Tuesday Morning QB (Division Finals)

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Two teams remain in the CFL as the 104th Grey Cup as its two opponents have officially stamped their ticket to Toronto.

The Calgary Stampeders and the Ottawa REDBLACKS will face off next Sunday as the league determines the best team of 2016.

That match-up, unfortunately, deprives fans of what would have been a dream match-up between Edmonton and Calgary.

The Battle of Alberta for the Grey Cup would have been a great game with plenty of storylines for the return to the Exhibition grounds.

Chief among those storylines is the fact that there has yet to be a crossover team to make it to the Grey Cup.

More often than not the crossover comes into effect because one division is worse than the other and a better team moves to the east.

It seems obvious that the western team crossing over has a better shot at making their way to the division final.

Yet year after year that doesn’t happen as the second place eastern team is still generally a good team and the travel can make a big difference against a team like that.

When a western team has to travel across the country to play in a big game against a fairly good team things usually don’t work out.

This year though it all seemed different as the east was so clearly lagging behind the west with the Edmonton Eskimos having a record that could have won the eastern division.

The bad season from every team in the east left the door open for a western team to do what no other western team could do.

It turns out that team was the Eskimos who had just come off of a Grey Cup win a year ago and underwent a number of changes that sunk them to the fourth place spot in the west.

They were playing better as the season moved on and when it ended they seemed to have the better path towards the Grey Cup.

They didn’t have to play a resurgent Winnipeg or a much better BC team in the semi-finals and didn’t have to go through their provincial rivals and the best team in the league in Calgary.

Instead, they had to go through a struggling Hamilton team devastated by injuries and the first losing team to win a division.

They got through the Ti-Cats who couldn’t come back against the Eskimos, partially because of a controversial no-call.

It was the first step and one that not many western teams had made as they were in the eastern finals only one step away from accomplishing history.

They put up a fight against the Ottawa REDBLACKS as the eastern division champions got out to an early lead on a snowy day in the nation’s capital.

The Eskimos put up a fight finding their way back into the game in the second half  but it wasn’t enough as they were sent back west without a chance to defend their title.

It wasn’t necessarily the greatest outcome for CFL fans though as the match-up between Edmonton and Calgary would have been a dream.

The provincial rivalry is one of the best especially with both teams playing so well over the past few years.football-sidebarWith Calgary running through everyone all year a motivated rival might have been the best team to give them a challenge and put on a show in the Grey Cup.

Rivalries can be a difficult thing with records meaning very little when motivation is involved.

When two teams that don’t like each other face-off anything can happen and the two Albertan teams really don’t like each other.

Putting them together in the biggest game of the year would have been a huge boost for the Grey Cup but it wasn’t meant to be this time around.

This time it will be one of the most dominant teams in CFL history against a team that lost more games than it won.

Calgary walked their way through the western division all season to one of the best records in the history of the league.

Ottawa meanwhile, did the exact opposite as they struggled to try to find a quarterback with injuries and poor play seeing them bounce between two different quarterbacks.

They became the worst team to win a division ever as the only team to win a division with a losing record.

Now the REDBLACKS face major odds against a team that everyone crowned as the Grey Cup champion midway through the season.

Nobody is giving the REDBLACKS a chance and they would love to prove everyone wrong while the Stamps need to win or else the entire amazing season is all for nought.

As fun as the Battle of Alberta would have been this matchup provides plenty of storylines as the last week of the 2016 CFL is here.

Fourth Down:
(More news this week in the CFL)

Sellout at BMO
The Grey Cup has not had the best sales rate this year with high prices driving many out but after the organisers lowered the price and the matchup became official the tickets are doing well as they now expect a sellout

Changes in TO
Weeks after their season ended the Toronto Argonauts continue to do a post-mortem on what was a terrible season with all signs pointing to major changes with the sentiment being that they are ready to clean house

Greatest Ever?
Bo Levi Mitchell was back to work in the western final this past week and his win only continued his approach towards being one of the greatest ever as his winning percentage continues to be one of the best ever


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