This is Grey Cup weekend—the 104th edition of one of the most significant staples on the Canadian sports landscape. That is unless you live in Toronto, where the game is being played for the 48th time. Due to lack of excitement in the Ontario capital and the fact there have been a significant number of high profile events in Toronto in recent years, the Stampeders and Redblacks have been a tough game to sell in Toronto and there is a strong possibility that the game will not be a sellout.
This will be the third time Calgary has faced Ottawa for the Grey Cup. In 1948, the Stampeders beat the Ottawa Rough Riders 12-7 and in 1968 the Rough Riders beat the Stampeders 24-21. However this will be the first time since 1982 that the Grey Cup will be played outdoors in Toronto. That year 54,741 fans saw the Edmonton Eskimos, led by quarterback Warren Moon, beat the Argonauts 32-16 at Exhibition Stadium.
The Stampeders (15-2-1) will try to dominate the Redblacks just like they dominated the CFL Awards on Thursday when Stampeders won five major awards. They included Bo Levi Mitchell (most outstanding player), Jerome Messam (most outstanding Canadian), Derek Dennis (most outstanding offensive lineman), DaVaris Daniels (most outstanding rookie) and Dave Dickenson (best coach).
The RedBlacks (8-9-1) meanwhile become the first team since the Stampeders in 2001 to play in the Grey Cup game even though they were below .500. The 8-10 Stampeders that season beat the 14-4 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 27-19 in Montreal. Sunday’s Grey Cup game will take place at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time on TSN. Here are the other sporting events I will be watching this weekend.
Saturday—Vanier Cup—University of Calgary Dinos vs. Laval Rouge et Or—10am PT—Sportsnet—The Stampeders are not the only football team from Calgary playing for a national championship this weekend. The University of Calgary Dinos are playing in their ninth national championship and will be trying to win their fifth championship. However, even though they have been in the Vanier Cup thrice in the last eight years, the Dinos have lost each time. Two of those losses came to the Laval Rouge et Or, who are seeking their ninth Vanier Cup title, all since 1999. This year’s championship game is at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton.
Saturday—FIS World Cup—Women’s Giant Slalom—12pm PT—NBC—This will be the first World Cup alpine skiing race on the east coast of the United States in 25 years with Killington, Vermont the destination. Lara Gut of Switzerland won the opening women’s World Cup giant slalom race of the season on October 22 in Soelden, Austria.
Saturday—NCAA Football—Auburn vs. Alabama—12:30pm PT—CBS—The 81st Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has strong significance this season as the Crimson Tide will try to hold on to their number one ranking and remain undefeated as they are currently 11-0. Alabama is led by freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts of Houston, Texas, who has four games this season where he has rushed for 100 yards or more.
Saturday—NHL—Montreal Canadiens @ Detroit Red Wings—4 pm PT—Sportsnet—The Detroit Red Wings find themselves in a strange position—14th in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens are 15-4-2 and are number one in the East. However after a fast start, the Canadiens have lost four of their last six games and have been a little vulnerable as of late.
Sunday—NFL—Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons—10am PT—TSN2—An intriguing NFC matchup takes place this weekend in Georgia. Even though the Falcons are 6-4 and the Cardinals are 4-5-1, one needs to realize that these teams are very evenly matched. The Falcons are +37 through 10 games, while the Cardinals are +36.
Sunday—NHL—Arizona Coyotes @ Edmonton Oilers—12pm PT—Sportsnet—In a pre-Grey Cup NHL matchup in Edmonton, the Oilers have won three straight games since losing five straight games earlier this month. Oilers captain Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 18 assists and 27 points.