Guess who’s at .500 – yes, it’s none other than the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
We’ve all heard of a “rollercoaster season,” but if you tracked the Ticats 2011 campaign so far, it would have a genuine shot at being named the newest ride at Canada’s Wonderland.
Hamilton opened the season with back-to-back losses, won three in a row, then went up and down with a loss, a win, a loss, a win, a pair of losses, a pair of wins, and yeah, another loss.
For those of you keeping up, that’s 0-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4, 5-6, 7-6, and 7-7. It’s like a tennis match with no tiebreaker.
The Ticats go into Montreal this week fresh off a 33-17 home loss to Winnipeg in which Kevin Glenn and Quinton Porter were both ineffective under centre, and the Hamilton defence was unable to contain the Bombers’ fifth-ranked offence for 60 minutes.
Hamilton will now be tasked with trying to contain the league’s Number 1 offence in Montreal, an offence coming off one of the biggest emotional highs imaginable in football after quarterback Anthony Calvillo broke the CFL’s all-time passing yardage mark in a win last week.
You’d have to live under a rock in the Great White North not to know this already, but just in case, Calvillo set the all-time record last week on a thrilling 50-yard-pass-and-run toss to Jamel Richardson who scored on the play at the end of the third quarter.
While nearly 25,000 Montreal fans cheered, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon presented Calvillo with a plaque and ball honouring the pivot for breaking Damon Allen’s previous mark of 72,381 yards, as football luminaries such as Dan Marino, Chris Berman, and Allen himself spoke kind words of AC on the big screen.
This week will be a challenge for the Alouettes to continue to ride that wave or crash in its wake following the emotion and excitement of last week.
With a win, Montreal will either remain tied with Winnipeg for first in the East Division, or take over sole possession of the top rank should the Bombers lose at Edmonton.
A Hamilton win, on the other hand, will put them back over the good old .500 mark and once again give them a shot at finally getting over the hump next week. It would also give the Ticats a genuine shot at first place, as they would be 8-7 to Montreal’s 9-6. Losing the game and falling below .500 with just three games left would almost completely dash Hamilton’s first-place ambition.