What a Saturday it was at the new Mosaic Stadium!
16500 people walked into the shiny new 278 million dollar facility, and they saw a pretty good football game as the Regina Rams beat the U of S Huskies.
It was a game where Noah Picton reminded everyone he is one of the country's top quarterbacks if not the best one, it was a game where Mitch Picton reminded everyone he is one of the country's top receivers, if not the best one, it was a game where Ryan Schienbein showed he is right there when it comes to being one of the country's top receivers, and it was a game where the Rams continued a run at first place that just weeks ago when this all started seemed like a fantasy. Coach Steve Bryce told me after the game that records aside, the Rams weren't letting the Huskies come in and win the first game at the new Mosaic. It showed.
Is there any doubt Bryce is the coach of the year in Canada West, and if the Rams keeps going, the CIS? What he has done for that program can't be measured in just wins and losses. He, and many others, have completely erased the Mike Gibson horror-show from the minds of many and has this team as a contender. While I haven't gone over the rest of the schedule, I think a win in two weeks over Alberta would secure a home playoff game. That would mean not only would the Rams have the distinction of being the first home team at new Mosaic Stadium, but the last home team at old Mosaic Stadium. If it should happen, the Rams should playoff seats for the affordable price of 15 dollars and fill that old girl one up one more time to provide one last Mosaic memory! I think there are a few that liked what they saw and will be back September 21 against UBC.
Game aside, what did you think of the new building?
Many had been in on a tour, but many others were there for the first time. I spoke to many a person who could not believe what they were seeing. The only negative I heard constantly was the sound system was not loud enough as people could not hear what was being said especially on the east side. If that is the biggest complaint of the day, those who worked tirelessly to get this game played deserve a tip of the cap. Well done!! I think its safe to say that when the Riders play their first pre-season game in 2017 that everything will be ready to go.
The new facility even made me stand up and take notice at times. Not having been to the east side of the stadium, I walked over to that side before realizing I could go all the way around. What a novel concept!
In a 20 minute span, I went from the concourse to field level to the media centre and back to field level. One can't do that at the old Mosaic Stadium unless driving a golf cart. No ramps, just elevators!!
I would have liked to see that gigantic scoreboard working, but you can't have everything. Talking to a couple of fans underneath the scoreboard, we wondered aloud what it will be like when the opposition is trying to score in that end of the field with the fans sitting underneath the scoreboard right on top of you. The same could be said in the other endzone. Good luck to opposing offences.
The other thing I noticed was all the people congregating while the game was on knowing they could still see what was happening. When the Riders start playing in their new home, it is going to be something to behold. As I said, if this was a test run, the NMS passed with flying colours. #isitjuneyet
SASKATOON EARNS THE SPLIT - There were a lot of people from Saskatoon cheering on the Huskies and many migrated to the current Mosaic Stadium to cheer on their Hilltops. They went home happy thanks to a furious 4th quarter rally as they scored two late touchdowns to get the win. It made for a great Football Day in Saskatchewan. I say we do it again next year with the venue being Saskatoon.
WELCOME JEFF FULLER - Jeff Fuller hasn't played a down wearing a green-and-white jersey, but how can you not be excited at his signing. Fuller made an immediate impact when he started playing for Calgary, and rumours of him coming to Saskatchewan as mentioned here months ago have proven to be true. Fuller, Caleb Holley, Naaman Roosevelt and Ricky Collins Junior along with Rob Bagg, Shawmaud Chambers and Nic Demski make for a pretty solid receiving core if you ask me. Could it be the best in the CFL in 2017? We are a long ways away from even talking about that. You just need someone to get the football to them and that guy is there in Darian Durant. Just another reason why he needs to be re-signed.
As for Kendial Lawrence, I think it was evident he just didn't fit early on. He just never seemed comfortable in Riderville, and a bad start got him off on the wrong foot. I don't know why things didn't click here, and we may never find out. The guy can play. He just didn't show it here. He won't be the first, and he won't be the last.
IT TOOK ALL 162 - The Blue Jays are going to the playoffs, but it took all 162 games to clinch that spot. Despite a horrible September where a shaky bullpen was exposed, Toronto found a way to get into the playoffs on the last weekend. Once again, I don't think popping the champagne was really the apt thing to do when all you did was guarantee yourself one more game, but whatever. Toronto will face Baltimore Tuesday in front of what you know will be a sold-out Rogers Centre with Canadians watching from coast-to-coast. With J.A Happ and Aaron Sanchez starting the last two games, I would have to think Marcus Stroman is your pitcher of choice Tuesday, but John Gibbons could go with Marco Estrada. I think it is safe to say R-A Dickey won't get the nod. Will Toronto beat Baltimore? Yes! That will set up what will be an unbelievable playoff rematch with the Texas Rangers. We all remember what happened in last year's playoffs, and we all remember what happened the last time these two teams played one another. It has a WWE scenario written all over it.
WELCOME BACK - The Regina Pats have all their NHL players back with the exception of Adam Brooks, but I am guessing they are more than happy to have Sam Steel back. All he did in two games was register 7 points. What he could do this year is monumental. Once Brooks gets back from Toronto, this team will be firing on all cylinders. They are home to Kootenay Friday night, and while the Riders are in Ottawa that night, you may just want to tape the second half of the football game and watch this exciting hockey team play.
CONNOR AND EBS - If Jordan Eberle stays healthy this year, is it safe to say he will get 40 or more goals. Watching the Oilers play a couple of exhibition games this week, it appears as if Eberle will continue as McDavid's winger. That line of Lucic, McDavid and Eberle is fun to watch, and will be fun to watch when everything starts in just over a week. One other Oiler note---Brandon Davidson continues to shine. He isn't flashy, but he is solid. You can't dislike the way he plays the game.
WEEK 4 NFL THOUGHTS - We are starting to get an idea as to what teams are good, and what teams are bad. Then again, we knew Cleveland was bad right from the start. Here's what I saw from watching the steady diet of Sunday games
- How can Pittsburgh go from just getting stomped on one week to doing the stomping the next?
- Say what you will about Richard Sherman, but the Seahawks DB when the game matters is a big-play guy. His INT in the win over the Jets was the big play. He may have gotten burned by Brandon Marshall a few times, but when he had to make the play he did
- Russell Wilson continues to amaze. (That could be said many weeks)
- The Patriots are 3-1 in Tom Brady's absence----an absence that is now over. Look out NFL!
- If the Falcons find a way to tighten it up on defence, they will be scary
- Turning on the TV at 815 on a Sunday morning to see Indy vs Jacksonville on makes for a long day of pigskin
- How are the St. Louis Rams, who looked god-awful in the opening Monday nighter, sitting with a record of 3-1
- Sunday Night Football needs a new song. (the singer remains OK though, although I'd rather see Miranda Lambert in there)
That's all I got. Have a great week!!