What to know for a big weekend of Canadian football
This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to date with what’s happening in sport by signing up here.
It’s a big weekend for canadian football
After being lost to the pandemic last year, the two biggest championships in Canadian football are back. On Saturday, the best university team in the country will be crowned in the 56th game of the Vanier Cup in Quebec City. On Sunday, the pros will battle for a spot in the 108th Gray Cup game next week when the CFL Division Finals take place in Winnipeg and Hamilton.
Here is some information you should know about the three games:
Vanier Cup: Western Mustangs vs Saskatchewan Huskies (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET)
Despite Laval holding the record for most Vanier Cup wins with 10, Western has played in the title game more times than anyone. This is the 15th appearance for the school from London, Ontario, which has won it seven times.
If the Mustangs manage to raise their Vanier Cup record above 0.500, it will likely be through their racing game. Main back Keon Edwards has led the country this season in rushing yards per game (139.7) and rushing touchdowns (nine). But it doesn’t even seem important who carries the ball. In StFX’s 61-6 annihilation in the Mitchell Bowl last week, three West full backs helped the team rack up 469 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. After Edwards (104 yards, 1 TD) and Trey Humes (91 yards, 3 TDs) put the game out of reach, the third stringer Edouard Wanadi intervened and scored 238 yards and three scores.
As powerful as Western’s rushing attack is, it is actually Saskatchewan who have led the nation in yards per carry this season with 8.3. The Huskies’ favorite guy is Adam Machart, who ran for 158 yards and the winning touchdown with five seconds left in the Uteck Bowl’s 14-10 game against Montreal last week. The week before, he had 223 yards and three touchdowns in a Manitoba playoff rout.
Saskatchewan made their first Vanier Cup appearance since 2006. The last of their three titles came in 1998.
Given the strength of the opposing running games, Saturday’s game is shaping up to be a land war (most Canadian college football games are). This is perfect for the Laval stadium in Quebec, where the wind is known to wreak havoc on overtaking attempts and the temperature at kick-off should be minus -13 Â° C. Learn more about the impact of the harsh climate on the Vanier Cup here. Watch the game live from the comfort of your own home on the CBC TV network, CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
CFL East Final: Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs Toronto Argonauts (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Not much separates these two rivals, literally or figuratively. Hamilton and Toronto are a short drive from each other on the Queen Elizabeth Way, and this game is a choice among the betting markets. It makes sense: although the Argos (9-5) have a slightly better record than Hamilton (8-6), play at home (where they went 6-1) and rest after a pass, their 14 opponents have edged them out by a total of nine points this season. The Ticates posted a strong plus-68 points differential (second only to Winnipeg) before facing Montreal 23-12 in last week’s playoff game. But the defending Eastern champions haven’t performed well against the Argos this year, losing three of their four encounters, including a 31-12 loss to Toronto three weeks ago with the division’s top spot on the line. .
Hamilton’s strength is his defense, which forced five turnovers last week and held CFL champion William Stanback to a meager 29 yards on 12 carries. The Ticates’ defensive line dominated this game, and the D also includes the East’s contender for MVP – linebacker Simoni Lawrence, who has four sacks, three interceptions and a pair of touchdowns this season. Hamilton will chase turnovers against Toronto quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who threw 11 picks in 14 games.
CFL West Final: Saskatchewan Roughriders vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers
It’s the Banjo Bowl, playoff edition. Saskatchewan vs Winnipeg is the best rivalry in the CFL, so it’s a treat to see it renewed under such high stakes.
The Blue Bombers have waited 29 years between championships, but now they’re a good bet to win their second in a row. They did not miss a beat at the end of the canceled season, ending it with the best record in the CFL (11-3), the most runs scored (361) and the fewest runs allowed (188). . That means Winnipeg’s average game this year ended 26-13 for the Bombers. They are eight-point favorites against Saskatchewan this Sunday and a clear favorite to win the Gray Cup next week in Hamilton.
The defense of Winnipeg is historically frightening. The team’s average of 13.4 points against per game was the lowest score in the CFL in 51 years. Linebacker Adam Bighill, up for his third best defensive player award, is the anchor for D. Passers Jackson Jeffcoat and Willie Jefferson combined for 16 sacks, while rookie defensive back DeAundre Alford finished tied for second in the league with four interceptions. Where exactly are you supposed to attack these guys?
And how are you supposed to stop their offense? Quarterback Zach Collaros led the league in passing touchdowns (20) as he found a dynamite connection with Kenny Lawler, who was the only player to exceed 1,000 receiving yards this season. Oh, and star Canadian running back Andrew Harris – the 2017, 2018 and 19 CFL point guard and reigning Gray Cup MVP – seems on track to come back from a knee injury that kept him out. to enter since October.
For Saskatchewan to pull off the upset, quarterback Cody Fajardo will need to do better than the four interceptions he threw in the 33-30 overtime win over Calgary last week. The Riders could also really use another spark from returning man Jamal Morrow, who repelled a punt for a touchdown last week and also appeared to score a missed basket 124 yards from home before he hit it off. be recalled due to illegal blocking.
The figure skating Grand Prix final has been canceled. This is the first blow to Olympic sports by the omicron variant. The Grand Prix final is one of the most prestigious events on the figure skating calendar, and this year (slated to start next Thursday in Japan) was going to be our only chance to see the world’s best skaters all gathered in one place before. Olympic Games. But after Japan banned foreigners from entering the country in an attempt to push back the new variant, Grand Prix organizers today announced that the final is called off for the second year in a row. Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were the only Canadians to advance to the final, reserved for the top six in each discipline. Learn more about the cancellation here.
Major League Baseball is officially closed. No surprise here, but the owners triggered the sport’s first work stoppage in more than a quarter of a century by immediately locking out players after their collective agreements expired just before midnight last night. The owners would like the business to continue as it is (they are making money hand in hand). But with players demanding changes (their average wages have leveled off in recent years despite skyrocketing incomes), owners wanted to lock them out now so they don’t go on strike later when they do. will have more weight (i.e. closer to the playoffs). Signings and transactions are frozen during the lockdown, which many fear could be extended until the start of spring training in mid-February and even opening day in late March. If you missed Tuesday’s newsletter, read it here to learn more about the various issues that are behind this union struggle.
Brian Williams has retired. Best known for his work as the main host of CBC Sports’ Olympic coverage, Williams has spent five decades as a broadcaster. The Winnipeg native made his debut in 1967 playing varsity basketball games before his professional career began with a Toronto radio station. Williams covered his first Olympics in 1976 in Montreal and was the lead studio presenter for 13 of them, mostly with CBC. He also hosted the network’s CFL coverage before leaving for CTV / TSN in 2006. To learn more about Williams’ career, click here.
Coming to CBC Sports
Here are the sports you can stream live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem Friday:
Freestyle skiing: Watch the season opener of the Women’s, Men’s and Mixed World Cups Aerials in Finland at 3:20 a.m. ET, 6:15 p.m. ET and 9:30 a.m. ET.
Skeleton: Watch the women’s and men’s races at this week’s World Cup stop in Germany starting at 4 a.m. ET.
Ball on the ground: Watch Canada vs Singapore at the Men’s World Championship at 5:30 a.m.ET.
Figure skating: Watch the Skate Canada Challenge competitions starting at 12:35 p.m. ET
Alpine skiing: Watch the World Cup men’s super-G race in Colorado at 12:45 p.m. ET, and the women’s downhill in Lake Louise at 2:30 p.m. ET.
To swim: Watch the International Swimming League finals at 1 p.m. ET.
Cycling: Watch the Track Cycling Champions League at 2 p.m. ET.
Speed ââskating: Watch this week’s World Cup in Salt Lake City at 2:20 p.m. ET.
Rugby Sevens: Watch the men’s and women’s matches at the World Rugby Sevens Series event in Dubai starting at 11:50 p.m. ET.
See full streaming and broadcast schedule details here.
You are aware. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.