‘We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves’: Saskatchewan Roughriders aren’t blaming CFL schedule maker for losing streak

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders are angry about the CFL’s awkward scheduling, they aren’t saying it out loud.

Only in the CFL could one team play its eighth game of the season against another squad playing its sixth. That was the quirky scenario faced by the Riders in their 32-17 loss to the B.C. Lions on Friday night, dropping their record to 4-4.

The Leos enjoyed two bye weeks before the Riders got their first one, which is mercifully set to take place this week.

Saskatchewan was forced to play on only four days rest, which was partly due to the rescheduling of their Week 7 game against Toronto. Even so, the original schedule only gave them five days of rest compared to B.C.’s seven.

“We know who came up with it. We do have moments where we think it would be nice to get seven days here or maybe nice to have a little break, but it is what it is. We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves,” said Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson.

That break is finally here but fans are wondering if it’s a little too little, too late following the damage of a three-game losing skid. The Riders now face a very steep uphill climb if they have any plan to catch B.C. (5-1) in the hunt for a home playoff game in the dogfight that is the West Division.

So far, however, the team isn’t pointing any fingers at the league office over their recent struggles.

“Call it a short week or whatever but I try not to make too many excuses about it,” said linebacker Darnell Sankey. “I think we just have to regroup (and) refocus.”

Offensive lineman Logan Ferland, who made the switch from guard to centre following an injury to Logan Bandy, agreed with Sankey.

“We never try to play the woe-is-me card,” said Ferland. “It’s all about just taking what’s given to you and on to the next week.”

The Riders are saying all the right things, but the schedule simply hasn’t been equitable.

There have already been four games this season in which Saskatchewan has had at least two fewer days to prepare for a game than their opponent. And it’s hit the team hard, losing three of those contests including two to beatable East Division opponents.

How does that even happen? Is a CFL schedule really that difficult to piece together?

The sad part is that might not even be the worst of it. The Riders are staring down the barrel of nine divisional opponents over their ten remaining games this season, including seven against B.C., Calgary, and Winnipeg.

“We’re going through some growing pains right now, hopefully we can get it out of our system and make a run here in our last ten,” said Dickenson.

If conspiracy theorists ever thought the CFL wanted the Roughriders to play in the Grey Cup at home, the league sure did a poor job of lining it up.