Montreal Is the Bench Mark of the League

Steve ThompsonAnalyst IIISeptember 29, 2009

26 Nov 2000:  Anthony Calvillo #13 of the Montreal Alouettes runs with the ball during the Grey Cup 2000 game against the British Columbia Lions at the McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Lions defeated the Alouettes 28-26.Mandatory Credit: Craig Klem /Allsport

The most certain factor the current CFL season is that Montreal is the bench mark of the league and the team to beat for the Grey Cup. 

Since returning from Baltimore in 1996, the Alouettes have had a competitive team every season. The only problem is that they are the Atlanta Braves of the CFL—lots of playoff appearances and little to show for it. Their only Grey Cup has come in 2002.

They'll never have a better chance to win it than this year. After last week's demolishing of Hamilton, they have little to fear from their eastern rivals—two bad teams and one up and coming developing one.

Even better is that their western opposition is weaker. Saskatchewan is still learning to win under Darian Durant. Calgary is not the Calgary of last year. Edmonton is a threat when Ricky Ray is on—when he's not, the Eskimos suffer because they have the worst defence in the league. Finally, B.C. lost too much talent to be a threat.

The Alouettes are the best team on both sides of the ball, boasting the fewest points allowed and most points scored. It's tough to beat that combination.

Anthony Calvillo is having another outstanding season. Ben Cahoon leads a fleet set of receivers, the offensive line is solid, and Avon Cobourne is as good as any running back in the CFL.

The defence has been equally good and so have the special teams, led by Larry Taylor.  It seems that Montreal has all the pieces of the puzzle not only to win this year, but for several years in a row.

Still, there is the choke factor. For some reason, Montreal almost always seems to let the Grey Cup slip through its fingers. This year, even getting to the Grey Cup would be a failure. The Alouettes must win it all.

The only way the Alouettes can be stopped is for somebody to get hot. Nobody else has put together a long win streak like the Alouettes did. 

No other team has righted itself to play consistently well. It would be better for the CFL if another team reached up to the Alouettes level instead of Montreal playing down to everybody else.

So, the Alouettes are the betting man's choice for the Grey Cup. But remember Tom Brady and the Patriots before you wager.


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