Schultz: What would CFL look like without divisions?

Chris Schultz

10/29/2012 12:27:20 PM

I am starting to think that heading into the CFL playoffs that maybe it would be better if we had one eight-team league and not two divisions from East to West. For me, this is revolutionary thinking, because I am a big geography guy. I enjoy the tradition of East vs. West and all that goes with it. But, I would like to see the conversation generated, the interest out there of having no divisions.

As it stands right now, with a no-division league, B.C. and Calgary would have earned the bye weeks. I realize there is one more game to go but let's go with what we have right now. Calgary would get the bye over Montreal for two reasons. First, they did split the head-to-head games but in the first game Calgary won 38-10 and the second game Montreal won 33-32. Which means Calgary out-scored Montreal head-to-head by 17 points. And overall, Calgary scored more points and allowed fewer points than Montreal so they would get the bye week.

The third-place team would be Montreal, and the fourth would be between Saskatchewan and Toronto, both with 8-9 records. They did split the season series but when you calculate the points allowed between the teams, the Riders scored 62 while the Argos scored 41. As well the Riders overall scored more points and allowed fewer, a good indicator of them being the better team.

So, B.C., Calgary, Montreal, Saskatchewan, and Toronto are in, with the last playoff spot going to Edmonton as they currently have one more win than Hamilton.

Playoff round one would be sixth-seeded Edmonton playing at No. 3 Montreal, and No. 5 Toronto at No. 4 Saskatchewan. Winnipeg and Hamilton would be out. Then in the second round it would be the first-round winners playing the two best teams with the top team, B.C., playing the first-round winner who had the most losses in the regular season and Calgary playing the winner with the best record in the regular season.

Now the big negative is that you break with tradition of East vs. West, because in my logic scenario it very well could be a Calgary and B.C. Grey Cup with B.C. being in home team colours as they had the best record. Two western teams are not the most attractive game to some as the East would not represented in the game, but, it would be the two best teams and I think that would off-set the East-West attraction.

If, big if, we had Ottawa and say Halifax in the CFL right now I would not be considering this as a 10-team league would include all, and that would make a difference. But as good as 0ttawa looks to return in 2014, until a stadium is built on the East coast of Canada, the hidden gem of eastern Canada remaining dormant a possibility.

The "fun" at this time of year is anticipating who will play whom based on standings of wins and losses. With no divisions from top to bottom these conversations would increase, not diminish as possibilities would be greater.

I often get asked what my favourite team is. I always say Toronto first because of my professional life, then Hamilton due to childhood experience. But more than favourites I want good games leading to greater interest. I wonder here out loud if a no-division league would not generate better games and higher interest.

The charm of the Canadian Football League is in its fight. A fight to keep present and respected on the athletic landscape in Canada. It has experienced the most wonderful electric moments and, let's be honest here, some adversity that was perceptively crippling. You have to experiment to progress and learn from the process to achieve. And maybe a one-year experiment may be an indicator of possibility.

You don't know until you try.