Condensing the CFL schedule: how many games is enough for the 2020 season?

As I read through the letter sent to the CFLPA from president Solomon Elimimian yesterday, a question — obvious to me — came to mind.

“No decisions have been made, but there have been discussions with the CFL around whether training camps can start on time, as well as what a modified start to the CFL season could look like.” 

Elimimian told the players, in reference to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

So that led me to wonder, how small could a CFL season get before it would have to be cancelled? My feeling is that the lowest the league could possibly go is eight games.

Each team plays the other eight clubs once. Bye weeks would be distributed for three teams at a time through the three middle weeks of the season, plus one additional bye team each week due to the odd number of teams.

Now, I already know what you are thinking, because my 3DownNation colleague Santino Filoso voiced it to me in a group chat when I first proposed it — how do you decide home field?

Well, here is the best part of my plan. You do it by way of a snake draft.

First up, the Redblacks would get to choose an opponent and a location. That opponent would no longer be able to pick Ottawa on their schedule.

Then the draft would continue with the kicker being that the Bombers would have back to back picks to end the first and begin the second round, a la the fantasy sports drafts all of us have participated in at one time or another.

Want to get a certain team at home instead of away? Well, maybe you give up a pick in a future Canadian or Global draft to get it.

Televise the whole thing as it would only take four rounds and could be teased out over a two hour special.

Imagine the venom and billboard material if a team picked an away game.

“Men they thought they could come into our house and push us around. They chose to take the opportunity to embarrass us in our own building. Let’s show them how wrong they were!”

It could turn a disaster of a shortened season into something where the fans would be trash talking about every week, based on those choices.

Start camp in August, and as we all already have ingrained in our minds: “The season starts on Labour Day.”

This marketing genius would also require to have the Grey Cup pushed back a week to fit a 10-week regular season schedule, plus two byes and two weeks of pre-Grey Cup playoffs,

Top six teams make the playoffs, top two teams get a bye and then host the semi-finals regardless of geographic location.

We all need a little more levity in these heavy days, and the CFL could have a whole lot of fun with the possibilities for the 2020 season.

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