With two weeks left in the season and with only a couple of playoff positions to be decided, it's time to assess the favourites for Lord Grey's mug.
We're not taking bets (you can send us your money), but here are the odds on who will win the 2007 Grey Cup:
- B.C. Lions (3 to 2) -- Defending champs look unstoppable but smart money should stay away. Wally Buono hasn't won back-to-back championships in his head-coaching history.
- Toronto Argonauts (4 to 1) -- This would be a nice bet, but host teams seem to wilt in the playoffs. The last host team to win was the 1994 B.C. Lions.
- Saskatchewan Roughriders (8 to 1) -- They are hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1988, which may be too much pressure to overcome. Whatever happens, it's a successful first season for head coach Kent Austin.
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers (15 to 2) -- A great finishing story would be Milt Stegall officially retiring moments after celebrating his first title win. May be too good to be true.
- Calgary Stampeders (18 to 1) -- Must win outside of Alberta for first time this season, and win in a dome for first time since 2002. If Henry Burris and offence are clicking, it could happen. Good longshot pick.
- Montreal Alouettes (83 to 2) -- Could get into playoffs through back door and then who knows? Anthony Calvillo has been to five of last seven Grey Cups and know what it takes.
- Edmonton Eskimos (99 to 1) -- Just getting into the dance is about a 50-to-1 longshot, but they would need a miraculous return of Ricky Ray to have any hope.
CIS kickers take heed. There should be a handful of CFL kicking jobs open next season. Sean Fleming is done in Edmonton, with first-round draft pick Warren Kean trying to pick up where the Eskimos all-time leading scorer left off but not a lock to win the job. Winnipeg will need to solidify its situation that has caused problems all season and has the Bombers auditioning imports with two weeks left in the season. One other job will likely come up, as well, as it usually does ... As always, Charles Roberts turned the rushing title into a great race. Joe Smith's six-yard lead may be the only thing worth watching during the final two Lions games. Smith also just needs one rushing TD to tie Mike Pringle for the single-season record and is 66 yards behind Cory Philpot's franchise-best campaign ... With 15 sacks, B.C.'s Cameron Wake is the runaway favourite for rookie of the year, and on any other team would be a candidate for outstanding defensive player. In B.C., Ryan Phillips leads the league in picks, Tyrone Williams is a force at tackle and Otis Floyd is having a great season at linebacker.
Much of the talk is about Michael Bishop's great record with the Argos, but Toronto is 7-2 since picking up RB Robert Edwards. If Edwards is injured for any length of time, the Argos offence will suffer mightily, especially since Troy Davis is gone ... A Fab Five this is not: Eskimos special teams have allowed five punt blocks and given up five TDs. Ouch! ... Blue Bombers DB Anthony Malbrough will return this week against Toronto, but the past few weeks he's been a defacto coach sitting in the booth helping call defensive plays ... Roughriders QB Kerry Joseph has 13 rushing TDs, one back of the record for a pivot, set by Doug Flutie in 1991.
You know things are terrible when one of the season highlights is a punt. Tiger-Cats kicker Nick Setta bombed a 97-yarder against Saskatchewan, which is the longest in Hamilton history. Setta also has 40 field goals this season and his percentage leads the league ... The 98-yard pass reception Ben Cahoon had against Toronto was the second-longest non-TD play in history but the possible rift between he and QB Anthony Calvillo overshadowed it. At one point this season, when they beat Calgary and B.C. at home, Montreal looked as if they would put together a nice run at the playoffs, but losing five of six has put GM/head coach Jim Popp on the hot seat.