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EYE ON THE BALL - Stressing over the pigskin and pennant race

CFL weekly wrap: Not to suggest that Stephen Jyles is a polished CFL quarterback yet, but I firmly recall watching dozens of Rider practices adjacent to Mosaic Stadium while both Durant and Jyles were holding clipboards and learning from a guy who ca

CFL weekly wrap: Not to suggest that Stephen Jyles is a polished CFL quarterback yet, but I firmly recall watching dozens of Rider practices adjacent to Mosaic Stadium while both Durant and Jyles were holding clipboards and learning from a guy who can't find work in the league today.

Jyles threw a better ball, had quicker feet and seemed to grasp the offence and pick up his secondary reads while eventually toiling as our third string pivot. Did the Riders trade the right guy to Winnipeg or do the offensive lineman just dislike Durant?

After groaning my way through the Banjo Bowl and watching Durant's prolonged slump turn into a shameful display of indecision and errant tosses, I will go as far as to agree the game was lost in the trenches and Wes Cates is running like his cleats are on the wrong feet. Durant looks just awful and we might just as well have substituted our offensive line with our cheerleaders because they were over-matched all game.

The axe fell on an under-achieving wide out and a return man who looked to be afraid of the ball let alone being tackled. Look for more changes.

Edmonton put up a better fight against their archrivals in Calgary, but Ricky Ray is looking more and more like a librarian than a pro quarterback. The general consensus was a change of head coaches wouldn't send cute little Richie Hall marching to the guillotine until the season mercifully ends for this band of chumps, but that was before the Eskimos hired GM Eric Tillman. He has a tenuous relationship with Hall after their time together in Riderville. Hall was twice passed over for the head coaching role - meaning he's dust.

Montreal looks to have found their backup QB and may not need to rush Calvillo back into action prematurely. Anyone who does not agree the Stampeders and Alouettes will meet in the Grey Cup is drenched in Rider Pride as well as the quality products from the distillery that advertises it's high-test whiskey in the TV commercials. After suffering through the Banjo Bowl I could use a shot or two of that whiskey.

NFL weekly warp: Despite great performances from their two madcap wide receivers, the Bengals bowed to the precision passing of Tom Brady and the Patriots.

The football gods must have it in for Detroit because they not only were robbed of a certain win over the Bears, but their young stud QB might be dinged up.

I was tickled to see Favre cost the Vikings a chance against the Saints by selfishly sitting out training camp and looking rusty and out of shape.

Peyton Manning threw for a million yards, but the Colts were beat by Arian Foster. He chewed up the real estate (231 yards and 3 TDs) allowing the Texan's young QB Matt Schaub to simply hand the ball off and watch.

Manning's brother tossed 3 TDs, as the Giants opened their zillion dollar new park with a win.

Aaron Rodgers made me look prophetic with a solid victory in the Packers' opener.

My Steelers won without Big Ben and have hope, for now.

In closing, the Monday Night Football doubleheader was a six-hour exercise in boredom.

MLB weekly wrap: Remember what I told you about those pennant races and how critical a late season series could be? Well lo and behold, both the Giants and Rockies have the Padres in their crosshairs, and the NL East is in the same boat as the Phillies and Braves fight it out to the finish.

The smell of fear also applies to my beloved Yankees whose pitching is letting them down at the worst possible time. I see cracks in the armor of the Bronx Bombers and a lack of depth in the bullpen. Texas showed why they are a runaway winner in the AL West by sweeping the Yanks and utilizing what appeared to be an endless parade of relief pitchers recently called up from the minors. The Yankees obviously do not have any faith in their minor league chuckers to help out down the pennant drive and this is proving to be their Achilles heel.

Workhorse CC Sabathia out-dueled David Price in the opener, but the laughable bullpen gave up a walk off dinger to hand Tampa the win. Chad Gaudin might be the worst pitcher in the MLB, but with only one southpaw reliever and a lack of trust in Joba Chamberlain, Girardi is totally unable to mix and match pitching in late game scenarios. In game two, it took a heroic walk-off homer from Jorge Posada to put New York back on top as Mariano Rivera nailed down the save thanks to an amazing outfield assist from rookie Greg Golson. He threw a laser from deep right field to nip Carl Crawford for a game-ending double play. Printing deadlines prohibit a comment on game three, but the Rays and Yanks meet five more times down the stretch, which is both exhilarating and worrisome for this fan.

Deep rooted paranoia is a specialty of mine and yet when the smoke clears it will come down to who gets their proverbial crap in order and rises to the occasion. Thankfully the Yanks have plenty of sluggers and, if they wake up, it won't matter who they send out to pitch.

The fascination and nail biting tension of the pennant race is what keeps me young andyet ages me overnight. Living and dying with your favourite team is all you have left when you're my age but things could be worse - I could be on a golf course with a bunch of the Toronto Blue Jays.