The second annual Ian Busby Memorial Grey Cup matchup rankings

Photo Scott Grant /

One of the staples of 3DownNation’s post-season coverage has been the annual ranking of potential Grey Cup matchups.

The esteemed Ian Busby did it for the first three years of our existence, but when Ian left someone had to take the torch.

That person was me, and last year I compiled my first ever list of the nine possible Grey Cup matchups (for the record, the matchup I least wanted to see ended up being the one we got).

So with the playoffs set to begin on Sunday, here are my rankings of the nine Grey Cup matchups we could get.

9. Edmonton vs. Saskatchewan
Last meeting: Never
Other previous meeting(s): Never
Overall record: N/A

The only, and I do mean only, interesting thing about this game is that these two teams have never met in the Grey Cup before. A year ago, this would have ranked higher with the Chris Jones factor being in play, but with Jones off to the NFL, there really isn’t anything to sink your teeth into with this one.

8. Edmonton vs. Winnipeg
Last meeting: 1993, Edmonton won 33-23
Other previous meeting(s): 1990
Overall record: Tied, 1-1

Sorry, Edmonton, but matchups featuring you simply don’t move the needle that much, and a Winnipeg-Edmonton Grey Cup has just two things going for it. One, it would be a matchup of the two No. 3 seeds in the playoffs, and we haven’t seen both lowest seeds make the final since the Als and Stamps did it back in 1970.

Secondly, the last team to lose to the Bombers in a Grey Cup was… Edmonton, when Winnipeg smacked them around to the tune of a 50-11 beatdown in the 1990 Grey Cup. So how serendipitous would it be if the Bombers finally ending the drought against the last team they were able to beat for the title?

7. Montreal vs. Winnipeg
Last meeting: Never
Other previous meeting(s): Never
Overall record: N/A

Another first-time matchup that doesn’t offer much in the way of intrigue. I think this would be a fine game, but I can’t think of anything above the surface level to get excited about. If this is our Grey Cup matchup, I am sure it will be a fun game, but thinking about it now does not fill me with much excitement.

6. Montreal vs. Calgary
Last meeting: 2008, Calgary won 22-14
Other previous meeting(s): 1970, 1949
Overall record: Montreal, 2-1

Now we get to the point where some of these matchups are just personal preference, and we start with Als-Stamps. The last time these two teams met was in Montreal in 2008, when the Stamps won their first title since 2001 and Henry Burris got the proverbial monkey of his back. Have the Als just been patiently waiting to exact revenge? Imagine if Montreal, who beat Calgary twice this year, go into McMahon and dethrone the Stamps. What a story that would be!

5. Hamilton vs. Saskatchewan
Last meeting: 2013, Saskatchewan won 45-23
Other previous meetings: 1989, 1972, 1967
Overall record: Tied, 2-2

Last year, this matchup ranked fourth, but a lot has changed since then. For starters, this year it would be a matchup of one seeds, and chalk is never really that much fun. But the Riders and Ticats are known to have some doozies when it comes to Grey Cups, with the 1989 game still ranking as perhaps the greatest Grey Cup of all time. Hamilton fans would love to wipe the taste of the 2013 butt kicking out of their mouths. These two teams have matched up well with one another this year, so a fourth Grey Cup meeting between these clubs could be a lot of fun.

4. Hamilton vs. Calgary
Last meeting: 2014, Calgary won 20-14
Other previous meetings: 1999, 1998
Overall record: Calgary, 2-1

The Hamilton-Calgary rivalry is becoming a fun one across multiple sports. Just recently, Hamilton’s Forge FC defeated Calgary’s Cavalry FC in the first championship series in the first-year Canadian Premier League. The final of the two-match set ended with the Hamilton team beating the Calgary team in Calgary. I imagine Ticats fans wouldn’t mind seeing a repeat in the Grey Cup.

But there are a lot of storylines available for this one. Bo Levi Mitchell has never lost to the Ticats; Hamilton would like to exact revenge for the controversial loss in the 2014 Grey Cup; the Ticats, who have accomplished a lot this year, were still unable to win at McMahon for the first time since 2004. Imagine if that streak were to end by beating Bo and the Stamps in the biggest game they have played at home. This one would be a treat.

3. Edmonton vs. Calgary
Last meeting: Never
Other previous meeting(s): Never
Overall record: N/A

Now we are getting to the crème de la crème and the Battle of Alberta on the game’s biggest stage is one hell of an enticing matchup. If you are reading this, you know why, so I don’t feel like I need to explain too much. It’s one of the game’s biggest rivalries playing out on the game’s grandest stage. What’s not to like?

2. Montreal vs. Saskatchewan
Last meeting: 2010, Montreal won 21-18
Other previous meeting(s): 2009*
Overall record: Montreal 2-0*

Before we get started, you will note the asterisk as I wasn’t sure if I should count the 1931 meeting between the Montreal AAA Winged Wheelers and the Regina Roughriders that Montreal won 22-0. The Regina Roughriders are, obviously, the precursor to the team we know today, but the Winged Wheelers have no attachment to the modern-day Alouettes. But it is a fun bit of trivia nonetheless.

Anyway, the whole plot line for an Als-Riders matchup will focus on the 10-year anniversary of the 13th man game that took place in the very same stadium. I don’t know if that is something we should all want — because we will have to hear about it for a week — or not — because we will have to hear about it for a week — but it adds some sizzle to a matchup that doesn’t have a ton of it.

1. Hamilton vs. Winnipeg
Last meeting: 1984, Winnipeg won 47-12
Other previous meetings: 1965, 1962, 1961, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1953
Overall record: Winnipeg 5-3

It was No. 1 last year, it is No. 1 again this year, and so long as it is possible and neither of these teams win a championship in 2019, it will be No. 1 again next year. Add in the Zach Collaros factor and this year’s potential edition gets even spicier.

This is one of the most storied Grey Cup rivalries in league history and the chance to see these two teams battle it out for the right to see one of them end their interminably long title drought makes this the Grey Cup matchup to want.

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.