The last time the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders met, it was on the CFL’s biggest stage.
The memory of that game will be etched in the minds of Roughriders fans for eternity.
For Ticats fans, they’re hoping Sunday’s season opening rematch at Mosiac Stadium is the start of their own journey to Canadian football immortality.
You can listen to all the action on AM900 CHML, starting with the Frisco’s Eatery & Sports Bar Pregame Show at 6pm Eastern.
Kickoff of the game, brought to you by Sterling Honda of Hamilton and Halton Honda of Burlington, is at 7 o’clock.
Every CFL team enters each season with confidence as well as some question marks.
For Hamilton, fans are wondering whether Zach Collaros has what it takes to become an elite franchise type quarterback that is capable of leading the Cats back to the Grey Cup.
Can sophomore running back C.J. Gable repeat, or even exceed, his solid rookie campaign?
How will the revamped offensive line hold up, and will the defence be able to get to the quarterback and create turnovers are just a couple more queries the fan base has been contemplating during training camp.
CLICK HERE to see Hamilton’s depth chart.
The defending champion Riders are not without their own concerns.
Saskatchewan enters the 2014 season without three of their top offensive weapons from last season.
Gone are Grey Cup MVP running back Cory Sheets (Oakland Raiders), and receivers Weston Dressler (Kansas City Chiefs) and Geroy Simon (retired), who’s now a scout with the Roughriders.
CLICK HERE to see Saskatchewan’s depth chart.
Hamilton has lost nine straight season opening games, last winning their first game of the season in 2004.
Saskatchewan has won 10 of their last 13 season openers, including six of their last seven.
It should be noted that no CFL team has won consecutive Grey Cup titles since Montreal in 2009/’10.
Hamilton was swept by the Roughriders in all three of their meetings 2013, including their 45-23 loss in the Grey Cup.
Saskatchewan also hammered the Tiger-Cats 37-0 at Mosaic Stadium in Week 4…. And then beat the Cats 32-20 a week later at Hamilton’s temporary home in Guelph.
That’s a three game combined score of 114-43.
3 THINGS TO WATCH
QB Zach Collaros. This will be Collaros’ first regular season start as Hamilton’s quarterback and face of the franchise. How he performs will be analyzed, scrutinized and perhaps celebrated, depending on the outcome. Collaros will hope for better protection against a Riders team that features sack hungry defensive ends John Chick and Ricky Foley than he received in the Ticats’ final preseason games against Toronto.
Riders offence. Without Sheets, Dressler and Simon, Roughriders QB Darian Durant will likely rely on receivers Chris Getzlaf, Taj Smith and Rob Bagg to move the chains. Offensive coordinator George Cortez hopes rookie running back Keith Toston can answer the bell when called upon. Although Toston has the benefit of having the best offensive line in the CFL.
Starting strong. New Ticats safety Craig Butler, who helped Saskatchewan beat Hamilton in last year’s CFL final, says getting off to a good start in Regina is huge. Riders fans are loud and proud and will be whipped into a frenzy in their team’s first game since hoisting the Grey Cup last November. If the Ticats can weather the early storm, they’ll have a good chance of earning a win.