CFL Pass

CFL Pick ‘Em, week 17: Fan loyalty is awesome, wild card teams not so much

Sports fandom is founded in loyalty, the sort that keeps you enamored and (almost) ever-optimistic about the chances for your object of adoration going forward – even if the pony you’re backing is playing at around a .333 clip, has trotted out more QBs than wins, currently boasts a secondary held together with masking tape buttressed with willpower and … o, sorry.

If sports fandom is founded in loyalty, I must be a fan of CFL Pick ‘Em.

After eking out a 3-2 showing in week 16 – thank you, Chad Owens – I’ve managed to improve my overall success rate to a whopping 53% with plenty of time left to fall into a losing record because, damn, these games aren’t getting any easier. (Particularly with the Roughriders off this week…)

Happily, my first pick for week 17 turned out okay:

And congratulations go out to the RedBlacks, surprise team of 2015 – in all of North American sport, it seems – for making the playoffs (potentially as division winners) in their second season.

Argonauts set to defend fake home field
Today’s doubleheader, meanwhile, starts with an easy one (not) as the Calgary Stampeders face off against the “home team” Toronto Argonauts. If nothing else, this game offers CFLpass the opportunity to trot out my favourite statistic of this CFL season: The Argos are now 3-0 when leading at half, with all three wins coming at the RedBlacks’ expense.

My second-favourite stat? The Argos are also 3-0 in “home” games not at the Rogers Centre; for this week’s matchup, a heavily partisan crowd backing the Stamps is expected, but the red-hot Argos will shrug off such an impediment like they did at TD Place eleven days ago.

After space, time is the second minus apparently facing the Argos this week: The game against the defending champions is the team’s third in the aforementioned week-and-a-half, but (and there’s always a “but” when it comes to CFL Pick ‘Em in 2015) Toronto actually enters the contest less dinged up than the Stampeders.

After the revolving doors on the OL, the embarrassment of riches at running back in the form of a deadly Jon Cornish/Jerome Messam tandem will remain benched. While Matt Walter has proven to be no slouch this season, CFLpass expects much passing: Hopefully, dudes like Tori Gurley, Vidal Hazelton, Kevin Elliott, Marquay McDaniel, Lemar Durant and Eric Rogers are in your Fantaseh football lineup; also, that you’re one of the 28% who took the Toronto Argonauts over the Calgary Stampeders. (The Argos are 9-1 when scoring 25 points or more this season.)

Wild card teams suck
No offence to Chicago Cubs fans, but you know what I really hate about Major League Baseball? Wild card teams in the playoffs. And the situation surrounding the no. 3 seed in the West and the right to be demolished by either the defending champions or the league’s scariest defence in this year’s CFL playoffs may make me hate the “wild card” concept in football, too.

In the easily imaginable scenario of a BC Lions loss at Edmonton tonight followed by a Montreal loss against Hamilton puts three five-win teams in the chase for that final playoff spot: the rebuilding Lions, the soap-operatic Alouettes and the just not very good Blue Bombers.

Depressingly, CFLpass can’t come up with one single factor that might swing the pendulum toward an upset result in the Lions’ favour – no, Emmanuel Arceneaux looking unstoppable again isn’t enough – and so we’ll be subject to the excitement of those least-bad teams duking it out for at least one more week. Edmonton Eskimos over BC Lions

The message
Just changed the message on the official CFLpass automated message recorder. It now goes like this: “Hello. You have reached the offices of CFLpass. If you are the starting quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes, please leave your name after the tone.”

So, yeah. Hamilton Tiger-Cats over Montreal Alouettes.

– written by Os Davis