Sports roundtable – Dec. 2, 2010

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Maybe the third time will be the charm

Autumn McDowell, Ed Kapp, Dietrich Neu, Edward Dodd, Colin Buchinski
This week’s roundtable

What sports at the University of Regina will you be following next semester?

Autumn McDowell: Definitely men’s hockey. Although the team isn’t exactly the top dog right now, I still love watching hockey. Also, the women’s basketball team is probably our best chance at a CIS championship, so I will be keeping tabs on them.

Ed Kapp: Honestly, probably none of them. I’ve got quite a few different things to focus on these days and university sports aren’t exactly a priority for me. I’m happy for the teams when they win and everything, but U of R sports don’t really mean much to me.

Dietrich Neu: The Rams, football and MMA are probably the only sports that I follow intensely. If I were to spend any time watching U of R sports next year, it would be the Rams. Unless the university decides to start putting on cage fights (do it!).

Edward Dodd: I probably won’t be following any university sports, continuing my trend from this semester. However, if there is some intense curling action, I might have to follow that. Oh and intramural soccer is always entertaining.

Colin Buchinski:  If anything, it'll definitely be women’s basketball. The women's basketball team is 9-1 and are currently tied for first in Canada West. This team has a definite championship shot.

The Montreal Alouettes defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21-18 in the 98th Grey Cup in Edmonton last weekend. Thoughts on the loss?

McDowell: After the game my brother texted me and said, “I hope the Riders’ plane crashes.” That may be a little bit harsh, but I think he summed up what everyone was feeling quite nicely.

Kapp: It’s too bad, but they really didn’t play that well when it mattered. The Roughriders are a pretty youthful team, so another off-season under the belts of these younger newcomers will only help Saskatchewan. At least there are probably a lot of happy people in Montreal.

Neu: That loss was tough to swallow. To be so close and still come up short is frustrating for any fan. It would have been great to get revenge on Montreal, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We’ll have to wait until next year.

Dodd: It was tough. I think Montreal deserved it, though, since their offence actually showed up for the third quarter. Montreal’s missed field goals were really exciting, but the Riders’ failure to do anything in the second half killed all my hope. I can only thank God there was no 13th man call, or heads would have to roll.

Buchinski: It definitely hurt a lot leaving that stadium on Sunday night, but there is much to be proud of. We have a great young team with a bright future. We will play in many more Grey Cups in the future. Remember, Anthony Calvillo went 1-5 in Grey Cups at first.

This is the third Grey Cup the Riders have been to in four years. They have only won one. Do you view this as a disappointment or do you celebrate the fact that they’ve been to so many Grey Cups?

McDowell: Well, on the one hand, it’s unreal that we have been producing such good teams these past few years. But, on the other hand, I will never “celebrate” a losing effort. Ever.

Kapp: It’s always disappointing to lose, but we’ve been blessed to have a lot of really great teams and I don’t think our one Grey Cup win is a fair indication of how good these last few seasons have been. Although we haven’t won as many championships as a lot of us would like, this current team is light-years ahead of any squad the Roughriders fielded for many, many years before Eric Tillman arrived.

Neu: On one hand, it’s awesome to see the Riders do so well. It gives fans something to rally behind and it’s always better to watch a team that succeeds. But, losses in the big game are more heartbreaking than any other and they take their toll.

Dodd: I celebrate the fact that the Riders have been consistently successful these past few years. I mean, we could repeat the awful failures that marked the time after we won the Grey Cup in 1989.

Buchinski: I've been a season ticket holder for 16 years. I remember the days of leaving the stadium after a 10-point loss to Hamilton and just being happy we kept it that close. This is a great chance to celebrate. The Riders are a premiere franchise in this league. Thanks Jim Hopson.

Both of the Green and White’s losses have come at the hands of the Alouettes. Is Montreal simply that good? Will Saskatchewan have a much easier time when Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo finally retires?

McDowell: I mean, when the MVP of the league finally leaves, sure it will be a little easier. Or a lot easier. I wouldn’t go as far as to say Montreal is “that good.” Maybe Calvillo is “that good” or just “that lucky” and “that annoying.”

Kapp: Montreal is a top-tier organization. There’s no denying that. But, the last few times the Roughriders have played them, the Riders didn’t give them nearly their best game. Calvillo is an unreal signal-caller, maybe one of the best ever, so I’d be happy to see the Roughriders line up against a less accomplished quarterback in the future.

Neu: Montreal is very good, but the Riders could have very conceivably won both meetings. And yes, once Calvillo leaves Montreal the Alouettes are done for. Everyone will have more success against them once he leaves.

Dodd: I don’t think Montreal is that good. I think the Riders offence this year was just not good enough. Our defence did really well for hardly getting a rest in the third quarter, and, when the offence showed up in the fourth, it didn’t maintain the momentum necessary to pull out the victory. In this regard, even once Calvillo retires, Saskatchewan will still have issues. Also, by that time, Brett Favre will probably be playing for Montreal after being kicked out of the NFL, so there’s something else to worry about.

Buchinski: The Riders and Alouettes are two very evenly matched teams. Anthony Calvillo was one of the major differences in this game. When he retires, the Alouettes will not be nearly as strong.  They have the best QB in the league and will no longer walk through the East once he is done.

Will the Roughriders be back in the Grey Cup next year? This time, will their season end on a winning note?

McDowell: I would like to think yes on both accounts. Barring some tragedy or major trade, the roster shouldn’t look a whole lot different and Luca Congi and Rob Bagg will be back in action by then. If the Riders can develop a run defence and maybe get a half decent player to return punts they should be set.

Kapp: I’m not sure. I think that the Riders are going to be essentially the same team they were this past season, with a few exceptions, so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for us to be back in the Grey Cup. As for if we’ll win, maybe. I hope so.

Neu: It’s so hard to say because there are so many factors. As we have seen this season, the Riders can be fairly inconsistent. But, to say that they will be in the Grey Cup next year would just be blind optimism, I think, since they almost didn’t make it this year.

Dodd: The Roughriders will probably make it again, which is encouraging. Of course, we’ll be against Montreal again, and that will probably prompt TSN to ask “Is the CFL really only about Montreal and Saskatchewan?” This time, we will win, no doubt.

Buchinski:  Next year, the West will be a lot more competitive. The Lions will be a force once again, the Eskimos will improve and the Stamps will be good as always. It is very tough to say if the Riders will be back. Let's wait for free agency before making a prediction.

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