Everywhere you look around the Canadian Football League people are upset.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes both questioned the officiating during their game Friday. The CFL responded by firing side judge Rick Berezowski, who made a controversial pass interference call late in the game.
Toronto Argonauts linebacker Ejiro Kuale (@EJKUALE), who guaranteed a win against Hamilton, engaged in a Twitter war with Tiger-Cats tailback Avon Cobourne (@AvonCobourne) after Hamilton won on Saturday. A sampling:
Kuale: “fool u washed up u ain’t got Calvillo spotlight anymore and ya boy Whitaker has made u a never was in Montreal chump”
Cobourne: “u had 2 tackles in a 53 play offensive game u will be cut soon Mr. Guarantee”
Meanwhile, B.C. Lions defensive lineman Aaron Hunt accused the Edmonton Eskimos offensive line of playing dirty. Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed shot back saying, “I would really hope some people would just shut up and just play football, period.”
Looking for an angry football fan in Saskatchewan? You will not need to look very hard.
The later in the season we get the higher the stakes are and the more tension there is surrounding each game. And if emotions are already boiling over in Week 14 one wonders what will happen in Week 18 when the Eskimos and Lions meet again or in Week 19 when the Argos and Ticats finish their season series.
The Lions, meanwhile, have no reason to complain when it comes to this week’s rankings:
1. B.C. Lions
Last week’s ranking: 1
This week: vs. Calgary Stampeders, Saturday 10 pm ET
Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed did not hold back in responding to accusations from B.C. players about his team playing dirty, but Lions head coach and general manager Wally Buono has no interest in getting involved. He claims to have no opinion when it comes to ejection of Eskimos tailback Jerome Messam. “The officials do their job and I do mine,” he said. “Mine isn’t to officiate the game. Honestly, I haven’t even looked at it. I looked at it when I graded the play, but I don’t care. My opinion is not relative. If I was the Brendan Shanahan of the CFL then my opinion would be relative. The officials get paid to sort out that mess and they sorted it out. God bless them. The league will look at and if they have to take disciplinary action then God bless them.”
2. Montreal Alouettes
Last week’s ranking: 3
This week: vs. Toronto Argonauts, Monday 1 p.m. ET
The legend of Anthony Calvillo continues to grow. He was concussed after absorbing a brutal hit in Week 13, but bounced back with a 335-yard, three-touchdown performance against the CFL’s top defence. This week he has a chance to once again rewrite the record books needing just 258 yards to supplant Damon Allen atop the league’s passing yards list.
3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Last week’s ranking: 2
This week: at Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Friday 7:30 p.m. ET
The Bombers have been outscored in every quarter, but the third. Winnipeg is -13 in the first quarter, -26 in the second and -1 in the fourth. The team is +48 in the third quarter. Whatever head coach Paul LaPolice is telling his players at halftime, it’s working.
4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Last week’s ranking: 5
This week: vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Friday 7:30 p.m. ET
The Ticats boast the most balanced offence in the CFL. Hamilton passes 56% of the time and runs on 44% of offensive plays. The league’s average pass-to-run ratio is 61-39. Quarterback Kevin Glenn has been making sure Hamilton’s passing attack is balanced as well with nine different players recording a reception last week against Toronto.
5. Calgary Stampeders
Last week’s ranking: 6
This week: at B.C. Lions, Saturday 10 p.m. ET
Calgary only moves up one spot despite posting an impressive home victory over the fledgling Roughriders. The Ticats just beat the Stampeders at a neutral site so Hamilton’s dominant road win over the desperate Argos keeps them ahead of Calgary while the resilient Bombers, who stuck with the Alouettes despite missing their starting quarterback and tailback, remain at No. 3.
6. Edmonton Eskimos
Last week’s ranking: 4
This week: vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders, Monday 4:30 p.m. ET
The Eskimos need to boost their red-zone efficiency if they hope to make a deep playoff push this season. Edmonton is getting in the end zone on only 47% of their trips inside the opposition 20-yard line. Only the last-place Argos (44%) are less productive in the score zone.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Last week’s ranking: 7
This week: at Montreal Alouettes, Monday 1 p.m. ET
Toronto knew slotback/tailback Andre Durie (hip) would be unable to play on Saturday, but kept him on the 42-man roster anyway. Head coach and general manager Jim Barker said he simply had no other Canadians available to dress. Each team must have 20 homegrown players on the active roster of which seven are starters. The Argos have seen a number of Canadians go down with injuries in recent weeks, while offensive linemen Cedric Gagne-Marcoux (concussion) was a late scratch last week. Playing the crucial game one man down will give critics of Barker, who suggest he should give up one of his titles before the 2012 season, more ammo.
8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Last week’s ranking: 8
This week: at Edmonton Eskimos, Monday 4:30 p.m. ET
The Argos and Roughriders are waging quite the battle at the bottom of the rankings. Saskatchewan is the only CFL team that has yet to beat a divisional opponent, which keeps them at No. 8 for now.
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