CFL Football Column: The York Report on the CFL
And the Grey Cup Winner is. . .
Before the 2012 season kicked off, I used this space to predict that the off-season acquisition of quarterback Ricky Ray would catapult the Toronto Argonauts to the Grey Cup championship game. This is precisely what has happened. Yes, I'm patting my own back.
You can find this piece by clicking on to this link: http://www6.fantrax.com/newsColumn.go?id=wspieb0oh404hcjo
I'll say now exactly what I said back then:
I still don't understand why former Edmonton Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman saw fit to deal Ray to the Argos after last season, unless he was simply serving up a goodwill gesture to the league in general. Maybe he thinks it would be beneficial to the CFL to see Toronto in the 100th Grey Cup game, which will be held in Toronto. . .Make no mistake about Ray, though. This dude can still play.
"His statistics speak for themselves," former CFL star Hank Ilesic said at the time. "I don't think he's suddenly lost anything. I see the Argos going to the Grey Cup, yes, and I see Ray leading them. I can see their offense providing all kinds of problems for opposing defenses."
So the question now is this:
Can Ray provide all kinds of problems for the Calgary Stampeders, who visit the Argos Sunday to determine the CFL's champions?
With this question, I've been struggling all week. Frankly, I've had more trouble picking who'll prevail between Calgary and the Argos on Sunday than I did when predicting before the season that the Argos would make it to the Grey Cup game.
Like the Argos, the Stamps have been playing very well lately, too. Their defense hasn't been terrible. Their offense is outstanding. Calgary running back Jon Cornish was chosen the Western Division's premier player as well as the CFL's top Canadian player for good reasons. He's outstanding.
And there's no doubt in my mind that Ray is a better quarterback than veteran journeyman Kevin Glenn, the Stamps' QB.
But here's the thing:
Glenn is on a mission. He was deemed not quite good enough by head coach John Hufnagel recently, before the Stamps' division semi-final win. Youngster Drew Tate was chosen to start that game, and Glenn was relegated to the bench. Then Tate fractured his forearm and Hufnagel had no choice but to start Glenn. Glenn responded with an impressive performance to lead the Stamps to a triumph over the Lions in B.C. in the Western final last week. And he's fired up to prove he is indeed good enough to win the Cup in Toronto on Sunday.
I think the Stamps will really rally around Glenn and Cornish, who will be determined to prove that he is the league's top player instead of the Argos' Chad Owens, chosen on Thursday night as the CFL's best player instead of Cornish at the league's award ceremonies.
I also give the coaching edge to the experienced Hufnagel over Toronto's rookie head coach, Scott Milanovich. Hufnagel has led the Stamps to a Grey Cup victory before.
And here's one other important item to keep in mind: Seldom does a team beat another team in the CFL three times in one season. The Argos have defeated the Stamps in their two meetings this season.
The visitors have been established as 1.5 favorites by the oddsmakers, and here's my advice:
Take the Stampeders minus the 1.5 points.
Marty's playoff record against the spread in the CFL playoffs: 4-0.
Marty York is the editor-in-chief of Fantrax.com. He has covered professional football for more than three decades and is internationally renowned for his countless sports scoops in newspapers, online and on the airwaves. Contact Marty at email@example.com and check him out live on the air every weeknight from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern at www.nextsportstar.com.
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