Here at Ninety-Nine Yards towers we have been building towards this with great anticipation. We have had our firs CFL podcast, looked at our players to watch and the top players for each team as mandated by the 2019 top 50 list.
The opening game between Hamilton and Saskatchewan will kickoff at 7PM at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Which means kickoff will be at midnight UK time.
We won’t get to see this one live, but the game will be shown on BT Sport at 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM on Friday the 14th.
Since 2014, when the CFL returned to 9 teams the Riders have gone 2-2 in week one games. Hamilton by contrast has gone 1-4.
Also of note is that this game sees two first Year Head Coaches make their debuts. Craig Dickenson (Saskatchewan) and Orlondo Steinauer (Hamilton) will contest their initial regular season games.
Since 2005, Hamilton are 3-11 in home openers. Coupled with this, Saskatchewan currently has a 5 game winning streak against the Ticats.
History aside however, Hamilton are favourites going into this game and that was reflected in the CFL week 1 staff picks.
Kickoff with the ‘Collaros Bowl’
This is the first time Riders QB Zach Collaros will face his old team. He was traded about 18 months ago after four seasons and 44 games with the Ticats.
From a Hamilton point of view it was the right thing to do. Since then Jeremiah Masoli has taken the reigns.
The starting job is his to lose especially after being named East Division Most Outstanding Player last year. That included him recording 12 games of 300-plus passing yards last season, two short of the league record in a single year.
Conversely, Saskatchewan made moves for a quarterback in free agency then re-signed Collaros. Whilst he had 10-4 starting record they will need him to improve on his 9 to 13 touchdown to interception ratio.
With Masoli back behind an arguably improved O-Line a lot of people are selecting Hamilton to do well in the East this year. The Riders have a tremendous D Line so that will prove a great first test.
Will it be Hamilton’s pass attack against the Rider’s D that decides the game? Or will somebody unexpected step up and make a name for themselves?
Only one thing is certain. This game will kickoff a 21 week slate of regular season action. Pro football is back – let’s all enjoy it!
Banner image from cfl.ca