A Scary Top Ten Tuesday At The End of October?

Well it has been anything but boring over the last seven days in the sporting world in our province. Here are my top thoughts from the week that was. In no particular order.

10 – New gunner for the Huskies…. Well talk about a debut Kyle Siemens was the surprise starter for the Dogs on Friday night as they hosted UBC. I don’t think that anyone could have predicted 520 yards and 3TDs in his first CIS start. (The fourth best game by a Saskatchewan Quarterback all-time) The lone down-side to the performance, aside from dropping the contest to UBC, was the fact that only 150 of those yards came in the second half where the offence sputtered at times.

9 – The Huskies loss was obviously a huge blow to their play-off hopes. The Dogs are in danger of missing the post-season for the first time since 2000 and need a win in Regina on Friday night and loss by Alberta to Calgary on Saturday afternoon to get in. I won’t lie I fully expected the Huskies to pull out a win over UBC at home on Friday, however, the BPI (big play index) was in complete favour of the Thunderbirds and gave them the advantage. So the Huskies will be playing their rivals to wrap the campaign and the Rams would love nothing more than to end the Dogs season. Meanwhile, Calgary can pick the type of roster they wish to field on Saturday and essentially pick their opponent should Saskatchewan win on Friday night. All of which are scary scenarios.

8 – Staying with football and Saskatchewan Roughrider fans need to be careful what they wish for. Since Labour Day fans have been calling for the team to play younger players and evaluate what they have on their roster. I completely understand it and get it. Those same fans, though, were somehow surprised saying that the Green and White should not have done exactly that on their final home game of the season instead saying that they should have waited for the team to get on the road to substitute as freely as they did. Geesh talk about no win situation.

7 – Is the Price right? With the above being said of the Riders evaluation on Saturday the jury is still out on Keith Price. The Quarterbacks first CFL pass was for a touchdown. I would submit that over the Riders final two games of the season they rotate the quarterbacks half to half. For example, Price starts this week, Brett Smith comes on in the third quarter to close out the game. Next week you reverse it with Smith in the opening half and Price comes in the second half. That’s just my two cents.

6 – One more from the CFL and you have to wonder what they are thinking in Winnipeg. He never-ending rebuild of the Blue Bombers continues and to make matters worse the team is in real jeopardy of missing the play-offs in the same year they host the Grey Cup. Sounds like the 1995 Saskatchewan Roughriders which ended up being a turning point on and off the field for the franchise. Will there be the same effect in the Peg?

5 – Congratulations to the Saskatoon Hilltops for winning their fifth Prairie Football Conference Championship in six years with a win over Calgary on Sunday. The question continues to be asked, “How do the Hilltops do it and why is no one copying their program?” The answer is simple. You cannot emulate tradition! The program developed by Tom Sargeant is powered by family, tradition and pride. The second you pull on a Hilltops jersey you are keenly aware of the expectations of the championship program and the responsibility that goes with protecting the name and integrity of the program. That’s tough to emulate and I am not sure exactly how you build that.

4 – So the Toronto Blue Jays season came to a crashing halt on Friday night in Kansas City. The Royals topped the Jays in a rain delayed affair in K.C. There are a number of fans looking to find the scape goat and even trying to find a scapegoat. Many are pointing to the officiating and the umpires’ strike zone throughout the series. Others are aiming at baseball’s flawed replay system (no argument here)! But in reality the team just wasn’t ready yet. Offensively the team couldn’t get the job done when it counted (oh-for-12 with runners in scoring position). Clutch hitting was a problem all year against good pitching. Additionally, David Price couldn’t deliver in the postseason. Yes, he was a huge part of getting the Jays to the play-offs. However, when the Jays looked to him for a big start in the play-offs he couldn’t deliver.

3 – So while the Jays have a number of on-field personnel decisions to make they also have a big off field one to make. That’s what to do with General Manager Alex Anthopolis, as his contract is up? He got the Jays into the post season and made the Rogers owners all kinds of money. With that being said the minor league system has been completely depleted and there are some contract issues that the team needs to figure out. All that we know for sure is that it will be an interesting decision.

2 – With all of that being said, what is the biggest off-season priority for the Jays? I’ll go with the starting rotation. David Price is likely gone, Marco Estrata is a free-agent and R.A. Dickey has a club option on his contract while Mark Buerle is likely to retire. That leaves a starting rotation of Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman. Yikes!

1 – Lastly, a question I wonder where is baseball at? There is no doubt in my mind that the television numbers will take a significant hit with the Jays being out. If the numbers remain strong Sportsnet and Rogers can rejoice that the popularity of the game is returning. If they slump significantly the message is clear, if you win I am interested if not I’m gone. Now that’s some pressure on a franchise.