Hogan: Argos schedule offers a bit of everything

It’s out!

For some fans, renewing their season tickets is the first sign that one season is over and another is approaching. For others, it’s the release of the CFL schedule, which just happened on Thursday.

The Argos have a mixed bag, including a lengthy western trip, and a chance to help spread the CFL gospel to the Maritimes.

Here’s a look at what the 2019 schedule looks like, all kickoffs listed using Toronto time.

WEEK ONE – Bye week number one. With an odd number of teams in the league someone has to get the first week off and this season it’s the Argos turn. Coach Chamblin and his staff will love this as it will give the Argos an extra week to prepare for their Week Two opponents and get another full week to evaluate the new players on the roster.

WEEK TWO – Hamilton at Toronto, Saturday, June 22, 7:00. What better way to start the season than by beating the Tiger-Cats? It’s a later kickoff on a non-school night, so the Shipyard should be a ton of fun. The opener gives Argo fans a chance to congratulate their Hamilton brethren on 20 seasons without a Grey Cup. Too soon?

WEEK THREE – Toronto at Saskatchewan, Monday, July 1, 7:00. Happy Canada Day, eh? It will be the Riders home opener, and it will be Corey Chamblin’s first game as a Head Coach against the team he led to a Grey Cup in 2013, you know, the game Saskatchewan hammered the Ticats 45-23. Too soon?

WEEK FOUR – B.C. at Toronto, Saturday, July 6, 7:00. Another Saturday night game for the Argos as they host the Lions. It will be a short week for Toronto having played on the previous Monday in Regina, but it’s another chance for the Boatmen to appear in the Saturday night prime-time game on TSN. Once again it’s not on a school night. The Shipyard beckons.

WEEK FIVE – Toronto at Winnipeg, Friday, July 12, 8:30. Cue the Friday Night Football theme song. This is the first of a rare three-game road trip out west, When the Argos are on the road there are few things better than curling up on the couch with some junk food and a cold beverage, or finding a watering hole and connecting with other Argo fans to watch the game. The Bombers haven’t won a Grey Cup since 1990, making them the only team in the CFL with a longer Grey Cup drought than the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Too soon?

WEEK SIX – Toronto at Calgary, Thursday, July 18, 9:00. It’s a bit late on a Thursday night, but this game will be a great test for the Argos. They haven’t had a ton of success in the regular season against the Stampeders, though the Stamps would no doubt trade some of those mid-season victories for wins in the 100th and 105th Grey Cup games.

WEEK SEVEN – Toronto at Edmonton, Thursday, July 25, 9:30. It will be back-to-back Thursday games in Alberta for the Boatmen. The good news is that July won’t be over and the Argos will have four road games in the west under their belt. That’s not a bad thing in the big picture.

WEEK EIGHT – Winnipeg at Toronto, Thursday, August 1, 7:00. Welcome home! The Thursday night trend continues for the Argos, the only time they’ll host a game on that night of the season. Every team in the league hosts at least one Thursday night game as part of the TSN series and this is the Argos night.

WEEK NINE – Bye week number two. This is a great time to let you know that because of the success of the early-bird pricing that opportunity has been extended to January 10th! You could win one of two trips for two to see the Argos play in Touchdown Atlantic. The lowest prices in the league, the stadium with the best sightlines, and the chance to watch the 17-time Grey Cup champs play? That sounds like a deal.  Would it be pushing it to say you can purchase your tickets online at Argonauts.ca? Didn’t think so.

WEEK TEN – Edmonton at Toronto, Friday, August 16, 7:30. Let’s go to the Ex. The Eskimos roll into town in the Argos CNE game this season. Buy a ticket to the Argos game and get free admission to the Ex grounds. The combination proved to be wildly popular last season, as last year’s Ex game was almost a sellout. If you’re thinking of buying single game tickets this year, this may be one you want to circle and purchase early. Hit the midway, visit the food building, then take in the Argos and Eskies. That sounds like a pretty great day all around.

WEEK ELEVEN – Montreal vs. Toronto, Sunday, August 25, 6:30. Touchdown Atlantic! With the Atlantic Schooners on the horizon, the Argos and Als will help spread the CFL gospel in the Maritimes. Four Argo season ticket holders will be heading to the game as guests of the club. Two trips for two to the game have been added as part of the extended early-bird pricing. If you’ve already purchased season tickets before the extension was announced fear not, you’re also automatically entered in the draw for the trips down east.

WEEK TWELVE – Toronto at Hamilton, Monday, September 2, 1:00 pm. The Labour Day Classic, enough said? The game is also back to a 1:00 kickoff time, meaning if you make the trip west to rep the Argos you can still be back home in plenty of time to prep for the first day of school. Many Ticat fans say that winning the LDC is better than winning the Grey Cup. That may sound strange, but it makes a lot more sense when your team hasn’t won a Grey Cup since 1999.

WEEK THIRTEEN – Toronto at Ottawa, Saturday, September 7, 1:00. The Argos visit the stadium where they won their 2017 championship. It will be their first chance to knock off the defending East Division champions, who advanced to the Grey Cup last year with a 46-27 win over Hamilton. Ottawa is always a fun road trip and a great chance to rep the Double Blue on the road. Having the game on a Saturday makes it easier to travel to the capital.

WEEK FOURTEEN – Bye week number three. A perfect time to recharge the batteries for the stretch drive, as well as give the coaching staff two weeks to prepare a game plan for a tough opponent.

WEEK FIFTEEN – Calgary at Toronto, Friday, September 20, 7:00. A game against the Stamps has been a tough matchup for the Argos in recent years, which puts them in the same boat as virtually every other team in the league. Another chance to end a week with a pre-game trip to the Shipyard followed by a live Argo game. Is it Week Fifteen yet?

WEEK SIXTEEN – Saskatchewan at Toronto, Saturday, September 28, 7:00. Another Saturday evening game to get together before the game and ask visiting fans what prompts someone to put a watermelon on their head. I mean seriously, why would someone do that? It’s not like you find a million watermelons growing throughout the province of Saskatchewan or anything. Fact: Putting a giant hollowed out piece of fruit on your head doesn’t make you look tougher. Go to the pre-game gathering and talk to some Rider fans and ask what gives? Rider Nation travels well, so there should be ample opportunity to delve into this matter of national importance.

WEEK SEVENTEEN – Toronto at B.C., Saturday, October 5, 10:00. Ya, this is the one game that most people dread. It’s a very late start eastern time, so do you nap or not? What time is the best time to get some sleep so you’re not tempted to doze off again during the game? The Argos have had some success playing in B.C. over the last few years, so it’s worth staying up for.

WEEK EIGHTEEN – Ottawa at Toronto, Friday, October 11, 7:00. The most memorable game of the 2018 season took place when the Argos erased a big lead and came back to beat the visitors 42-41. It will be a tough order to repeat the excitement of that game, but the win over Ottawa here the year before was also decided on the last play of the game. Another Friday nighter.

WEEK NINETEEN – Toronto at Montreal, Friday, October 18, 7:00. The turning point of the Boatmen’s season likely came in their loss at Montreal a year ago. That game will definitely be on the minds of the Argos who played in that game. The Friday night kickoff means you may need to take a day off work if you want to head east to cheer on the boys in blue, but it means a trip to Montreal, which is usually a pretty good thing win or lose.

WEEK TWENTY – Ottawa at Toronto, Saturday, October 26, 4:00. Now this really works. A Saturday afternoon game against an Eastern rival. With any luck there will be some bad blood after the game here two weeks earlier to add to the intensity. Rivalry games are always great, and it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the Shipyard before the game, and then a chance to head to Liberty Village with friends after it’s over.

WEEK TWENTY – Toronto at Hamilton, Saturday, November 2, 7:00. Oh, this one could be good. The final game of the regular season between these two teams? Please, please, please, please let there be major playoff implications in this game to add to its importance. The Argos want to win to silence the home crowd. The Ticats want to win so they can party like it’s 1999, you know, the last year they won a Grey Cup.