Picking a March Madness team based on your CFL loyalties

It’s March and that means it is time for the Madness.

No, not the Macho Madness (sadly), but the gloriousness that is March Madness.

Maybe some of you reading this don’t have a favourite American college team or perhaps the team you do cheer for didn’t make the tourney (Notre Dame was robbed!) so you need a team to get behind.

I’m here for people like you. If we are just randomly assigning ourselves a team to support, can you think of a better way than by using your CFL fandom to make such a selection? I can’t.

B.C. Lions
Team(s) to support: Miami (FL), Clemson, Kentucky

If you are a Lions fan, The U is the team for you. With three ex-Hurricanes currently on the Lions’ roster (Joel Figueroa, Jeremy Lewis, Tyriq McCord), the sixth seed in the South is your top choice. The Clemson Tigers could also fill that role, with two former players currently with the Leos (Kourtnei Brown and Garry Peters) and if you wanted to ride with a traditional power, you could join DeQuin Evans in cheering for Kentucky.

Edmonton Eskimos
Team(s) to support: Michigan State, Texas A&M, Montana

The Esks have a pair of players from three schools, with Johnny Adams and Arjen Colquhoun repping the Spartans, Devante Noil and Derel Walker sporting Aggies colours, and Travon Van and Jeremiah Kose coming from Montana. If you want to go with a front-runner, you side with the Midwest’s third-seeded Michigan State Spartans, but if you are feeling adventurous and want to go out on a limb (or just really like underdogs) then Montana, the 14 seed in the West, is the team for you.

Calgary Stampeders
Team(s) to support: Oklahoma, Duke, Texas Tech

The Stamps do not have any duplicate schools among the teams that qualified, so you don’t have a lot to go on here. Two-star players in Roy Finch (Oklahoma) and Jamar Wall (Texas Tech) have teams in the tourney, Wall’s Red Raiders sitting at the three seed in the East and Finch’s Sooners coming in as the 10 seed in Midwest. But you’re a Stamps fan, so you’re used to cheering for front runners which means you are cheering for Duke thanks to Dwayne Norman.

Saskatchewan Roughriders
Team(s) to support: Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina, UCLA, Stephen F. Austin

Lots of teams to choose from if you are a member of Rider Nation. You can go with the ninth-seed-in-the-East Crimson Tide because of Christian Jones and Trent Richardson. Or the possible-11-seed-in-the-East (pending the outcome of the play-in game) UCLA Bruins could be your team thanks to Shaq Evans and Cameron Judge. You can join Lions fans in cheering for Clemson thanks to Crezdon Butler and Jacoby Ford, or you can rep Tarheelia and go with the West’s No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels because of your affinity for Marquise Williams (and Darian Durant) and Travis Bond.

But the team you should pick, thanks to Willie Jefferson and Terran Vaughn, is Stephen F. Austin. The 14 seed in the East is not going to win the tournament, and may not win a game, but you’re a Riders fan, so you’re used to disappointment. Hop aboard that Lumberjacks bandwagon and don’t look back.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Team(s) to support: Michigan, UCLA, Virginia

Like with the Stamps, not a lot to choose from if you are a Bombers fan. Recent free agent acquisition Craig Roh is a Michigan man, so you can team with him and cheer on the West’s No. 3 seeded Wolverines. Or you could back up your all-universe kicker Justin Medlock and rep the UCLA Bruins. But with Trent Corney on the roster, you are one of the few fanbases that could legitimately cheer for the top seed in the South and the tournament’s top overall seed, the Virginia Cavaliers, and not feel like front-runners. The Bombers haven’t won anything of substance in a very long time, so go ahead and cheer for Virginia. We will all give this one to you.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Team(s) to support: Kansas State

Thanks to the team employing Brandon Banks and Ryan Mueller, the No. 9 seed in the South, the Kansas State Wildcats, are the team for Ticats fans. Yes, a Dukey (Casey Blaser) plays for the Tabbies, but under no circumstances should you ever cheer for Duke. They have blue and white uniforms and you know who else has blue and white uniforms. Also, just no. You cannot be a Ticats fan and a Duke fan as well. It’s just not allowed.

Toronto Argonauts
Team(s) to support: Miami (FL), Michigan, N.C. State, Texas A&M

Plenty of options if you are an Argos fan, as four schools have multiple players on the roster of the defending Grey Cup champions. A pair of Brandon’s, Harris and Washington, came to the Double Blue by way of The U, so that’s a squad you can latch on to. If the sunshine state isn’t to your liking, you can wear some maize and blue while cheering on Johnny Sears Jr.’s and William Campbell’s Michigan Wolverines. The Texas A&M Aggies have a pair of alums in Jeff Fuller and Ben Malena on the roster, so you could cheer for the team at the seven spot out in the West. But I think the team Argos fans should get behind is the Wolfpack of North Carolina State. Toronto has a Wolfpack of their own that plays rugby, so cheering on another Wolfpack shouldn’t feel that weird.

Ottawa Redblacks
Team(s) to support: Michigan State, Oklahoma, Florida

The two squads for you if you are a Redblacks fan are Michigan State and Oklahoma. Should you want to cheer for the Midwest’s No. 10 seeded Sooners, you can use Mossis Madu and Jhajuan Seales as the reasons why. If you would rather root for a team that has a chance to win the whole thing, then the Spartans are for you thanks to Darien Harris and R.J. Shelton. Or you could make newcomer Loucheiz Purifoy feel at home by helping him cheer on the Florida Gators. They sit as the sixth seed in the East, so it may not be a plum position, but they could go far in the tournament. Plus, you could do that fun “CHOMP” taunt and who doesn’t want to do that.

Montreal Alouettes
Team(s) to support: Buffalo, Michigan State, North Carolina Central

I know it has been a rough year for Als fans, so maybe we should just let you say that whoever wins the tournament was your team. It only seems fair. But if you don’t want to do that, there are three teams for you. The smart play is siding with Mitchell White and B.J. Cunningham and backing the Michigan State Spartans. They could win the title, so we won’t blame you if you backed them so you had something to be happy about. I am sure Ernest Jackson and Drew Willy would be happy for you to cheer on their Buffalo Bulls, the 13 seed in the South. But if you just want to prolong your misery, then you let everyone know you are joining Jovan Olafioye and Frederick Henry-Ajudua in backing the North Carolina Central Eagles. They are possibly going to be the 16 seed in the West and have to take on Xavier in the first round (and I say possible because they have to beat Texas Southern just to get that seed). A 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 in the entire history of the Final Four, but maybe, just maybe, NCCU could make history and you, if you back them, could take some credit for it.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.