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B.C. Lions' quarterback Travis Lulay passes against the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the first half of a pre-season CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday June 13, 2012. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Lions' quarterback Travis Lulay passes against the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the first half of a pre-season CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday June 13, 2012. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Capsule

CFL West Division at a glance Add to ...

B.C. Lions

2011:

Finished first in the West at 11-7, won the division title, won the Grey Cup.

Biggest change:

With Wally Buono now working solely as general manager, the spotlight settles on rookie head coach Mike Benevides. Fortunately for the long-time assistant, he’s not just familiar with the personnel; he has experienced co-ordinators in Jacques Chapdelaine (offence) and Rich Stubler (defence). They’ll make Benevides’s sideline adjustment easier. Having the league’s 2011 most outstanding player, quarterback Travis Lulay, won’t hurt, either.

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Biggest question:

Can the Lions repeat? Certainly, the talent is there. Providing they stay healthy, there’s every reason to suspect the Lions will be in the 100th Grey Cup game, eager to win back-to-back championships for the first time in franchise history.

Predicted 2012 finish:

First in West.

Calgary Stampeders

2011: Third in the West (11-7), lost in the division semi-final game.

Biggest change:

Drew Tate is the undisputed No. 1 quarterback. He’s never started more than a handful of CFL games and needs time to lock in with his receivers and offensive mates. Lucky for him, he has long-time CFL star quarterback Dave Dickenson to rely on as offensive co-ordinator. He’ll keep Tate ahead of the curve as opposing defences see more of him on film and in-game action.

Biggest question:

What will the Stampeders be like on defence? Rick Campbell is the new co-ordinator in place of Chris Jones (now in Toronto). Campbell needs to upgrade the pass rush and is counting on a dominant season from middle linebacker Juwan Simpson.

Predicted 2012 finish:

Second.

Edmonton Eskimos

2011:

Second in the West at 11-7, won the division semi-final, lost in the West final.

Biggest change:

Getting the most out of the quarterback position is critical now that Ricky Ray is gone (to Toronto) and Steven Jyles takes over. But establishing a running game is important, too, especially with Canadian Jerome Messam gone to the NFL. Import replacement Hugh Charles lacks power, but he is fast and versatile, and that’s a help.

Biggest question:

The Eskimos surprised a lot of people last season by hosting a playoff game after redoing their roster. This time, without Ray, the task is exceedingly more difficult. Jyles may be able to move better than Ray, but the Eskimos need a passing attack, one to take advantage of the skill of receivers Fred Stamps, Adarius Bowman and Greg Carr. Can that happen?

Predicted 2012 finish:

Third.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

2011:

Finished last in the West at 5-13, missed the playoffs.

Biggest change:

New head coach Corey Chamblin brings a fresh voice and energy to a team that desperately needs both. Chamblin is a defensive specialist who likes aggressive play and making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. To do that, the Riders will need pass rushers Brent Hawkins and Odell Willis pressuring from the outside.

Biggest question:

Can veteran quarterback Darian Durant revitalize the lowest-scoring offence in the CFL? With a remade offensive line and a new running game – veteran Wes Cates was released – Durant can’t turn the ball over the way he did in 2011 (14 interceptions, nine fumbles in 16 games). Overall, he’s capable of being a game changer and is still trending upwards. Former NFL receiver Sinorice Moss could be the deep threat the team needs.

Predicted 2012 finish:

Fourth.

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