"Oskie-wee-wee! Oskie-wa-wa! Holy mackinaw! Tigers... ha-ha-ha!"
The club that won the Grey Cup 20 years ago at B.C. Place Stadium is the CFL's laughing stock. The 4-13 Hamilton Tiger-Cats won't be going to the playoffs and they won't be "eating raw" Lions Saturday. Worst of all, mascot Pigskin Pete in his bumblebee jersey and bowler hat has retired after 31 seasons.
Tiger-Cats used to be the final Eastern test of the regular season for the B.C. Lions in a showdown that was often billed as a "catfight."
Not anymore. The tabbies' claws and fangs are rather dull. The 11-5 hometown Leos won't be playing with much ferocity after locking up the Western conference's top spot two weeks ago.
Leos, who are counting the days until they host the Nov. 12 Scotiabank West Championship, will play to stay sharp and healthy. Ticats will be playing for pride and next year's jobs.
Catching yards leader Geroy Simon and sack specialist Brent Johnson will play to increase their already impressive league-topping statistics. If the Lions build a lead, look for various understudies to see action as head coach Wally Buono protects marquee players from injury.
Quarterback Buck Pierce will start, despite a nagging elbow injury. Dave Dickenson will return after a three-game concussion absence and is pencilled in to guide the offence in the second half.
For Hamilton, QB Kevin Eakin gets his third start in place of Jason Maas. Maas' stock rose last fall when he guided Edmonton to a pair of playoff upsets and into the Grey Cup but his fortunes fell after a trade to the Ticats.