Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Picking Week 15 in the CFL

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If you can’t beat em…join em!!!  
Right now Mike McCullough is separating himself from the pack in our CFL Alumni Pick-Em Pool (which I’ll update everyone on this week).  The 2-Time Grey Cup Champ is currently 34-18 this season, in picking the winners of each CFLweek, and that’s 5 or 6 games ahead of the 2nd place guy.  I’d love to be able to say his record is just dumb luck but unfortunately it’s not.  McCullough was always one of the smartest guys on the field during his stellar 11 year career (JUST ASK HIM) and his football IQ carries over to things like this Pick-Em Pool, and the analyst work that he does on the Rider Pre and Post Game shows with Micheal Ball and I (on 620 CKRM).  

I wasn't surprised at all when McCullough agreed to help us with our selections this week.  Throughout his tenure as a Roughrider, Mike was always the first to help his teammates AND the community.  He has spent countless hours investing his time into various Provincial initiatives that have done so much good throughout Saskatchewan, and he continues to contribute to the province through fundraising efforts now that he has hung up his cleats.  He's an all-around good dude with a pension for helping others and I think he viewed this opportunity as another way to lend a hand!

I caught up with Mike earlier this morning, and had a brief discussion about the upcoming slate of action in the CFL, and got his thoughts and predictions for what may transpire in Week 15.  I’m glad that we had this opportunity to pick the brain of a former teammate and good friend, and I trust that this will help you guys with your water cooler conversations and personal bets…

Here’s your Week 15 CFL Picks straight from the ProPerspective of 2x Time Grey Cup Champ and former Saskatchewan Roughrider  Great Mike McCullough!!!

Montreal @ Ottawa

Mike is going with the Ottawa RedBlacks here.  He pointed out that more often than not, he wouldn’t go against a match-up that involved a starting QB versus a back-up.  In this case that starting QB is Henry Burris, at home, against a Montreal teamthat seems like to be in flux after struggling terribly against the 1-11 Saskatchewan Roughriders.

I like this pick.  Montreal disappointed many, including myself, over the weekend with their lacklustre play.  If they have any hope of crossing over into the West, where their opponent will be tough as nails, then they need to find an offensive identity and get consistent on D.  Hopefully their pending game against their conference rivals stirs up enough emotional juice to where they come out and compete at the level CFL fans are used to seeing them.  Otherwise it could be a LONG 5 weeks in La Belle Province

Pick:  Ottawa

Calgary @ Hamilton
This is definitely one of the more intriguing match-ups of the week.  I’ve stated that Hamilton is going to be just fine considering that the make-up of their team did not centre solely on Zach Collaros, despite him having an unreal year.  One would expect Hamilton to still compete for the top spot in their division seeing as they possess the best Defense in the league, and Brandon Banks will always be a threat that puts them around the top of the CFL on Specials.
McCullough agreed with my sentiments regarding Hamilton however he brings up a good point when picking the winner for this clash.  Mike cautions us all by reminding everyone that Calgary is also pretty dam good defensively, and their Special Teams isn’t a shabby unit.
The way our guest analyst, and 2 Time Grey Cup Champ, sees things is that both teams are evenly matched on D and in the kicking game.  What may put Calgary over the top this week is Bo Levi-Mitchell, and that’s why Mike is going to go with the Stampeders.
#45 expects the Calgary Stampeders to come out in Hamilton and be the team that they expect themselves to be.  Led by their cerebral QB, take Calgary to bounce back after a close one in Winter-Peg and hand the TiCats their 2nd loss in the Coffee Grounds of the Steel City.
Pick:  Calgary 
Edmonton @ Winnipeg
This was a snap decision to Mike.  He immediately yielded to the fact that last week’s loss to the Stamps may have done that team in.  “They’re down” as McCullough puts it, when referencing Winnipeg, and Edmonton is a different team with Mike Reilly under centre.  
As a player, the former Rider got his fair share of the Edmonton Eskimos and when he looks at them right now, the Esks seem to be clicking in his eyes, which could be bad news for the rest of the Western Conference.
It doesn’t look good for the Bombers, even though they’re at home.  Take the Eskimos as they continue to build their momentum towards the playoffs and a possible Grey Cup berth.
Pick:  Edmonton
Saskatchewan @ BC
The Quarterbacking situation is key here and for that reason Mike is going to go with the Kevin Glenn led Riders over the BC Lions.  This scenario is the same as the Ottawa Montreal situation that we spoke about at the top of this column.  What makes things more favourable for KG is the fact that the Lions Defense has struggled all year.  They’ve shown some bright spots, but there isn’t any consistency about them as yet, and we’re coming down to crunch time.
Our guest analyst keeps his sense of humour about him while looking at this game and admits that this is a bit of an upset amongst two upsetting teams.  McCullough also predicts that the Riders could steal 2 of the next 5 games, this week and against Montreal again, but abruptly puts an end to any chances of beating Hamilton, Edmonton, or Calgary.  In turn this also closes the door on any playoff opportunity.
What will increase the chances of a Roughrider victory is the absence of Andrew Harris which could happen.  Going with a back-up QB against a Defense that is starting to play better and not having your best weapon is like being a one-legged man in an ass-kicking competition…BC is in tough.
It’s a shame that the Riders don’t control their own destiny when one looks at their faint playoff hopes.  What Ridernation saw out of Kevin Glenn and the Green and White against Montreal is the team that we’ve been waiting for all year.  The Coaching staff and Jeremy O’Day have been spot on in keeping Kevin Glenn at the QB spot and as long as #5 is there, the Green and White will always have a chance.  It’s too bad that their fate is in the hands of others.  
Pick:  Saskatchewan


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