Ranking all nine potential 2022 Grey Cup matchups

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The playoffs are here and that means it is once again time to rank all nine potential Grey Cup matchups.

As I have done for the last three seasons, I take all the possible matchups and rank them from least to most interesting. I punch the numbers and use my proprietary algorithm, then throw all that out and guess which of these hypothetical title games would be the most fun for the most viewers.

This exercise seems to get tougher every year, with this postseason offering few potentially disappointing outcomes. However, while I don’t think there is a single bad Grey Cup matchup available, there are definitely ones that shine above the rest.

Without further ado, here are my rankings for the nine possible 2022 Grey Cup matchups.

(If you want to take a walk down nostalgia lane, you can see my previous years’ rankings here, here and here.)

9. Winnipeg vs. Hamilton
Last meeting: 2021, Winnipeg won 33-25 in overtime
Other meetings: 2019, 1984, 1965, 1962, 1961, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1953
Overall record: Winnipeg 7-3

This topped the list in back-to-back years not too long ago but after two consecutive title tilts, does anyone outside of Winnipeg or Hamilton really want to see these two teams play each other again?

These two franchises do like to play championship games in bunches — they played each other six times over a nine-year span from 1957 to 1965 — so do not be surprised if it is once again a Bombers-Ticats matchup for all the marbles. I just don’t expect anyone outside those two cities to be overly enthusiastic about seeing this game for the third year in a row.

8. Calgary vs. Montreal
Last meeting: 2008, Calgary won 22-14
Other meetings: 1970, 1949
Overall record: Montreal, 2-1

If not for the repetitiveness of the Bombers-Ticats matchup, this game would rank lowest. There just isn’t a lot here to sink your teeth into. There is no real rivalry between the two sides and no major storylines of players going from one team to the other. This would probably be a fine game, but fine does not make for a top-flight matchup.

7. Winnipeg vs. Montreal
Last meeting: Never
Other meetings: Never
Overall record: N/A

Last year, this came in as a top-three matchup based almost solely on the fact that it has never occurred before. While that still holds true — and the Als were the only team to hand Winnipeg a defeat at home this year — other matchups with more juice have dropped this down the rankings. It just feels kind of bland.

6. B.C. vs. Toronto
Last meeting: 2004, Toronto won 27-19
Other meetings: 1983
Overall record: Toronto 2-0

On paper, this game should be more exciting, especially given the thriller these two teams played back in Week 18. The problem is that game did not feature Nathan Rourke and when these two teams played with Rourke under centre for the Lions, it finished as a 44-3 butt-kicking by the Leos. Rourke makes everything more interesting but a repeat of that Week 3 encounter would have fans tuning out by halftime.

5. B.C. vs. Montreal
Last meeting: 2006, B.C. won 25-14
Other meetings: 2000
Overall record: B.C. 2-0

There is not a ton of intrigue with this matchup either but the Vernon Adams Jr. factor makes it slightly more interesting than the matchups ranked below it. While Adams would be unlikely to see a ton of playing time, the chance for him to win a championship against the team that cast him aside in favour of Trevor Harris would make watching the sidelines more interesting than normal.

4. B.C. vs. Hamilton
Last meeting: 1985, B.C. won 37-24
Other meetings: 1964, 1963
Overall record: B.C. 2-1

There is plenty of intrigue in a catfight for the title. For starters, we would get a ton of feline-related puns, which I am always here for.

This is a matchup that has only occurred three times and it has been 37 years since these two teams met. I can’t say for certain but the vast majority of people who write for this website probably were not alive the last time the Ticats and Lions played for the Grey Cup.

You have the Nathan Rourke factor but also him going up against the one team that managed to slow him down during his early season stampede through the rest of the league. Both teams have long title droughts, adding to the makings of a very interesting matchup.

3. Winnipeg vs. Toronto
Last meeting: 1950, Toronto won 13-0
Other meetings: 1947, 1946, 1945, 1938, 1937
Overall record: Toronto, 6-0

While I tend to rank chalk matchups fairly low, this year would be the exception because the stories write themselves if the Blue Bombers and Argonauts were to meet in the title game.

The Bombers going for the first three-peat in 40 years against a team it has never defeated in a Grey Cup. Andrew Harris back on the big stage playing against the hometown club that discarded him. Mike O’Shea coaching against his former team. Zach Collaros playing against the team that twice thought he was expendable. This matchup is ripe with juicy storylines.

2. Calgary vs. Toronto
Last meeting: 2017, Toronto won 27-24
Other meetings: 2012, 1991, 1971
Overall record: Toronto, 3-1

I very nearly put this in the top spot because Calgary West playing against Calgary East in the Grey Cup is so filled to the brim with potential storylines it almost seems difficult to know where to start.

All the ex-Stampeders that currently play for or coach with the Argos will keep this site busy all week. Corey Mace game-planning a defence against an offence he is very familiar with; the teacher vs. student matchup of Dickenson vs. Dinwiddie; and the last time these two teams met up in the Grey Cup it was a wintery classic won by the underdog Argos on a snowy field in Ottawa.

Picking between this and what I eventually put at No. 1 was hard, so if you think this is the top matchup I will not disagree.

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

These two teams played perhaps the two most entertaining games of the 2022 season, with each winning one a-piece in the other’s house. A rubber match on neutral ground only seems fitting.

This would feature both three seeds reaching the final, which we have not seen in eons. It features two up-and-coming quarterbacks who are looking to make their mark on this generation of signal-callers and two young head coaches looking to add to their growing legacies of success.

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.