With a new college football season having a soft launch this weekend and the NFL just around the corner, there are some people who will abandon the second half of the Canadian Football league season.
I will not be one of those people.
As I’ve said many times, I love the CFL, and it’s not a part-time relationship.
Just because traditional American football is cranking up doesn’t mean I have to abandon the brand played north of the border.
In fact, one of the reasons I subscribe to ESPN + is so I can watch any CFL game I want. Now it’ll just be a matter of prioritizing.
And since this is the first year since 1986 that I’ve been able to be a legitimate fan instead of someone who writes about games on deadline, I plan to make the most of it.
But how do you juggle it all?
In the interest of full disclosure, there are four football teams who are the primary objects of my affection. They are – listed in rooting order – UAB, the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
I’m a UAB alumni and contributed seed money so their gridiron program could restart for the 2017 season. Aside from having a diploma, I also have financial skin in the game, so that makes the Blazers my top priority.
I started rooting for the Jets when they were in the American Football League (I’m showing my age here), and they’ve remained my favorite pro football team since I was a kid.
Roman Gabriel helped make the Rams my favorite NFL team, but when the franchise moved to St. Louis, I lost interest (and they were replaced by the Atlanta Falcons). But now that they’re back in L.A., they’re back in my favor as I’ve started pining for childhood memories, so I’ll root for them against any team not named the Jets.
As for Hamilton, I just liked their black and gold unis, and picked them as my favorite CFL team back in the 1970s. And except for that brain fart involving the Art Briles hire (and the brief tenure of the Birmingham Barracudas in 1995), they’ve been my No. 1 CFL club for 40-plus years.
The odd thing, though, is that I like CFL rules better than American football rules, and I like pro football much better than college football.
That makes my rooting preferences out of whack, but that’s just the way it is and I’m not going to overthink it.
Anyway, there will be some programming decisions I’ll have to make between now and December, but fortunately things break pretty favorably for me.
Tonight when Hamilton takes on Edmonton, it’ll be the only game in town. Cleveland does play Philadelphia in an NFL preseason game, but I’d never watch an exhibition over a CFL regular season game.
The Tiger-Cats’ next game is Monday, Sept. 3, against the Toronto Argonauts. That’s the same night of the Virginia Tech vs. Florida State and Alcorn State vs. Georgia Tech games take place.
I’ll be watching Hamilton.
And a quick glance at the schedule reveals that the Ti-Cats have no regular season Sunday games going forward, meaning there will be no conflicts with the Jets or Rams.
Thing is, though, I like the CFL in general. So there will be times when I might have a choice between a Football Bowl Subdivision game and a CFL matchup on Saturday, and I can tell you right now the Canadians will win more than they lose in that competition.
So to make a short story long, no, I don’t give up on the CFL just because the field gets crowded. It’s a great league with great players, and I’m glad there’s still plenty more games to watch.