CFL UNVEILS RESULTS FROM INAUGURAL CFL MEDIA POLL

CFL UNVEILS RESULTS FROM INAUGURAL CFL MEDIA POLL

Pundits across the CFL think Calgary Stampeders will win West Division, Toronto Argonauts will win the East Division, Edmonton Eskimos will win the 106th Grey Cup and Mike Reilly will win his second consecutive Most Outstanding Player award

Thursday, May 24, 2018 — TORONTO (May 24, 2018) – The Canadian Football League (CFL) revealed the results from the inaugural CFL Media Poll today. CFL experts across the country filled out 20 questions in advance to the 2018 season to make predictions, projections and answer hypotheticals. In total, 74 completed the poll.

Please note, ballots were distributed May 14th and closed May 21st.

Below are results:

Which team will win the West Division? (73 votes)

32% Calgary Stampeders (23 votes)
30% Edmonton Eskimos (22 votes)
29% Saskatchewan Roughriders (21 votes)
7% Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5 votes)
3% BC Lions (2 votes)

Comments:

“Even with all the changes to the roster I can’t go against Bo Levi Mitchell. With his right shoulder healthy there is no reason not to believe he can’t lead the stamps to the best record in the west.”

“Mike Reilly makes the Eskimos a Grey Cup threat every season and expect that to repeat in 2018. Sure, they lose Brandon Zylstra to the NFL, but Derel Walker is ready to go in Edmonton from the start of the season--unlike a year ago. Expect the Eskimos to win the trench battles, they allowed the least amount of sacks in 2017 and the addition of Alex Bazzie instantly helps the defensive line get some pressure. Not to mention, a home Grey Cup is good motivator.”

“The Riders improved on their weaknesses in the offseason and with Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge, should get more consistent play at QB. They could be scary good.”

Which Team will win the East Division? (73)

75% Toronto Argonauts (55 votes)
18% Hamilton Tiger-Cats (13 votes)
7% Ottawa REDBLACKS (5 votes)

Comments:

“By far the most well-coached and disciplined team in the East. Underrated defensive line and an improved secondary. Depth behind the league's most poised quarterback. Wilder adds a new dimension to a pass-happy Trestman system, allowing for one of the most versatile attacks in the league.”

“The Tiger-Cats were a different team when they were being coached by June Jones last year, and it's scary to think about what they might be able to do when Jones can work with his team for a full training camp. The pieces are all there and it's a safe bet that the Ticats will find a way to put them all together.”

“Trevor Harris isn't talked about enough as a top end quarterback, their receiving group is elite, and they've made some significant defensive additions over the winter. Ottawa looks like a real force in 2018.”

Which team will win the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw in Edmonton? (73)

23% Edmonton Eskimos (17 votes)
22% Calgary Stampeders (16 votes)
22% Saskatchewan Roughriders (16 votes)
15% Toronto Argonauts (11 votes)
12% Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9 votes)
3% BC Lions (2 votes)
1% Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1 vote)
1% Montreal Alouettes (1 vote)

Comments:

“The story is getting set up to right itself, the hometown Eskimos being crowned Champions in the city of Edmonton. Mike Reilly is the best quarterback in the league, Derel Walker is still a premier wideout and Edmonton's defense gets back the reinforcements that went down with injury last season.”

“Saskatchewan will finish first in the division but enter way too confident and inexperienced. The veteran Stampeders will 'upset' them in the Western Final and finally finish the deal with a younger, more motivated group.”

“The Stampeders will be playing with an edge and something to prove after back-to-back upsets. The defence is younger but will still be good, while I expect Bo Levi Mitchell to have his best statistical season of his career. With a healthy shoulder and those talented young receivers he should threaten for 6,000 yards.”

Who will win the Most Outstanding Player in 2018? (74)

35% Mike Reilly (26 votes)
19% Bo Levi Mitchell (14 votes)
19% James Wilder Jr. (14 votes)
5% Zach Collaros (4 votes)

Comments:

“Reilly has the offense around him to get him to the leagues first repeat MOP winner since Anthony Calvillo did it almost a decade ago.”

“Bo Levi Mitchell If his shoulder is 100% he takes home the honours. At just 28 he owns the best winning percentage of any quarterback in CFL history. Already owns a ring and was so close to two more.”

“James Wilder Jr. becomes the first RB to win MOP since 1998. He's got a real shot at being the first 1,000-1,000-yard back. Special blend of size and speed, he's in the middle of his prime and he couldn't ask for a better situation in Marc Trestman's offence.”

Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2017-18? (72)

10% Zach Collaros (7 votes)
10% Bryant Mitchell (7 votes)
6% Terry Williams (4 votes)
4% Nic Demski (3 votes)
4% Alex Green (3 votes)
4% Kamar Jorden (3 votes)
4% James Wilder Jr. (3 votes)

*25 other players received two votes or fewer

Comments:

“Zach Collaros New team, new offence, skilled receivers, Healthy. Motivated to get back to the level he was at in 2015 before he tore his ACL.”

“Bryant Mitchell, Eskimos. Great numbers, reliable hands in limited targets last season. With the departures of Zylstra and Bowman, Eskimos will need him.”

“Not that he didn’t last season, but I believe James Wilder Jr will continue to break out this year. Now that the contract situation has been resolved look for him to build on his incredible 2017 campaign where he averaged 7.1 yards per carry!”

Which team made the best overall moves this offseason? (73)

38% Saskatchewan Roughriders (28 votes)
19% Montreal Alouettes (14 votes)
11% Toronto Argonauts (8 votes)
11% BC Lions (8 votes)
10% Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7 votes)
8% Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6 votes)
1% Ottawa REDBLACKS (1 vote)
1% Edmonton Eskimos (1 vote)

Comments:

“The Riders got a number one QB, 2 quality pass rushers, and a number one running back. They got people with winning experience who can make a contribution right away.”

“Ed Hervey made some making huge/necessary improvements to BCs offensive and defensive lines!”

“The Alouettes had to get better in the offseason. The moves did just that.”

Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact? (71)

61% Zach Collaros to SSK (43 votes)
10% Adarius Bowman to WPG (7 votes)
10% James Franklin to TOR (7 votes)

Comments:

“It's a QB league and with Roosevelt, Carter, Bagg, and Grant, he'll have a shot to have an unreal season in the air.”

“The impact of Franklin's move to Toronto might not truly be felt until 2019, but he's got the makings of an elite QB. If anything happens to Ricky Ray, the Argos shouldn't miss a beat when Franklin's behind centre. That's invaluable.“

“With Matt Nichols at QB, Bowman will have a bona fide passing threat feeding him the ball.”

Who will lead the league in receiving yards? (72)

46% Derel Walker (33 votes)
11% Duron Carter (8 votes)
11% S.J. Green (8 votes)
10% Greg Ellingson (7 votes)

Comments:

“The last time Derel Walker played an 18-game season he had 1,589 yards. He's averaged 6.5 receptions per game throughout his career, and now he's doing the heavy-lifting for Mike Reilly following the departure of Adarius Bowman and Brandon Zylstra. Walker runs away with this one.”

“Did you see his connection with Ricky Ray after one year? With another year to get on the same page their compatibility means productivity for the Argo passing game.”

“To quote Duron’s twitter account “this is my first professional season with the same OC as last year... y’all in trouble”

Who will lead the league in rushing yards? (73)

51% James Wilder Jr. (37 votes)
23% Andrew Harris (17 votes)
10% William Powell (7 votes)

Comments:

“James Wilder Jr. is going to want to prove his rookie year was no fluke, whether he hits 1000 yards shouldn't be a question but beyond that is anyone’s guess.”

“Maybe Adarius Bowman's presence in Winnipeg's offence makes Harris less of a target and a more frequent rusher.”

“Harris and Wilder's reception totals will increase this year, Powell will play the full season and see significantly more carries than his two main competitors.”

If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the CFL, who would your first selection be and why? (73)

56% Mike Reilly (41 votes)
30% Bo Levi Mitchell (22 votes)
4% Alex Singleton (3 votes)

Comments:

“Mike Reilly. He's a dual-threat quarterback, he knows how to run an offence efficiently, and how to carry himself as a pro, proving times and times again that he's always willing to put the team first. I think he's great to build a team around, not just on offence.”

 “Bo Levi Mitchell, QB, Calgary Stampeders. He might not always lead the league in every QB category, but he's always right near the top. More importantly, though, he wins and does so consistently.”

“Alex Singleton Has become the premier linebacker in the CFL, Elimimian is close but older. Singleton just loves to play the game, and does it at a high level, week in, week out.”

Who will win Most Outstanding Canadian? (73)

40% Andrew Harris (29 votes)
37% Alex Singleton (27 votes)
15% Brad Sinopoli (11 votes)

Comments:

“The Harris /Wilder Jr. yardage battle will get a ton of coverage this season, so their names will be in the news all season. Harris will benefit from that more than any other candidate. He'll have an outstanding season.”

“Singleton nearly doubled his tackles from his rookie season in his sophomore year last season. One year older, one year stronger Singleton will be the first defensive player to win the award this decade.”

“REDBLACKS should have a bounceback season, Brad Sinopoli has had three straight 1000 yard seasons, as defences figure out ways to slow down Greg Ellingson, holes will open for the Canadian.”

Who will win Most Outstanding Defensive Player? (71)

46% Alex Singleton (33 votes)
21% Willie Jefferson (15 votes)
17% Solomon Elimimian (12 votes)

Comments:

“Singleton is the best defensive player in the game right now, until he is proven not to be can't doubt he will be as dominant if not more so next season.”

“With Charleston Hughes taking some attention on the other side, I think we could see Jefferson get close to 20 sacks after leading the league in QB pressure last year.”

“Realistically, this is going to be between Alex Singleton and Solomon Elimimian . Both guys are incredible and deserving winners. Elimimian has been so good for so long, though, that it's hard to bet against him.”

Who will be the comeback player of the year in 2018? (71)

48% Zach Collaros (34 votes)
18% JC Sherritt (13 votes)
15% Jonathon Jennings (11 votes)
14% Adarius Bowman (10 votes)

Comments:

“Collaros could benefit greatly from a fresh start and with the complement of players assembled around him he could get back into the MOP discussion.”

“It's gotta be Sherritt . The only thing that kept him from dominating -- again -- last year was injury. If he's fully recovered, the guy is as terrifying as any linebacker in the league.”

“A better offensive line will help Jennings regain his from of two years ago. Still young young for growth, now with the experience of nearly everything the game has to offer. Will be motivated to prove doubters wrong.”

Which 2017 CFL Draft pick will have the most impact this season? (71)

27% Tunde Adeleke, CGY (19 votes)
25% Kawku Boateng, EDM (18 votes)
13% Nate Behar, EDM (9 votes)

Comments:

“The Stampeders got the steal of the draft last year when they chose Tunde Adeleke out of Carleton. Adeleke has already turned heads with his punt-returning, but he's primed to take over the Stamps' starting safety spot this season now that Josh Bell has moved on to coaching. He's the one to watch.”

“Kwaku Boateng is a pure pass rusher who will get a chance to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback, especially with some highly-talented defensive linemen around him. Adeleke will have a big year, but Boateng notches double-digit sacks.”

“Behar has all the makings to be a star in the CFL. He will get plenty of opportunity to show it this year.”

Which non-playoff team a season ago will have the most wins in 2018? (73)

70% Hamilton Tiger-Cats (51 votes)
26% BC Lions (19 votes)
4% Montreal Alouettes (3 votes)

Comments:

“Hamilton went 6-4 under June Jones last year and it could've been better if not for some late game mistakes. Jeremiah Masoli and Johnny Manziel are ready to operate a new style of offence, that makes its full season debut in 2018.”

“Lions were not as bad as their record last year. Lost a lot of close games. Team has improved in key areas and has the talent. Talent that will also be motivated to play for a focused Buono in his final season.”

“I like what the Als have done, and they should at least double their win total from 2017.”

Who is the most underrated player in the CFL? (72)

4% Cleyon Laing (3 votes)
4% Jeremiah Masoli (3 votes)
4% Tyrell Sutton (3 votes)
3% Brandon Banks (2 votes)
3% Bryan Burnham (2 votes)
3% Alan-Michael Cash (2 votes)
3% BJ Cunningham (2 votes)
3% Armanti Edwards (2 votes)
3% Kevin Glenn (2 votes)
3% Micah Johnson (2 votes)
3% Maurice Leggett (2 votes)
3% Antoine Pruneau (2 votes)

Comments:

“Cleyon Laing. He's in a league with Ted Laurent of the best interior D-linemen in the CFL. He was an enormous part of the Argos' defensive success last year.”

“Antoine Pruneau. He's tough, reliable, a starter since he came into the league. He made a very average defence look better last year with Ottawa. He will have more help this year and he should be able to shine even more.”

“Bryan Burnham , doesn't rack up the TD's but makes the key catches game in and game out that lead to TD's. Tough as nails, no fear receiver.”

Which CFL Team has the biggest home-field advantage? (72)

67% Saskatchewan Roughriders (48 votes)
17% Calgary Stampeders (17 votes)
11% Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8 votes)

Comments:

“It's a different world in Regina. It's loud, packed, and hostile, exactly what a home field is supposed to be.”

“To me, Winnipeg has always had the loudest fans. Doesn't matter which stadium or how good or bad the team has been, they make it tough on the visiting team.”

“Teams just don't go into McMahon Stadium and win. Loud fans, hostile environment, difficult opponent. Almost an automatic loss for the visitors.”

Which current Head Coach would you want coaching your team? (74)


65% Marc Trestman (48 votes)
15% Dave Dickenson (11 votes)
8% Wally Buono (6 votes)

Comments:

“Trestman 's football IQ is second to none. Also his calm demeanor filters through the team, just look at the East final versus the Riders. There was no panic and the team did what they had to do.”

“The Stamps have gone to two Grey Cups in two years under Dickenson, and even if they've lost both championship games that's still awfully impressive.”

“Wally Buono. He's the godfather of CFL coaches, enough said.”

Which up and coming coach (current Coordinator or positional coach) would you hire as a first-time Head Coach? (70)

46% Orlando Steinhauer (32 votes)
16% DeVone Claybrooks (11 votes)
10% Mark Washington (7 votes)

Comments:

“Orlando Steinauer ... Probably was ready for it before he left for Fresno State, but a year working under June Jones and Jerry Glanville will make him even more ready to take on HC role.”

“He's already been rumoured to have turned down a few offers, but he's run the best defence in the league for the last two years in Calgary. There's lots of good options, but this one's not even close. It's Claybrooks.”

“Mark Washington. Has done his time and learned from one of the best.”

Will there be a crossover this season? (74)

66% Yes (49 votes)
34% No (25 votes)