Five of six playoff spots have been secured and all that is left to decide is who will play the Argos in East Division Semi-Final. It is down to Edmonton and Hamilton. A Tiger-Cat win and Edmonton loss means the Ti-Cats head to the playoffs; an Edmonton win or tie or a Hamilton loss means the Eskimos will cross over into the East to play the Argos. Hamilton's game is Thursday and Edmonton's is Friday. It all comes down to the final week.
(1) Emry should have been suspended
Shea Emry was fined for punching Brandon LaBatte in the groin during last week's Montreal-Saskatchewan game. The incident got Emry tossed from the game. This is the third time this season that Emry has been fined by the league and clearly he isn't learning anything or amending his ways. The league needs to find a way to make repeat offenders pay substantially higher fines and/or face suspensions if they continue to act like goons. Acts like Emry's have no place in the game and a mere fine, as he has proven, will do nothing. Emry doesn't seem to care and it is time he faced a stiffer punishment for his constant idiocy.
(2) Brandon Isaac should be suspended
Sticking with dirty players, I was stunned to see Brandon Isaac's helmet-to-helmet hit on Darian Durant go unpenalized. It was as obvious as any such hit all season and I can't believe the refs missed it. Like Emry, Isaac is a repeat offender and because of that he should be suspended for the next game. Clearly the fine he was given after his dirty hit on Buck Pierce did nothing to curtail his dirty ways. The refs need to be reamed out for missing the call and Isaac needs to be put on ice for at least a game.
(3) Glenn should start the rest of the year
Now that Drew Tate has returned from his injury, the question of who should start for the Stampeders has arisen. The answer is easy: Glenn should start the rest of the season and Tate should take the job back in the off-season. Glenn has led the Stamps since halftime of the second game this season, so this is his team right now. Glenn has spent pretty much the entire season developing chemistry with his teammates and one week before the playoffs start is not the time to mess with team chemistry.
(4) Eskimos should start Nichols
Did anyone else see what Matt Nichols did in a quarter of action? He threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns after taking over for an injured (and ineffective) Kerry Joseph. Kavis Reed has always said that Joseph will start in the season finale against Calgary, but Nichols is the future and even with a playoff spot on the line, I think Nichols should be handed the reins. It might cost Edmonton a playoff spot this year, but it could set them up for the next 10 years.
(5) Dressler's uncharacteristic drops
Weston Dressler is not known for dropping too many passes, but he had two very costly ones in Saskatchewan's loss to the Argos. His first big drop was on a two-point conversion attempt. The ball hit Dressler right in the hands, but he couldn't bring it in. That proved costly later when the Riders were trying to score at the end of the game. His second was later in the game one what would have been a first down. Dressler wasn't the sole reason the Riders lost to the Argos, but he had a big hand in it.
(6) Sandro's all too familiar misses
While Dressler deserves some blame for Saskatchewan losing, the bulk of the blame belongs on the shoulders of Sandro DeAngelis. Tiger-Cat fans know all to well about DeAngelis missing makeable kicks, but now Rider fans know the feeling. DeAngelis missed a chip shot 16-yard field goal that proved as costly as any mistake any player made. How far he has fallen from his peak with the Stampeders.
(7) I want more Gord Miller
Last week, I said I wanted to see Rod Smith call more games; this week, I will be saying the same thing about Gord Miller. Miller has called a few games in the past, but he is calling more now because of the NHL lockout. Once the NHL resumes play, either this year or next, Miller will go back to being the voice of the NFL on TSN. Until then, I hope Miller calls more CFL games.
(8) Ray is rollin'
It took longer than hoped for Argo fans, but Ricky Ray seems to have found his groove in Scott Milanovich's offense. Ray has thrown for eight touchdowns in the past two weeks and the first time in his career that he has thrown four touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Ray is starting to get the offense clicking at just the right time. Even if Toronto doesn't make it to or win the Grey Cup, they have set themselves up to possibly take it all next year.
(9) Calvillo making strong case as best ever
I am sure there are people out there who already consider Anthony Calvillo the greatest CFL quarterback of all time. I still believe Doug Flutie is the best ever, but Calvillo is really starting to make me reconsider my thinking. He has all the career records and just topped Flutie for 5,000-yard passing seasons in a career. When Calvillo finally does hang up his cleats, I might have changed my mind on where he ranks on the all-time list.
(10) Players of the Week
For the second week in a row I am handing my offensive player of the week award to Ricky Ray. Ray came up big for the Argos in their playoff-clinching win in Regina. He went a cool 24 for 30 with 305 yards and four touchdowns. He was great in a crucial game for the Argos and stepped up when the team needed him to do so.
There were three contenders for defensive player of the week. Adam Bighill had eight tackles and two sacks for BC, while Geoff Tisdale picked up two interceptions for the Tiger-Cats. But in the end, Anwar Stewart and his four sacks earn the award. For a guy who was sitting on his couch less than a month ago, he played last week like he hadn't missed any time.
My special teams player of the week is BC returnman Tim Brown. Brown tallied over 200 kick return yards, including a 56-yard touchdown scamper in the second half. It wasn't enough to get BC the win, but it was enough for him to earn the award.
Top Canadian was a little tougher, but Akeem Foster's four catches for 94 yards and a touchdown are enough to give it to him. There were no monster days from any Canadian, but Foster was BC's leading receiver, so the award is his.