This long, agonizing CFL season for Riders fans lurches into semifinal weekend


We are heading into the playoffs for the CFL this weekend here in Polar Vortex-ridden Canada.

The division semifinals happen Sunday, as the BC Lions cross over to the East to play the Montreal Alouettes, while our Saskatchewan Roughriders head to Edmonton to take on the Eskimos. I guess this means I’m not tuning in the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, then, given the scheduling.

I wrote a piece that sums up the 2014 campaign so far. I describe the season as “one big hangover” because it really has been one issue after another.

The quarterbacking situation since Darian Durant went down, followed by the big late-season swoon, has sucked the life right out of the fans. The word to describe the mood is one of “exhaustion”, really. Fans here look ready to be put out of their misery.

The hype machine out of Riderville has continued non-stop, however, with all this phony optimism coming out of there that nobody believes anymore.

They have been raising the prospect that Durant might be ready for the playoff game against Edmonton. We’ve been hearing these rumors for days and weeks on the sports talk shows. Well, word just came the other day that it is it is Kerry Joseph who is starting, not Durant, which confirms to me what I’ve thought all along — that this Durant talk was all a bunch of hot air designed to hype up interest in the team.

Despite this, there are still people in Saskatchewan who insist they’ll beat Edmonton, pointing to the injury problems of the Esks QB Mike Reilly. There are also people suspicious that these broken-foot rumors are all a ruse and that Reilly will end up in the game anyway.

We’ll see. But I’d be far more confident in the Riders if they were at full health. If the Riders get past Edmonton, and if Durant can get healthy and come back, maybe they still have a chance at the Cup. But right now I’ll have to see it to believe it.