Bienvenue to the final week of the 2017 CFL regular season. The Ottawa RedBlacks season is done, drawing a pair of byes in the last 3 weeks of the year.
Tim Hortons Field hosts the worst East teams as the Montréal Alouettes are in the Steel City. The Blue Bombers are in Calgary late; look for a slight delay thanks to tight scheduling.
The battle of green starts off Saturday night as the Roughriders welcome Edmonton. The final regular season game has the Argonauts all the way in Vancouver.
Montréal @ Hamilton, 7p
Winnipeg @ Calgary, 9:30p
Edmonton @ Saskatchewan, 7p
Toronto @ BC, 10p
Bye week: Ottawa
Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Saskatchewan made CFL playoff positioning intriguing going into the final week of the season. Winnipeg and Edmonton are now tied with Saskatchewan a game behind.
Calgary, losers of 2 games in a row snapping its streak of 103 games without back-to-back defeats, hosts Winnipeg. Edmonton travels to Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan can't finish 2nd; Winnipeg can't finish 4th.
Winnipeg gets the tiebreaker over Edmonton and Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan has the tiebreaker (+23 points from the first meeting) over Edmonton, but that only comes into play if the teams tie on Saturday.
The 2 green teams do have the advantage of knowing how Winnipeg did Friday night before playing their game.
Given how Winnipeg has played lately, the whole notion of which way to go — West or East — in the playoffs can go either way. These teams should play to win and see what happens.
The battle at Tim Hortons Field may not seem exciting, but the game does represent a battle of forces.
The Montréal Alouettes haven't won a road game all season. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have 1 home win, coming at the Labour Day Classic 24-22 over Toronto. Short of a tie, one of those teams will get an elevated change to those stats.
The Alouettes last road win came in Hamilton on the last game of the 2016 season 32-25 on November 5, 2016.
The 2016 and 2017 versions of the Ottawa RedBlacks finished 8-9-1 with a tie against Calgary in both seasons. The 2016 version was the East Division champs and won the Grey Cup. The 2017 version might still win the East, though the Toronto Argonauts can win the 2017 East title with a win or tie with the BC Lions.
The RedBlacks played 14 games decided by 7 or fewer points, a new CFL record.
Diontae Spencer had an amazing game with a record 496 all-purpose yards for Ottawa.
If you watched the close game against Hamilton, you saw the temporary seats in place for the 2017 Grey Cup and the NHL 100 game in December with the Ottawa Senators and the Montréal Canadiens.
Taylor Field was by far the oldest stadium in the CFL last season. While the new Mosaic Stadium looks lovely on TV, the charm at the old barn couldn't be matched.
The old stadium was torn down this week. The area is being converted to a mixed-use development. I was a bit surprised how little there was surrounding the old stadium so this will be a significant change for the area.
I do some lovely photos and thoughts in the above story on my trip to Saskatchewan and Manitoba last summer.
Sure it wasn't the prettiest place but the seating was intimate and you could feel the history.
Darian Durant returned back to Regina in his first game in the new Mosaic Stadium. Durant didn't do much before suffering another injury and also because Montréal now has a 10-game losing streak. The Roughriders had a nice tribute to Durant before the game.
All 3 Saskatchewan quarterbacks — Kevin Glenn, Brandon Bridge, and Vernon Adams Jr. — all used to wear the Alouettes uniform.
Matthew Shiltz has been in the last couple of games without much to speak of so far. Drew Willy is, well, Drew Willy. Montréal may be looking toward either James Franklin by free agency or trades for Zach Collaros and/or Johnny Manziel for 2018.
Gord Miller helped out with the CFL since this was Rod Black's figure skating coverage weekend.
The CFL studio show started out Friday with a single analyst. Jock Climie was coming back from arguing a case. Matt Dunigan was in Winnipeg getting ready to call Saturday's game. Milt Stegall was there with a Fathead of Jock Climie in his chair.
Back in the CFL on CBC days, you have rival studio shows with 6 former players between CBC and TSN. There are qualified people to fill in with absences.