March 5, 2013 - 11:15amUpdated: March 5, 2013 - 3:37pm
View of Mosaic Stadium video board from outside stadium November 2012. Patrick Book/CJME
After a slight delay, the CFL schedule has finally been released.
The Roughriders will begin the new season on June 29th on the road against the Edmonton Eskimos, they'll have their home opener the follow week (July 6th) against the Calgary Stampeders.
Don't get too used to seeing the green and white at Mosaic Stadium early on though, as they only play at home three times in July and August combined. To help make up for that quirk, the Riders will actually get to play three of their final four games at home.
"That was a nice touch, most of the drafts we had maybe two of four, maybe one of four, in the last one we have three, another thing that is good for us," said General Manager Brendan Taman.
Across the CFL this year, the final four weeks will feature all divisional match-ups, as it turns out the Riders will play within the west their final five games.
The schedule for the most part is pretty straight forward for the Riders, with a good number of days in between games, expect for one stretch. On September 29th, they will be in Montreal taking on the Alouettes, and only five days later they have to travel across the country to face the Lions in B.C.
"It's an excuse to lose if you lose," said Taman. "We're not going to use that, it is tough, but every team is going to have it. It's not a big deal."
The most popular day of the week is Saturday, with the Riders playing nine of their 18 total games on that day. They'll also have one on a Thursday, three on Friday, and five on Sunday.
One thing this season will have more of than last season was night games at Mosaic Stadium, with four games starting at 5 p.m. or later, which is something the team wanted.
"Talking to the Ricky Foley, and Geory (Simon), and the other free-agents we signed, they really enjoyed playing here at night," said Taman.
Speaking of Simon, he'll make his return to B.C. Place on October 4th, while Kent Austin returns to Saskatchewan as the Ti-Cats head coach on July 21st.
The Labour Day Classic is set for September 1st, with the Banjo Bowl going September 8th. The Riders will host both the Lions and Eskimos twice; they'll travel to Calgary and Edmonton twice.
The pre-season begins June 14th in Edmonton, and the regular season comes to a close November 2nd at Mosaic Stadium with the Riders taking on those same Eskimos.
Last year the Riders held rookie and full team mini-camps in Florida. They also had mini-camps in Regina and Moose Jaw.
That won't be the case this year. Taman told reporters on Tuesday that they'll have one full team mini-camp in Florida. Even rookie camp at the start of training camp will be reduced with most of the work expected to be done in classrooms rather than on the field.
Rookie camp is at the end of May, with full camp starting a few days later. All of that is in Saskatoon this year.