CIS-Con: Edmonton is being a buzzkill, but has strong Canadian talent

(Over the next few days, this blog will do its best to give a rundown on how CIS alumni figure into the grand scheme for each CFL team. Friendly reminder: the ratio in the CFL requires each team to have seven 'nationals' among the 24 defensive and offensive starters. It should be 10, five on each side of the ball, but one battle at a time ... one battle at a time.)

Changing the team name to the Edmonton Exceptionalism would be a great and self-referential ironic way to address the #NotYourMascot issue.

Sure, everyone looks for a chance to throw shade at the current league champions, but Edmonton seems to think it is above a lot of the requirements of a sports team, like marketing or media access.

Lo and behold, it had an announced crowd of only 27,000 for the Grey Cup rematch last Saturday against the Ottawa Redblacks.

Mentioning this is still within this site's lane, since this forum is about advocating for the CIS athlete and uniquely Canadian sporting fare (i.e., not the contemporary National Hockey League). It seems like Edmonton's management did not do right by their fans, or their players, who produced a riveting 45-37 overtime that had 75 points over the last 2½ quarters and the mini-game. The tying and winning points were each scored by CIS grads, with Christopher Milo (Laval) making a 55-yard field goal at the end of the fourth quarter while Brad Sinopoli (Ottawa) caught the go-ahead touchdown in the mini-game.
There was a little schadenfreude with Ottawa winning. Remember, Edmonton pulled rank before the Grey Cup game with a killjoy move to bar Ottawa's Lumberjoes from the field. Because you can't have anything that's colourful or atmosphere-enhanging.

Do we even have to mention the sore winner who distributed participation ribbons with Ottawa's logo? Nothing says City of Champions like mocking a franchise that had the biggest single-season improvement in CFL history, and took a lead into the fourth quarter of a Grey Cup where they were supposed to lose by two or three touchdowns.

Receivers / backs — Awkward segue time! Excelsior to Edmonton for having three CIS-trained alumni complementing (and complimenting, presumably) slotback Adarius Bowman and boundary wideout Derel Walker, who are arguably the CFL's best 1-2 pass-receiving punch. Wide-side wideout Nathan Coehoorn (Calgary), slotback Chris Getzlaf (Regina) and slotback Cory Watson (Concordia) all contributed counting stats on Saturday.

Of course, Ottawa had four CIS grads make receptions on Saturday, which must be why it won.

Offensive line — It still says here that right guard Matt O'Donnell (Queen's) got hosed on the Top Canadian award during the Grey Cup game. Edmonton slowed down a pass rush that had tied for the CFL lead in sacks. Instead, Shamawd Chambers got the award after making two pass receptions.

O'Donnell and Simeon Rottier (Alberta) are each fixtures as guards on a line whose interior starters are 6-foot-11, 6-8 and 6-6. Chris Greaves (Western) is a seasoned backup.

Defensive front seven — Next Manitoban up! Eddie Steele (Manitoba) is the national D-tackle since starter Don Oramasionwu (Manitoba) is out for at least two months after needing triceps surgery. Edmonton evidently needs to find a way to add pressure, based on how Ottawa lit it up for 543 passing yards in Week 1.

Elie Ngoyi (Bishop's) has worked out at end and tackle over his first three seasons, which helps his suitability for the league.

Defensive secondary Neil King (Saint Mary's) starts at safety, with Mike Dubuisson (Windsor) and Josh Woodman (Western) waiting in the wings as backups.

Specialists — Veteran Grant Shaw (Saskatchewan) has experience with a dual role, but is handling punting. Long snapper Ryan King (Saint Mary's) has a good niche.

Am I the only one who notices the Kings' shared alma mater is spelled differently on the roster?

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