Monday, June 4, 2007

117 Predictions, Observations, Questions and Reasons to Watch the Saskatchewan Roughriders This Year

I had every intention of attending the opening day of Rider training camp yesterday. However, life, as it is wont to do, decided to intervene. Until I actually get paid to do this, that may happen from time to time. But fear not, I am not without Roughrider-related material. I'm just going to make it up.

Blast off...

1. I don't think I'm the only one who's looking forward to the first ever 8 wide receiver formation. With approximately 27 wide receivers on the roster, I don't see what else they could be shooting for. If you're scoring at home, 8 receivers leaves 3 offensive linemen.

2. Will the new Code of Conduct result in a reduction in aggravated assault charges? Are we the only team that has/needs a Code of Conduct?

3. The Colorado School of Mines has to be greatest school name in U.S college football. Former Oredigger's quarterback Chad Friehauf is at Rider camp this year. (Actually I found out this morning that Friehauf was cut yesterday - words will never be able to express how upset I am about this.)

4. Two words - Jason French.

5. Late at night, when it's quiet and you're all by yourself, don't you sometimes miss the hitch-screen?

6. Seriously, Jason French is still on the roster? It's been my goal for over two years to have this guy run out of town on a rail. I thought after last season the Jason French era/nightmare was over. Here we go again.

7. Everybody Loves Kent - right now the honeymoon is still on and everyone is in the throws of passion. But will reality set in once that first, inevitable 3-game losing streak hits? Will everyone remember that they used to loathe Austin when things aren't going well? That's some tough history for him to overcome.

8. Do you think the Rider's will in fact try not to run the ball at all this year?

9. Is 9-9 more acceptable to the people of Saskatchewan from a General Manager/Head Coach combo that is both white and media friendly? I'm serious. Do you think that two black men with a predominantly black team could possibly get a fair shake in this province? I am not saying that race was responsible for Shivers and Barrett getting blamed for their mediocrity. I'm just saying it'll be very interesting to see what kind of treatment this new regime gets if their plans don't quite pan out like they thought.

10. Hey, Paul McCallum basically won the Grey Cup for the B.C Lions last year, remember that? I have the sudden urge to go dump manure on someone's driveway.

11. Odds on what will be the first offense a Rider is charged with this year:
Dogfighting - 75:1
Transporting a Woman Across State Lines (Mann Act violation) - 50:1
Criminal Harassment - 45:1
Possession with Intent to Distribute - 30:1
Possession with Intent to Ingest - 25:1
Speeding - 15:1
Driving While Under the Influence - 10:1
Aggravated Assault - 6:1
Generally Just Not Giving An Expletive Deleted - 3:1
Mediocrity - even
Being Too Inaccurate and a Terrible Passer - taken off the board

12. Remember last year's league-leading defense? Now remember that about 85% of it has been dismantled.

13. Can Kerry Joseph prove the people wrong who say he is just too inaccurate and a wildly overrated QB? Will he be able to master such complex throws as the 5-yard out and the button hook. Keep in mind this is the guy who last year would make spectacular overthrows relatively simple.

14. In all seriousness, it's great that there is finally new turf on Taylor Field. Playing in the parking lot would probably have been easier on the players than playing on that old turf.

15. Oh, and it will always be Taylor Field to the people who care about things like honour and tradition. Between Mosaic Stadium, the Brandt Centre and the Conexus Arts Centre it's enough to make you sick. We're not as far off as you might think from "Regina - brought to you by SaskTel." When it happens just don't say I didn't warn you.

16. I think the new salary cap rules will be enforced with WWE-like rigidity.

17. Would you rather find $10 in the street or have the Riders win the Grey Cup? I'm just asking. (This test was a creation of's Bill Simmons, in his tireless and relentless crusade against the WNBA.)

18. Drew Tate will not be the Rider's franchise quarterback of the future.

19. You thought we were laughed at before...the Riders now have male cheerleaders.

20. Willy Cole's hairpiece will become self-aware and will start controlling Willy's thoughts and actions.

21. Is Fred Perry going to be as effective this year when he is getting double-teamed on every play? Without Nate Davis on the line to command a double-team, I'd say Fred is going to be getting a lot more attention this year.

22. Kent Austin was fired from his last two jobs in football - bears keeping in mind.

23. It's time to have a men's washroom back on the 2nd level of the East Side of Taylor Field. We shouldn't have to walk down to the main level.

24. Gainer's car needs to be brought back immediately. Seeing him ride around Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field in the 'Gainer Mobile' brought to you by Capital Pontiac is a disgrace.

25. The Flame got a raw deal.

26. I wonder if they'll give Chris Szarka a jersey this year.

27. Everybody always rags on the dog show at halftime but I swear I was at a game when I was younger that featured Lawnchair Dancing at halftime.

28. It's been almost 20 years since this team has had a home playoff game. 20 years! Can you comprehend that? There are usually only 8 or 9 teams in the league and the Riders have not been able to host a playoff game for almost 2 decades. Is that even mathematically possible?

29. I almost feel sad that Charles Thomas and his turnstile blocking technique are no longer with the club. It was one thing that you could always count on - and there are not too many definite things in the world. Has anyone ever been more overmatched by the position of offensive tackle?

30. What's the chance Kerry Joseph finishes the season as Saskatchewan's starting QB? Less than 50%? It's a lot easier to have a back-up making $200,000 rather than $350,000. (Joseph took a salary reduction for team salary-cap reasons)

31. Would an Andy Fantuz sophomore slump affect Cooper's man-crush on him?

32. The Riders are going to either be really good or really bad this year. I don't know if there's going to be a middle-ground. Let's just hope for a little consistency this year. I can handle terrible play as long as it's consistently terrible - just don't get my hopes up one week and then crush them the next.

33. I will probably swear off the Riders and CFL football somewhere around Week 12 - as usual.

34. Hopefully Luca Congi makes the team in some capacity, at least as the placekicker, so that I can continue my crusade to use "Congi" as a verb. As in, "He really Congi'd that one!" And the great thing is that "Congi" is totally ambiguous and situationally-determined. It can be used to mean either terrible or great.

35. As always, rouges will probably tell the story.

36. If Jason French is heavily involved in the offence I could be on suicide watch by Game 3.

37. Complaining. Lots and lots of complaining. Right across the board, wherever you go. I think that's the safest prediction I've ever made.

Well 37 numbered points isn't quite 117 but many of those 37 contained more than 1 observation, prediction or question - so let's just say it all adds up to 117 and call it even.


Trebor said...

very funny. 34 was my favorite followed by 13.

So nothing on ticket prices? not sure what can be said, but i'm sure they've gotten higher along with the price of beer. Ooooo how about this for an upcoming prediction "due to increased complaints they have now moved the university section to the rooftop across the street, and still the prices goes up"

Anonymous said...

The best thing about being a Rider fan is complaining about them. People in Regina always have one topic to rely on every year. How terrible the team is. Even when they do well a .500 season is about the best you can hope for. It doesn't really what happens win or lose. We all deep down inside love and hate this team.


Anonymous said...

The first full rider column was destined to have the record for comments on this young site.

Hey, in the words of an ex-cheerleader, "French is HOT!!". I figure, since they have so many roster spots at receiver, they will keep him around as eye candy on the sidelines as a fourth string slotback. They'll force him to get a Troy Westwood cage on his helmet, just so that we can see his pretty eyes if he ever gets tired of holding his helmet on the sidelines, and actually decides to put it on.

I for one really want Kerry Joseph to succeed this year. At least in Saskatchewan, he is definately not overestimated. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. You think he gets a free ride? You should hear the love-in they have in the Calgary media for Henry Burris. I figure this year after the playoffs is when he is finally run out of town. An early exit from the flames two years in a row puts the onus on the stamps to do something.

And i agree with trevor regarding the poor treatment of the University Section. How can you mistreat an excuse to print money so poorly? For the price of an extra security guard, the university section in it's prime bought more $5 beer and Rider long islands than the rest of the stadium. And also consider the fact that they were part of the in stadium entertainment for everyone else, and the backup national anthem singers. So let's make the section an tenth the size and put it beside teh family fun zone. Brilliant.