CFL Pass

TSN CFL Pick ‘em, week 1: Totally trepidatious picks

Yeah, I’ve been putting off a column on TSN’s CFL Pick ‘em Game for a while – not because this week’s is particularly difficult or that it’s week one (easily the most difficult week for predictions in any football season). It’s not even about my first attempt in a CFL Pick ‘em competition.

It’s just that … well … I’ve been hurt before.

As though annually getting spanked in NFL, NBA and European basketball (plus Fantaseh football this season – bring the hurt!) weren’t enough, my first foray into Yahoo’s single-pick, elimination NFL Pick ‘em game last year was an unmitigated disaster after a nice 5-1 start. Mention of the words “Pittsburgh Steelers” still sends me into a cold sweat – and I have to work on the internet, which is seeming run by cat-loving, porn-addicted Steeltown football propagandists…

Not only that, I lost to a bunch of family members, for f***’s sake – oh, never mind who I lost to! I lost, all right!?! And I lost badly!!! I hate football, I hate fantasy football and I hate football-based online games!!!!!

I know, I know. Such bitterness doesn’t become me or CFLpass. It’s a new day, a new game. CFL Pick ‘em is as different from NFL Pick ‘em as Canadian football is from American. Maybe … maybe I can love again.

Just … be gentle with me, Canada…

My trembling, totally trepidatious picks for week one are as follows.

Montreal Alouettes over Ottawa Redblacks – confidence level 80%; 42 points to be scored. While just about all of CFL fandom seems to agree that the RedBlacks will be no doormat in 2015, it’s apparent that this team will resemble a typical second-year expansion team: On-field leadership has been established and the standouts recognized, but the depth just isn’t there. And visiting what could well be the league’s best defense? Probably a bit much to ask in year two, game one; perhaps the only potential saving grace for the RedBlacks in this game are the new rules the Alouettes struggled with in the preseason – if Ottawa can avoid getting flagged frequently themselves.

Calgary Stampeders over Hamilton Tiger-Cats – confidence level 80%; 53 points. Whoever was on the mic for TSN or livestream broadcasts of Calgary in the preseason, the synonyms for “good” to describe the Stampeders on both sides of the ball. Add in the decimation the Tiger-Cats suffered in the preseason, *that* losing streak and the general dogmatic respect I habitually pay a defending champion made my pick super easy. TSN might have offered a better tiebreaker here, namely “How many touchdowns will the Stampeders score?” I’m thinking five at least…

Edmonton Eskimos over Toronto Argonauts – confidence level 66%; 48 points. While further word on Ricky Ray’s injury is pending, can the three-headed monster of Adrian McPherson, Mitchell Gale and Trevor Harris really be the answer? If so, what’s the question? Even without considering the Eskimos’ offseason improvements and their status as a popular pick to win the West, the Argos are beginning this season with a significant enough handicap to forecast a loss at home.

Saskatchewan Roughriders over Winnipeg Blue Bombers – confidence level 60%; points 60. Purely a case of home team wins as two of the league’s most improved offenses get together for what should be a good old fashioned scoreboard-spinning shootout in fair Canadian weather. And if you’re into that sort of thing, sportsbooks have established the Roughriders as 9-point favourites; take the Bombers and the points. As for the paltry 48-point over/under, I’d know what I’d do…

– written by Os Davis