Things to like and dislike about the Ticats’ 2018 schedule

Christmas came early for CFL fans as the league released its 2018 schedule in mid-December, almost two months before it has normally been released. Obviously, that means Ticats fans now know when and where there team will play in 2018, but how good is their schedule? What is there to like and dislike? Let’s take a look.

Like: Saturday afternoon’s all right for playing

A year after the team hosted zero games on Saturday, the Ticats rectified that by hosting five Saturday games, four of which kick off at 4pm.

*chef kisses*

Hamilton’s two home Thursday games are one more than they had last year, but I will gladly trade an additional Thursday game for all those Saturday games.

Dislike: Labour Day? More like Labour Night

After last year’s Labour Day catastrophe — in case you forget, a lightning storm delayed the game over two hours and it didn’t end until nearly midnight — I was hoping that would end the two-year experiment of a 6:30pm start time for the Classic. Sadly, we will once again endure a very late game between the Argos and Ticats on the first Monday of September. Odin help the CFL if another weather delay happens.

Like: Welcome back, rematch

One correction the league did make was reinstating the Labour Day Classic rematch between the Argos and Ticats. If teams are going to play on short rest, playing against one another is the best way to go.

Like: Bye week spacing

Last year, Hamilton’s two bye weeks occurred in the first 10 weeks of the season. It forced the team to play the final 10 weeks of the year without any rest (it didn’t seem to hurt them as they won six of their final 10 games, but that’s not the point). This year, the Ticats’ byes are in Weeks 5, 10 and 17. That’s about as close to perfect as you can get.

Like: Front-loaded vs. the West

A lot will be made of Hamilton’s West-heavy early season — their first five, and seven of their first nine, games against against foes from the West Division — but I think playing those games early is better than playing them late. If you drop a couple to Western teams, it’s not as bad as doing so to your division rivals. Considering Hamilton has gotten off to slow starts pretty much every year for the last 15 years, taking those Ls against teams from the West is better than taking them from teams in the East.

Plus, if the Ticats can navigate that tough opening stretch and head into Labour Day at, say, 4-5, it bodes well for them in the back half of the season.

Like: Back-loaded vs. the East

Speaking of the back half, this is where things get really good. Hamilton’s final four games are against all Eastern foes, with a back-to-back series with the Redblacks sandwiched between games against the Argos and Alouettes.

To make matters even better, Hamilton travels outside the eastern timezone once after August 10. That makes for a team whose internal clocks will not be messed up during the crucial stretch drive.

Like: Short rest a thing of the past

Last, but certainly not least, the extending of the season by a week has made games on short rest nearly non-existent. The only time Hamilton plays a game less than six days after their previous one is in the Labour Day rematch against the Argos, and both teams are coming in on the same rest, so no one gets an advantage. As Curt Hennig would say, “absolutely perfect.”

Closing thoughts

As you can see by the tally, there was a lot more to like about this schedule than dislike. It really feels like the addition of the third bye week has allowed the league to put together a schedule that is as close to perfect as we are ever going to get.

I am sure there will some that find fault with what the league put out on Thursday, but those people would probably also be mad if it was announced that every game was being played personally for them in their backyard.

I think if you find fault with this schedule, no schedule would have made you happy. This is a great schedule from a fan’s point of a view and from the team’s point of view.

Now, the only problem we have is that June isn’t here yet. But at least we know where we will be when it finally does arrive.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh 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.
Josh Smith

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About Josh Smith (379 Articles)
Josh 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.

16 Comments on Things to like and dislike about the Ticats’ 2018 schedule

  1. Certainly this schedule is way better than last year! I can’t understand why the west plays early and east plays late on labour day would be my only serious complaint. In addition I drive 2hrs to the games so Thursdays aren’t ideal but is what it is! The CFL is gett g so much right! Let’s hope they continue to show live command centre challenge reviews!

  2. I think, from a quick glance, all the teams have pretty decent schedules. Last year the East in particular had some very screwy schedules, Ottawa being a prime example. Definite improvement.

  3. 6ft6ofgoodness // December 27, 2017 at 8:30 pm //

    The only thing I don’t like is waiting until week 3 for the Cats first home game. But it’s better then last year, when we had to wait until week 4.

  4. Carrie Cueto // December 27, 2017 at 9:51 pm //

    Agree with the Josh’s points here. Another like is that the schedule is conducive to learning the league which will benefit Johnny Manziel greatly as soon as he signs in The Hammer.

  5. I work Saturdays. The Saturday afternoon games I will have to take time off to make. Not impressed with that. This is 2017. Almost no one works Monday to Friday 9 to 5 anymore. Always going to be someone upset, but I much rather prefer evening games.

    Happy Labour Day is a later start. This way I can spend the entire day with my kids, and then go to the game while they are home and chilled before their 1st day of school. When it was at 1:00pm I was basically gone the entire day to go to the game and making plans with my family was impossible.
    Also some of the worst Sunburns I have ever gotten were at Labour Day games. I don’t wanna sit in the stands greased to the gills in sunscreen. The later start is much more comfortable. If it goes late because of weather it doesn’t bother me. I’m a big boy and can stay up past my bedtime and still function the next day.

    I am a huge traditionalist and like the current setup of East and Western divisions. However if the ‘Cats are gonna play every team at least home and away, that means 10 games vs. the West. It’s almost impossible to avoid stretches where they will play allot of games against western teams when 10 of 18 games have to be against them. I am not sure of what the solution is here without really changing the setup of the league drastically. I really do enjoy having every team visit at least once.
    If the league ever expands to the East Coast and adds another team, every team in the league will play every other exactly 2 times. There will almost be no need for separate divisions.

  6. Provemewrong // December 27, 2017 at 10:56 pm //

    Who cares… It is the Ticats…

    • Mark Up ez // December 28, 2017 at 9:52 am //

      Due to people working Saturday games should be 7 o’clock starts. I think 4pm starts is a ploy to improve concession sales. I’m diabetic and can’t find anything healthy to eat there.

  7. I believe the play off structure should be one and two get the bye. 3 plates 6 and 3 plays 4. This would be the most equitable. Seeded play after that I know everyone well lose there &)(($&. The new schedule at a glance looks good. I wish the league would just play 2 games fri and 2 on Saturday. Don’t try to compete with the nfl

  8. No it 3 and 4 would have the home game then the lowest seeded winner would play one the other would play second place. If 6th place won then they would play 1rst place 4 5 and 6 would not have any home play off games.

    • I’d like it kept as-is, with the following modification to the crossover rule: at the end of the regular season, if the crossover is in play, the commissioner offers the crossover spot to the second- and third-place teams in the stronger division, instead of automatically assigning it to the fourth-place team.

      Imagine the fourth-place West team has a better record than the third-place East team. Then the second-place West team W2 gets offered the crossover spot. If they accept, the playoffs look like this:
      West Semi-Final: W4 at W3
      East Semi-Final: W2 at E2
      If W2 declines, the third-place West team W3 gets the same offer. If W3 accepts, the playoffs look like this:
      West Semi-Final: W4 at W2
      East Semi-Final: W3 at E2
      If both W2 and W3 decline the crossover spot, only then does it fall to the fourth-place team W4. Then the playoffs are what we have now:
      West Semi-Final: W3 at W2
      East Semi-Final: W4 at E2

      This keeps the divisional structure but eliminates the current problem where the fourth-place team in the West often has an easier path than its divisional rivals. You could even have a big televised unveiling event the day after the regular season ends, where the commissioner calls the coaches live on air to make the offer. Then the TSN panel can spend a bunch of time second-guessing their decisions, identifying players/matchups to watch, making predictions, etc. Games late in the season have more importance, the network gets to sell lots of ads, and everybody’s happy.

      • What happens if the forth place team has a better record than all the team in the other division.

  9. I have to correct what I just posted. 1 , 2 and 3 would get home play off games. 4,5 and 6 would not

  10. Blue Rules // December 28, 2017 at 8:27 am //

    Once again Saskatchewan education system shines bright!!!!

  11. Yes people a quick to point out my handicap. I just want to post and converse about football. Sorry blue I offended you.

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