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A "Perfect" Season?
by Ben Burns - 08/01/2007
In my last CFL article I reviewed the best team in the league, the BC Lions; this week I look at the worst, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Of course when I say a "perfect" season for Hamilton I'm referring to a perfect 0-18 campaign! The Tiger-Cats appear to be well on their way to accomplishing this dubious feat; Hamilton is 0-5 SU and a dismal 1-4 ATS out of the blocks. Oddly enough, the one game that they managed to cover was against BC, falling 22-18 on the road. However, they followed up their best game of the season with a lackluster effort against Winnipeg, losing 36-18 in Week 5.
After going 2-0 in the preseason, it was a time of optimism for Hamilton fans and sportswriters. But of course as soon as the games started to count for real, Hamilton transformed into the 'Ti-Kittens'. So why are the Ti-Cats the worst team in the CFL and what can we expect from them for the remainder of the '07 season?
After finishing 2006 with both the worst offense AND the worst defense (going 4-14 SU and 9-9 ATS), the Ti-Cats made wholesale changes across the board.
Along with many new players, the biggest change the Ti-Cats made this season was a complete overhaul of their head coaches. Charlie Taaffe was hired as head coach in December of '06, and although he had success in Montreal in the late 90's and early 2000's, it was a tall order for him to expect an immediate turn-around. Hamilton also brought in Mike Working as Offensive Coordinator; he spent last year as the Blue Bombers QB coach and previous to that he spent 16 years as a high-school head coach. Ed O'Neil was hired as Defensive Coordinator and he spent the last three years as the defensive coordinator of the NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy.
All three gentlemen bring a wealth of experience to the table. However, after five games it appears theyâ€™re going to suffer through some â€œgrowing painsâ€쳌 while waiting for their systems to gel and for the Tiger-Cats to transform into a cohesive unit on both sides of the ball. Once again Hamilton is ranked dead last in scoring, managing only 14 points per game. The Ti-Cats are also ranked seventh (out of eight) in terms of points allowed. Teams are currently averaging a hefty 30.8 ppg on them.
The Tiger-Cats have thirteen regular season games left. Seven of them are in Hamilton and seven of them come against teams from the weaker Eastern Conference.
A "perfect" season? Well, anything is possible. However, this young Ti-Cat team should continue to improve and will inevitably become more and more desperate as the season continues. They should manage to steal a game or two later in the season. In the meantime, they'll be seeing some extremely inflated pointspreads. This Friday, they're listed as home underdogs of nearly a touchdown against division-leading Winnipeg. While the outright victories may still be a little ways down the road, I won't be surprised if and when the Ti-Cats become more competitive. Look for their backers to enjoy a profitable month of August, against the spread, of course!