Winnipeg was 3-15, its worst record since slumping to the same mark in 1998; Toronto finished 11-7 last year, first in the East Division. The Argos have reached the division final in three of the last four years.
NO BIG DEAL
Try as the press may, we could not get new Bomber head coach Mike O'Shea to get all warm and fuzzy about wearing the big headset for the first time -- and against one of his old teams, no less.
Asked what he was feeling like before his biggest day as a coach, O'Shea didn't hesitate:
"I hope it's not the biggest day. I feel good. Relaxed. The guys seem ready. It's really like another day coaching, it really is. There's a lot more people doing this, a lot more media, but it's just par for the course.
"It's just a game. I said before and I'm sure there are going to be people that don't like me saying this, but I'm a Blue Bomber."
And when that last quote was posted on Twitter, the Argos used their own account to respond simply with:
"Yup, don't like."
READ BETWEEN THE LINES
Bombers' Ian Wild was listed on the depth chart released on Wednesday as the team's starting middle linebacker for tonight's game against the Toronto Argonauts.
But Wild says no one should interpret that as meaning he's won the starting middle linebacker job over E.J. Kuale.
As Wild explains it, new defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry doesn't really have a starting middle linebacker. "A starter isn't really relevant to this defence. It's a bit like the defensive line where they rotate all the time. That's how it will be at linebacker as well, depending on down and distance and field position and all those things."
Winnipeg cornerback Chris Randle describes facing Argos pivot Ricky Ray on opening night as a bit like writing your final exam in September.
"It's the best there is right now. He's proven it year after year and he's coming back with a vengeance I'm sure. And everything is new over here. So we've got something to prove (today)," Randle said Thursday.
"Control the damage -- that's as much as you can do against him."
PLACE YOUR BETS
The online gambling site bodog.ca posted an interesting wager on Thursday, listing the over-under on TD passes by Bombers QB Drew Willy in 2014 as 21.5.
Recent history would seem to suggest that only the most optimistic of Bombers fans -- and maybe Willy's mom -- would take the over on that bet.
Consider: the last Winnipeg quarterback to throw more than 21 TD passes in a single season was Kevin Glenn way back in 2007 (25).
MORE HOG HELP
The Bombers announced Wednesday they have added Canadian offensive lineman Gord Hinse, ex of the Edmonton Eskimos. Hinse (6-4, 307, Alberta) played 10 games with the Eskis in 2013, making four starts after originally being drafted in the second round (11th overall) in 2009. He has played 44 career CFL games, with eight starts.
The team then added him to the six-game injured list.
"He's a Canadian O-lineman that was available," said O'Shea, "and we need to protect ourselves and add depth to that position."
The Bombers also announced the release of quarterback Kolton Browning, who was recently added to the practice roster. Browning, a former star at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, gave up the PR gig here after being offered a coaching job.
In his three seasons at the controls of the Argos, head coach Scott Milanovich has led the team to one Grey Cup championships and two Division finals while posting a record of 20-16 (.556). In the previous four seasons before his hire, Toronto had a 22-50 record (.306).