Ruling: So far, no good

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

Two off-season rule changes that were instituted in an effort to create more scoring and excitement have not helped at all so far.

One of the new rules this year is teams must kick off after scoring a field goal. The rule was implemented with the hope that more returns would be taken to the house.

There have been 73 more kickoffs this year than there were at this point last season, but there has been one fewer return touchdown (one) than there was last year (two) through Week 7 action.

The other change to the rule book was the implementation of the 'wildcat' offence, which allows the quarterback to line up anywhere. The problem is hardly any teams have taken advantage of it.

And the bottom line is this -- scoring is down by an average of nearly five points per game compared to last year at this time.

Creating more kickoffs and allowing wildcat formations was supposed to help offences pile up the points.

So far, it's done nothing of the sort.

OPENING DRIVE

It's a new year, but not much has changed when it comes to the standings. If the playoffs started today, all four West Division teams would be in the post-season for the second straight year ... West Division dominance is all over the place. Since 2004, Hamilton hasn't beaten Saskatchewan and Toronto hasn't knocked off B.C. ... Toronto Argonauts kicker Justin Medlock tied the franchise record with seven field goals Friday night against the Leos, including three from longer than 50 yards. Lance Chomyc and Noel Prefontaine also split the uprights seven times in their Boatmen careers ... The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have only three receiving touchdowns so far this year. A pair of defensive linemen -- Saskatchewan's Keith Shologan and Montreal's Eric Wilson -- have two ... Eskimos tailback Jesse Lumsden is out for the rest of the season after having surgery on his shoulder. If you count the one quarter he played in Edmonton's season-opener, the former Hamilton Tiger-Cats star will have appeared in only 20 contests in the last three seasons due to injuries.

ENDZONE TOSS

Ben Cahoon's father-in-law is the new governor of Utah. Gary Herbert was sworn in last Tuesday, and Cahoon, the Alouettes star slotback, was allowed to skip practice to attend the ceremony. "It's wonderful, and we're excited for Gary -- that's what I call him -- and it's well-deserved," Cahoon said ... The Argos have lost nine in a row at home, and the bad news is this: They don't get to play the Bombers at home again this season. Their six remaining games at Rogers Centre are against squads that currently boast better records. The CFL record is 14 home losses in a row, set by Ottawa in 1988 and '89 ... The B.C. Lions are going with Jarious Jackson at quarterback this week after Buck Pierce suffered his fifth head injury in the last 11 months.

EXTRA POINTS

Don't be confused by the schedule this week. Unlike the last two years, teams in both divisions are getting the bye at the same time. Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Hamilton won't play this weekend, while Winnipeg, B.C., Montreal and Saskatchewan will go on vacation next week. This way, when teams meet after their bye weeks, both are coming off the same length of break ... Three diehard fans -- Alpesh Patel, Vipin Patel and Stephen Roth -- watched all four of last week's games live on the "2009 Ultimate CFL Weekend." If it sounds familiar, that's because Alpesh Patel performed the same feat last year ... Expect to see cornerback Byron Parker rejoin the Argos this week. Parker is the answer to the following trivia question: Who did the Philadelphia Eagles cut to make room for Michael Vick?


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