Stats, storylines and trends as we head into Mark’s Labour Day Weekend


Mark’s Labour Day Weekend: The Most Important Ever

  • This holiday weekend has often been pivotal in the CFL but this is the first time ever it has featured battles for first place in both divisions.
  • Hamilton and Toronto (both at 6-3) will face off for first in Hamilton on Monday.
  • Hamilton can clinch the season series with the Argos with a win.
  • The two teams meet again just four nights later in Toronto for Friday Night Football.
  • This will be their 45th Labour Day meeting: Hamilton has won 30 of 44 with one tie but in the last ten, Toronto has won five, lost four and tied one.
  • Calgary (7-2) and Edmonton (6-3) fight for first in Calgary on Labour Day.
  • This is the  54th time that Labour Day has featured the Battle of Alberta, the 34th Labour Day in a row that the two teams have met, and  the 45th time in the last 47 years (the exceptions being 1973 and 1981).
  • Overall, Edmonton has won 29 of the match-ups, Calgary 24, and there has been one tie.
  • Winnipeg travels to Regina to face the Riders hoping to reverse a trend: Saskatchewan has won the last ten Labour Day matches between the prairie rivals.
  • Overall, Saskatchewan has come out on top in 33 of their 51 Labour Day games.
  • The game between the 3-6 Bombers and 0-9 Riders has important implication for teams hoping to qualify for the West Division playoffs and a potential Cross-Over from the East.
  • So does Thursday night’s game between the BC Lions (3-5) and the Alouettes (4- 5) in Montreal.
  •  Ottawa 5-4 has a bye this week.

Yes, we said Cross-0ver from the East

  • The CFL would have its first ever East to West Cross-Over if the playoffs started today.
  • Montreal (4-5) in fourth place in the East would have a better record than BC (3-5) in third in the West.
  • Since the adoption of the Cross-Over rule in 1996, the fourth place team in the West has “crossed over” and taken the third East Division playoff position eight times, including last year when BC (9-9) supplanted Toronto (8-10).
  • The surging East is on pace to win the “interlocking title” for the first time since 2004: it has 15 wins in 24 interdivisional match-ups this season.
  • Hamilton is 5-1 against Western clubs so far and Toronto is 5-2. BC and Saskatchewan are yet to beat an Eastern team in eight tries.
  • A win by Montreal over BC this Thursday would have all four East Division clubs at .500 or better.
  • That has not been the case in more than 11 years (July 2004 after six weeks of play).

The champs still are, and the unlucky still are

  • Calgary (7-2) has regained its traditional spot atop most people’s power rankings.
  • The Stampeders sit atop the mid-season standings for the second straight season.
  • They are above .500 after nine regular season games for the tenth year in a row.
  • Number of losses by four or fewer points by teams not currently in playoff positions: eight.

Defenses are smiling even though scoring is up

  • Scoring is up at 49.9 points per game, a 10% increase over last year’s 45.5 point average.
  • Ironically, some of the credit for that goes to defenses: we’ve had 22 defensive touchdowns in 40 games.
  • At this pace, defenses would score 45 TDs this season, two more than in 2004 when the record of 43 was set.
  • Defenses are also starting to re-assert themselves as stoppers as well as scorers: over the last 20 games, average net offence has been 653 yards, virtually the same as in 2014, although in the first 20 games it was 703 yards per game, an eight per cent increase from last year.
  • One factor may be the loss of quarterbacks to injury: only five clubs have had the same quarterback start each week, and out of a total of 80 games, 35 have been started by quarterbacks who were not the team’s number one quarterback when the year began.

Facts and figures at the midway point of the season

  • Games decided by 1-4 points: 18 of 40 (45%) compared to 18 all of last season
  • Games decided in the final 3:00: 25 of 40 (63%) compared to 47% of last season’s games.
  • Come backs from 10 or more points behind to win: 8 including, three from more than 16 points down.
  • Two-point convert success rate: 71.4%. With ten two-point converts, Calgary has already set a CFL record (Montreal scored eight in 1984).
  • Interceptions returned for a TD: 16 (on pace to break the CFL record of 27 in 2004).
  • Passing yards per game: 536, up 11% over 2014. Passing has accounted for 74% of total yards gained in 2015.
  • Average game time: 2 hours, 53 minutes; down by two minutes from last year despite an increase in penalties.
  • Penalties: 24.93 per game, up 10% over the first 40 games of 2014, and 15% compared to the full 2014 season. After trending downward in recent weeks, they jumped up to an average of 26 per game in Week 10.
  • Special teams:  we’ve had eight blocked kicks in 40 games, and six kick return TDs (all of them on punts, and half of them by Hamilton’s Brandon Banks).

Names in the CFL News

  • Derel Walker: the Edmonton receiver has 472 receiving yards in his first three CFL games, the second-highest ever for a player in his first 3 games of any season (Alfred Jackson in  1994 had 483 yards including an epic 308 yard performance), and the highest of all-time for a first-year player.
  • Bo Levi Mitchell: after leading  Calgary to a 7-2 record in 2015, he has won 22 of his first 26 career starts, tying him with Jackie Parker for the best start to a career by a QB.
  • Eric Rogers: the Stamps receiver and the CFL’s leading receiver has nine receiving TDs in his first 10 career games, which is second all-time behind Curtis Mayfield, who had 12 in 1994.
  • Boris Bede: has made 22 of his first 24 career FG attempts thus far to lead the CFL.
  • Paul McCallum: Capped an incredible streak of consecutive converts made at 802, missing only from the new 32-yard distance.
  • Andrew Harris: leads the CFL in rushing yards (565) and yards from scrimmage (905) despite playing in only eight games thus far.
  • Trevor Harris: has a 6-3 mark as Toronto’s starting quarterback this year and boasts the highest passer rating in the CFL at 112.7 with a 74.4% completion rate.
  • Zach Collaros: Tiger-Cat quarterback leads QBs in Net offence (3,058 yards), TD percentage (21.5) and points per drive led (2.45).
  • Emmanuel Davis: Three interception return touchdowns and 153 return yards.
  • Henry Burris: On pace for 5,008 passing yards and now ranks #5 in all-time QB wins as a starter leading Ottawa to a 5-4 record.
  • Adam Bighill & Deon Lacey: Lead the CFL in tackles with 61 defensive and 12 special teams stops, respectively.
  • Kendial Lawrence: Edmonton running back is first in combined yards with 1,446 and on pace for almost 3,000 yards in 2015.
  • Rakeem Cato: May not have finished last week’s big win in Hamilton but since he stepped in for an injured Jonathan Crompton, the rookie quarterback is 4-4 mark in his 8 starts. 

Olivier Poulin

Manager, Communications, Canadian Football League

Paulo Senra

Director, Communications, Canadian Football League

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