Schedule favours Stamps

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

In the ultra-competitive race for second-place in the CFL Western Division, every advantage counts.

With just two points separating the Eskimos, Stampeders and Roughriders in the battle for second spot in the standings and home field advantage in the western semi-final, the Stamps can definitely boast about having one edge: the easiest schedule.

The Eskimos, on the other hand, are not so fortunate.

Like Calgary and Saskatchewan, the Esks have six games remaining - but the Green and Gold will face just one team with a losing record.

Danny Maciocia's crew, which is 7-5 and barely keeping the Stamps and Riders in third spot, will meet the unbeaten and west-division leading B.C. Lions twice at Commonwealth Stadium, including this Saturday afternoon.

But that doesn't seem to bother the head coach.

"I can't think of a better team to play this weekend than the B.C. Lions," said Maciocia, who obviously wants to end the Lions' 11-0 run to start 2005.

The Green and Gold will also battle Hamilton, Saskatchewan and the east division-leading Toronto Argonauts before the regular-season ends in the first week of November.

The Calgary Stampeders schedule is almost the exact opposite. The Cowtown club is scheduled to play just two games against teams with a .500 record or above.

Making matters even easier, the Stamps will not leave the friendly confines of McMahon Stadium for the next month.

The Riders have won three straight games but have the toughest schedule down the stretch. After hosting the Argos on Friday, the Riders make the first of two trips to Vancouver.

Led by former Edmonton coach Tom Higgins, Calgary will host Ottawa and Hamilton - arguably the two worst teams in the CFL - in the next four weeks.

The surging Saskatchewan crew also has to travel to Commonwealth Stadium, which has haunted them for years.


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