10 Questions to ponder

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

On the eve of the CFL's 94th campaign, one wonders who'll have a tougher year -- the Winnipeg Blue Bombers or Tom Wright. In a league in which the reigning MVP is entering his 22nd season, the zebras are entering the age of technology and Ricky Williams is entering the rookie-of-the-year race, it won't be long until some of the most pressing questions will start to get answered.

To follow are the 10 biggest:

10. CAN DAVE DICKENSON LAST THE WHOLE SEASON?

Without a Casey Printers to back him up, the Lions will go with two American o-linemen in an effort to preserve their quarterback's health and give Wally Buono a legitimate chance to win a Cup in Vancouver.

9. CAN JASON MAAS TURN THE TICATS AROUND?

The tainted trade that brought the former Eskimos quarterback to Steeltown was augmented by deals that brought running backs Corey Holmes and Josh Ranek as well as receivers Terry Vaughn and Kwame Cavil. If those additions can't get the 5-13 Ticats back on track, Greg Marshall is no smarter than Greg Brady.

8. IS KERRY JOSEPH THE ANSWER IN SASKATCHEWAN?

Plagued by quarterback inconsistency for years, many believe nabbing Ottawa's versatile quarterback could put the 'Riders in line to finally host their first playoff game since 1988. If not, the Roy Shivers/Danny Barrett act could be canceled.

7. WILL TOM WRIGHT BE AROUND PAST NOVEMBER?

Better question: Does anyone really care?

6. WILL OTTAWA EVER COME BACK?

Comebacks by mesh shoes, leg warmers or Spuds MacKenzie t-shirts would be better than seeing the sorriest franchise in pro sports return. A franchise committee, which includes Calgary's Ted Hellard, was formed Tuesday but few believe there'll be enough interest to resurrect the Renegades before 2008, if ever. Wright's future with the league will largely dictate how bold the league gets with future expansion past eight teams.

5. CAN EDMONTON ADEQUATELY REBUILD ITS O-LINE AND MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?

Three o-line veterans retired, putting pressure on Ricky Ray in a divisional dogfight that will come down to the last game of the regular season. It says here that game will determine whether the defending champs extend their 34-year playoff streak.

4. ARE THE STAMPEDERS FOR REAL?

Bolstering depth and adding stability to a club that came a long way in 2005, all indications are the Stamps are poised to pick up where they left off, winning seven of eight before choking in the playoffs. In the tough West, could it really be that simple?

3. IS THIS DAMON ALLEN'S LAST YEAR?

Not a chance. Coming off his first MVP season, the man who turns 43 next month now has yet another weapon -- Ricky Williams -- to keep defences off-balance.

2. WILL THE CFL TAKE THE INSTANT OUT OF INSTANT REPLAY?

Replays took forever to review in the pre-season and given the league's history of officiating woes, there's no reason to believe that won't continue in the booth. Let's hope they're not using beta or VCR technology.

1. WILL RICKY WILLIAMS BE A BUST?

You might not know the score of the Argos game or what their record is but you'll be made well aware of how many yards the disgraced NFL castoff runs for every week. Just don't say bust around Reefer Ricky, man -- that could ruin a buzz.


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