While every team can find things to gripe about when they receive their schedule, the Ottawa Redblacks might have some legitimate complaints.
Though TD Place will finally get its first ever pre-season game in Redblacks’ history on June 13th, things get tougher from there on out.
After kicking off the season on June 25th with a Grey Cup rematch in Edmonton against former OC Jason Maas (and where Ottawa hasn’t won since 1983), the Redblacks get exactly four days to prepare for another tough road game in Montreal.
On July 8th, R-Nation gets to pack TD Place and unleash an off-season’s worth of pent up energy for Ottawa’s home opener as they face the Calgary Stampeders. But again, four days later, the team is back on the road and taking on the Argos in their new home at BMO Field, this time on a Wednesday night.
Sadly, even if R-Nation wanted to organize roadies to Montreal or Toronto, they’d be out of luck. Who is going to drive to Montreal on a Thursday or worse, Toronto for a Wednesday night affair? Aside from a few die-hards, likely nobody. I get that TSN heavily influences the CFL schedule in hopes to produce the best possible TV ratings, but at some level, player safety needs to be taken into account and hell, some consideration for fans wouldn’t hurt either.
It’s not all negative for the Redblacks though; a four game home stand starting July 31st against the Argos and ending on August 25th vs the BC Lions might be exactly what the doctor ordered after a potentially tough start. After the home stand, R-Nation won’t get to see the Redblacks at home again until September 23rd, nearly a month later.
It’s worth noting that for the second consecutive year, the Redblacks won’t meet the Hamilton Tiger-Cats until mid-October, in a home and home series that could yet again wind up determining the winner of the East Division.
In terms of their home schedule, R-Nation doesn’t have much to complain about. The Redblacks will play every game in the evening, with 6/9 games on a Friday, and the remaining three falling on a Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. And before you panic when looking at the 7:30 Sunday night start, keep in mind that the Monday is a holiday (Colonel By Day). To play devil’s advocate, while TV ratings might dictate better audiences in the evenings, there’s something to be said for sitting in the stands along the canal on a brisk autumn afternoon to take in a game.
In the end, no schedule is perfect and while fans will always find something to grumble about, it’s safe to say that there will be less complaining amongst R-Nation than in other fan bases around the country. After all, this year features 9 more home games than 2013 did, and that counts for everything.