With the 2018 CFL season finally upon us, it’s time for the latest edition of the power rankings. The off-season is a distant memory, the pre-season games played and the final cuts made, we have all the information we’re going to get without some standings-relevant competition to sort things out.
We do our power rankings by having seven 3Down contributors (Edwards, Dunk, Hodge, Filoso, Ballantine, Gasson, Smith) rank the teams from No. 1 to No. 9. The team with the fewest “points” gets the top ranking, the second fewest is No. 2 and so on.
The last ranking was done in mid-May, just before the opening of training camp and a lot has changed since then – except the No. 1 team.
1. Edmonton Eskimos (Previous ranking: 1)
The Eskimos received five of a possible seven first-place votes and were second on the other two ballots. They made it through camp relatively unscathed, their first units looked great in limited action in the pre-season and Mike Reilly was the No. 1 player in the TSN Top 50.
2. Calgary Stampeders (Previous ranking: 3)
Calgary suffered some losses in the off-season, including back up quarterback Andrew Buckley, several offensive linemen and the status of return man Roy Finch is uncertain as he deals with legal issues. But it’s the Stamps and voters seem willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise: they received the remaining two first-place votes, four seconds and a third.
3. Toronto Argonauts (Previous ranking: 2)
The Argos went 1-1 in the pre-season and quarterback Ricky Ray didn’t play a single snap but they play in the East so… Toronto received one second place vote and six third-place votes, an indicator that they are the team to beat in the division.
4. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Previous ranking: 5)
The Riders nipped the Bombers for the fourth spot in the last edition of the rankings but drop a spot after a draft that included taking offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley, who has a contract with the New York Jets, in the first round despite some questions surrounding their Canadian depth.
5. Ottawa Redblacks (Previous ranking: 6)
The Redblacks suffered a scare in the pre-season when Trevor Harris went down with what looked like a knee injury but he’ll be ready to start the season. That alone was enough to give them a bump because…
6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Previous ranking: 4)
The Bombers are down two spots after quarterback Matt Nichols was injured in practice and will miss at least four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. Rookie Chris Streveler gets the start and it will be very interesting to see if he can keep the Bombers from tumbling further down the ladder.
7. B.C. Lions (Previous ranking: 8)
B.C. went 2-0 in the pre-season, for whatever that’s worth – a slight jump in the rankings, apparently.
8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Previous ranking: 7)
Hamilton’s first-team offence and defence did not look particularly good against a line up of Argo backups in the first pre-season game. Can Jeremiah Masoli play well enough to prevent Johnny Manziel from becoming an even bigger story?
9. Montreal Alouettes (Previous ranking: 9)
Montreal was ranked dead last by every voter and have been all off-season. With Drew Willy at quarterback, a 0-2 pre-season and a bungled cut announcement, the Als will have to prove they are worthy of anything except the basement.