Here And There …

Nothing more about Michigan football and sign-stealing today …  I promise.

The semi-final round of the CFL playoffs took place last weekend.  The first round was pure chalk; the favorites won and covered comfortably.  The Western semi-final game was chalk as well.  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the BC Lions 24-13.  These teams met twice in the regular season and split those two games.  Now the Blue Bombers will travel to Hamilton this weekend for the Grey Cup Game.

Their opponent this weekend is a surprise.  In the Eastern semi-final, the Montreal Alouettes beat the Toronto Argonauts 38-17.  The Argonauts were 10.5-point favorites in the game.  These teams had met 3 times in the regular season and the Argonauts had won all three times.  Here are some stats from the game last weekend that might explain the turn of fortunes for the Alouettes last weekend:

  • The Alouettes intercepted 4 passes in the game.
  • Two of those interceptions were “Pick-Sixes”.
  • The Alouettes also recovered a fumble in the game.
  • The Argonauts turned the ball over on downs 4 times in the game.

During the CFL regular season, Toronto’s record was 16-2; that ties the record for the best regular season record in the history of the CFL which goes back to the 1950s.  The Argonauts were undefeated at home in 2023 – – until last weekend.  Over the course of the regular season the Argonauts had outscored opponents by 195 points (10.8 points per game).

Here are the data for this year’s Grey Cup Game on Sunday evening:

  • Winnipeg is a 9-point favorite and minus-330 on the Money Line.
  • Winnipeg has been in the Grey Cup Game in each of the last 3 seasons.
  • Montreal’s last appearance in the Grey Cup game was in 2010.
  • The teams met twice in the regular season; Winnipeg won both games handily.

Moving on …  On October 28th, the Colorado Buffaloes went to Pasadena.CA to play UCLA; Colorado lost the game 28-16 but that is not all they lost.  It turns out that while the team was on the field someone – – or some ones – – went to the visitor’s locker room at the Rose Bowl and stole stuff belonging to the Colorado players.  According to reports, cash and items of jewelry were stolen.

The Pasadena Police Department has been on the case for a while and it has been reported that the gendarmes now have identified suspects in the heist.  There is a wrinkle in the case, however.  The suspects are described as “prospective recruits to the UCLA football team from a high school in Riverside County”.  UCLA issued a statement saying that the suspects were not on an official recruiting visit; the high school district involved expressed sorrow for the incident and said it was “fully cooperating” with the Pasadena police investigation.  Looking for something positive to say about this matter, at least some of the stolen property has been recovered and returned to the victim(s).

The events here do raise a couple of questions:

  1. If the suspects were not “on an official visit”, how did they have access to the visitor’s locker room which is usually off-limits to ordinary spectators?
  2. The school district said the students were not at the Rose Bowl that day “on a school-sponsored event.”  So, was this a premeditated heist since no one seems to be responsible for their presence at the game or near the locker room?
  3. How lax is the security at the Rose Bowl – – or at UCLA football games?

One more football-related item today …  CBS will telecast the Super Bowl game in February 2024.  The network has been selling ad slots for the day since back in the summer and according to The Hollywood Reporter, the network says its inventory for the in-game ads “is virtually sold out” already.  Prime 30-second time slots are commanding between $6.5M and $7M each.

Given that situation, the expectation is that CBS will do even better than FOX did last year when it took in just over $600M for ads on Super Bowl Sunday.  The justification for all that spending is simple; the number of viewers for the game in February 2023 was 115 million folks.

Finally, apropos of nothing, let me close here with these words from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………