Labour Day due up next week on the CFL schedule.

CFL fans frequently look forward to Labour Day as the portion of the CFL season where the real football gets underway, each and every game from the start of September a key ingredient to what will come when playoff time arrives in November.

This year, we have an early start to all that Labour Day anticipation, with Friday nights thriller in Winnipeg serving as the opening act to what CFL fans hope will be a terrific conclusion to week nine.

Game Time 2 PM MT (4 ET, 1 PT)

Pre Game

Calgary Sun-- Stamps coach won't overlook champs
Calgary Herald-- Quarterbacks have great respect for one another New look Stampeders' defence getting the job done "I'm back on track" says Watkins

Quick Snaps Calgary Stampeders
Quick Snaps Montreal Alouettes

Post Game

Montreal 31 at Calgary 38
Attendance-- 30, 386

Calgary Herald-- Stamps' offence proves it can crank up horsepower
Calgary Sun-- Stamps QB gives himself a passing grade
Globe and Mail-- Surging Stamps really past Alouettes
National Post-- Alouettes suffer rare second-half letdown Alouettes turnovers, missed passes contribute to defeat in Calgary

Friday, August 26, 2011

CFL Game Day: Hamilton at Winnipeg (August 26)

The popularity of the Bombers has boomed so much that they're adding seats to Canad Inn Stadium this weekend, which while flattering to the Hamilton Tiger Cats who roll into town tonight for a pivotal CFL eastern match up, probably has more to do with the Bombers resounding success both on and off the field this year.

The Cats who are coming off the bye week, won't be able to use the momentum of their exciting victory over the Argos of two weeks ago as a launching pad, rather this would have been a week of returning to routine, refreshing pass routes and defensive schemes and shaking off the post vacation rust.

Fortunately for the Cats both teams are on the same page as far a restart to routine, the Bombers were off as well, though when your at the top of your game we imagine it's probably a little easier to pick up your game where you left off, the one week vacation helpful in resting nagging injuries and fine tuning what so far has been the CFL's most impressive team.

The Bombers have captured the imagination of CFL fans from east to west with their success in the first half of the season, impressive wins led by the CFL's best defence and the return to prominence of Buck Pierce as a marquee CFL quarterback has proven to be the right combination both in the standings and at the box office.

The game while a much anticipated match up between Eastern Division teams battling for playoff aspirations, also brings former Bomber QB Kevin Glenn back to Winnipeg, which combined with all the pre game chatter and noise should offer up an exciting sub plot to an already high profile game.

The Bombers add to their attendance rolls tonight as they put more fans in every nook and cranny they can find, it will be up to the Tiger Cats to send the fans home unhappy and slow down the Blue Bomber express.

Game Time 7 PM CT (8 ET, 5 PT)

Pre Game

Winnipeg Free Press-- Swaggerville, Steeltown trade shots
Winnipeg Sun-- East Division clash should be a beauty
Hamilton Spectator-- Glenn's in a zone, making smart decisions
Globe and Mail-- Winnipeggers on emotional roller coaster ride
National Post-- Ticats look to cut Winnipeg's lead in the East

Quick Snaps Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Quick Snaps Hamilton Tiger Cats

Post Gane

Hamilton 27 at Winnipeg 30
Attendance-- 30,338

Winnipeg Free Press-- Swagger 30, Hammer 27
Winnipeg Sun-- Blue blood, sweat, cheers
Hamilton Spectator-- Ticats fall in Swaggerville with 30-27 loss
National Post-- Bombers edge visiting Ticats

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CFL Regular Season Week 9

The CFL heads into the back half of its two week bye schedule, the preamble to the traditional Labour Day Weekend and all that the Labour Day classics and such portend (well except for the Hamilton/Toronto annual Labour Day wars, inexplicably deferred for this year).

Week nine provides some tempting fare for CFL fans for the final weekend of August, two big tests for four teams, with the Stampeders set to face the defending Grey Cup champions, while the Tiger Cats will attempt to knock the Winnipeg Blue Bombers off their perch.

If last week provided the battles of the bottom feeders, this is the week where those that soar near the top of the CFL standings will sort things out, setting the stage for the final half of the CFL season.

CFL fans will know by the end of this weekend whether the Blue Bombers will continue on with their CFL domination this year, if the Alouettes have indeed reloaded for another Cup drive.  For Hamilton's fans the weekend will offer up a peek as to what plans the Tiger Cats have cooked up over the bye week while Calgary, with the chance to put the stamp on the CFL West (pardon the pun), can put more distance between their position and the fading Eskimos.

It should be two nights of football to thrill and entertain, unfolding as thus:

Friday, August 26-- Hamilton 27 at Winnipeg 30 ( A- 30,338) 
Saturday, August 27-- Montreal 31 at Calgary 38   (A-30,386) 

Twelve Men Prognostications: Predicted Winners


Weekly Record- 2 - 2
Overall Record -- 17  - 32

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CFL PLayers of the Week - Week 8

The bye week of course reduces the potential pool of Gibson's Players of the week, and with strong performances by the Lions and Argos in week eight, it's not surprise that three of the four spots belong to players from those teams.

The Lions led the parade to the Gibson's as Arland Bruce III picked up his first accolade of the season with the Lions as Offensive player of the week, Aaron Hunt grabbed the honours for the Leos for Defensive player of the week thanks the Lions crushing victory over the Eskimos.

The Argos Noel Prefontaine was named as the special player of the week while Chris Getzlaf is our Canadian of the week, thanks to his efforts in the losing cause agains the Argos on Thursday.

The full review of week eight awards can be found below.

Official website for the Gibson's Player Awards

See Video replay here

Offensive Player of the Week
Arland Bruce III
BC Lions - Wide Receiver

Defensive Player of the Week
Aaron Hunt
BC Lions -- Defensive Tackle

Special Teams Player of the Week
Noel Prefontaine
Toronto Argonauts - Punter/Kicker

Canadian Player of the Week
Chris Getzlaf
Saskatchewan Roughriders - Slot Back

Items of Note

Bruce headlines Players of the Week
Top Ten plays of Week Eight
End Zone replay Week Eight

Gibson's Award Archives for 2011 

Week Eight Review (ending August 19)

Saskatchewan at Toronto

The score seemed much closer than the actual game provided and in the end, the Riders late game attempt at a comeback wouldn't provide for a positive result on the scoreboard or for the coaching prospects of Greg Marshall and Doug Berry.

The first of the two bye week games for week eight brought two of the three worst teams in the league together in a er, uh, ahem, showdown, for bragging rights as to who really, really didn't suck more..

After the full sixty minutes Jim Barker's Argonauts could claim that title on the strength of a 24-18 victory, in front of the usual gathering of small but loyal  supporters .

For the majority of the game, or at least three quarters of it, the Argonauts played an efficient game both on offence and defence, if not for a near collapse in the fourth, Thursday's would have been as close to a perfect game that Barker has seen this year from his squad.

Cleo Lemon once again had a strong game,  a trend that has been building over the last three weeks. A welcome development for Barker who had been feeling a bit of heat over his choice in quarterback's slow start this year.

With the win the Argos snap a six game losing skid, collect two points and move towards Hamilton in the east and more importantly with those two points keep alive the prospect of a crossover playoff spot should it all come down to that at the end of the season.

Saskatchewan on the other hand is a team going very much in the wrong direction, Thursday night featured a recurring theme of the season so far,  slow starts and far too many mistakes to overcome for a positive result, no doubt the contributing factors to the decision to fire both Head coach Greg Marshall and offensive coordinator Doug Berry the next day.

Fumbles, missed field goals, missed tackles, dropped balls on pass routes which aren't necessarily the domain of the coaching staff sealed the fate of the Riders on Thursday and of the two coaches on Friday, the old refrain of you can't fire the team, so fire the coach seemingly the discussion point for Rider management, which is watching with alarm as the Grey Cup finalist of 2010 could explore the depths of the CFL not seen for many a year on the prairies.

The fourth quarter comeback provided flashes of what the Riders thought they had this year when the broke from training camp, but the surge in offence in the final twelve minutes of play wasn't enough to secure the jobs of the coaching staff, it will be up to former head coach, current VP and now interim head coach Ken Miller to try and capture some of that final twelve minutes and turn it into a full sixty minute effort on Labour Day.

Toronto Sun-- This time turnovers favoured Argos
Toronto Star-- Argos looking to build on win, heading into the second half
Globe and Mail-- Argos thwart Riders' comeback
National Post-- Argos hold off the Riders
Regina Leader Post-- Toronto 24, Saskatchewan 18 - Read all about it

British Columbia at Edmonton

While there probably was little danger that David Braley was about to send Wally Buono off to the EI office to set up and unemployment claim, Buono's team put aside all doubts over their head coach with a convincing thrashing of the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday Night Football.

The Lions that took on the injury plagued Eskimo roster on Friday, looked very much to be the dominant team that BC fans thought was going to rule the CFL West this season,  Travis Lulay connected twice with Arland Bruce III for touchdown passes, a combination that took a few weeks to get into sync but on Friday looked quite impressive as did the remainder of the Lions offence as well as the defensive squad.

The final score of 36 to 1 was a punctuation mark for the Lions for weeks and weeks of frustration, the Eskimos the unfortunate squad that was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the Lions finally exploded to purge some of the negativity that had been building over the first seven weeks of the season.

And while one win does not a season make, it was a pivotal victory for the Lions, providing them with of course two key points but more importantly with a healthy serving of confidence for a team that seemed to be getting rather fragile over the last number of weeks.

The win, combined with the bye week should give the Lions something to build upon for the second half of the season post Labour Day.

To be fair to the Eskimos the injuries that have accumulated over the last three weeks have been a major contributing factor to their losing streak, Ricky Ray no doubt requiring name tags in the huddle in order to keep track of who he is throwing the ball to these days.

Defensively, the Eskimos have gone from shutting the door to opposing offences to leaving the porch light on to help the competition find the end zone with much less trouble.

It's a situation that must be providing some frustrating moments for head coach Kavis Reed,  who will have to try to recapture some of that early season momentum  before things get too far along on this disturbing losing skid that may undermine much of their remarkable start.

Some healthy bodies most likely would be a helpful thing for coach Reed, and with the bye week coming up for the Esks, there will be time for some recuperation and examination of NFL departures for a possible shoring up of the Esks lineup.

After three weeks of rather humbling losses, GM Eric Tillman was promising action and accountability, with a week of breathing space to reassess, Eskimo fans will be anxious to see how things change and if the Esks can return to the winning side of the ledger over the second half of the season.

Vancouver Province-- Standout effort sees B. C. Lions devour Eskimos in Edmonton
Vancouver Sun-- Lions impressive win silences Buono bashing bloggers
Edmonton Sun-- Esks stink out the joint
Edmonton Journal-- Eskimos have gone from bad to worse in a real big hurry
Globe and Mail-- Lions pounce on wounded Eskimos
National Post-- Lulay, Lions hammer Eskimos

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The cleats drop in Saskatchewan!

“Whether or not there are changes, the players, coaches, the GM and me, we are certainly going to be held accountable. At some point there will probably be a change.”-- Vice President of football operations, Ken Miller, outlining his thoughts on the woeful Riders season thus far, on August 15, 2011.

Change as foreshadowed by Ken Miller came to Saskatchewan on Friday, with Miller himself now the key ingredient to the decisions out of the Saskatchewan bunker command.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders had a significant house cleaning on Friday, the fall out from a 1-7 start to the season, as Rider management decided that Head Coach Greg Marshall's debut as the head man of a football squad had run its course.

Along with the announced firing of Marshall on Friday, offensive coordinator Doug Berry was also terminated, indicative we guess of the main concern of GM Brendan Taman and the top brass of the Riders, that being an anemic offence that hasn't registered much in the way of points for the scoreboard.

To change that dynamic and try to rebuild from where they left off in November, the Riders have brought back to the sidelines last years coach, Ken Miller.  Upon the decision post Grey Cup for Miller to step aside, he moved upstairs to the position of Vice President of football operations, where we imagine with growing alarm he watched the Riders unravel, apparently not receiving their new coach Marshall's messages and clearly not on the same page as their offensive coordinator Berry.

With growing concern seeping into every corner of the RiderNation, change was clearly in the air (as outlined earlier this week by the VP) and with the loss to the Argos on Thursday night, change arrived in the form of the twin dismissals on Friday.

We're not sure that tying the can to Marshall is a just result, he really hasn't had the time to make this team his team after but 8 games, but when you're the Riders who clearly don't want to return to the dark days of losing seasons, time isn't apparently on your side.

As in any sport, and it's particularly true for football due to the numbers on the roster alone, it's clearly easier to get rid of the coach, than to address the shortcomings that are clearly on the field.

Whether Miller can turn around the team remains to be seen, he clearly was well loved and respected by his players in their two Grey Cup treks of the last two seasons, a quest that didn't end in a Grey Cup victory much to the disappointment of the RiderNation.

It's doubtful that at this point it's realistic to expect a third straight appearance in the national final in November, but at the moment Rider fans might be satiated with just a couple of wins, judging by the trials and tribulations that Marshall went through over eight games, it's an onerous task that Miller returns to the sidelines for.

However, as the Regina Leader Post's Rob Vanstone so carefully catalogues for us, August is indeed a very dangerous month for Rider coaches, all we can say is in Saskatchewan, beware the Ides of August...

Some of the reviews and fallout of Friday's decision can be found below.

Globe and Mail-- Riders fire coach Greg Marshall
Regina Leader Post-- Rider fire Greg Marshall and Doug Berry, Ken Miller takes over as head coach
Regina Leader Post-- Saskatchewan Roughriders made the right move
Regina Leader Post-- Reaction on Twitter to the firing of Riders head coach Greg Marshall
Regina Leader Post-- An assortment of Rider-related items that did not make the paper
Regina Leader Post-- Quotes from Ken Miller and Brendan Taman on today's firings
Regina Leader Post-- Marshall, Berry fired
Winnipeg Sun-- Marshall's dream job gone to hell
Winnipeg Sun-- Marshall Plan fails

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CFL Gameday: British Columbia at Edmonton (August 19)

For the BC Lions, their trip to Edmonton couldn't come at a better time, the Eskimos, banged up with injuries no longer quite resembled the team that dominated the early part of the CFL season.  If the Lions are ever to get that much desired second win of the season, this surely would be the week.

Still, you have to think that the Eskimos will be anxious to turn around their two game losing skid, patchwork line up or not.  The key for Edmonton will be to provide Ricky Ray with some time, offering up the opportunity for pass routes to develop and receivers to work their way open.  That was the downfall of the last two weeks, as the Eskimo quarterback found that opposing defences had found a way to slow down what previously had been a pretty impressive offensive group, reducing the time for Ray's plays to develop should be the focus of the Lions defence on Friday.

As far as the Lions offence goes, Travis Lulay is said to be the one heading out to lead the offence, despite his removal from the Lions loss to Winnipeg last week, while Jarious Jackson found success in a relief effort, Wally Buono seems determined to return to Lulay, his designated starting quarterback this year.

However, should the Lions falter again, one would expect that Buono may not have much rope to let out before he give Jackson another crack at moving the Lions downfield.

The stakes are significantly higher for the Lions, than the Eskimos on Friday. While they most likely would rather get back into a winning mood, the Esks probably can afford to lose another two points at this point in the season, close as they are to their provincial rivals the Stamps atop the CFL West.

The Lions on the other hand, need the two points desperately, partly for a point of momentum and of course as a way of keeping up with the Argos, who grabbed two points on Thursday at the expense of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

At this point the Lions are in a three way race (such as it is) for the final playoff spot, whether earned in the West or through the crossover method with the east, a win would go a long ways to help them keep pace, a loss, well it just makes an already desperate situation nearly critical.

Game Time 7 PM MT (6PM PT, 9 ET) 

Pre Game

Edmonton Journal-- Newcomers hope to turn window of opportunity into full-time gig with Eskimos
Edmonton Sun-- Porter back in harness for Esks
Vancouver Province-- Tillman - the CFL's Mister Fix-It
Vancouver Sun-- Desperate times for Lions, Eskimos
Globe and Mail-- Wounded Eskimos retool for Lions clash

Quick Snaps British Columbia Lions
Quick Snaps Edmonton Eskimos

Post Game

British Columbia 36 at Edmonton 1
Attendance-- 36,216

Globe and Mail-- Lions pound on wounded Eskimos
Vancouver Province--  Standout effort sees B. C. Lions devour Eskimos in Edmonton
Vancouver Sun-- Lulay tosses four TDs as Lions trounce Eskimos
Edmonton Sun-- Esks stink out the joint
Edmonton Journal-- Lions claw Eskimos 36-1 at Commonwealth

CFL Gameday: Saskatchewan at Toronto (August 18, 2011)

As we move into the third week of August, week eight of the CFL season, the carnage of the bottom dwellers of the CFL resembles some of the scenes from the Mad Max movies of days gone by.

In this case, with a Thursday night match up between cellar dwellers on the horizon, we'll use the Beyond Thunder Dome analogy, (all be it without the crowds that Tina Turner frequently featured) two teams enter, one team leaves...

With equal records of 1-6, the Argos and Riders will seek to find something to build on Thursday, night the winner perhaps gaining the edge in the snails race for a crossover playoff spot, the loser... well one imagines a change will be a comin' to the team that fails to collect the W.

Despite the last terrible six weeks, hope it seems is on the side of the Argos, who spurred on by their performance last week against their ancient rivals the TiCats, seem to be believing that better days are on the  way.

And with Cleo Lemon having his best game as an Argo last weekend, there may be some basis to that positive vibe coming out of the Argo camp this week, the same however can't be said for the visiting Riders.

The Saskatchewan fan base is furrowing it's brow and not holding back on their concern over the fate of their beloved Riders, the media featuring frequent articles and observations on the mood of the Riders, the apparent frustration and confusion as to how they've come to hold a 1-6 record, unacceptable for a team that the last two years was but one win away from hoisting the Grey Cup.

Thursday night at Rogers Centre, two teams enter, by the time sixty minutes of football is over, there will be one team ready to build and perhaps one team ready to tear down and start over.

Game Time 7:30 PM ET (5:30 ST, 4:30 ET)

Pre Game

Toronto Sun--  Bottom line? Argos need a victory
Toronto Star-- Rough ride in Saskatchewan
Globe and Mail-- Argos' Lemon eyes third straight 300 yard game
National Post-- Argos' Lemon heeds coach's warning
Regina Leader Post-- Riders in the race for last place With Reymond Willis sidelined, R. J. Roberts finally gets his chance with team

Quick Snaps Saskatchewan Roughriders
Quick Snaps Toronto Argonauts

Post Game

Saskatchewan 18 at Toronto 24
Attendance-- 20,482

Globe and Mail-- Argos thwart Riders' comeback
National Post-- Argos hold off the Riders
Toronto Star-- Argos barely hang on for victory Riders' comeback comes up short against Argos

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CIS Team by Team 2011 season

Canadian University Football camps are just opening up across the nation, the quest for November's Vanier Cup set to begin in September.

CIS Schedule for 2011

Through the fall, as we come across items of note from the member teams of the CIS we'll pass them along through this entry on the portal, it surely won't be a comprehensive review but at least will offer up a glimpse into the growing importance of the CIS to Canadian football.

We'll list our entries University by University as we stumble across them, entries will also be added to our CIS Digest feature.

You can also learn more about the CIS from their website, which features a  wide variety of items and features about the University game in Canada.

You can click on each school name below to be sent to each team's individual website, which offers up the latest news from each school's camp.

Any tips of course can be emailed to our twelvemenonthefield address which is


University of British Columbia Thunderbirds

September 10-- Rumbling Lumbala, Woodson key in Dinos' win over UBC
September 10-- Dinos dump T-Birds in close contest
September 9-- Dinos' late drive denies football 'Birds a chance at back to back ...
September 8-- T-Birds' success puts Dinos on alert
September 6-- T-Birds soak up Saskatchewan hospitality
September 4-- Thunderbirds and Clan kick off season with solid wins
September 3-- T-Birds looking for better days in second year of Olson regime
September 1-- UBC coach puts his mystery Thunderbirds right to the test
August 16-- UBC Thunderbirds football hosts CIS Vanier Cup for the first time

University of Calgary Dinos

September 10-- Rumbling Lumbala, Woodson key in Dinos' win over UBC
September 10-- Dinos dump T-Birds in close contest
September 9-- Dinos' late drive denies football 'Birds a chance at back to back ...
September 8-- T-Birds' success puts Dinos on alert
September 4-- Massive comeback drives Dinos past Bisons
September 3-- Five dinos to watch
September 3-- To the next level
September 3-- Time for Dinos to get physical
September 3-- Dinos, Rouge et Or win CIS football openers
September 2-- CFL's feeder system alive and well
September 2-- Nill is 'happy' to coach college football, for now
September 2-- CIS victim of its own success in graduating players to CFL
September 2-- Veteran gives Dinos double-threat
August 31-- Head coach Nill prefers Dinos 'fly under the radar'
August 28-- Dinos' offence crushes Golden Bears
August 28-- Dinos romp to 49-14 pre-season win over Alberta
August 27-- Dinos trounce Golden Bears on gridiron
August 22-- Dinos rookie kicker has at least one big shoe to fill
August 21-- Dinos counting on talented gridiron 'man-child' Chungh
August 20-- Top high school recruit provides added beef to Dinos' line
August 20-- Harty ready to make big impact
August 19-- Dinos' hopes rest with reigning CIS rookie of the year
August 18-- Depleted Dinos reloading
August 18-- Dinos set to begin another Vanier Cup quest
August 16-- Calgary football coach remembered
August 7-- The Canadian game suits be better as a quarterback

University of Alberta Golden Bears

September 4-- Small relief for Huskies
September 2-- Huskies open season with 38-7 victory over Golden Bears
August 29-- Good rookies held back
August 27-- Golden Bears think big
August 25-- Rookie Ralph looks like a keeper
August 24-- Big Bears tailback primed for big season
August 24-- 'Feisty' Connor Ralph impresses Golden Bears coach
August 20-- No more meetings, let's play ball!
August 19-- Golden Bears hit training camp
August 19-- Bears upbeat going into new season

University of Saskatchewan Huskies

September 2-- Huskies Forces night hits home for fullback
August 31-- Huskies QBs to go head to head Friday
August 31-- Huskies, police launch cop cards
August 27-- Coaches have tough decision
August 26-- Dogs eager to assess on-field talent
August 16-- Injury takes Hassler out for the season
August 25-- Windsor coach savours chance to play Huskies
August 25-- Dogs go deep on defence
August 24-- Lancers' new coach makes his debut in Huskies matchup
August 24-- Huskies. Lancers get set
August 23-- Huskies have money riding on upcoming Lancers match-up
August 23-- Thiel brings CFL experience back from Riders
August 19-- Time for Dogs to return favour on the field
August 18-- Hinds thankful for Huskies' progress
August 18-- Dogs face questions heading into camp
August 5-- Huskies happy to have Kohlert back
August 5-- Regina's Kohlert rejoining Huskies
July 7-- Huskie football TV schedule released

University of Regina Rams

September 10-- Defence prevails in win
September 6-- Rams QB Meuller hopes for early return from injury 
September 3-- Rams suffer costly loss
September 2-- Rams deserve larger crowds
September 2-- Rams set to begin quest
August 31-- Charles has set lofty goals
August 29-- Rams pass pre-season test
August 29-- Kiapway looks like a keeper
August 27-- University of Regina Rams win pre-season clash...
August 27-- Hicks healthy and happy
August 27-- Ringlein loses weight, gains yardage
August 17-- Rams QB brings CFL experience back to Regina

University of Manitoba Bisons

September 7-- Bisons rookie running back named player of the week
September 6-- Bisons' Coombs named CWA offensive player of the week
September 4-- Fumbleitis plagues Herd
September 3-- Butter-fingered Bisons blow fourth quarter lead
September 3-- Bisons name captains of crunch
September 3-- Bisons name captains
September 1-- Herd last in poll, high on hope
August 31-- Bisons ranked low by league's coaches
August 30-- Baby Bisons budding
August 28-- Bisons lose in Regina
August 26-- Eyes on Bisons quarterback
August 22-- Bisons QB Williams natural born leader
August 16-- New stadium Bisons' 'ace in the hole' 
August 16-- Dobie's green team
July 29-- Big change on campus


University of Windsor Lancers

September 10-- Lancers to face OUA's best
September 9-- Lancers to rotate quarterbacks against Laurier
September 9-- Grant takes long road to Lancers backfield
September 8-- Grant first Lancer to rush for 100 yards since 2009
September 6-- D'Amore delivers in debut
September 6-- Lancers start season in style
September 3-- D'Amore pulls no punches
September 2-- Lancers open football season Labour Day against Blues
September 1-- Leading the charge
August 26-- Lancers to face Huskies
August 25-- Lancers to face Huskies Friday in first pre-season game
August 23-- D'Amore begins audition
Aug 12-- Kovach wants to set the tone in preseason

University of Western Ontario Mustangs

September 9-- Stangs, Marauders may hold key to season
September 6-- Was that Doug Flutie on the field?
September 6-- Mustangs in a cakewalk
September 6-- Riva brothers team up
September 2-- Wait ends for linebacker
September 1-- Marshall grows into QB role
September 1-- Warriors ride again
August 26-- Gleason back in the saddle
August 25-- Running Wild
August 24-- Healthy Riva hopes to bid flashy farewell
August 24-- Prized recruit bolts Western
August 23-- Missing Mustangs a shocker
August 19-- Patriarch's loss poignant time for Mustangs
May 10-- Silver lining in not being drafted: Surla
May 9-- Stangs picked for big league
May 7-- Marshall falls short as East tops West

McMaster University Marauders

September 9-- Stangs, Marauders may hold key to season
September 2-- Mac faces tough challenge in OUA football opener
September 1-- Are you ready for some university football
August 31-- Mac runner Nemet follows in Lumsden's footsteps
August 30-- Peressini's veteran presence bolsters Marauders
August 30-- Ptaszek whips Marauders, himself into shape
August 11-- OUA's University Rush returns

University of Guelph Gryphons

September 3-- 19 yards to go: Receiver Jedd Gardner set to become Gryphons' all time leader
September 2-- Legace primed to be Gryphon running back
September 2-- Gryphon football camp
September 1-- Gryphon centre set to anchor offence
August 31-- Football Gryphs focus on special forces
August 28-- Rookies step up for football Gryphons
August 27-- Gryphons nipped in pre-season scrimmage
August 26-- Gryphons, Stingers save hits for Saturday
August 26-- Gryphons beating themselves up
August 26-- Movin' on up
August 25-- Boot battle at the Gryph camp
August 17-- Mark Durigonk Guelph's prince of picks
August 10-- Dress-rehearsal is over
June 2-- Gryphs name Galloway offensive co-cordinator
May 31-- Transfer quarterback rethinks decision to join Gryphons
April 30-- Gryphons focus on improving kicking game
April 28-- Adamic moves back to lift Gryphs
April 27-- Gryphon trio get to shine a Bowl

University of Waterloo Warriors

September 10-- Waterloo rises from ashes of doping scandal
September 9-- Warriors home opener 'more than a game'
September 3-- University gridiron preview
September 1-- Warriors ride again
September 1-- Season in Poland 'a great experience'
August 22-- Back in black: Warriors prepare for long road back
August 8-- Judge hears testimony in steroids case
August 8-- Steroids case a long way from trial

Sir Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks

September 5-- WLU Football
August 23-- Golden Hawks pivot aims to leave a mark

University of Toronto Varsity Blues

September 2-- Lancers open football season Labour Day against Blues
August 19-- What if: the NFL in Toronto

York University Lions

Queen's University Gaels

September 3-- A dream come true
September 3-- Mike Koreen's Golden Gaels Gameday
September 3-- OUA 2011 Preview: Big Six Quick Fix
September 2-- Higher expectations
September 1-- Gaels linebacker has higher expectations
August 31-- Getting ready to protect the blind side
August 23-- Familiar face returns
August 18-- Napanee's Blugh joins Gaels coaching staff
August 13-- Familiar face joins Queen's coaching staff
July 27-- 'An ecstatic feeling

University of Ottawa Gee Gees

September 3-- GGs have unfinished business
August 26-- It's almost kickoff time for the Gee-Gees
August 9-- Testing at U of O to save lives on football fields everywhere

Carleton University (returning to CIS in 2013)

July 7-- Breaking huddle in 2013
July 6-- Carleton football veteran celebrates team's revival
July 6-- Carleton Ravens football returning in 2013
July 4-- Carleton football is back


Bishop's University Gaiters

September 4-- Charbonneau leads Sherbrooke offence in CIS win
September 4-- Sherbrooke victorious in football season opener
September 4-- Sherbrooke edges Bishop's
August 3-- A Titan to remember

Concordia University Stingers

September 3-- Laval kicks off CIS title defence with a win
August 30-- Stingers seek return to playoffs
August 26-- Gryphons, Stingers save hits for Saturday
August 18-- Coach can make a difference
August 10-- Morsink's hard work earns Alouettes bursary

Universite Laval Rouge et Or

September 3-- Laval kicks off Vanier Cup title defence with 38-6 win over Concordia
September 3-- Laval kicks off CIS title defence with a win
September 1-- Laval Rouge et Or the team to beat once more
August 15-- CIS Football review: Laval

McGill University Redmen

September 2-- Carabins beat Redmen to open CIS season
September 1-- Carabins open CIS football season with victory over Redmen
September 1-- McGill-UdeM game opens season

Universite de Montreal Carabins

September 2-- Carabins beat Redmen to open CIS season
September 1-- Carabins open CIS football season with victory over Redmen
September 1-- McGill-UdeM game opens season
August 31-- Maciocia set to make university coaching debut

Universite  de Sherbrooke Vert et Or

September 4-- Charbonneau leads Sherbrooke offence in CIS win
September 4-- Sherbrooke edges Bishop's
September 4-- Sherbrooke victorious in football season opener
August 14-- Vert & Or: Un "excellent recrutement", mais apres?


Acadia University Axemen

Mount Allison Mounties

September 5-- X-Men blank Mounties in pre-season matchup
September 3-- Pre-season football returns to AUS
September 2-- Mounties defensive coordinator ecstatic
August 31-- Football Mounties' season set to start
August 26-- QB takes on leadership role for Mounties
August 24-- Football Mounties forced to re-stock defensive corps
August 17-- Football Mounties gearing up for season
July 20-- Despite loss of key players, football Mounties team has matured

Saint Mary's University Huskies

September 4-- Huskies newcomer dazzles 
September 3-- Pre-season football returns to AUS
September 2-- SMU's Holden a young vet
September 2-- Battle for Huskies spots begins
September 1-- Mills in battle for Huskies quarterback
August 25-- Huskies get first look at future
August 23-- Huskies set to open up camp
August 13-- Should Halifax build a new stadium without financial help from the province?
July 7-- Taylor travelling with purpose

St. Francis Xavier X Men

September 5-- X-Men blank Mounties in pre-season matchup
September 4-- X-Men win exhibition opener
August 26-- CEC graduate entering fourth year with X Men
August 22-- Forsey opts for St. Francis Xavier
August 19-- Working the X-ring magic
August 13--  Lions' Foster not likely to forget FSX roots