Monday, September 14, 2015
Something to "Mitch" About
I guess it is safe to say the optimism that surrounded the Riders after their Labour Day Classic win has fizzled. Were they that bad?
Due to the fact I was calling the Regina Rams-UBC Thunderbirds game on the CKRM online channel, I didn't see a play of the Banjo Bowl until I saw the highlights on Sportscenter Saturday night, but I had people messagine me just railing on the green and white for a variety of reasons.
From what I saw on Sportscenter, it looked like tackling was once again an issue. Can someone explain what Marshay Green was doing on the Julian Feoli-Guidino touchdown? That was simply a pathetic effort on that play. Was it like that all night long? Is this a game that can be blamed on the offence sputtering? Whatever the answer is, I think it is safe to say any optimism of this team catching Winnipeg and maybe B-C have come to a halt and it is time to start thinking about 2016. That doesn't mean the team doesn't field the best lineup possible, because Bob Dyce wants to put a lineup out there he feels gives the squad the best chance to succeed. He is trying to show the organization he can run the ship in 2016 and beyond and not putting the best roster he can on the field won't send the right message.
The CFL has come down on Ti-Cats coach Kent Austin by handing him a $5000 fine. Austin apologized for his actions against Dave Stala Friday, but an apology wasn't going to cut it in this case. The CFL had to come down on Austin as hard as they could and I think they did. I really don't know what Kent was thinking there. Imagine if it had been Mike O'Shea doing that!
It was a little tense right off the start at Thunderbird Stadium, but everything went off Saturday night as the University of Regina Rams took on UBC without any major hitches when it came to the broadcast---unlike last year's debacle. Getting there was an issue though as we had to deal with a cancelled flight followed by a major traffic jam due to an accident near the Vancouver airport which led to a fascinating conversation with our cab driver which led to more hijinx when it comes to phone lines being installed at the stadium, but we got on the air when we were supposed to and that's the main thing. Going into the game, I think a lot of people in Canada West thought the young Rams might take one on the chin from a rapidly improving program with one of the CIS' best head coaches in control and early on it seemed that way as the T-Birds had a 24-1 lead at the half. One wouldn't have blamed the young Rams if they ended up losing this game in one-sided fashion especially when starting quarterback Noah Picton went out with a suspected concussion, but special teams coach Alex Smith called for a short kickoff to start the 2nd half and it worked perfectly. From there the game did complete a 360 as back-up QB Tyler Vieira looked very comfortable under center. He almost brought the Rams all the way back and he had a chance only to throw an interception in the endzone in the final seconds to preserve a 27-24 UBC victory. There was a lot of sadness on the Regina sideline and for good reason, but I think that team learned a lot about themselves as they prepare for Mike Gibson's first ever game against a U of S Huskies team that has lost two in a row to start the season as well. It sets up what should be a battle in Saskatoon.
The highlight of the night for me though was the atmosphere at T-Bird Stadium. Calling games there in the past, it has been rather empty even for homecoming games. It wasn't this year. On a picture perfect night for football, UBC football became relevant again---at least for this night.
They had a huge party going on outside the stadium and in the end, over 7-thousand took in the game with every seat spoken for on one side and at least 2000 fans sitting on a berm behind the home team's bench. There were more people for this game than the CFL pre-season game between the Lions and Eskimos at the same place. The building was alive! With our broadcast being outside, we were right in the middle of it and it was simply tremendous as there was a real energy inside the stadium. It just makes me wonder how and if the Rams could ever accomplish that. Playing at the current and the new Mosaic Stadium won't do it because the facility is too big. It would be great to see something done to the practice field on campus that the football team has so they could play there or perhaps play a game at Leibel Field because that is the only way you would have a chance at duplicating it. The sad truth is I don't think it will ever happen and that's too bad.
What a terrible day to be a Regina sports fan Saturday was. The Riders, Rams, Thunder and Pats all lost. It's a good job the Red Sox weren't playing!
I wasn't in Vancouver for a long time this weekend, but I can tell you there was absolutely no indication in the areas where I was that the BC Lions were playing Ottawa at BC Place Sunday. While the Lions could have had something set up outside the stadium where a lot of activity was happening, I didn't see anything that came close to resembling a Lions logo at the stadium with the exception of a fan wearing a pullover. What a great opportunity to perhaps sell some tickets and generate some interest!! What I could tell you is that there were several places in Vancouver advertising the first Sunday of NFL Football and what specials they would have for you if you came to watch. It's somewhat sad when businesses would rather promote the NFL in particular the Seahawks game in a CFL city instead of that team's games especially when they are at home. It won't change any time soon though.
Speaking of the first week of NFL football, it was a great first Sunday. The Seahawks looked to have come back to beat the Rams and then they reminded everyone that if you have the best powerback in football, you won't necessarily get the yard you need like they did in last year's Super Bowl as Marshawn Lynch was stuffed on a 4th and one in overtime to give St. Louis the win in what was a very entertaining game even though Seattle lost.
Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin just handed the Cowboys an opening night win. The clock management displayed by the Giants in the 4th quarter was pee-wee football like with the New Yorkers completely botching it late in the 4th on a 3rd and 1 as they threw to preserve 40 seconds that Dallas used to march down the field and beat them. Tony Romo is slowly starting to erase the stigma of the quarterback that can't get it done in the clutch. He never should have had the chance in this one. Terrible!!!! Unless of course you're a Cowboys fan and I know many of them.
Marcus Mariota made the Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-think their decision to take Jameis Winston ahead of him in the NFL draft as he threw four touchdown passes in Tampa to lead Tennessee to a victory right in Tampa. I would have loved to hear the call-in show after that one
What commercial is better---high voice Peyton Manning or out of control beard Andrew Luck? Pure gold!! Once again, NFL stars dominate ads for big advertisers, yet CFL players don't get involved for whatever reason in Canadian ad campaigns. There is just something wrong with that, but no one seems to want to make a go of it and no, Humpty's isn't a major advertiser for the CFL.
If there was any doubt whether or not the Blue Jays were going to win the American League East, they were erased after this weekend, but now the team has to deal with an injury to Troy Tulowitzki. What looked to be just a tiny bump with Kevin Pillar was much more than that as Tulo is going to miss 2-3 weeks. His absence will be noted both offensively and defensively for Toronto and while he will be back in a month, that will be playoff time. By the way, is Josh Donaldson having the best season of any Blue Jay in history?
Former Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen let Connor MacDavid know that the next step up is going to be a little rougher than it was in junior as he got pasted into the boards during the rookie tournament in Penticton during a game between the Canucks rookies and the Oiler rookies MacDavid better get to used to that and while Darnell Nurse had the job of protecting Connor in this tournament, who will it be once the regular season starts. One Oiler who had a nice showing was former Pat Braden Christopher who had a pair of goals. He is turning some heads at this showcase.
Word is there was an injustice performed at High Impact Wrestling Friday night as the WOLF 104.9's Drew Dalby interfered in a championship match between Robbie Gamble and Cannonball Kelly costing Gamble the belt. Damn you Dalby!!!! Damn you!!
We've still got over a month to go until the federal election. Happy Happy Joy Joy!!
That's all I got. Have a good week!