CFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Calgary (3-1) at Hamilton (0-4)

The skinny: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. (TSN). Fear not for Greg Marshall, the former Western Mustangs star running back and assistant coach who was fired this week as head coach of the struggling Tiger-Cats. Marshall is destined to do great things in his sport. He's had success at every level of football, including two seasons ago in Hamilton when he won CFL coach of the year in his rookie season. But this is pro football, where winning is everything and the creed for all involved is "What have you done for us lately?" Truth is, the Ticats have done very little lately except dig themselves into a giant hole. Even with the CFL's forgiving, 18-game regular season, Hamilton's 0-4 start is a disaster. It's particularly painful because expectations going in were so high, based on the extensive retooling the Tabbies undertook with their offence in the offseason. To be winless at this point in the campaign is, well, offensive. Led by quarterback Jason Maas, acquired from Edmonton, the Ticats' limp attack is last in the loop. Maas has passed for just two touchdowns (and six interceptions) and the Ticats are averaging just under 18 points a game. In their four losses, Hamilton has scored a mere 14 points after halftime. Interim head coach Ron Lancaster has a job on his hands.

Cody's call: Ticats 23-22

Saskatchewan (1-2) at B.C. (2-2)

The skinny: Tonight, 10:30 p.m. (TSN). The Roughriders' lone win this season came against the Lions, 32-24 on June 25 at Taylor Field in Regina via some last-minute heroics guided by QB Kerry Joseph. Despite a followup strong showing by Joseph (334 yards and three TDs passing and 62 yards rushing) last week, the 'Riders were buried at home 53-36 by the Calgary Stampeders. The Calgary combo of QB Henry Burris, who tossed three TD passes and ran for 48 yards on six carries, and running back Joffrey Reynolds, who gained 110 yards on 15 carries, more than made up for Joseph's stellar showing. The Roughriders definitely have a problem on defence. In three games, they've been scalded for 122 points. Let's see (and I'll need all my fingers and toes to do the figurin' here), that would be 40.7 points against per game. This week, the Roughriders have a diversion to deal with. Star running back Kenton Keith was charged Wednesday with aggravated assault in the aftermath of a bar brawl on July 2. The Lions, meanwhile, are the CFL's most proficient scoring machine at the moment -- 115 points in four games (just under 29 a game) -- and both their victories have come at home at B.C. Place. Last week, they lost 27-20 to another home-town hottie -- the Edmonton Eskimos, who hardly ever lose at home.

Cody's call: Lions 33-21

Montreal (3-0) at Winnipeg (3-1)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 7 p.m. (CBC, RDS). Both the Blue Bombers and Alouettes are flying high, setting up this early-season battle for first place in the East. Hey, the Als were expected to be where they are. Not so the Bombers, who were looked upon as a weak link again this year after last season's 5-13 debacle. Going in, you couldn't blame the Als, Argos and Tiger-Cats for feeling pretty good about their playoff prospects. Winnipeg looked like a good bet to dwell in the East basement, their home last season in the West. But first-year head coach Doug Berry, who flew to the Bombers from the Als, has his guys playing. The Bombers are allowing the fewest points per game in the league -- 15.5 (Montreal is second at 17.3). Defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall and defensive backs coach Gregg Butler are deserving of a lot of credit for the Bombers' defensive resurgence. Actually, the lone team to dent Winnipeg's D this season is the Als, who bopped the Bombers 27-17 in the season lid-lifter.

Cody's call: Als 24-21

Season record Last week: 2-2; overall: 7-8


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