CFL Power Rankings: Week 1 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 1

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 | 12:39 PM

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Running back Jon Cornish and the Stamps put last year's Grey Cup loss behind them in a big way, handling the Lions 44-32 in Week 1. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press) Running back Jon Cornish and the Stamps put last year's Grey Cup loss behind them in a big way, handling the Lions 44-32 in Week 1. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

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The Calgary Stampeders gave their battered city -- and themselves -- a lift in the CFL season opener, earning the top spot in our first rankings of 2013.

Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League:

1. CALGARY STAMPEDERS
Overall record: 1-0
Streak: Won 1

RB Jon Cornish had this look in his eyes before the start of the game with B.C. -- almost like he believed he could go punch out the Bow River for daring to overflow its banks and cause such misery. The whole team was Grey Cup ready (shame they weren't that ready last November) for this one and they put a beating on the Lions in the opening quarter, going up 16-0. After that, emotions quelled, the visitors outscored the White Stallions (who led 31-6 at the half) the rest of the way. Cornish was crazy good (172 yards on the ground) and QB Drew Tate looked solid in game one.
2. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS
Overall record:1-0
Streak: Won 1

Yeah, yeah, they were playing the Edmonton Eskimos, but boy the Riders looked pretty good in Week 1, didn't they? Key here is the maligned offensive line played a solid game, giving Darian Durant lots of time and opening nice holes for running back Kory Sheets (131 yards). Durant was out of the game in the fourth as it was long done. Drew Willy took over. Great to see Rob Bagg catch a pass after his injury troubles. LB Tyron Brackenridge had seven tackles on a day he and his mates controlled things from the outset. Calgary comes in this week, so we'll see where they really sit.
3. TORONTO ARGONAUTS
Overall record: 1-0
Streak: Won 1

The defending Grey Cup champions are rebuilding their defence for the second year in a row (worked in 2012, didn't it?), and they were playing the explosive Hamilton attack, so this kind of ragged performance was expected. But there were some concerning mess-ups in the secondary minefield, even with corner Patrick Watkins back on station after missing camp. Things were really confused in the opening half, before defensive coach Chris Jones straightened things out in that soft, quiet way of his in the dressing room. Going to take a month to get it together, we think. The offence was merely superb. Ricky Ray threw for 368 yards and four TDs. Chad Kackert was over 100 yards rushing. Everyone contributed.

4. MONTREAL ALOUETTES
Overall record: 1-0
Streak: Won 1

Those confusing Larks came out strong against a vulnerable Winnipeg defence, went to sleep and let the Bombers back into it, and then woke up in the fourth to put the home team away. So it's a winning debut for rookie coach Dan Hawkins. His new offensive playbook has some interesting stuff in it, especially those tight little passes behind the excellent offensive line that will make all the new American viewers on NBCSN happy. We also learned the Als have the same problems in the secondary as last year, and they need to cover better on special teams. It's Week 1. Tons o' time.

5. B.C. LIONS
Overall record: 0-1
Streak: Lost 1

It's only honest to say the Pittsburgh Steelers might have been blown out by Calgary in the first half last week, given how high the Stamps were. B.C. did not weather a storm that had been clearly on the radar for a week, and lost because of it. QB Travis Lulay would have been helped immensely if there had been some kind of running game to eat up yardage, but it just wasn't there. Emmanuel Arceneaux's return to B.C. after two years in the NFL went well (three catches for 103 yards), Tim Brown can still bring it on run backs, and Hugh O'Neill (hiding his youth behind that beard) kicked well for injured old fart Paul McCallum, 43, who is back this week.
6. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS
Overall record:0-1
Streak: Lost 1

Remember the scene at the end of Rocky II where Apollo Creed and our hero are both lying on the canvas as the 15th round comes to a close and everyone's yelling to see who gets up? This could be how the Cats season goes. Boom, boom, boom, Hamilton Touchdown! Ooof, Ooof, Ooof, here's one back the other way. That was a rebuilt Toronto defence out there, but who cares? Hamilton can flat out bring it on offence led by Smilin' Hank Burris and his Gang of 11. On the other hand, that defence is still crummy on first blush, and needs work chasing chickens with Mick to get it together. Find of the week: Lindsey Lamar, late of Tampa, Fla., looks like a fine replacement for old what's-his-name on the return team.
7. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
Overall record: 0-1
Streak: Lost 1

As long as Buck Pierce breathes, this team can move the ball, there's no doubt. But throwing three picks does not help matters. A running attack might take some of the pressure off. What's worrisome from a good, though losing, effort against Montreal is they couldn't play defence when it counted against an attack using a brand new play book. The Larks were way off for much of the game, but still came back and won it. Also, this was the opening of the new stadium so the home side had to be on a high that might not be duplicated as we move along. Demond Washington looked great, with a long punt return TD and a pick.
8. EDMONTON ESKIMOS
Overall record: 0-1
Streak: Lost 1

QB Mike Reilly stepped up to the line deep inside Saskatchewan territory on Saturday, dropped back with good protection and then threw the ball into an empty space. Someone misremembered the play (that's a real word, by the way, in use since the 16th century). Point is, it's going to take a while for the new pivot and his peeps to get on the same page, resulting in turnovers (three picks in this one) and messed up routes. Both divisions are going to be so tough at the top this season that a cross-over doesn't seem likely, so the Eskies will have to get it together quickly before the rest of the West rides off into the sunset without them.


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