Welcome, sports fans, to the column you’ve all been waiting for, our annual look into the cracked crystal ball of Canadian football.
It’s hard to believe, but this is the 10th season of Friesen’s Forecast, a set of CFL predictions you won’t find anywhere else.
Here, we try to predict the unpredictable.
Based on the last nine years, though, there’s actually a good chance one of these will come true.
And after everything that happened last season, Bomber fans, who’s to say anything is impossible anymore?
Week 1: Saskatchewan head coach Ken Miller takes an intentional too-many-men penalty in the first quarter against Montreal. Explains later he was just getting it out of his system early this year.
Over in Winnipeg, Environment Canada officials are puzzled at a sudden gust of wind from the east registered at the airport, July 2. Turns out it was simply 26,000 people exhaling at the same time when quarterback Buck Pierce got up after his first sack.
Week 2: Toronto sets a modern-day CFL record by completing just one pass against the Bombers. Longtime observers say it’s the worst passing attack they’ve seen at the stadium in almost a year.
Week 4: In Toronto, owner David Braley breaks his leg during the Lions-Argonauts game. Word is he hurt himself racing back and forth between the home and visitors owner’s boxes.
Week 6: Would-be Bomber owner David Asper announces he’s secured his first really big client for the upscale Elms shopping complex. Asper says Hank’s Local Hardware is sure to be the start of a new era of consumerism in Winnipeg.
Week 7: The Blue Bombers lose a heartbreaker at home to Hamilton when they’re called for too many men on the field, nullifying what would have been a game-clinching interception. Head coach Paul LaPolice throws a headset so hard it lands in Transcona.
Week 8: Bomber defensive co-ordinator Kavis Reed is finally coaxed down from the roof of the west upper deck.
Week 9: The 0-8 Argos raise eyebrows across the CFL by acquiring Lions quarterback Casey Printers, who leads the league with 20 touchdown passes. In exchange, B.C. gets a sixth-round draft pick in 2020. Braley, who owns both teams, defends the apparent lopsidedness of the deal, saying his scouts tell him the current crop of Canadian 12-year olds will make the 2020 draft the best ever.
Week 10: Injuries to Buck Pierce and Darian Durant turn the annual Labour Day Classic between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan into a contest between backup quarterbacks Steven Jyles and Ryan Dinwiddie.
In the game, Bomber kicker Alexis Serna misses a late, chip shot field goal that would have beat the Riders. Serna explains he wasn’t used to Doug Berry screaming at him before he tried a kick.
Week 11: In the Banjo Bowl rematch, Berry, the Riders offensive co-ordinator and former Bomber head coach, has to be restrained from going after a heckler in the east side stands. How Troy Westwood managed to get that particular front-row seat remains a mystery for years.
Week 13: After the Argos fall to 1-11, Braley announces he’s traded Wally Buono from the Lions to the Argos. League governors scramble, but can’t find anything in the bylaws to prevent it.
Week 15: Receiver Derick Armstrong, returning to Winnipeg with the Lions, scores a touchdown, then fires the ball, hard, at a yappy fan in the stands. Paramedics are forced to extract the pigskin from the mouth of a baldheaded man in sunglasses who, witnesses say, had been berating Winnipeg’s shotgun formation.
Week 17: Cut from the NFL, running back Ricky Williams announces his intention of returning to Canada to play out his career. Told of the CFL’s new drug policy, Williams responds: “Exactly.”
Grey Cup Week: Former Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman finally scratches his Grey Cup itch, as the Riders beat the Alouettes. The first person Taman thanks: former Bomber head coach Mike Kelly, for scaring him off to Saskatchewan.