Canada's football Dream Team

Receiver Andy Fantuz would be a lock for the Olympics if football was added to the program. (Stan...

Receiver Andy Fantuz would be a lock for the Olympics if football was added to the program. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency/Files)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Maybe Roger Goodell is onto something.

Sure, putting American football in the Olympics would certainly just boost the U.S. gold-medal total, but there is no doubt Canada would be in line for silver.

If the best football players from both sides of the 49th parallel were to suit up for their countries and fight for Olympic supremacy, Canada could put up a good battle.

Of course, there would be a few Dream Team blowouts en route to the eventual victory, but with pride on the line, Canada would certainly be the second-best team in the tournament, right?

Heck, Team Canada went into Austin, Texas, in early July and beat the U.S. 23-17 at the IFAF world junior football tournament, so there's always a chance at an upset.

Of course, the Americans would assemble a team with NFL Pro Bowlers at every position. Their selection process would be widely debated, but it's fun to think about after NFL commissioner Goodell mentioned how he's working on getting his sport included on the world stage.

Even if Canada went without some of the big names playing in the NFL -- Israel Idonije, Vaughn Martin, Austin Collie or Jon Ryan come to mind -- a team of CFLers could compete, at least with every other nation outside of North America.

That got us thinking. Who would we put on our Canadian Olympic team? Here are our picks:

Receiver

Starters: Andy Fantuz, Shawn Gore, Chris Getzlaf

Backups: Andre Durie, Cory Watson, Akeem Foster

This should be our deepest position, and depending on when the tournament takes place, we could add future stars Kito Poblah, Johnny Forzani and Shamawd Chambers to the mix. The one thing the team might be missing is a burner on the outside, as the one less player on the smaller field will make that a necessity.

Running back

Starter: Jerome Messam

Backups: Jon Cornish, Andrew Harris

Never before has Canada had so much to offer at this position. The real problem is there is only one ball to carry.

Messam is getting a taste of the four-down game right now with the Miami Dolphins, so his experience will give him an edge when compiling the roster.

Offensive line

Starters: LT Josh Bourke, LG Brendon LaBatte, C Marwan Hage, RG Dimitri Tsoumpas, RT Chris Van Zeyl

Backups: C Dominic Picard, T Jeff Perrett, G Peter Dyakowski

Our quarterback should have ample time to find a target behind this group that features a great deal of athleticism. They also should be able to create some holes for our running backs.

Defensive line

Starters: Ricky Foley, Keith Shologan, Corey Mace, Shomari Williams

Backups: Ted Laurent, Brian Bulcke, J.P. Bekasiak, Luc Mullinder

We move Williams from his current position at middle linebacker to give us two true rush ends. Our run-stuffing men in the middle will swallow up running backs.

Linebackers

Starters: Shea Emry, James Yurichuk, Pierre-Luc Labbe

Backups: Henoc Muamba, Kevin Eiben, Marc-Olivier Brouillette

With Emry in the middle, this should be a hard-hitting group that should be stout against the run. It would probably be suspect against a passing attack.

Defensive backs

Starters: Eric Fraser, Cauchy Muamba, Craig Butler, Ian Logan, Matt Bucknor

Backups: Donovan Alexander, J.R. LaRose, Ryan Hinds

OK, so we won't play well in a man-to-man defence, but we have ball-hawks. Everyone will have to sit back and play a deep zone.

And that leaves us at quarterback. We don't have one to match the top 50 or so choices the Americans have.

Maybe that will change in a few years, though.

* * * * *

CFL bye-week yielding trends

A betting man has to like the Calgary Stampeders this week in Hamilton, based solely on recent history.

That same gambler should take note about the Montreal Alouettes for next year.

Since the CFL changed its schedule format so there are two bye weeks about seven or eight games into the season (it was early this year due to the Olympics), a couple interesting trends have emerged.

The Stamps are 5-0 coming off the break, as John Hufnagel and his coaching staff devise great gameplans with some extra time to study their upcoming opponent.

Heading into the break, the Alouettes are the best team, with a sparkling 6-0 record that includes last week's victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Maybe head coach Marc Trestman dangles some sort of carrot in front of his players to get them to play hard before jetting off for a midseason vacation.

The Als certainly aren't as successful when coming back from their sojourns, compiling a 2-3 record off the breaks, which puts them behind the eight-ball next week against Edmonton.

It shouldn't be a surprise the Toronto Argonauts lost Monday to the B.C. Lions, or that the Eskimos fumbled away a game in Winnipeg prior their time off.

Since 2007, the Argos and Eskimos are a woeful 1-5 when preparing for the bye.

The future doesn't look good for the Argos when they head to Calgary for an Aug. 18 matchup with the Stamps. The Argos are 1-4 coming off their breaks in recent years, but the team didn't win a lot of games at any point during some those seasons.

The Eskimos can at least hang their hat on this stat: They are 4-1 coming off the bye the past five years, which should help them as they face the Roughriders at home this week.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNIanBusby


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