B.C. Lions can close out the CFL's regular season schedule with a game that means a lot more than last week's bland affair with the last-place Tiger-Cats.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers come to B.C. Place Stadium with the prospect of hosting the Scotiabank East Semifinal on Nov. 5 in Canad Inns Stadium, the same venue for the Grey Cup on Nov. 19. Regardless of what happens between Toronto and Montreal Saturday, the inconsistent 9-8 Bombers must win in Vancouver to finish second.
That sets up an interesting scenario for the Lions, who are hoping to stay sharp and healthy before a bye week and the Scotiabank West Championship on Nov. 12. Don't look for the Lions to field a lineup of understudies so that the marquee players can rest.
"If a guy goes in it's because he deserves to be in because he's part of a package. This is not an exhibition game," said Lions' head coach Wally Buono. "This is a good football club coming in and you're going to have to play well to beat them."
Buono and his Bombers' counterpart Doug Berry will both seek better performances from their teams than the one offered Aug. 10 in the Manitoba capital. That's when the Lions were 32-5 winners in a game that featured 13 turnovers - nine by the home side.
This time around, QB Kevin Glenn and his favourite target Milt Stegall are healthy and motivated.
Lions will field a depleted offensive line. Tackle Rob Murphy, a Lions' nominee for the West's best lineman, underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair right knee cartilage. Practice roster vet Amariah Farrow will play instead. Sherko Haji-Rasouli will have the familiar job of spelling off guard Bobby Singh, who hopes to postpone inevitable surgery until after the Grey Cup.