Too much Ticats

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:50 PM ET

One of the wackiest parts of any Bomber schedule in recent memory will finally come to a conclusion on Friday night.

It was odd when it was announced during the winter that the Bombers and Ticats would play four times in the first seven weeks (five in eight if you count the pre-season), but now that it’s happening, everyone can’t wait for it to end.

It’s only an eight-team league, but even this is a little ridiculous.

“There’s always one team you play a stupid amount of times every year, but usually it’s spread out,” Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown said. “This is the first time it’s been condensed like this.

“It’s like taking your concentrated orange juice and not mixing any water in it and drinking it. It’s not going to make anybody happy, right? It doesn’t taste good. It’s not intended to be drunk that way, so mix it with water. Spread it out. Space out those particles, man.”

The home team was won every meeting thus far. Hamilton took the pre-season game at Ivor Wynne, Winnipeg captured the season-opener at Canad Inns Stadium, and the Ticats won the next two in Steeltown, including last Saturday’s 29-22 triumph.

Winnipeg is only team Hamilton has beaten this season. Both teams are 2-4 overall, and the Bombers need to win Friday’s home game by at least nine points to take the season series.

How much have these teams played each other? The Bombers practised only twice this week, and that almost never happens when there are five full days between games.

When coaches look at film of their upcoming opponent, they will often steal what the other teams are doing to be successful. These days the only team LaPolice sees playing against the Ticats is his own.

“We had 500 yards of offence and all these other things (last Saturday),” LaPolice said. “It’s hard to go back and have 505 yards of offence against a team. They get paid, too, and all those things. So it’s interesting.

“But it is a neat challenge as coaches to see how they’re going to adjust and what new wrinkles we’re going to have to attack them with. If you have enough of an offence, you can show new things.”

Winnipeg added many layers to its playbook during the winter specifically because of the Hamilton-heavy schedule, which LaPolice said he could have done without.

“I’d rather have more games in between, because you get more ideas when you see other people doing things and then new concepts come out,” he said.

One question that has never really been answered is why the Bombers and Ticats were forced to play each other so much in such a short period of time. CFL director of communications Jamie Dykstra said it’s just how it worked out based on too many factors to explain.

“There’s no magic answer,” Dykstra said. “It’s based on T.V., stadium availability and team preferences.”

Dykstra added there are several matches set well before the schedule is made, like the ones on Labour Day weekend. That leaves fewer slots for the other games to fill.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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