Which Grey Cup matchup is the most intriguing? Here are the nine options

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The tournament is about to begin, and excitement is building, at least for me. There are four games to decide the final matchup, and then it’s up to two teams to decide the Grey Cup winner this year.

With five games left, there are nine combinations for the final two, and regardless of what happens, it won’t be a well-worn matchup that we’ve started to become tired with.

Among the possible head-to-heads, only two of them have happened four times previously, and one has never happened before. Of course, with the Ottawa RedBlacks only one win away from a Grey Cup berth, they throw in some extra intrigue. Ottawa has a rich history of football, but not since the early 1980s has there been a decent team in our nation’s capital — the caveat being they didn’t actually have a team for two long stretches of time.

Without frequent Grey Cup competitors Montreal and Saskatchewan, a lot of recent matchups get thrown out the window. as well.

Here are my picks as to what would be the most interesting matchup in terms of storylines. That being said, anything with the RedBlacks and their 40-year-old QB Henry Burris would be fun to watch.

CFL Football

9. Lions vs. Tiger-Cats

Last meeting: 1985, B.C. wins 37-24

All-time record: 2-1 B.C.

Season series: 1-1

Analysis: There once was a fierce rivalry between these two teams, dating back to the Joe Kapp-Angelo Mosca wars of the 1960s. Recently, there isn’t much in terms of excitement between them. This could be a rare matchup of rookie quarterbacks as it could be Jonathan Jennings facing Jeff Mathews (provided he gets healthy). This is one of the most unlikely possibilities, mostly because the chances of B.C. heading into both Calgary and Edmonton and getting victories is such a long-shot.

8. Eskimos vs. Argonauts

Last meeting: 1996, Toronto wins 43-37

All-time record: 2-2

Season series: 1-1

Analysis: The storylines are there. Ricky Ray vs. his former team. Cleyon Laing vs. Mike Reilly, after Laing has twice knocked the QB out of games. Other than that, this one isn’t all that interesting for some reason. Maybe it’s because the Argos have looked so lacklustre over the final month and many would predict a major Eskimos blowout. The Argos and Ray do have a chance to change the momentum as they head into Hamilton for the East semifinal.

7. Lions vs. Argonauts

Last meeting: 2004. Toronto wins 27-19

All-time record: 1-1

Season series: 1-1

Analysis: This would probably make a few folks a bit angry. It would be the final Braley Bowl, as the Argos ownership is set to change after this season. Chances are this would be a complete tossup as to who is the favourite. We haven’t seen two No. 3 seeds make it to the Grey Cup since 1970 when the playoffs were either best-of-threes or two-game total points, so this one feels like the ultimate long-shot.

CFL Football

6. Stampeders vs. Argonauts

Last meeting: 2012. Toronto wins 35-22

All-time record: 3-1 Toronto

Season series: 2-0 Calgary

Analysis: Three years ago, this was an intriguing matchup. Chris Jones facing his former team in the Stampeders. Ricky Ray against his old Calgary nemesis. An MOP matchup between Jon Cornish and Chad Owens. The Stamps have had Toronto’s number since Jones left and took over head-coaching duties in Edmonton. The Stamps wouldn’t mind to get another shot at the Argos in the big game, but they aren’t exactly the same team they were three years ago.

5. Lions vs. RedBlacks

Last meeting: None

All-time record: None

Season series: 2-0 Ottawa

Analysis: The one Grey Cup matchup that’s never happened, and it certainly would be one interesting. The RedBlacks handled the Lions during the regular season and would enter as favourites, but it would be the fact that we haven’t seen much between these sides that would be the major storyline. There isn’t much in the way of other stories to grab onto if this were to happen.

CFL Football

4. Eskimos vs. Tiger-Cats

Last meeting: 1986, Edmonton wins 39-15

All-time record: 1-1

Season series: 1-1

Analysis: If this were to happen, it would mean the Ticats have faced three different teams in three years of getting to the Grey Cup. And just like the previous two years, they were enter as underdogs. It would be devastating to lose another one. It was against the Eskimos that QB Zach Collaros went out for the year with a knee injury, but there was really no one on Edmonton’s side to blame for that. This should be a good game based on Hamilton’s defence and special teams and their ability to score points, but the Eskimos defence would be extremely tough on whichever QB the Ticats were to run out there.

3. Stampeders vs. Tiger-Cats

Last meeting: 2014, Calgary wins 20-16

All-time record: 2-1 Calgary

Season series: 2-0 Calgary

Analysis: The Stamps won both meetings this season on last-second field goals so this should shape up as a close game. When the two teams met in back-to-back Grey Cups in the late 1990s, they were also close, one ending on a field goal by Mark McLoughlin, coincidentally in Winnipeg. At mid-season, this was the matchup that everyone wanted to see (outside Edmonton of course) as the Tiger-Cats were rolling with Zach Collaros at the helm. His injury changed everything though.

2. Eskimos vs. RedBlacks

Last meeting: 1981. Edmonton wins 26-23

All-time record: 2-1 Ottawa

Season series: 2-0 Edmonton

Analysis: The Rick Campbell vs. his father’s team (and his for many seasons) storyline would certainly get the Edmonton media all worked up. The fact it is a meeting of the two division winners for the fourth time in the past five seasons doesn’t hurt either. There is also the Jason Maas factor on the RedBlacks sideline. He helped the Eskimos get their last Grey Cup victory, way back in 2005, and now he could be stopping them from another. It’s hard to believe the Eskimos have gone a decade without participating in the signature event.

FBO CFL Redblacks Stampeders 20150813

1. Stampeders vs. RedBlacks

Last meeting: 1968. Ottawa wins 24-21

All-time record: 1-1

Season series: 1-1

Analysis: This could be one of the most fun Grey Cup weeks of all-time for those who like storylines. John Hufnagel’s last game as head coach, against his former quarterback that led him to his first Grey Cup title in that position, with that 40-year-old being directed by a handful of other former Stampeders coaches, including head man Rick Campbell. There are so many other former Stampeders on the RedBlacks too, and a war of words started with one of them earlier this season when receivers Marquay McDaniel and Maurice Price got into a Twitter feud. There could also be an added juice of Henry Burris facing Bo Levi Mitchell on awards night. When Burris lost out on the MOP award to Anthony Calvillo in 2008, it sparked the Stampeders that weekend. Burris should win, so would the same thing happen the other way around? Plus the Stamps are defending champs and have never won back-to-back titles. This matchup almost writes itself.

*-All RedBlacks history based on Ottawa Rough Riders

Ian Busby

Ian Busby

Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.
Ian Busby
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Ian Busby
About Ian Busby (175 Articles)
Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.

1 Comment on Which Grey Cup matchup is the most intriguing? Here are the nine options

  1. Correction to #4 – Hamilton won over Edmonton in 1986 so the all time would be 1-1.

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