The Battle of Eastern Ontario. The Battle of Alberta. The 2015 CFL Final Four.
Both #3 seeds were knocked out last weekend: the Toronto Argonauts on a field goal, the BC Lions on only getting 3 field goals.
For the 3rd time in 4 weeks, Hamilton will play Ottawa. The RedBlacks swept the 2-game regular series to take the East Division crown. No surprise that the East final was sold out even early in the week.
ESPNews will carry the East final from TD Place, taking the TSN feed. The West final will be Internet-only in the United States.
Edmonton won 2 of 3 from Calgary this season. The teams split games at McMahon Stadium with the Stampeders winning 16-7 on Labour Day and the Esks edging out the 15-11 win on October 10. Edmonton pulled off a 27-16 win on September 12 at Commonwealth Stadium.
John Hufnagel is trying to win a Grey Cup in his final season as the head coach. Edmonton won 8 straight to win the West Division. One of these forces will not make it past Sunday.
Hamilton @ Ottawa, 1p
Hamilton @ Ottawa, 1p
Calgary @ Edmonton, 4:30p
Swayze Waters was certainly in the limelight on Sunday. Waters almost recovered a punt that could have led to a Toronto major score. And yes, a couple of his FG attempts got caught up in the wind at Tim Hortons Field in the 4th quarter.
Justin Medlock might have been able to overcome the wind, but the Tiger-Cats coin toss win before the game made the difference in the East semifinal.
Both offenses played highly conservative in the game. Jeremiah Masoli did his best impression of a 2015 Montréal Alouettes QB in the first half.
A healthier offence, such as we've seen in Ottawa, should have an easier time on Sunday, unless the weather is a factor in the nation's capital.
How long has it been since the Canadian capital has seen playoff football? The Montréal Alouettes were the Montréal Concordes back then. Warren Moon was Edmonton's quarterback. BC Place had just opened and there was no SkyDome.
The 1983 Ottawa Rough Riders were 8-8 and hosted the East semifinal at Landsdowne Stadium (on the site of TD Place). The Rough Riders lost 33-31 to Hamilton.
The 1982 Ottawa Rough Riders were 5-11 and traveled to Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton and defeated the Tiger-Cats 30-20. The next week, the Toronto Argonauts trounced the Rough Riders 44-7 at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
And yes, the prime minister back then was Trudeau, but Pierre Elliotte Trudeau, not Justin.
The last time an Ottawa team was in the playoffs was the Rough Riders in 1994. The 4-14 Rough Riders lost their last 7 games yet made the playoffs because Ottawa had a point-differential tiebreaker over Hamilton. The Rough Riders lost to first-place Winnipeg that year.
TSN has never carried a playoff game in Ottawa … until Sunday.
The BC Lions did about as well as could be expected. Travis Lulay had injury issues all season, but the Lions discovered what they had in Jonathon Jennings.
Free agency will impact a lot of teams in the off-season, and the Lions will be heavily in the mix, pro and con. Right now, BC is a team with a lot of young potential but is a mid-level team. 2016 could be a completely different story.
Calgary and Edmonton have a rich playoff history playing each other. For a bit of recent history, the Stampeders won 43-18 in the 2014 West final in Calgary and the Esks won 33-19 in the 2011 West semifinal at Edmonton.
We often saw Stephen Harper at sports games, especially in Ottawa. With the first CFL playoff game in the Canadian capital since 1983, you would hope that new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be in the stands at TD Place.
However, this month, Trudeau's schedule is pretty busy. There was the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, earlier this week. Several meetings, including meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, will happen in between before the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris that starts November 30.
Then again, Harper didn't go to climate change conferences while being prime minister.
Canada hasn't had a deputy prime minister since the Martin Government in 2006. Carla Qualtrough is the new Minister of Sport and would be an ideal choice to attend the game in Ottawa in place of the new prime minister.
We don't know whether the new prime minister is as much of a sports fanatic as the previous prime minister. We might find out this winter at Ottawa Senators games and next summer at TD Place for the RedBlacks.
Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor were in Hamilton last weekend. Rod Black and Duane Forde were in Calgary. The teams should switch sides of the country for the trips to Ottawa and Edmonton.
image credit: CFL