And the award goes to ...

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

For the second year in a row, the B.C. Lions will challenge for a sweep of the CFL player awards.

The Lions' 13-3-1 record and fourth-straight first-place finish in the West Division is certainly no fluke. The division nominees will be released today, and the Lions could have a six-player sweep of those awards.

Things will be different in the East Division, as likely each of the four clubs will have at least one player heading to Toronto for the awards ceremony Nov. 22.

The only category in which the Lions don't have the prohibitive favourite is for Most Outstanding Player, much like last year when the only award they didn't win was special teams player of the year (Calgary Stampeders kicker Sandro DeAngelis won that).

Although Joe Smith could win the nomination, he faces decent competition from quarterbacks Henry Burris (Stampeders) and Kerry Joseph (Roughriders).

In the other categories, the Lions should clean up.

Receiver Jason Clermont (1,071 yards) is up for top Canadian, defensive end Cameron Wake (league-leading 16 sacks) could get both defensive and rookie honours, left tackle Rob Murphy is the favourite for lineman and Ian Smart (tops in kickoff and punt returns) will be the special teams nominee.

Clermont could face Montreal Alouettes slotback Ben Cahoon, who has similar numbers to the Lions receiver, or Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive lineman Doug Brown.

In other East Division categories, the race is wide open with several strong candidates across the board. Dual nominees Nick Setta (Hamilton), Zeke Moreno (Hamilton), Jonathan Brown (Toronto) and Randee Drew (Montreal) have better chances of coming away with something.

OPENING DRIVE

K Sean Fleming deserved a much better fate than having a game-winning kick called back in his final home start. He is our first star this week because that 47-yarder into the wind with playoff hopes still on the line was one of his best kicks in years and mighty clutch for the Edmonton Eskimos. Having the league admit the holding call on FB Mike Maurer wasn't ideal doesn't do anything to ease the Esks' pain ... With all this NFL talk in Toronto, doesn't anyone realize the Argos have won six straight and could host the East final and the Grey Cup this season? All good football.

ENDZONE TOSS

Stamps K Sandro DeAngelis has put the heat on Tiger-Cats K Nick Setta heading into the final week of the season. In going 3-for-3 against the Als, DeAngelis raised his field-goal average to 85.2%, which is second to Setta's 85.4%. Both are their teams' special-teams nominees ... WR Keith Stokes is said to have lost 15 lbs. before attempting a comeback with the Bombers. It seemed to have helped his speed, as he looked good for a while against the Argos. It didn't help his hands. A crucial fumble by Stokes helped the Argos hold onto their chances of getting first place in the East ... This just in: Tickets to the West semifinal Nov. 11 are gone. Nice work, Saskatchewan and Rider Pride.

EXTRA POINT

One game last week produced four first CFL TDs, but none were more exciting than the Esks' WR Calvin McCarty and his one-handed grab behind the back of Roughriders DB Eddie Davis. McCarty's grab was one of the year's best. Riders DL John Chick and teammate and FB Neal Hughes also scored their first majors in that controversial game. Als RB Kerry Carter picked up his first two TDs in the win over the Stampeders.


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