Single div. CFL ... got to love it

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:48 PM ET

There is a silver lining on every cloud.

The CFL certainly will be searching for one next week, because it sure doesn't look like anyone is going to come in and save the Ottawa Renegades.

Let's face it: The Renegades aren't going to play in 2006, but with a proper search for new owners they can come back strong in 2007.

They always come back.

But, for now, let's focus on an eight-team CFL. Again.

Kent Gilchrist wrote in The (Vancouver) Province yesterday that the league is looking at one division of eight teams this season.

The Hit Parade says: Bring it on.

The schedule would have to be tweaked, but teams obviously would still want their nine home games. Therefore, all teams would have home-and-home series against each other, but each squad would also play four teams one extra time.

Winnipeg, for example, could play its extra games against Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Montreal and B.C.

Which Bomber fan wouldn't love that?

So now that the schedule's set, the playoff formula is simple: third vs. sixth, fourth vs. fifth, and first and second get byes. Then, in the semifinal round, first plays the lowest remaining seed and second takes on the other team.

This way, we'd get some variety when it comes to playoff matchups. How many times does Calgary take on Hamilton in the first round? Or when have Edmonton and Montreal clashed in a semifinal?

Because really, who wants (or needs) to see Montreal play Toronto in the East Division final again?

The teams wouldn't like it because regional rivalries would go out the window. Purists would argue that a Hamilton-Calgary playoff contest has no history, that it's not tradition and that is has to be an east-west Grey Cup.

Hogwash.

The most prominent tradition in the CFL is a team folding every three years.

It's time to do away with tradition.

HIT AND RUN: Admit it, fellas: You were hoping and wishing and praying that Natalie Gulbis would win last week's Kraft Nabisco Championship and be the one jumping into the pond ... Did you feel bad for Barry Bonds when you saw him crying on TV the other night? Didn't think so ... It sure is difficult to get work done on Thursday and Friday afternoons during the Masters. The scoreboard at masters.org is a production killer -- especially when you have never been more concerned in your life about Thomas Levet making the cut or not ... The Masters is great and the NHL playoffs are cool, but there's no better sporting event on TV than the first four days of March Madness ... Charles Coody, 67, fired 89-74 at the Masters. Those would have been great scores if they used a flighting system after the first day ... Few tears will be shed in Manitoba when the L.A. Kings miss the playoffs. The Kings were in a playoff spot when they fired Souris native Andy Murray last month ... Baseball's back, and the Yankees were under .500 going into last night's action. How much longer is George Steinbrenner going to put up with such a mediocre team? ... Are people serious when they say the Toronto Blue Jays are going to make the playoffs this season? ... The NHL rookie of the year is Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Ovechkin. It's not Sidney Crosby, and it's not Dion Phaneuf, although both of those players will be winning major awards in the very near future.


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