Another 2-2 week has me at 24-16 going into Week 12 of the CFL season. What does the crystal ball say about this week. Here goes.
CALGARY AT HAMILTON
This game intrigues me. Is Calgary starting to get on the roll that they did last year? Are the defending Grey Cup champs back? They still don't look like the team that won it all last year, but they are starting to show signs that they have their game back. The Ti-Cats have to be kicking themselves after losing in Toronto last Friday night. There is no doubt Hamilton is a better football team than in previous years, but a loss tonight and they are below 500 as they will be 5-6. Calgary usually has problems in Hamilton. I will take the Ti-Cats here, but I'm not secure in making that selection.
TORONTO AT B.C
Yes, the Argos won a game last week. Yes, Cody Pickett has looked alright at quarterback. Yes, the Lions go in without Jarious Jackson at quarterback. It doesn't matter. B.C. shouldn't have much of a problem with their Eastern Division rival. You have to take the Lions here, but it won't be a one-sided affair.
WINNIPEG AT MONTREAL
You have to say this about the Bombers. It can't get any worse than last week. If the Bombers have any cajones amongst them, they will put out a much better performance against the Alouettes than they did against the Riders. That team was embarrassed to a man. That being said, it won't be good enough to get a win in Montreal against an Alouettes team that is still playing alright but is nowhere close to where they were at the start of the season. The woes of Mike Kelly and the Bombers Nation continue. Go with the Alouettes
EDMONTON AT SASKATCHEWAN
The Eskimos are reeling after back to back losses against Calgary. Its a huge game for the Eskimos who will either find themselves still in the thick of that Western Division race or having some separation between themselves and the Riders and Stampeders. I don't care what Rider coach Ken Miller is saying about trying to forget what happened the last time these two teams met. Every player in that room remembers being up 22 at home and losing. It won't happen again. The Riders take this one in one that could very well be decided again by the 4th quarter.
Its hard to believe Ron Lancaster has now been gone for a year. It was one year ago today that the Rider legend passed away. Out of my 10 years at CJME, that is one day I will not forget. The station went pillar to post that day bringing you comments from as many people as possible while letting the listener pour their emotions out. It was a memorable day---and it was a tough day as well. It was hard for yours truly to talk about how great Ronnie was without cracking up and shedding a tear or two. I don't need to tell you that Lancaster was more than a football player in this community. He was more than a legend. He was purely iconic. People talk about the memories of September 11. For someone who lives and breathes Rider football, the memories of September 18 are pretty traumatic as well. Yes, the impact of both can't even compare but I think and hope you know what I speak of.
I spoke the other day about kids lined up at Mosaic Stadium after Rider practice to get autographs from their football hero. I remember being a little guy and going after school to Rider practice which was at the University. I had pen and paper at ready waiting for the guys to come running off the field. One guy would be signing your paper when all of a sudden, number 23 would bolt by. I remember one day a guy was signing an autograph when Ronnie sprinted past, I screamed out "Excuse me Mr. Lancaster". He stopped and came back, signed my autograph and had a brief conversation with me. In the eyes of a young Rider fan, there was nothing better than this. An audience with Ron Lancaster. It wasn't a long conversation, but its one I'll always remember. He could have ignored my plea knowing I'd probably be back tomorrow, but he didn't. He truly was the greatest.
While players like Makowsky, Dressler and Davis won't go down in Rider lore the way Ronnie has. the kids getting those autographs that day or any day won't forget it. It was the moment they had with their football hero---a guy that they watch with wide eyes whether in person or on TV every week. I know exactly how those kids were feeling.