Way out west!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

Thank Lonnie Glieberman.

The Edmonton Eskimos have a way out of their present pickle thanks to what happened on the weekend and thanks, too, to Loonie Lonnie.

Before the Glieberguys folded the franchise again, the Eskimos had Ottawa early and Hamilton back-to-back early in the original schedule.

Now, admittedly, maybe the Eskimos might have managed to make it through the first 11 games of the season with more than four wins if they had those games at the start. So you could make the same claim that it was all Lonnie Glieberman's fault they got in this predicament in the first place.

On the other hand ...

"I don't know. A lot of that stuff that happened in the first half was self-inflicted," said Maciocia, suggesting maybe they might have happened against Ottawa and Hamilton.

Right now the Eskimos have to be happy they saved the two games against the Tiger-Cats for when they really, really, really needed them. And right now they really, really need them.

While it could have been the beginning of a long mopping up of a season if they'd lost to the Stampeders in the Labour Day rematch, they didn't.

SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN HERE

Then there's what happened yesterday.

A Saskatchewan Roughriders loss in Winnipeg opened the door to the playoffs in the West for Edmonton.

If the Eskimos can do what everybody else seems to have been able to do and get two wins against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, something could still happen here.

Maciocia's 4-7 football team, with two wins over the Tiger-Cats, would go into Regina at the end of the month with a chance to catch the Roughriders in the standings and, at the same time, win the season series to give them the third-place playoff spot in the event of a tie.

Of course, that would mean the Eskimos winning four straight when they've only won four all year. And it would mean winning two on the road when they're the only team in the league to have won none ...

But it's there.

Maciocia will have nothing to do with looking past Saturday and the Eskimos game in Hamilton - where they played their worst game of the year last year.

"The seed I'm trying to plant in our players' heads is that Hamilton should have knocked off Toronto this week. I'll probably bring up how we played last year there, too."

Maciocia's myopia is understandable. One game does not make a season.

One game plus two more to beat up on a bum, however ...

It's hard to predict and project a real run for the only outfit unable to win an away game so far this season, a team which still has to play in Regina, Montreal and Toronto after the visit to Hamilton.

But two games against Hamilton, Toronto and Saskatchewan and one against Montreal looks like much smoother sledding than four with Calgary, three with B.C., etc.

The Eskimos are four points back of the Roughriders but have a game in hand. Saskatchewan has the bye this week.

In addition to the home-and-home series with the Eskimos (which includes the final game of the regular season here Oct. 27), Saskatchewan has back-to-backs with Montreal, a road trip to Toronto and a home game against B.C.

And it's not just Saskatchewan.

There's also the possibility of a crossover playoff game. With the win, Winnipeg is four points ahead of the Eskimos as well. Edmonton also has a game in hand on the Blue Bombers. But Edmonton doesn't play Winnipeg again and you need to finish ahead of the third place Eastern team, not tie them.

Can you imagine if the Eskimos ended up losing a cross-over playoff spot in the East to the Blue Bombers missed the playoffs for the first time in 35 years was that 100-yard last-play-of-the-game Milt Stegall Winnipeg touchdown against no-coverage?

ASTERISK BESIDE RECORD

Besides, getting into the playoffs in a crossover game would require an asterisk for that 35-year record, wouldn't it?

No, it's now there for the Eskimos to do it where they've always done it, in the West.

Suddenly there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a train.


Videos

Photos