Analysts say that the season doesn't really get started until Labour Day. Well, it's Labour Day. I know, I can't believe it either.
1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Last Week: 1)
Many are wondering how the Bombers have gone from 4-14 doormat to 7-1 juggernaut. It's simple: they are winning close games. Last year, Winnipeg lost 10 games by a touchdown or less. This season, they are 3-1 in games decided by the same margin. With back-to-back games against this year's doormat, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, on the docket, the Bombers could easily be 9-1 with a stranglehold on the top seed in the East. Until proven otherwise, they're the top team in the rankings.
2. Calgary Stampeders (Last Week: 3)
Calgary is on a roll right now, and it doesn't look like anyone is going to stop them. The Stamps took out the Als, which is why they leapfrog the Als. Both teams (in fact, the top four teams) are varying degrees of good, with any one being able to beat the other on any given week. The Stamps got that win this past week, so they take the number-two spot.
3. Montreal Alouettes (Last Week: 2)
These aren't the same Als from the last couple of years. They are still very good, but they don't have that air of invincibility around them anymore. They look beatable and have been beaten three times (by Calgary, Hamilton and Saskatchewan) in games they traditionally win. The Montreal hegemony seems to be coming to an end.
4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Last Week: 4)
The Ti-Cats have a golden chance to prove whether they are a .500 team or one of the league's elites in the next two weeks. Two games against the Montreal Alouettes will give everyone an idea of what type of team the Tiger-Cats are. Win them both, and things get really interesting. Lose both, and the Argos could be breathing down Hamilton's neck. It's an important two weeks for the boys from Steeltown.
5. Edmonton Eskimos (Last Week: 5)
The Esks were on a bye in Week 9, which was desperately needed. After a 5-0 start, the Eskies have lost three in a row. Things don't get much easier, as their next two games are against the West-leading Stampeders. The Esks need at least a split in order to stay in the race for first in the West.
6. British Columbia Lions (Last Week: 6)
BC gained a lot of momentum going into their bye after throttling the Eskimos 36-1 in Week 8. Up next are back-to-back dates with a team they are likely to be fighting for a playoff spot with: the Toronto Argonauts. The Leos just need to keep pace with the Boatmen to stop Toronto from crossing over. It is a big two weeks for both teams.
7. Toronto Argonauts (Last Week: 7)
Pretty much everything that was said about the Lions could be said about the Argos. If Toronto can win their two games against the Lions, the Argos will be in prime position to secure a playoff spot. It won't be easy, but it is doable. The course of the Argos' season can be decided over the next two weeks.
8. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Last Week: 8)
The Ken Miller era begins again. Former Head Coach Greg Marshall was fired following Saskatchewan's Week 8 loss to the Argos, and the man that guided the Riders to back-to-back Grey Cup appearances is back at the helm. It won't matter. The Riders suck right now, and two games against the Bombers will bury them even further. If Saskatchewan can win even one of those games against Winnipeg it will be a minor miracle. The Riders are a mess, and things are going to get much worse before they get better.
Highest Climb: Calgary (+1)
Steepest Fall: Montreal (-1)