With the CFL season starting Thursday night, I offer these absolutely guaranteed-to-be-right predictions. (Note: not a guarantee.)
1. Edmonton Eskimos, 12-6. Despite having a whole new coaching staff, there’s a lot of continuity for the 2015 champs. Quarterback, star receivers, offensive line, and defensive line all return. Secondary is the only minor concern on the roster.
2. B.C. Lions, 10-8. Never underestimate coach Wally Buono, who returns to the sidelines. Jeremiah Johnson is a good add at running back, though they did lose Andrew Harris to Winnipeg.
3. Calgary Stampeders, 9-9. Still a dangerous team, but don’t think they have the depth they used to. Receiver Eric Rogers is gone to the NFL. Bo Levi Mitchell remains a top notch quarterback and will always give them a chance.
4. Saskatchewan Roughriders, 7-11. The former Eskimos coaching staff will make a difference, but the talent simply isn’t there this year.
5. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 7-11. Made some big moves in free agency, but once again they’ll be plagued by the worst quarterbacking in the league.
1. Toronto Argos, 11-7. Ricky Ray can still get it done.
2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 10-8. Could be slow out of the gate as quarterback Zach Collaros continues to recover from a knee injury. Kent Austin has proven he’s an excellent coach.
3. Montreal Alouettes, 8-10. Watch out for receiver Duron Carter, who returns from the NFL.
4. Ottawa RedBlacks, 7-11. A lot players returning from last year’s club, but can’t see them pulling off another run like that if rest of the division stays healthy.
West Semi: B.C. over Calgary
East Semi: Hamilton over Montreal
West Final: Edmonton over B.C.
East Final: Hamilton over Toronto
GREY CUP: Hamilton over Edmonton. The Tiger-Cats have been lurking for the last three years. With Collaros healthy, they finally get it done and win their first title since 1999. (jrw)