Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 10/3/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
There has been a lot of focus this week on the fact the Winnipeg Blue Bombers haven't won since 2002 at Calgary's McMahon Stadium.
And no, that's unlikely to change Saturday when the 2-11 Bombers -- the worst team in the CFL -- travel west to take on the 10-3 Calgary Stampeders -- the best team in the league.
But what's more interesting, less well-known and much more troubling than Winnipeg's struggles in Calgary in recent years is the cold, hard fact the Bombers have struggled mightily for a decade to win in any stadium west of the Perimeter Highway.
That's right -- the Bombers are 2-21 the last 23 times they've travelled out West.
That's bad. Really, really bad.
But what's worst of all is the fact this Bombers franchise, which has proven itself unable to win out West, actually volunteered this year to move to the CFL's West Division beginning next season, meaning they will have to play even slightly more often in those very same West Division stadiums where they've been unable to win.
Want a recipe for disaster? It would look quite a bit like that.
Now, if there's a bright side to all this it's that during this same period Winnipeg has proven unable to win out West, they've actually posted a slim winning record -- 25-22 -- against those same teams when the game is in Winnipeg.
Still, the Bombers have a woeful combined record of 32-60-1 -- that's a .344 winning percentage -- since 2003 against the four teams that will be their new roommates in the CFL's West Division.
So now what, you ask? Get better -- a lot better. And do it very quickly.
"We're going to have to find out the formula for winning out there pretty quick," Bombers offensive lineman Glenn January said Wednesday, "because our schedule is not going to be getting any easier."
His head coach agreed.
"It's going to be harder," head coach Tim Burke said about his team's impending move West. "Not only do we have to improve our personnel in the off-season, we have to improve it to be playing in the West as well."
Burke said he doesn't think there's any big secret why the Bombers have struggled in the West.
"I don't know if there's anything systemic about it," said Burke. "I just know the western teams traditionally are stronger than the eastern teams as a whole group... It's just hard to win out West."
However, Burke ventured that while the Bombers will have to play two more games against West Division opponents next year than those from the East, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.
"I think the other thing is once you get into the West and you're playing those teams more often and you're more familiar with them, in that respect it's a positive. You end up having to step up your game."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 3, 2013 D6
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
All hail Blue's Hajrullahu
O'Shea won't admit to miscues
CFL this Week -- Week 19By Paul Wiecek
O'Shea won't say he's made mistakes as team prepares for match against Calgary
Coach will keep tabs on players' effort
Spread the blame around
O'Shea thinks Drew Willy should be MOP
They've got a marquee man, now Bombers' task is a talent hunt to fill supporting roles
Willy won't waste any chance to start, even against Stamps
Willy says still things to learn when leading team in Calgary
Play this week, sift through wreckage later
Battered Willy had no business playing B.C.
Willy will be starting QB for Bombers Saturday
Towers of power on the D-line
Bombers truly an enigma
Willy ready to absorb more punishment in Calgary
New names, same Bombers
Pity the young Bomber fans
Willy should bring mattress to work
Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. B.C. Lions - October 25, 2014
New names, same Bombers
Twice as nice: Lewis the running back joins Lewis the kick returner
All-Time Blue Bombers Team sees Leo Lewis cloned to play 2 positions
Bombers prepare for Saturday's crucial game against B.C. Lions
Miller: No need to upgrade IGF's tight security
This Week in the CFL -- Week 18
Blue honour larger-than-life legend Grant