And that's just half of it!

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

We're at halftime, so it's time for a little assessment of the CFL season so far.

With three teams tied for first in the West Division, and everyone else chasing the Montreal Alouettes in the East, there is no shortage of storylines that caught our attention in the first half:

- A few recognizable names won't play again in 2009. The first to go down was Eskimos RB Jesse Lumsden, but then Lions K Paul McCallum and Stamps WR Ken-Yon Rambo followed. It takes a while to build recognition with fans, and having these players out hurts off the field, as well.

- Finally, after seven years and three coaching changes, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a competitive team. Marcel Bellefeuille seems to be a better head coach than he was as a co-ordinator and he is taking the improving talent provided by GM Bob O'Billovich and making it work. It's about time fans in Hamilton had something to cheer about.

- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have provided a bimonthly circus, first getting rid of a 1,000-yard receiver, then having a scout caught spying in Hamilton and then flirting with controversial Adam (Pacman) Jones.

Entertainment and wins don't go hand-in-hand in the CFL, but the Bombers have the most quotable coach in Mike Kelly. When asked about fans in Saskatchewan this weekend, Kelly replied: "Don't tell me I'm bald and I need to be fired. I need something good."

- The Alouettes just keep rolling along with 37-year-old quarterback Anthony Calvillo at the helm. Calvillo just keeps breaking records, but earlier this season he passed 60,000 passing yards for his career. If he keeps it up, Damon Allen's record will be in jeopardy.

- In another career rebirth story, Stamps slotback Jeremaine Copeland has become a TD machine. The 32-year-old veteran has nine majors this season, one off his season high of 10 with the Stamps in 2007.

- The Toronto Argonauts were hoping to find another Marc Trestman when hiring Bart Andrus, a coach with no CFL experience. So far, Andrus has displayed a lack of knowledge when it comes to the nuances of the three-down game. The most recent example is the Argos dressing two import kickers -- a first for the CFL -- with one doing punting and one doing the placekicking. All they needed was to use another import spot on a long-snapper to show a complete lack of addressing the real problems.

- More CFLers than ever have found jobs in the NFL this season, and at positions that don't normally get developed in the Canadian game. Former Lions RB Stefan Logan made the Pittsburgh Steelers as a kick returner, while Lions defensive end Cam Wake made the Miami Dolphins as a linebacker.

Second-half questions

The second half offers some intriguing possibilities. Will trends continue, or will new talking points emerge? Here are some questions we have:

- Will all CFL quarterbacks stay off the touchdown pace of last season? At this rate, a pivot will lead the league with 26 touchdowns, while Calvillo had 42 a year ago.

- Will Alouettes lose at home or to another team from the East Division? Once again, the defending East Division champs are tough at home and in their own division.

- Will there be an impact player from NFL cuts? The Lions could get Canadian RB Jamall Lee in action, the Stamps are looking at DE Charleston Hughes and the Argos could get KR Dominique Dorsey back.

- Will anybody use the wildcat again? It's all the rage in the NFL, but has gone south in Canada.

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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