CFL Weekly Blitz

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

Twelve years after their demise, the CFL's on-field link to the not-so-great U.S. expansion is down to two.

Unless the duo's play improves, the number of current players who spent time with American-based teams between 1993 and '95 will be zero.

With the retirements of Malcolm Frank and Demetrious Maxie along with the release of Uzooma Okeke, only veteran QBs Anthony Calvillo and Damon Allen played with U.S. franchises. But both pivots struggled in Week 1 of the 2007 season and their time could be running out.

Allen was yanked in Toronto's loss to the B.C. Lions, while Calvillo threw three picks in the red zone as the Als lost to Saskatchewan.

Calvillo's first season in the league was 1994 for the Las Vegas Posse, which had a dismal 5-13 record. Allen went to the Memphis Mad Dogs in 1995 and guided them to a 9-9 record in the South Division.

Maxie, who played on the Grey Cup champion Baltimore Stallions in 1995, may bump that number back up to three. The Stampeders assistant player personnel director is still working out and will jump back into action if Calgary needs him.

OPENING DRIVE

Sometimes players set longevity records by just hanging on but Milt Stegall is still in top form, especially during the diving TD grab that tied him with George Reed and Mike Pringle. Of those TDs, 56 are in the fourth quarter when tensions are usually higher ... Week 1 was a great example of how important kicking is in the CFL. Three teams missed out on wins due to field-goal failures. In Winnipeg, 16-year vet Troy Westwood may soon get to concentrate on his music after missing what would have been a game-winner. The Bombers quickly traded with B.C. for Rob Pikula. Edmonton should be rushing first-round draft pick Warren Kean back from injury because Sean Fleming couldn't hit from 47 yards out. Toronto may have the biggest problem if Noel Prefontaine can't return after getting drilled by Barron Miles. The Argos have sent out an SOS to former NFLer Steve Christie, a 39-year-old who hasn't played since 2004 ... The best new nickname in the league is in Hamilton where a linebacker has been dubbed 'Zeke and Destroy.' Zeke Moreno did just that in his first game, coming across and blasting into Henry Burris on a third-down QB sneak, then snacking hard into Rob Cote and ripping the ball from the rookie's hands after he hit the turf ... Now that Chris Schultz has shaved his moustache, TSN is no longer a hairy network when it comes to football. Just as when Glen Suitor offed the soup strainer a few years ago, Schultzie looks a lot younger, even prompting some to ask if he's had some extra work done, which is completely ridiculous ... Ryan Getzlaf showed up on the sidelines to watch brother Chris play his first CFL game and wore Tiger-Cats gear. The Stanley Cup karma couldn't help Hamilton beat Calgary but maybe that was because Ryan is still a favourite son in Cowtown because of his junior days with the Hitmen.

ENDZONE TOSS

Unlike the Argonauts, the other Ontario team is trying to kibosh a QB controversy. Despite Timmy Chang seeing action against Calgary, Ticats coach Charlie Taaffe loudly backed No. 1 man Jason Maas after the lopsided loss, even getting angry at reporters who kept asking questions about it.

EXTRA POINTS

Did anyone else cringe seeing Lions QB Dave Dickenson take that massive hit from Riall Johnson and Mike O'Shea in which the back of his head took a blow ... Records are made to be broken but Bashir Levingston's missed field-goal return TD will stand forever. His 129-yard return against the Lions can't be topped because a 130-yarder would be out of the endzone and football isn't measured in half yards. Levingston topped Calgary's Ron Hopkins' 128-yard return Sept. 14, 1990 against Winnipeg.

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QUOTABLE

What did you say?

"Maybe watching Westwood miss as bad as he did jinxed me."

-- Eskimos kicker Sean Fleming after missing a field goal in OT

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GO FIGURE

Playing the numbers game

129

The yardage of Bashir Levingston's missed field goal TD against B.C. -- a CFL record that may never be broken.

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THREE STARS

1. Ricky Ray, Eskimos -- Almost 400 yards and five TD passes are the norm for this guy.

2. Charles Roberts, Bombers -- He could chase down Stegall's TD record eventually.

3. Eddie Davis, 'Riders -- Vet gets pick, sack and 10 tackles against Als.

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CRYSTAL BALL

Our predictions for the week ahead

Montreal at Winnipeg -- Calvillo will be better than the opener but the Als still fall to 0-2. Bombers by 6.

Edmonton at B.C. -- Esks defence no match for steady Dickenson. Lions by 7.

Toronto at Hamilton -- Coach Taaffe gets first win. Ticats by 3.

Calgary at Saskatchewan -- Burris always motivated in Regina. Stamps by 2.

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RANKINGS

(With previous week in brackets)

1. (-) CALGARY -- Nice debut but it was against Hamilton.

2. (-) B.C. -- Good teams find ways to get ugly road wins.

3. (-) Saskatchewan -- Defence strong in opener but offence will need to get better quickly.

4. (-) WINNIPEG -- Stegall still stellar but Bombers must solve kicking woes.

5. (-) EDMONTON -- Ray makes this team a sleeper.

6. (-) TORONTO -- If Bishop starts, they could contend.

7. (-) MONTREAL -- Odd seeing Calvillo turn ball over.

8. (-) HAMILTON -- If Maas' arm gets stronger, Ticats won't finish last.


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