Calvillo, no contest

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

It's always great to peruse the lists of CFL outstanding player nominees at this time of year, and try to predict who'll win in each category.

By Grey Cup week, anticipation for who'll win the Most Outstanding Player Award has usually built to a fever pitch.

This year, not so much.

In yet another year dominated by defence, thanks in part to a couple of inept offences in Winnipeg and Toronto, the pickings for MOP are slimmer than a supermodel.

Oh, Edmonton receiver Fred Stamps licked his share of defensive backs to the tune of 1,300 yards and Calgary running back Joffrey Reynolds sports a nifty 6.4-yard average to go along with his league-leading 1,397 yards on the ground.

B.C.'s Geroy Simon and Michael Jackson impersonator Arland Bruce of Toronto did their thing, too, and did it well.

But some of the other nominees won't even get a sniff.

With apologies to Saskatchewan's Darian Durant, quarterbacks who throw a league-leading 21 interceptions aren't MOP material.

Neither are cornerbacks who moonlight as kick returners (Bomber nominee Jovon Johnson) or running backs who rank seventh in the league (Argo Jamal Robertson).

Let's be honest: we can save everyone some time by simply handing the big trophy, for the second straight year, to Alouettes pivot Anthony Calvillo, right now.

The guy completes passes at a 72% clip, has lobbed the ball more than 4,600 yards with 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

Six picks! That's two bad games for the Bombers.

And the guy's 37 years old.

We should all age this gracefully.

LOSING FOCUS? Look who's got their panties in a ball now.

Seems the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were flirting with the idea of banning the media from their locker-room after stories about quarterback Michael Bishop's finances made the news yesterday.

Apparently the players were leading the way on this one, no doubt having taken their cues from confrontational head coach Mike Kelly all season.

There are those who feel the Bishop story -- a Toronto car leasing company is after him for more than $100,000 -- has nothing to do with football and therefore was inappropriate for the media to report on.

Memo to all concerned: when there's a court order on the public record garnisheeing the wages of the starting quarterback of a pro football team, it's news.

Think that wouldn't make national headlines in the States if it was Tom Brady or Drew Brees?

Local media outlets, including both daily papers, at least one TV station and the team's radio broadcaster reported the story responsibly, sans sensationalism.

Get over it, already, guys.

Isn't there a game to focus on this weekend?

AND THE WINNERS ARE: The only other nearly-sure pick out of the awards hat would be Montreal's little dynamo, Larry Taylor, as the top special teams player, and I'm not even convinced of that one, yet.

Calgary field goal ace Sandro DeAngelis and Edmonton return man Tristan Jackson, maybe even Toronto kicker Justin Medlock, will have something to say about this one.

Toughest pick might be at rookie, where B.C.'s Martell Mallett and Eskimo Arkee Whitlock are in a dead heat. Their production as runners and receivers have been remarkably similar.

As top Canadian, I'd lean towards Lions sack specialist Ricky Foley, while I really like Hamilton's Markeith Knowlton on defence, although John Chick of the Riders wouldn't be a bad choice, either.

Anyone who thinks they can pick the league's best O-lineman is kidding themselves. This is the one time of year when reporters want to talk to the O-line coach.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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