Songs for the CFL: a musical West Division preview

Lin-Manuel Miranda (L) from "Hamilton" performs with the cast during the American Theatre Wing's 70th annual Tony Awards in New York, U.S., June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

With the CFL season set to kick off Thursday when the Toronto Argonauts host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, it's time to take a look at how things stack up for each team. A few years ago, we compared each CFL team to different musical artists, and this year, we're looking at the teams in relation to specific songs. Here's a look at the West Division in predicted order of regular-season finish.

Calgary Stampeders: Hamilton - My Shot

New Stampeders' head coach Dave Dickenson is young (well, in CFL head coaching terms, at least; he's 43), scrappy and hungry, and he's been waiting for this opportunity for a while. Since retiring as a player in February 2009, Dickenson worked his way up from running backs coach (2009) to quarterbacks coach (2010) to offensive coordinator (2011-2015), and he passed over several opportunities to interview for head coaching spots elsewhere to stay with Calgary. Former head coach and current GM/president John Hufnagel announced back in December 2014 that Dickenson would take over ahead of the 2016 campaign, and now he's getting his shot. He has an impressive roster to work with, one that came very close last year before a brutal run of offensive line injuries in particular brought them down in the playoffs, and while the Stampeders have suffered some losses (in particular, WRs Eric Rogers and Jeff Fuller left for the NFL, RB Jon Cornish retired, and LB/DB Keon Raymond left for Toronto along with defensive coordinator Rich Stubler), they have plenty of talent remaining. If QB Bo Levi Mitchell can find chemistry with some new targets and the running game can succeed with some combination of Canadian Jerome Messam and import Tory Harrison, Dickenson won't be throwing away his shot.

Prediction: 12-6, first in West.

The Stampeders start the season Saturday night against B.C. at 10 p.m. Eastern.

Edmonton Eskimos: The Trews - So She's Leaving

The biggest storyline for the defending Grey Cup champions has been a departure, with head coach Chris Jones exiting to become the head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations in Saskatchewan. There's plenty of Trews songs that could fit that, from "When You Leave" to "Poor Old Broken-Hearted Me," but "So She's Leaving" has the perfect mix of annoyance, frustration, resignation and acceptance that seems to characterize Edmonton's reaction to Jones' departure (and his decision to take almost the entire coaching staff with him). Like the guy in the song, parting ways isn't desirable, but the Eskimos should be fine on their own; GM Ed Hervey has built a great roster here, particularly with quarterback Mike Reilly and receiving threats Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker (who will give new head coach Jason Maas plenty of options), and while there's change on defence (especially in the secondary), there are still numerous talented playmakers like J.C. Sherritt, and there's a great new defensive coordinator in Mike Benevides. There may be some growing pains early as Maas and his staff adjust to this new team, but things look pretty good in the long run.

Prediction: 11-7, second in West.

Edmonton kicks things off by hosting Ottawa in a Grey Cup rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Bachman Turner Overdrive - You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

The Blue Bombers have been stuttering ever since their 2011 Grey Cup appearance, going 6-12, 3-15, 7-11 and 5-13 since then, but there are reasons to think there may be a cure in sight. Winnipeg was an active player in free agency, adding key offensive skill pieces like RB Andrew Harris and receivers Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith, and they have former head coach Paul LaPolice back as their offensive coordinator. If LaPolice can elevate QB Drew Willy's game and get these offensive pieces to click, we may not have seen anything yet.

Prediction: 9-9, third in West.

Winnipeg starts the season in Calgary Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: DMX - Ruff Ryders Anthem

With Jones at the helm, the Roughriders have plenty of swagger back, and that's especially true when it comes to the defence. Jones' blitz-heavy unconventional defences have found tons of success in Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton, so there's no reason to think they won't be able to stop, drop and open up shop. However, it may take a little time for the team to get used to Jones and his staff, and there have been plenty of player changes as well in Saskatchewan. The Riders seem to be going with a lot of new, young faces, and while that may pay off in the long term, it could lead to a bit of a rough start.

Prediction: 7-11, fourth in West, outside playoffs.

Saskatchewan kicks off the season in Week 2, next Saturday (June 30) against Toronto at 10 p.m. Eastern.

B.C. Lions: The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" is a fact of life in B.C. these days. General manager Wally Buono will be returning to the sidelines as head coach as well, a role he hasn't held since the Lions' Grey Cup-winning campaign in 2011. That could pay off well; last season's Jeff Tedford experiment certainly didn't turn out great, and the Benevides years in 2012 and 2013 had abrupt postseason endings. Buono certainly knows how to coach, and it may be helpful for him to have coaching authority as well; now he can bring in who he wants and use them how he sees fit. However, there are big questions with this Lions' roster; QB Jon Jennings has shown promise, and he has some good targets in Emmanuel Arceneaux and Nick Moore, but he hasn't consistently produced at a high level yet, and their ground game is a big question without Harris. There are some nice additions on defence (Brandon Stewart and Mike Edem in particular), but some big losses there too, including Josh Johnson. We'll tip our hat to the new constitution and take a vow for the new revolution, but we'll see if it actually produces any change.

Prediction: 6-12, fifth in West, outside playoffs.

B.C. hosts Calgary to open the season Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern.