Talk about reality TV

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

You think those reality TV shows are tough on the senses?

That's nothing compared to the Calgary Stampeders' latest edition of CFL Amazing Race, where one day you think they're frontrunners and next they've lost the map and wandered off course.

Prior to Friday night, the Stampeders were convinced they were Grey Cup contenders.

A 39-13 paddling by the B.C. Lions -- now undeniably the Best in the West -- has cleared up that little misconception while leaving the Stamps covered in question marks.

A sombre group of Stamps assembled at McMahon Stadium for yesterday's run-down, humbled by a team they thought they were equal to just 24 hours earlier.

"They should be sombre," noted head coach Tom Higgins, who held a lengthy meeting with the players prior to breaking into units for film sessions.

"It wasn't even entertaining. It was tough to witness it from the sidelines and have to live through it all over again the day after."

The second-place Stamps (9-7) are now unable to finish ahead of B.C. (11-4).

Even hosting the West semifinal is no certainty. The third-place Saskatchewan Roughriders, who trail Calgary by four points -- play two games against Montreal before the Stamps return to action.

That's certainly not a disaster for Calgary but it has worn the lustre off any notion the Stampeders were on par with the Lions.

Offensively, Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris was scrambling to buy time against a flawless Lions defence. Although the Lions recorded just two sacks, Burris was hurried the entire game.

The Stamps have now lost two straight, a stark contrast to how the team performed down the stretch in 2005, winning seven of its last eight games.

"This is a different situation than what we were in last year and maybe that's a good thing," Burris said.

"The guys have been humbled. There's no overconfidence.

"Any time you prepare to play a game for first place and all the guys play like that, there's got to be some soul searching."

The same Lions trashed the Stamps 40-23 July 21, but then had offensive leader Dave Dickenson running the show. Many Stamps considered him the lynchpin on offence, possibly the lone edge the Lions held should the two clubs eventually meet in the playoffs.

But with Dickenson out with a concussion Friday night, handing the ball to second-year backup Buck Pierce, it seemed the Stampeders had a legitimate shot at knocking off the Lions. Maybe even catching them in the race for first place in the West and a bye to the final.

Yet Pierce's sensational night, a 25-for-31 passing performance for 297 yards puts an end to that notion. The Lions are a more complete team that dominated Calgary in all three phases.

"It's better now than come playoff time," Higgins said. "I don't know if you can put your finger on just one thing. It was just a very solid, convincing beating for B.C. right from the get-go and for whatever reason we couldn't make a play to get back into it.

"We can't be too derogatory, too negative, but we have to be realistic that it didn't get done and get back to basics and find out what we can do."

EXTRA POINTS:

DT Sheldon Napastuk injured his left knee and is out at least two-to-three weeks .... DB Sadrick Williams (knee) is day-to-day ... R Beau Gibbs (knee) is day-to-day.


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