The Calgary Stampeders head into their regular-season finale against the B.C. Lions on Saturday night needing a victory or tie to cement top spot in the West Division. But that’s been the case the last three weeks and each time the club has been unable to seal the deal.
Winnipeg (10-7) clinched third in the West with a 29-21 home win over Calgary (12-5) on Friday night. The Blue Bombers are the CFL’s hottest team, having won five straight as Matt Nichols had a season-high 358 yards passing with two TDs while Darvin Adams registered five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.
With that victory, the Bombers eliminated Edmonton (8-9) – who were on a bye week – from playoff contention for the first time since 2013. The Eskimos, at one time, had the CFL’s second-best record but enter their regular-season finale against Winnipeg having lost six of their last eight contests.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders (12-6) did their part by downing the B.C. Lions 35-16 on Saturday night. The Riders clinched a home playoff game – their first since 2013 – with the win but would finish first in the West if Calgary loses its final game of the year.
In that scenario, Calgary would host Winnipeg in the conference semifinal Nov. 11 with the winner facing Saskatchewan in the West final at Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 18.
Should Calgary prevail in Vancouver, Saskatchewan would host Winnipeg in the West semifinal and the winner would travel to McMahon Stadium on Nov. 18.
The loss to Saskatchewan relegated B.C. to fourth in the West Division, but the Lions are still playoff bound as a crossover squad.
The East Division is set after Ottawa (10-7) clinched first with a 30-13 road win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-9) on Saturday night. The Redblacks swept the season series 3-0 and will host the conference final for the third time in four years.
Hamilton will finish second and host B.C. in the East Division semifinal Nov. 11. The Ticats have asked their fans to wear all black attire to that game and will provide 24,000 black rally towels and cloaks to those entering Tim Hortons Field.
The East semifinal winner will visit Ottawa on Nov. 18. The Grey Cup game will be held Nov. 25 at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.