June 28, 2012
Friesen's fearless CFL forecast
By PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency
I don't know how you follow up an off-season like that, but beginning Friday night the Crazy Football League is going to try.
What other league could change half its head coaches and trade two former MVP, championship-winning quarterbacks in the space of six months?
Drama like that makes the 11th version of Friesen's Forecast rather challenging.
The following do not come with a money-back guarantee.
There's no guarantee they won't happen, either.
Week 1: The two transplanted quarterbacks have dramatic debuts, Henry Burris lighting it up for Hamilton, Ricky Ray leading the Argos to victory in Edmonton. High-definition TV shows Eskimos GM Eric Tillman's hair bristling on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, the Blue Bombers are throttled in Vancouver, but the week is considered a success because no running backs or quarterbacks are seriously injured.
Week 3: Jeff Reinebold's defence is making headlines in Montreal, not only for its play but also the rabid dedication to its new co-ordinator. Head coach Marc Trestman steps in, though, when one player is injured during a drill that involves walking over hot coals in bare feet.
Week 4: The Bombers fall to 0-4 in Toronto, after which Jovon Johnson and Jonathan Hefney tweet they have every confidence in the coaches and management to turn things around.
Week 5: The Riders go into their bye week with four straight wins. Head coach Corey Chamblin says it's amazing what you can do when fans aren't discussing your strategy on the internet.
Two more CFL teams, including Winnipeg, quickly ban fans from one practice a week.
Week 6: Reinebold returns to an adoring throng in Winnipeg, causing prominent psychologists to rethink long-held beliefs about the staying power of brainwashing. Trestman, however, is not amused when a few overzealous east-side fans throw their panties at the Sun God.
Week 8: Saskatchewan loses two in a row, and Chamblin extends his fan ban to three days a week.
Labour Day Weekend: The Riders beat the Bombers behind the stellar play of Odell Willis, who insists his five-sack, eight-tackle, one-interception and fumble-return touchdown performance had nothing to do with the way he was shipped out of Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, the Twitter Twins, Johnson and Hefney, say Winnipeg is the best 2-7 team they've ever been on.
Week 11: Willis has an eventful return to Winnipeg, flagged for five penalties and ejected from the Banjo Bowl. He spends the second half composing incomprehensible tweets from the Riders locker-room.
Week 13: The league fines Chamblin when it discovers he's been trolling other teams' fan forums trying to pry information in advance of key division games.
Week 15: Proving you need more than a good quarterback, the Argos continue to plummet in the standings, along with local interest in the team and the 100th Grey Cup game. People start asking questions about what happened to the $1 million the rest of the league gave Toronto for marketing.
Week 19: Brendon LaBatte, Joe Lobendahn and Greg Carr are West Division all-stars. Their replacements in Winnipeg are not.
Playoffs: The Riders announce they've struck a deal for a new stadium, confident they can fast-track construction for the 2014 season. Apparently, some Winnipeg-based company with recent experience building open-air facilities has promised it can deliver.
Bomber management stops laughing long enough to watch its team lose to the Ticats in the East semifinal.
Grey Cup: A beaming commissioner Mark Cohon declares it the best Grey Cup festival, ever. On the field, the Lions repeat as Cup champs, beating Montreal before a raucous crowd resembling last year's in Vancouver.
Turns out owner David Braley bought up every ticket discarded by Argos fans, gave them to B.C. supporters and paid their way to Toronto. Braley says it was $1 million well spent.