|1. B.C. LIONS [Unchanged] |
Overall record: 9-3
Streak: Won 3
Cliche alert (again): Good teams find a way to win. This is the way Montreal was doing it for so long in the East Division -- hang in against teams revved up to play them, then take the victory with a quick strike at the end. Football version of the Paso Doble (what, you don't watch Dancing with the Stars? What kind of football fan are you?). Paul McCallum was 4-of-6 on field goals, including the winner. But the fact he had to try six of them also means the offence wasn't moving much. Who cares. Another two points. Next.
|2. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Up from 3] |
Overall record: 8-4
Streak: Won 2
Alouettes general manager Jim Popp was front and centre because, once again, he had a piece ready to step in for an injured star. Brandon Whitaker is out for the season, so in comes Victor Anderson, seen previously in a good debut performance, to put together 128 yards in combined running and catching. Anthony Calvillo rolls along at quarterback. Good job by the defence and special teams keeping receiver/returner Chad Owens under control. With the win over Toronto, helped in large measure by Ricky Ray's injury, the Larks have a four-point lead with six games left in the race for first in the East.
|3. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Down from 2] |
Overall record: 7-5
Streak: Lost 1
Boy, not having a star returner in this game hurts so much. Larry Taylor's loss until late October showed itself against Saskatchewan as the Stamps weren't getting the type of field position off kickoffs and punts they are used to. At the same time, without a running game working (Jon Cornish had 67 yards), it took away from the balance that is so important to this offence. Four points back of B.C. with six games left might be too much to put on a run for first place now.
|4. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Up from 5] |
Overall record: 6-6
Streak: Won 1
After all the Riders fans came out from under their seats where they were hiding from the idea of yet another late collapse, they found some good news. This win over Calgary was well put together and shows there is possibly more ahead than just squeaking into the playoffs. Darian Durant tossed for 264 yards and two touchdowns, spreading the wealth around his receivers while getting his key catchers involved at the key times. Also, they ran for over 100 yards and that's a must for this club. When it looked as though the Stamps were coming back, they buckled it up and hung on. Still a tough sked ahead, including two with B.C.
|5. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Down from 4] |
Overall record: 6-6
Streak: Lost 2
The train ride back to Toronto must have been interesting because 50 people on it were crossing their fingers and toes at the same time. They understand. No Ricky Ray, no trip to the Grey Cup. No chance to beat the Als in the East final. That's not a shot at Jarious Jackson. But it has taken training camp and 11 games for this offence to work things out with the starter. How does it do that with a less-skilled backup? Argos head coach Scott Milanovich says it's "day to day" and we'll see. Can't evaluate the defeat in Montreal because of Ray's loss so early in it.
|6. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Unchanged] |
Overall record: 5-7
Streak: Lost 4
That's the defensive effort the club needs if it's to find a way into the playoffs. Held B.C. nicely. But as so many clubs have found, it's difficult to score enough points against the Lions to have the defensive effort mean something. Steven Jyles was strong at quarterback in the first half. However, the Lions made changes and took everything away. This was the fourth time the Esks have lost by two points or less. And they still can't work out who the running back is. This offence needs to stick with Jyles, no matter what, so something can get going. Too late to mess around now.
|7. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Up from 8] |
Overall record: 3-9
Streak: Won 1
The Buck Pierce effect is back in play. Good ol' Buck returns from injury. Bombers win. Fans find hope. Good ol' Buck eventually gets hurt again. Good ol' Buck was 21 of 31 for 288 yards and a touchdown. Good ol' Buck was running around like old, sticking his helmet in, trying for that extra yard. Good ol' Buck. Bombers will miss him again when it happens. Chad Simpson had his best game of the year from the backfield and catching the ball, totalling almost 200 yards. And all Winnipeg needs now is six more wins in its last six games to have a chance.
|8. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Down from 7] |
Overall record: 4-8
Streak: Lost 1
Here's the real problem for the Tiger-Cats. Next season they will be vagabonds, playing in a temporary home near or far while the new facility is built on the bones of old Ivor Wynne (says here that will still be McMaster, despite the school's denial). The club needs a strong 2012 to make 2013 worth living through for the good fans of the black and gold. This is not happening. Losing to Winnipeg was hurtful in far more ways than just dropping a pair of points they darn well should have had.
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