I admit it, I’ve done a total 180°. I had always thought that Labour Day rematches lessened the Classic itself. However, as I was sitting in the stands at Ivor Wynne on Monday and the final whistle went, I started looking ahead to Friday’s game. If the Argonauts have half a pulse, they did too.
It was my first Labour Day Classic in person, and it was unlike any game I’d ever been to. The league’s “Watch the team you love play the team you love to hate” motto was in full effect, and it just wouldn’t be a holiday get-togehter without a few ejections.
It’s bad enough that Monday’s 34-15 loss to the Tiger-Cats wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates, but the Argos missed an opportunity to climb out of the cellar in the East division. If they have any hopes of hosting a playoff game, they’ll have to defeat the Ti-Cats just to get back to within two games of second in the East.
With nine games remaining, the Argos are two games out of the final playoff spot, held by BC. Not an insurmountable gap by any stretch, and they do a huge advantage for the rematch.
All-star defensive end Jonathan Brown will make his season debut after injuring his back in the second pre-season game. He’ll add bite to a defense that never got close to Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn on Monday. With 20 sacks in his past two seasons, Brown is an extra dominant dimension for the Ti-Cats to deal with.
It’s hard to call a home game an advantage for a team who has lost ten straight in their own building. That being said, if the crowd is as rowdy as it was in Steeltown, the Argos should profit from the 13th man the the Tiger-Cats did. Considering the lack of connection the Argos have had at Rogers Centre, one must admire Cody Pickett’s confidence level.
“We’re positive,” he told me on Thursday. “I know we’re a good football team, and we’ll do what we can to play as well as we can on Friday and get a win.”
Pickett’s first starts in the league came last fall during a home-and-home series against Calgary, but he isn’t drawing any parallels between then and now.
“It was my first starts in the CFL. This is my fourth start in a row. Last year just helped to get my first experience in the CFL,” he said.
Pickett didn’t play poorly against the Stampeders last year, but was replaced by Kerry Joseph for the final five starts. If the Argos fall again to Hamilton, Bart Andrus will have a similarly difficult decision to make. Should that happen, the Argos just hope it won’t be too late.
***Fortunately, the CFL isn’t planning to ban in-game tweeting like some other league, so follow my thoughts on just about everything during the game @YYZsportsmedia.***