--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.
--Off to Winnipeg. Can the Riders make it four straight? I will admit I was surprised to see Saskatchewan's record at the Banjo Bowl is just under 500. I thought Winnipeg had more success in this game---not the success Saskatchewan has at the Labour Day Classic, but I only thought the Riders had won 3 or 4 games in the back half of this home-and-home. Nope! I'm not betting against a Chris Jones team that is playing the same opponent two weeks in a row. If the offence can get 20 points, they win.
--Are we in for yet another crossover? While there is a lot of football to play yet, it would appear as if we are. This disparity between divisions isn't good for the league. Why are the Eastern teams traditionally bad? I still say the best thing is one nine team conference and scrap the East-West thing. If you looked at the standings under a nine team conference right now, you would have
1. Calgary 9-1
2. Ottawa 6-4
3. Saskatchewan 6-4
4. Edmonton 6-5
5. Hamilton 5-5
6. Winnipeg 5-6
7. BC 3-6
8. Toronto 3-7
9. Montreal 3-8
Give 1 & 2 a bye with the Bombers coming into Regina and Hamilton at Edmonton for the first round. I may be in the moral minority because "traditionalists" want east and west, but its once again obvious that the East can't compete with the West----at least not until Grey Cup Sunday. Yes, I fully realize that doesn't help my argument. Thanks Calgary!
--Week 1 NFL Lock of the Week -- Baltimore over Buffalo
--Week 1 NFL Upset of the Week -- Dallas over Carolina
--The opening game of the NFL season was not a good one through three quarters. I guess that is what happens when the regulars don't play for most of the pre-season. I expect we could see some dogs on Sunday as well. You need pre-season games, but you also need regulars to play more than one or two series in the games that don't matter.
--As the NFL season begins, we get treated to Al Michaels-Cris Collinsworth on NBC, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on FOX and Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on CBS. You can't beat that Buck-Aikman combo as far as I am concerned, but every now and then you can tell Troy played for the team with the star on the helmet.
--While there are many NFL survivor pools out there, I would love to see an upset pool. Pick the team that shouldn't win. That would be fun. I'm sure someone has one. I'm in a crappy MLB pitchers pool and it's a blast. By the way, the guy winning that pool has many Blue Jays relievers on his roster. Should it surprise anyone that he has a substantial lead with the season winding down.
--The SJHL season is ready to start. The focus remains on the Humboldt Broncos as they will open the season at home in a nationally-televised game against Nipawin. When this game is over, can the Broncos please get some peace and have the spotlight taken off of them? What happened on that April night on that highway was horrific and we never ever want to see that again. What has happened since that night has been amazing. As the puck drops for a new season though, it will be evident to all that the Broncos are back. Let's let them continue on without the stark reminder of what happened. I would expect all teams when Humboldt makes their first visit to do something because they never had the chance last season, but that should be it. The city, the families, the survivors, the organization and the league need to move on and look forward while not forgetting the past.
--While the SJ season is here, the WHL won't be far behind. I don't think anyone is arguing that the Raiders and Wheat Kings will be (or at least should be) the class of the Eastern Division, but some are wondering where the Pats will be. We need to see what everyone has for a team come September 21, but I don't think Regina will be as bad as some believe them to be. Will they be a playoff team? If they are, I think the best they can get is a wildcard spot, but Dave Struch will get everything out of this team. I just hope fans in Regina, Moose Jaw and Swift Current realize how special last year was and that years like that won't come around all the time. All three are in a re-tooling stage and that will mean some rough nights at the rink. That is the cyclical nature of junior hockey.
--With the CP Womens Open ending a couple of weeks ago, Regina has now had a chance to sit back and relax after what was a hectic calendar year. The Grand Slam of Curling, Skate Canada, the Brier the USports women's basketball championship, the Memorial Cup and the LPGA all came to YQR and all of them went off without a hitch. There was a lot of work that went in to make all these events a success and yes, the city needs a break to fill up the tank. What is next though? I don't see any curling events coming in the near future, the Memorial Cup and LPGA won't be back for a while and I don't see another university women's basketball championship or a major skating competition coming to the city anytime soon. I would think the answer to the question is the Grey Cup. 2020 is my guess. Would the University make a bid for the Vanier Cup. Could Regina do both a Vanier and Grey Cup on the same weekend? Would Regina/Saskatchewan football fans come to Mosaic if the Rams or Huskies weren't in the game? I have no idea.
--I could care less about the Colin Kaepernick/NIKE ad campaign. Frankly I'm tired of Kaepernick and have been for a while. He apparently didn't want to do what Johnny Manziel did and that is come to Canada to continue his career. Offers were made, but he said no. Many are now boycotting NIKE. As some have said with tongue-in-cheek, maybe Kaepernick should come out and endorse guns so people can get rid of them. We all know what a problem that is in the US. If you don't, just wait for the next mass shooting. It's something we as a public have become numb to.
--The Rams are in Edmonton tonight to take on the Golden Bears. On paper, the Rams should have no problem, but we know you don't play the game on paper. Two years ago, Regina went to Foote Field and lost a game they shouldn't have and last year, they escaped with a 58-55 overtime win. The Bears make it tough on Steve Bryce's bunch and I expect the same tonight.. I will have the game for you on 620 CKRM starting at 7. No trip to the mall on this short junket to the Alberta capital.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!