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Banjo Bowl – 1000% Better Than Labour Day Classic – Preview & Predictions

What makes the Banjo Bowl 1000% better than the Labour Day Classic? Well there are a couple of things.

First of all, the Banjo Bowl does not have a date associated with it like the Labour Day Classic between the Bombers and the Riders, a game that actually does not fall on Labour Day.

Secondly, the Banjo Bowl is in Winnipeg instead of that almost rectangular shaped province.

As a result Winnipeg fans will never miss the game thinking that it was on a different day (let me know in the comments if that has ever happened to any Winnipeg fan traveling to Regina for the ‘Labour Day’ Classic). Additionally, Winnipeg fans do not need to put up with scores of Rider fans at the game. That seems like a win all the way around!

Closing The Door On Saskatchewan

While highly unlikely it is theoretically possible that Saskatchewan could still take first in the West. However with a record of 6-6 and the Bombers’ record of 11-1 Saskatchewan would need to win 5 more games than Winnipeg wins in their remaining 6 games. If Winnipeg wins the Banjo Bowl they take the season series and close the door on Saskatchewan having any chance at first place.

Preview

The 6-6 Saskatchewan Roughriders will take on the 11-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers when they meet in the sold out 2022 Banjo Bowl on Saturday September 10 at IG Field!

So how did the Banjo Bowl get its name? Take a bit of Troy Westwood, sprinkle in some comments about ‘banjo picking inbreeds,’ add a dash of an apology to the people of Saskatchewan…because “most of them do not know how to play the banjo,” and there you go! If you want a deeper dive on that, here it is.

The Riders will be without Garrett Marino for the Banjo Bowl as they released him after the Labour Day Classic in Regina. But do not expect to get much of a comment on that from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

O’Shea said he would not comment on the Marino release as ‘how Saskatchewan handles their business is none of my business.’

Like I said in my previous article, the Mike O’Shea culture is quite boring off the field.

Why does it matter that Marino is no longer with the Riders? Well, without rehashing all his antics this year, remember that he was involved in a melee in the 2021 Banjo Bowl.

After Bombers’ Sean McGuire completed a quarterback sneak for a touchdown Marino was in the middle of the altercations after the play which resulted in 6 flags being thrown. Every flag that could be thrown was thrown! But do not expect this game to be any less heated! When the Bombers and the Riders face off the emotions are high. However, Winnipeg has proven that they can keep their temperatures in check! Why? It is certainly because that is the culture that Mike O’Shea has built, and culture that Craig Dickenson has not built.  

The Riders on the other hand – with or without Marino – do not know how to keep their cool at all! That is a topic that Zach Schnitzer dives deep into on the latest episode of Bonfire MidWeek.

The Riders are the most penalized team in the league with 1,076 yards in penalties! Contrast that to the Bombers who are the least penalized team in the league with only 563 yards in penalties. That means the Bombers average 46.92 yards in penalties per game, while Saskatchewan averages 89.67 yards of penalties per game. That is almost double the Bombers’ average.

I could copy and paste a whole bunch of statistics from the last game, but watching the highlights might just be more enjoyable.

If you do want some visual statistics here they are.

If you want to really dive deep into the numbers you can find them all in the game’s box score.

What if anything do these statistics tell us about the upcoming Banjo Bowl? I would suggest they reveal very little!

Zach Collaros is a gun slinger and while his completion percentage was lower than Fajardo’s, Zach completely out played him! While Fajardo was running for his life, chucking and ducking, Zack was rolling out and his receivers played the scramble rule perfectly! TSN provided a really great 70/30 split screen illustrating that.

Frankie Hickson for Saskatchewan was the best rusher for either team, but Saskatchewan abandoned the run as the game went on. On 15 carries he had 85 yards.

In the 1st quarter Hickson ran the ball 6 times. In the second quarter he ran the ball 4 times. In the third quarter he ran the ball only 2 times! And in the 4th only 3 times. It was not like the game was out of hand and Saskatchewan had to get chunk plays. No. They just abandoned the run, even after Hickson was racking up yards.

We also have yet to see any trick plays from these teams. I thought Saskatchewan may roll one out in the Labour Day Classic and Winnipeg in the Banjo Bowl. It will be interesting to see if either team tries a trick play this game, or saves it for when they faceoff a third time on September 30th.

 I will echo the same thing I said before the Labour Day Classic. Throw out the statistics and standings…they mean nothing in this rivalry game!

History Does Not Have To Repeat Itself…But It Would Be Great

In 2021 the Bombers beat the Riders 33-9 in the Banjo Bowl. In 2019 the Bombers won the Banjo Bowl 35-10. If Winnipeg wins the Banjo Bowl again this will be only the second time they have won it 3 times in a row – the other time was 2015-2017.

Predictions

Alright this is the point where I put out my predictions, and always throw out some long shots.

*I am predicting that Saskatchewan takes 4 time count violations…they took 2 in Regina!

*I predict that Willie Jefferson goes on a sack attack! How does 3 sound to you?

*I will say that Fajardo is going to do more chucking and ducking.

*I am going to predict that we see at least one trick play – from which team? I am not sure. (Winnipeg might steer away from the trick play and save that for a playoff game, or they might introduce it now so that other teams have to account for it going forward).

*Going far out on a limb – not really – I am predicting more disciple issues from Saskatchewan players and staff!

*This might go hand in hand, but I predict at least one 2 quarterback play. (Again not sure if Winnipeg will save or introduce that).

*Finally I predict that the Bombers delight the sold out crowd to a victory, and the few watermelon wearing fans that show up will be wiping their tears early and often.

Fan’s 3 Keys To The Game

A huge shout out to a guy I get to call a good friend, a super fan, and a guy that I have enjoyed the last 2 Grey Cups with, the man, the myth, the legend El Tony Tones!

You could do one for the next game! This is your invitation right here. Video, 2:20 minutes or less – hey it could be 30 seconds. Put it up on YouTube. Mention me, and I will grab it and put it in the article for the game it pertains to.

If you do not have Twitter and you are reading this on Facebook. Send the video to me in Messenger.

I highly recommend watching Bonfire Sports weekly shows, and after the game check out their live postgame show GameDay After Dark! They provide an excellent commentary on the game and the live chat is always on fire! Find all their social links here.

What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.

Find all my articles here.

Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.

Stay with CFL News Hub for the 2022 season.

Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1

Be sure to join Alt Football Reddit and connect with other CFL and alt football fans.
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