Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Season Structure in the CFL

The Canadian Football League is often considered a poor relation of its bigger brother the NFL in America but it does have its own distinct flavour and here we'll explain how the season is structured and plays out towards the games ultimate prize the Grey Cup.

The season "starts" with a two week exhibition series of a couple of practice games to get the teams back sync after the off-season. From that point the serious business starts and the teams embark on an 18-game 19 week season where they are jostling for points and positions for the post-season.

During that regular season the eight teams are split into two divisions East and West, each team plays two games against each team in the opposite division, three games against two teams in its own division, and four games against one other team in its own division on a rotating basis. All teams have one bye week in the season in weeks nine or ten to give them a break from the grind of the season. Anyone looking at the latest CFL tips should bear this in mind.

Without doubt the most eagerly awaited week in the CFL season is the Labour Day Classic, played over the course of the Labour Day weekend, where the matchups feature the first half of home-and-home series between the traditional geographic rivalries of Toronto–Hamilton (a rivalry which began in 1873, Edmonton–Calgary, and Winnipeg–Saskatchewan. BC—Montreal, while not considered a "traditional" rivalry, rounds out the week's games. People who bet on CFL need to remember this.

Once the regular season is complete the league standings determine who the teams will face in the play-offs with the side topping each division given the first week of the post-season off and home advantage throughout the series of games which eventually produce one "winner" from each division who compete for the Grey Cup – the Canadian version of the Super Bowl.

The current Champions of the CFL are the Montreal Alouettes who have won the last two Grey Cups beating the Saskatchewan Roughriders on each occasion.

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