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Topic: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?

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GopherRock

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Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« on: August 28, 2017, 07:41:44 PM »
I posted this last night, but it got lost after I went to bed.

This past weekend, I attended a Saskatchewan Roughrider game in Regina, Saskatchewan. Some thoughts:

-I know several friends from concerts who reside in Regina, and they have been bugging me for years to make the trip up to see a Rider game. The schedules finally lined up to allow me to make the trip up to see things.

-It is quite a long haul up to Regina. From the Twin Cities to Regina, using I-94, US highway 52 in North Dakota, and various provincial highways in Saskatchewan, it's roughly a 12 hour trip. It helps that it's quite normal to go freeway speed on some 2-lane roads, most notably US 52 northwest of Jamestown, but several provincial roads meet that description as well. 

-Much of what I'm writing and much of what I know about this part of Canada comes from the combined volumes of Pierre Berton's saga of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. "The Impossible Railway: The Building of the Canadian Pacific, A Triumphant Saga of Exploration, Politics, High Finance, and Adventure" is the volume as assembled in the US, and requires a rudimentary understanding of the Westminster style of Parliament to understand the first part. But it's a very well-written book, and I found the book quite fascinating.

-In this space, I've frequently ragged on North Dakota. However, the state North Dakota is a much more interesting state to drive across than us Minnesotans give it credit for, especially northwest of Minot. I know that Montana is Big Sky Country, but I really got the same feeling from far northwestern North Dakota. Hand in hand with this is the stunning lack of population. Many former railroad settlements (and that was a charitable description of them even in their heyday) are now outright ghost towns. And there are plenty of them. US 52 west of Fessenden follows the Canadian Pacific's (nee Soo Line) American main line that runs from Chicago and Minneapolis northwest to Portal and the Canadian main line at Moose Jaw. Most of these towns are tiny, and an entire county's worth of schools have K-12 enrollments in the low 100s or less. 

-I've heard it said that the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul are the greatest twin cities in the world. The border towns of Portal, North Dakota and North Portal, Saskatchewan are several steps down in class from there. I drove around both towns prior to crossing the border, and the only reason why either town exists is the purpose of transiting people and goods from one side of the border to the other, be it the duty-free shops or the Canadian Pacific Railway bunkhouse at North Portal. Both are quite desolate and desperate towns.

-I didn't know that the southeast corner of Saskatchewan, around Estevan, was a coal hotbed. Turns out it is, and like it's sister coal field some 250 miles to the southeast around Bismarck, the primary extraction is low-grade lignite coal for burning in the massive Boundary Dam Power Station. This is removed by strip mining, then burned for transmission across the Saskatchewan prairie to power the Prairie provinces. It's a very dirty way to make a living, and the heavy truck traffic really beats things up. Also, you do see some oil wells in this part of SK (and ND). It's not quite the Bakken, some 100 miles to the SW centered around Williston, but it's not small change.

-Upon departure from the Estevan region, you emerge into the true breadbasket of Canada. And unlike North Dakota, Saskatchewan is board flat. The two hours of driving from Estevan to Regina features less profile than a wadded-up newspaper, as well sufficient wheat to stretch from horizon to horizon for two hours. The growing season at these latitudes is too short for the American staples of corn and soybeans, so diversification had to happen with desperation crops. Wheat is dominant, but oats, flax, canola, sunflowers, and rye are also grown in quantity. On an aside, if you were drinking whisky in the province, you drank rye. That's just the way it was.

-Roads in Saskatchewan are crap. As someone who works in the road construction industry, the reason why is that the provincial government doesn't mill off the old pavement before slapping new stuff on. One set of freeze-thaw cycles later and any cracks that were in the previous surface propagate right through to the top.

-The provincial capital of Regina (pronounced with the stress on the middle syllable) wouldn't exist it weren't for the aforementioned Canadian Pacific Railway needing a division point some distance out of Brandon. My friends that I'm staying with live on the north side of town, and after 12+ hours of driving I was ready for a shower and a beer. 

-Regina has a booming beer scene, and during the evening we partook in several of them around town.  One joint had a loud selection of classic country, including "Love's Gonna Live Here Again" by Buck Owens. My kind of bar.

-On Sunday, Regina turns green for their Riders. The amount of support from around town feels like that in Green Bay or Kansas City. We started our carousing at a place named Victoria's Pub. Very British pub (EPL footy on TV, Bass, proper English bitters, God Save the Queen, and all that). They had excellent brunch, and it made for a good base for the day of drinking that would follow.

-Later in the afternoon, we ran into several fans from Vancouver, decked head to toe in their neon orange BC Lions (the opponent that day). They were fine doing a healthy bit of ribbing, and have read for years that Regina was the place to go for a CFL game. Great atmosphere, reasonably priced (for Canada) food and drink, and a great in-stadium atmosphere. Also, since it was some sort of big event in town, the Grey Cup, Canadian football's championship trophy, was there. Yours truly added that to the list of trophies by which I have photos next to (I've also got the baseball Commissioners Trophy and the Stanley Cup)

-Speaking of the stadium, the brand new digs, Mosaic Stadium, opened this season. Replacing longtime home Taylor Field, it fits well with the crowd and is an excellent venue for CFL football. I did swing by the pro shop to bring some stuff back, and unlike in the NFL, CFL gear is priced to move. And in Canadian dollars (at the time of this printing, a greenback bought 77 Canadian cents), it wasn't bad at all. A lot of my money went a long way.

-On the first series, in which the Lions went two-and-out, the punt went into the end zone for a rouge. A ROUGE!!!!

-The subtle differences between Canadian and American gridiron football are noticeable immediately. The slot receivers can hit the line of scrimmage a-running at the snap, the goal posts are on the goal line in the field of play, the field is 110 yards long with a centre line, three downs, penalty markers are orange, and the hash marks are almost as wide as a high school field.

-Turns out that a beatdown in Canadian football looks an awful lot like a beatdown in American football. The Riders led the BC Lions 29-0 at the half, and went on to finish off the drubbing. 

-Either I don't go to many stadiums in Canada, or Mosaic is the only place where you can get pulled pork poutine in-stadium. And it was wonderful.

-Regina Transit does a very good job of getting people away from the stadium after the game. They have a network of shuttle buses laid out to get people out to suburban park-and-rides. We had parked by one of these earlier in the morning and taken a city bus into town, but we were able to sneak out prior to the end of the game (on't worry, the home team was ahead something like 44-9) and not have to wait in a rapidly-filling queue.

-Clearing customs on the way back Monday morning was considerably more troublesome than going up. Going up Saturday afternoon, all I needed to say was that I was going to the Rider game, and I was through with minimal issue. I got the business in the customs office, got brought back with a car search, and as such it took a lot longer to get onto Hwy 52 south than I was hoping for. 

-I was able to get back about 9 PM Central from my litlte adventure.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 08:52:27 PM »
I love the CFL. 



I'm partial to the Ottawa RedBlacks, as they are a recent expansion franchise. I started watching about a dozen years ago, but had trouble picking a team. So an expansion franchise was just what the Dr ordered.

Saskatchewan was a good one to pick as your first. They are the most rabid fanbase, as they are the only CFL city to not have an NHL team nearby. 

They are basically the Nebraska of the CFL. 



I know UofMToronto likes the Toronto Argonauts. Not sure if he ever found his way to the new site. 

DraftNik was also a CFL fan. Haven't seen him around either. 

Labour Day weekend is their big rivalry week. The matchups annually are as follows:

Ottawa-Montreal
Toronto-Hamilton
Winnipeg-Saskatchewan
Calgary-Edmonton
BC gets a bye 

Ottawa is the defending Grey Cup champions, although they are off to a pretty rocky start. Luckily for them the East Division sucks this year, so they should be able to sneak into the playoffs, where anything can happen. 

1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

FearlessF

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 11:36:32 PM »
hmmm, thought for sure I posted a reply
"Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 10:22:55 PM »
Well my RedBlacks ripped Montreal a new one in their Labour Day weekend rivalry tonight, and find themselves alone atop the East Division standings... at least until the Argos tear apart the winless Ticats in June Jones' CFL coaching debut on Monday.

All CFL games are available on ESPN3, btw. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

jhetfield99

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 04:56:55 AM »
Nice write up.

Why was customs a pain in the ass?  Simply making sure you weren't sneaking in duty free stuff?

MarqHusker

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 11:42:16 PM »
Great post GR.

I just returned from Canada a few hours ago myself.  Customs was as simple as it always is (between Fort Frances, ON/Int'l Falls, MN).  I don't take any fish home so no big fuss.  Pay your duty for being over the personal limit on the way into Canada, no big deal.

I need to upload a video or two.  While fishing, we noticed and then we watched a 10 point buck swim about a mile or so across Dogpaw Lake, and it was simply unbelievable to see.  It burst out of the lake once at shore and rambled over some fallen trees looked back at us and bolted deep into the bush of the island.  Our guide thinks it was simply determined to hit the eastern mainland for the rut.  Our friends were in another boat and saw this same deer 20 minutes later finishing his pilgrimage.

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 12:04:37 AM »
The Labour Day Classics kicked off the second half of the season in style. 

In addition to Ottawa downing Montreal on Thursday, Saskatchewan defeated Winnipeg on Sunday. 

On Monday, a pair of Provincial match ups concluded the festivities, with Calgary defeating Edmonton, and Hamilton collecting their first win of the season against rival Toronto in June Jones' CFL coaching debut. 

The discrepancy between the two divisions make the NBA look balanced by comparison. 

The standings would look the same right now, whether they have divisions or not. 

West
Calgary 8-1-1, 17 pts
Winnipeg 7-3, 14 pts
Edmonton 7-3 14 pts
Saskatchewan 5-4. 10 pts
BC 5-5, 10 pts

East
Ottawa 4-6-1, 9pts
Toronto 4-7, 8pts
Montreal 3-7, 6pts
Hamilton 1-8, 2 pts

The way the Playoffs work after the 18 game regular season is that each Division winner gets a bye in the Semifinal round, then host the Divisional Final Game. 

The Semifinal round has the second place team hosting the third place team in each division. 

There is a crossover rule that says that if the fourth place team in one division has a better record than the third place team in the other division, then they can nab their playoff spot. So if the season ended today, Saskatchewan would get Montreal's spot and play Toronto on the road in the East Division Semifinal. The winner of that game would advance to play at Ottawa in the East Division Final. 

The winners of the two Divisional Final Games will meet up in the Grey Cup, which is always the Sunday after the OSU-Michigan game on Espn2. 

The Grey Cup is in Ottawa this year. They will be dusting off Shania Twain for the Halftime Show. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2017, 11:25:23 AM »
Hawkeye legend Drew Tate is still clingin' to the dream as a third string QB for Ottawa. 

Due to injuries they had to roll him out there for a start yesterday, and he led 'em to a road win against their hated rival Montreal; keeping his team in first place in the East Division. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2017, 09:41:22 AM »
The Regular Season has reached its conclusion, and the playoff field is set.




Final Standings:

West
Calgary Stampeders, 27 points, 13-4-1
Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 24 pts, 12-6
Edmonton Eskimos, 24 pts, 12-6
Saskatchewan Roughriders, 20 pts, 10-8
BC Lions, 14 pts, 7-11

East
Toronto Argonauts, 18 points, 9-9
Ottawa RedBlacks, 17  pts, 8-9-1
Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 12 pts, 6-12
Montreal Alouettes, 6 pts, 3-15

*The "Crossover Rule" goes into effect, as the 4th place West Division team (Saskatchewan) had more "points" in the standings than the 3rd place East Division team (Hamilton). So Saskatchewan will nab Hamilton's playoff spot.

----------------------

CFL PLAYOFFS

Semifinal Round, Sunday Nov 12.

East Division Semifinal, 1:00pm (Eastern) ESPN2
Saskatchewan @ Ottawa

West Division Semifinal, 4:30pm ESPNews
Edmonton @ Winnipeg


Finals Round, Sunday Nov 19

East Division Final, 1:00pm ESPNews
East Semifinal Winner @ Toronto

West Division Final, 4:30pm ESPNews
West Semifinal Winner @ Calgary


GREY CUP (Ottawa, Ontario)
Sunday, Nov 26, 6:00pm (Eastern) ESPN2

East Division Champion vs West Division Champion


Here is the bracket



« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 10:45:44 AM by Brutus Buckeye »
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 08:44:05 PM »

The Saskatchewan Roughriders knocked off the Ottawa Redblacks 31-20 on the road in the East Division Semifinal. 

They will play a road game against the Toronto Argonauts in the East Division Final next Sunday. 



The Edmonton Eskimos beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the road 39-32 in the West Division Semifinal.

They will play their Labour Day rival, the Calgary Stampeders, on the road in the West Division Final, for the Battle of Alberta



1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 08:51:17 PM »


In the East Division Final, each team has a Buckeye WR. 


The Argos have Devier Posey








And the Riders have Duron Carter




1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2017, 03:06:09 PM »

On the topic of Canadian Football, their College Playoffs are also underway. 

There are 4 Conferences, the CCGs double as National Quarterfinals. Those were last weekend.

Next, the 4 Conference Champions square off in a pair of Bowl Games that double as the National Semifinals.
-Uteck Bowl: Western (Ont) Mustangs @ Acadia (NS) Axemen
-Mitchell Bowl: Laval (Que) ReO @ Calgary (Alb) Dinos
The Bowl Games are this weekend.

The winners of those two Bowl Games will square off in the Vanier Cup the following weekend, which is their National Championship game. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2017, 04:17:10 PM »

Well the CFL East Division Final went down to the wire. 

The Argos score a TD in the final minute of regulation for a 25-21 win, putting coach Marc Trestman back in the Grey Cup. 
/Trestman went 2-1 in Grey Cups, before coaching the Chicago Bears.

Duron Carter and Devier Posey were the only player on either team to catch a TD in the game. 



Up next, Battle of Alberta out West. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Weekend Reflections: CFL, eh?
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2017, 07:57:08 PM »
Calgary beats Edmonton 28-24. 

It'll be Calgary-Toronto in the Grey Cup next Sunday. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

 

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