Fantastic final four

B.C. Lions quarterback Dave Dickenson has done everything a quarterback can do except lead his team...

B.C. Lions quarterback Dave Dickenson has done everything a quarterback can do except lead his team to a Grey Cup victory. He'll try again, starting with this weekend's West Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (Edmonton Sun File/David Bloom)

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

It's a final four steeped in storylines, complete with lame-duck coaches, quarterbacks with nothing, and everything, to prove and an NFL star still trying to create his defining, Canadian moment.

And don't forget the kicker who won't rest until he scrapes the last of the manure from his shoe.

Welcome to the CFL division finals, to be played indoors in Vancouver and Montreal this Sunday, and how un-hoser-like is that?

Up for grabs, a trip to the 94th Grey Cup in Winnipeg, where Mom Nature and Old Man Winter, if they choose to conspire, could more than make up for it.

Conspiring to beat the odds are the Saskatchewan Roughriders, those lovable losers who win a Grey Cup once every half-century, or so.

The Riders, fresh off GopherGate, will, presumably have their mascot in tow when they poke their heads into B.C. Place.

Gainer the Gopher, banned in Calgary last weekend, will live to burrow another day, which is more than you can say for sure about Roughriders head coach Danny Barrett.

Barrett has been day-to-day since his old boss and friend, Roy Shivers, got the shiv back in the summer.

Whether or not the coach needs to go all the way to save his job only the new GM, Eric Tillman, and perhaps his hairdresser, know for sure.

The West Final quarterbacks, you could argue, are the most overpaid players in three-down football, earning some $700,000 between them, with nary a Grey Cup ring to show for it.

After three years in Ottawa, Saskatchewan's Kerry Joseph is getting his first taste of the CFL playoffs, and still has his share of doubters.

Then there's B.C.'s Dave Dickenson, who's done everything a quarterback can do except lead his team to a championship.

Seemingly held together by string and duct tape, Dickenson has suffered every injury in the book -- and that's just this season.

That doesn't faze the Lions, though, who simply pass to the Buck, as in Pierce, when Dickenson goes down.

The Leos went 8-4 with Dickenson as the starter, 5-1 under Pierce. If the marauding Riders defence forces them both out, we'll see Jarious Jackson, who also won a game in relief.

If it comes down to the wire, head coach Wally Buono might be a tad nervous about hanging the outcome on the foot of his kicker.

It was Paul McCallum, after all, whose missed field goal when he was a Rider cost Saskatchewan the West Final two years ago, and led a member of Rider Nation to dump a load of manure next to his house in protest.

If McCallum is still steaming over the incident, or his star-crossed departure from Regina a year later, what sweeter revenge than to shovel the Riders to the sidelines yet again?

Out East, the story is also driven by coaches and quarterbacks.

In Montreal, Don Matthews' team will face the Toronto Argonauts without Matthews at the helm.

The Don's stunning resignation with four games left in the season forced GM Jim Popp to don the headset, leaving Popp in a similar, win-or-else position.

At least Popp has his GM's job to fall back on.

His counterpart, Toronto's Pinball Clemons, could have any job he wanted, based on last week's successful decision to bench future hall of fame quarterback Damon Allen in favour of Michael Bishop against Winnipeg.

No doubt we'll also spend another day looking for a breakout game by running back Ricky Williams, the suspended NFLer who once rumbled for some 1,800 yards down south but could manage just 500 and change here.

Just four teams, two games, one Sunday.

And a thousand possibilities.


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