Get your season tickets, grab your beers, and hold on to your hats crazy Riders fans because the 2008 CFL Season is about to get interesting.
Already, many have made their picks on the outcome of the coming CFL season as has BR CFL Columnist TJ Zwarych in his 2008 CFL breakdown.
As expected, pre-season action has been lackluster but only to provide coaches and upper management with the views they want of their prospective teams coming into this season.
In Montreal, Alouettes GM Jim Popp announced a coaching change last December bringing in Marc Trestman as head coach. Trestman's resume is impressive, including many stops in the NFL as offensive/quarterback coach with the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, San Fransisco 49ers, and Miami Dolphins from 1985-2004.
The hiring of Trestman is in the hopes that the Alouettes can rise to the top of the East Division after a sudden drop from their perennial first place finishes, which included a 2002 Grey Cup victory.
In Toronto, with the departure of former head coach Michael "Pinball" Clemons, Rich Stubler steps into the role of Argos coach. Stubler inherits an offensively potent team that just got a little more potent with the arrival of 2007 CFL Player of the Year QB Kerry Joseph from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Along with QB Michael Bishop, the Argos are poised to be one of the top teams in the East.
After the release of K Troy Westwood, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers seem to have solved their kicker situation after signing K Duncan O'Mahony. Along with rookies Alexis Serna and Brian Monroe, the Bombers have a healthy group of talented kickers vying for the top job as CFL BR Reporter Chris Allen explains the Bombers kicking situation.
In BC, after the departure of QB Dave Dickenson to Calgary, Wally Buono's Lions are set in the QB position with both Jarius Jackson and Buck Pierce vying for top spot. With great wide receivers such as Geroy Simon, the Lions are a potent threat in any situation.
After an impressive finish with a Grey Cup victory last season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are feeling the pangs of the salary cap, having lost star QB Kerry Joseph and having to rebuild only a year after winning it all. Most of their defensive line still remains intact, yet the Riders are predicted to fall in the standings this coming season. TJ Zwarych has more on the Riders upcoming season.
In Hamilton, there is not much hope from many that the Tigercats will do much more than they have for the last few seasons, even with QB Casey Printers at the helm. Hopefully, head coach Charlie Taaffe will be able to rebuild the Tigercats back into perennial competitors.
Finally, in Alberta, both the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos are in the middle of the pack. In Edmonton, head coach Danny Maciocia hopes to repeat with Ricky Ray at the helm of their 2005 Grey Cup championship. Along with WR Keith Stokes now in the Eskies lineup, the Esks are looking to make some noise in the West.
In Calgary, there are always rumblings that the Stampeders are due for a breakout season. Without a Grey Cup championship since 2001 (third longest drought besides Hamilton  and Winnipeg ), the Stampeders with QB Henry Burris are looking for answers are more than a few mediocre seasons. With outstanding wide receivers such as Jermaine Copeland and Ryan Thelwell, the Stamps are poised to take a run at first spot in the West.
For the CFL This Week, I'm Matt Eichel.