CFL Race to MOP: Issue 1

Jonathan HamelinCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2009

TORONTO - NOVEMBER 25:  James Johnson #19 of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders jumps over a fallen Ryan Dinwiddie #4 after his interception to score a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the second quarter of the 95th Grey Cup on November 25, 2007 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Johnson would be the MVP in a 23-19 Rough Rider win.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

We’ve all heard a star player say, “It’s not about me, it’s all about the team.” This is all good and well, but who doesn’t strive to be the best? Whether it is the best at knitting, ballroom dancing, or fantasy football, there is the drive in everyone to become the best.

In the Canadian Football League, the Most Outstanding Player award is the most prestigious award a player can win. Race to MOP will evaluate the top players in the league and look at who is winning the race to be named the next Most Outstanding Player.

Their have already been a lot of great individual performances early in the CFL season. There are plenty of players who are in contention to win the Most Outstanding Player Award, an award which was won last season by Anthony Calvillo.

The award usually seems to go to quarterbacks, but there are some players from other positions, not just on the offense, that are having success.

Here is a look at the top three players in contention for the MOP Award so far:

1) Anthony Calvillo: Quarterback from the Montreal Alouettes
Last year’s MOP is maintaining his high level of play. The Alouettes have come into the season with a chip on their shoulder and are playing great. Anthony Calvillo has been leading the charge. Calvillo has 879 yards on the season and five touchdown passes, not to mention a stellar 112.3 passer rating. Anthony Calvillo has also been cool and collected, providing leadership as the Alouettes have already beaten three teams from the West Division.

2) Fred Reid: Running back from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Reid isn’t the leading rusher so far, but he is close. Reid’s 261 are the second highest in the league so far. Fred Reid has been so valuable to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who have struggled to find a lot of offense. Teamed up with Lavereus Giles, Fred Reid has helped the Bombers have one of the best running games.

3) Stevie Baggs: Defensive end for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Now, I don’t know how likely it is for a defensive player to win the award, especially since Cameron Wake didn’t win last season. Baggs has not only been the most exciting player for the Riders, he has been one of the most exciting players in the league. Baggs has six tackles on the season and three sacks. He also has an interception and has forced two fumbles.

Honourable Mention:

Avon Cobourne: Avon Cobourne has always been underappreciated in his career, but the Alouettes running back is tearing it up. The leading running back in the league has 317 yards and four touchdowns.

Jamal Robertson: Robertson has had a lot of success early in the season, but has experienced a bit of a drop off. He has 240 yards two touchdowns.

Weston Dressler: Dressler hasn’t experienced any “sophomore slump” this season. He has 260 yards already.

Kerry Watkins: Kerry Watkins has been a big part of the Alouettes success. Watkins has 261 yards and three touchdowns already.

Paris Jackson: Jackson was my pick to win the award this season, and has recently stepped up his play. Jackson has 227 yards and two touchdowns.

For another look at the CFL, check out my new column, "Three Downs With Jonathan Hamelin" exculsively on Reservation For Six.