Photo credit: Paul Yates
Let the excitement for BC Place nights and epic road trips begin. BC Lions fans received an early visit from Santa Claus on Wednesday morning as the CFL released the complete 2020 regular season schedule. Just like any other year, there are plenty of intriguing games to circle on the calendar as we begin a new decade of history for the Lions franchise. Below the complete schedule are a few key storylines.
**all times PACIFIC
Pre-season A, Sat. May 30- @ EDM 1 pm
Pre-season B, Fri. June 5- vs. CGY 7 pm
Week 1, Thurs. June 11th- @ EDM
Week 2, Thurs. June 18th- @ CGY 6 pm
Week 3, Sat. June 27th- vs. EDM 4 pm
Week 4, Sat. July 4- @ SSK 6:30 pm
Week 5, Sat. July 11- vs. OTT 7 pm
Week 6, Thurs. July 16- @ WPG 5:30 pm
Week 7, Thurs. July 23rd- vs. MTL 7 pm
Week 8, Sat. Aug. 1- @ MTL 4 pm
Week 9, Sat. Aug. 8- @ SSK 7 pm
Week 10, Sat. Aug. 15- vs. CGY 7 pm
WEEK 11- BYE
Week 12- Fri. Aug. 28 vs. HAM 7 pm
Week 13- Thurs. Sept. 3 @ OTT 4 pm
Week 14- Sat. Sept.. 12 vs. TOR 7 pm
Week 15- BYE
Week 16- Sat. Sept. 26 vs. SSK 7 pm
Week 17- Fri. Oct. 2 @ TOR 4 pm
Week 18- Sat. Oct. 10 vs. CGY 4 pm
Week 19- BYE
Week 20- Fri. Oct. 23 vs. WPG 7 pm
Week 21- Fr; Oct. 30 @ HAM 4 pm
Early Alberta Beef
For the first time since 2013, the Lions will open up their regular season away from BC Place and it comes in the form of back-to-back visits to Alberta. It all gets going in Edmonton for the CFL’s season opener on Thursday, June 11th. It’s a chance for the Lions to set the tone early and exact some revenge against an Eskimos squad that won all three meetings in 2019, two of which that were played at Commonwealth Stadium. Ironically, it was that 2013 season when the Lions last won a game in Edmonton. This will be the first time since 2011 where the Lions will take part in the league’s opening game to kickoff a season. They fell 30-26 to Anthony Calvillo and company to begin that Grey Cup championship season.
Exactly one week after locking horns with the Eskimos, they will travel to Calgary’s McMahon Stadium, always a tough road environment and a place where they dropped a last-minute heartbreaker, 36-32 in week three of 2019. Turning the page to 2020, getting a pair of wins in Alberta to start things off will prove nothing but beneficial for a team looking to make it back to the November dance.
Saturdays Reign Supreme
For the second straight season, your Lions will play six of nine regular season home games on Saturdays. They will see Edmonton for the second time in three weeks for the 67th home opener in club history on June 27th. That also marks the first of two fan-friendly kickoff times of 4:00 pm. The other early Saturday home start is a Thanksgiving weekend battle with the Stampeders on October 10th. That will be the Stamps’ second visit of 2019, the first coming on August 15th. Another highly-anticipated Saturday tilt is a visit from the Saskatchewan Roughriders on September 26th. Two Friday home games are as follows: a clash with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on August 28th and the Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers in town for the Lions’ final regular season home game on October 23rd. Once again, the Lions will host a stand-alone game on Thursday Night Football, this time on July 23rd against the Montreal Alouettes.
It’s not just a catchy tune. Mosaic Stadium will play host to the 108th Grey Cup on November 22nd, but first, the Lions must worry about two trips to the loud, green-infested palace before Labour Day comes calling. They make the trek to Saskatchewan for a July 4th tilt (week four) and then return there exactly four weeks later on the evening of August 8th. Following the second visit, the Lions are completely finished with regular season road games against Western foes.
The last time the Lions made two regular season visits to Regina was in 2016, the final year of old Mosaic Stadium. They spoiled the party with a 24-6 win the final ever contest played there, a victory that remains their most recent one in Regina. The Lions are 0-3 life-time in the new place. Time to change that.
The Bye Weeks
One major difference in 2020 compared to previous seasons will be the distribution of the club’s bye weeks. The Lions will not be off until week 11 of the schedule in late August with the remaining two bye weeks coming in week 15 (mid-September) and exactly four weeks later in mid-October. As a result, the club will make a rare appearance on Labour Day weekend with a trip to Ottawa on Thursday, September 3rd. That will be head coach Rick Campbell’s first game in the nation’s capital since he left the RedBlacks. The Lions’ first bye week in 2019 took place in week eight while 2018 saw the Lions get week two off and complete all three bye weeks by the time Labour Day arrived.
Divisional games breakdown: The Lions play West rivals Calgary (two home, one away) and Saskatchewan (one home, two away) three times each. That leaves just a pair of meetings each with the Eskimos and Blue Bombers to go along with the usual two meetings with each of the Eastern clubs.
The longest stretch the Lions will go without playing a home game is 23 days. That hiatus takes place after the Thursday night date with Montreal when they will visit the Alouettes on August 1st before their second trip to Saskatchewan on August 8th.
That home and home with Montreal is the club’s only set of back-to-back games against the same opponent in 2020. The post-Labour Day playoff stretch drive features the usual majority of Lions home games, four of six in total. The only two trips in that stretch are an October 2nd visit to Toronto and the regular season finale in Hamilton on October 30th. This will be the first time since 2010 that the Lions will close out their regular season away from home.
And finally… The road game breakdown is as follows: four Thursdays, two Fridays and three Saturdays.