The CFL will see a couple of things new for this 2009 season. There won't be any new teams as of yet, but new players, new coaches, and even some new rules.
We don't know if there will be a new Grey Cup Champion, which is why we all love to give our own predictions. That's what keeps our minds busy while we wait for the season to get underway.
Here's my predictions for the standings in the CFL for the 2009 season.
Montreal - The Als didn't lose many players this year, and although their motivations may not be the same, Montreal has as good a chance as anyone to go back to the Grey Cup. People will say there is motivation for 2009 because they lost the Grey Cup last November.
If that were true, they should have more than just one Grey Cup in the last decade. Including last year, they have lost five Grey cups since 2000. Plus, Montreal had the comeback by Calvillo that was extra motivation last year.
That usually only works for one year. But, this year brings a team that is just going to have to go out and win football games and do it for themselves as a team. Last year they just got beat by a better team. It may happen this year, but they have as good a chance of winning as they did last year, if not more. RECORD - 12-6
Toronto - Toronto dug its own grave at the beginning of last season bringing two No. 1 quarterbacks into camp. Even after "fixing" the problem, the infection had spread to many places of the dressing room. Players got hurt, coaches were fired, and rookies got chances to show themselves—but didn't.
The team had one of its worst seasons in recent memory, and it was hard to watch. This season looks much more promising. It's a clean slate with one quarterback designated as the starter, some big acquisitions like Rob Murphy, and a new system to work around.
I think there will be a big change in attitude, and this will bring wins. RECORD - 8-10
Hamilton - I've been talking for years about the reason the Hamilton Tiger-Cats haven't been a good team. I feel that right now they're at least moving in the right direction.
We've talked about the past a lot, and with a 3-15 record, no one needs to talk about why they were bad last year. Let's look at why they will be better this year.
I've been talking about the need for Hamiton to add solid O-Line help, and until this year, it hasn't been there. This year adding Dan Goodspeed and drafting Simeon Rottier instantly made the O-Line better.
There will be bigger holes for Kenton Keith to run, and more time for receivers to get open before the pressure gets to the quarterback.
Add a schedule that might not turn out too bad, and I'm thinking they will move into the third spot, and maybe a playoff spot. RECORD - A VERY Generous 7-11
Winnipeg - People thought the Riders had a long drought between Grey Cups, but the Blue Bombers are now past that and it will continue to get longer after this year's losses. Winnipeg had some tough situations with injuries to key players.
The Bombers of 2008 saw a bit of a comeback, and a winning streak near the end of the season gave the team a little bit of hope. It was dashed in the playoffs as they became the first team to lose a playoff game to the crossover team in the other division.
This year may see a strong defense, but it's a defense that is going to need to pitch shutouts if they are going to make it back to the playoffs. Stefan LeFors doesn't seem to be the guy who will get it done. Combined with a weaker O-Line this year, and the loss of a great in Milt Stegal, Winnipeg should have a tough time competing this year. RECORD - 5-13
Calgary - It is very hard for teams to repeat as the Grey Cup Champions. It is also very hard for teams to win the Grey Cup at home. So right out of the gates, the Stampeders have two strikes against them.
The 2008 Stampeders were a team that did what it took to win. They were well-coached, and that is why they won the Grey Cup. Henry Burris did get it done with the help of all his teammates. Not to take away anything from the players efforts, because you need players to execute.
All I am saying is that it was strategy that won most of those games, not single efforts from the big name players. Just look at the scores of the playoff games. Play by the book in the first half, and adjust at halftime. They played the battle of field position, and were able to work for that win.
Not a whole lot has changed for the Stamps, except for a few name changes on defence.
If Calgary can continue to win the coaching battles, with the team confidence sky-high this team could be very likely to do the impossible of winning back to back Grey Cups, and win it at home. RECORD -13-5
Edmonton - The Eskimos showed us in 2008, that no team was going to intimidate them. Most of their losses last year were close ones, so the Eskis showed they had some talent to stay with a lot of the best teams.
There were a bunch of young players that are young, and ready to make a name for themselves. In the offseason, half the Saskatchewan Roughriders (including Richie Hall) made their way West to play for the Eskimos.
Add Mo Lloyd, Kitwana Jones, and Scott Gordon on defense, together with a hopefully healthy Jesse Lumsden, and you have a team that is a threat to win any given game.
Extra offense and a solid defense, together with a new payers coach, and you will see the Eskimos winning some important games in 2009. RECORD - 11-7
Saskatchewan - The Roughriders were a big surprise to many to go 12-6 in 2008, especially with something like 20 broken legs. In the beginning, the players stepped up and filled in valiantly. It was an impressive sight.
The team's great depth proved it could handle almost anything. This year's squad isn't as deep, but the 2009 Riders will be a more solid team than the 2008 version.
Durant back at the helm encourages me to believe they can win some games. A few early injuries could hurt them early on, but later in the season we'll have to see how the Riders react to any pressure. RECORD - 9-9
BC Lions - The Lions are getting set to try and live life without Cameron Wake and Rob Murphy to name a couple. Neither is irreplaceable, but they made up a huge part of the O- and D-lines.
BC already had one of the best defences, but a few changes have left a few holes and it may not have positive effects on the 2009 Lions.
This year, the Lions will need to make use of their quick backs to get the ball outside the tackles.
Buck Pierce and Jarius Jackson are great quarterbacks, but any flaws will be exposed this year, and that can have a huge effect on team confidence. RECORD - 7-11