We are officially less than two weeks from the CFL Regular season getting underway and CFLpass could not be more excited. And thanks to TSN, despite only broadcasting three preseason games on television this year including two this weekend, it is getting *really* difficult not to explode with anticipation!
Debuting tonight on TSN 2 is “CFL Around the Table”. Rod Smith will be holding unique candid chats with GMs and players alike. Call us at CFLpass football nerds if you must, but also colour us intrigued.
On the field, the preseason really gets cranked up this weekend with the BC Lions and Calgary Stampeders battling tonight in Calgary and two games tomorrow night in cities that don’t normally host CFL action. The northernmost CFL game ever played goes off in Fort McMurray, Alberta, with the Saskatchewan Roughriders taking on the Edmonton Eskimos in what has been billed the “Northern Kickoff” in Fort McMurray, Alberta; meanwhile, the Ottawa RedBlacks face the Montreal Alouettes at Stade Telus-Université Laval as Quebec City hosts their first Canadian Football League game since 2003.
I admit that the Argos hosting a home game in Fort Mac due to the Pan Am & Parapan American Games is strange, but scheduling preseason games in alternative venues because of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is great for the league (the Lions play at Thunderbird Stadium next Friday, too): The name of the game for the CFL these days is exposure and I don’t think the league has ever had more.
Between the ESPN deal and these preseason games in other cities, the league may just be as popular as it’s ever been; in fact, I’d love to see the CFL move preseason games around the country *every* year. Why not Saskatoon, Saskatchewan or London, Ontario? Sign me up!
If you’re a Roughriders fan, you’ll be keeping your eye on Darian Durant. Lions fans will be watching to see if Travis Lulay sees the field at all. Stampeder fans will be watching their new young receivers and Alouette fans will be picking out a quarterback. Eskimo fans will be judging Shakir Bell and Chad Simpson while Ottawa fans will just be hoping for more than ten points. All of us, though, will just be happy that football is back on TV.
– written by Travis Currah