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Bombers 2023 Schedule Preview & Critique

Christmas came early for Bomber fans as the CFL schedule was released on December 13th. As always each season the schedule has some aspects that will excite and intrigue fans as well as some aspects that will frustrate fans.

The Schedule

The one thing Bomber fans (and likely all CFL fans) have been appreciating in recent years is the early release date of the CFL schedule. For the fan it allows them to move forward with other parts of life such as vacation planning. And while I am quite certain the CFL does not care about your vacation planning or mine, it does allow for ticket packages to be purchased as Christmas gifts.

Do not think for a moment that it is a coincidence that number 94 – Jackson Jeffcoat – is on the graphic. The Bombers must be really close t getting a deal done with him.

Observations

Rest

The Bombers are said to have the most advantageous schedule for the 2023 season.

Opponents Coming Off A Bye Week

Yet another point of consideration is how many times the Bombers play teams that are coming off a bye week. 3 times in the 2023 season the Bombers will face teams coming off of a bye. How does that compare to other teams?

Edmonton and Hamilton will each play 4 teams coming off a bye week.

Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal will all play 3 teams coming off a bye week.

Calgary, Saskatchewan, and Ottawa will all face 2 teams coming off a bye week.

BC will only play 1 team coming off a bye week.

Thursday Games

From June until the end of August, 5 of the Bombers’ games are on are on a Thursday night (1 pre season and 4 regular season).

Some Bomber fans are really lamenting this. The Bomber fans have many fans that come to games from outside of Winnipeg. Thursday games makes it much tougher for these fans, as they work on Friday.

Some have speculated that the Bombers want Thursday evening games because it caters to their “cabin crowd” – those that like to go to the lake on the weekend.

However the notion a cabin crowd has largely been disproven.

If you remember the “cabin” argument you will recall this was a point of discussion around 2012, 2013. Fans were not showing up because it was football or the cabin. They did not show up because Winnipeg stunk!

The Bombers won 4 games in 2012 and were totally blown out in two of them – losing in Saskatchewan 52-0, and in Calgary losing 44-3. That was a season with a combined total of 5 games on either Thursday or Friday in the summer. In 2013 the Bombers also had a heavy Friday night summer schedule.

This “cabin crowd” myth became glaring obvious after Winnipeg no longer had Friday/Saturday games in the summer and moved to Thursday…and fans still did not show up.

In 2014 the Bombers moved to more Thursday night games and still did not draw a huge crowd.

I suppose if the CFL has to schedule Thursday night games, at this point scheduling them for Winnipeg is the best option. Fans will show up to watch winning football any night of the week.  

Road Warriors In The Last Half Of The Season

7 of the Bombers’ 9 home games are between home opener (June 9) and Banjo Bowl. That means great summer nights for Bomber fans. It also means that Winnipeg will need to start off strong, and continue to win at home as most of the games in the last half of the season will be on the road.

Grey Cup Rematch…Week 17?

The Bombers will not face the new Grey Cup champions – Toronto Argonauts – until Week 17. And Toronto fans will not get a chance to see that rematch unless they travel to Winnipeg as Winnipeg does not play in Toronto in the 2023 season.

I will not go on about that as I highlight those issues in detail here.

Get Used To Seeing Saskatchewan

The Bombers will play the Roughriders a total of 4 times (1 pre season game and 3 regular season games). If you are a Bomber fan that is not all bad news.

In 2022 the Bombers played the Roughriders 3 times in the month of September, and ran the table on them.

While the 3 regular season meetings between these two teams will be more spread out, at this point there is no reason to believe the Bombers will not accomplish the same result. (Saskatchewan is still lacking a starting quarterback).

Only 1 Back-To-Back

Speaking about Saskatchewan, they are the only team that they Bombers will play two weeks in a row. From what I have read, fans are excited to see a little more diversity in opponents.

What Would Mike O’Shea Say About The Schedule?

If you were to ask the Bombers’ Head Coach what he thought about their schedule you likely would not get much out of him.

In fact I would expect Mike O’Shea to answer something like this,

“Well you know, the schedule is what it is. We don’t worry too much about the schedule, that isn’t our job. Out job is to go out there an execute at a high level regardless of what day of the week it is.”

If Mike O’Shea would offer anything I would expect it to be about the fans and not the team. Maybe something similar to this,

“I think it is great for our fans that they are going to get a lot of home games in the summer where they can come out and watch some fantastic football. Having said that, we know that our fans would come out in December and support us.”

If you think I am completely lost, think again.

On November 25th I pretty much called how Mike O’Shea would respond to the “dynasty” question.

Here was Mike O’Shea’s actual answer,

What did I get right? What did you disagree with? What do you like and dislike about the Bombers’ 2023 schedule? 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

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