Stephane Dion has a better chance of winning the next federal election than do the Argonauts of participating in the 2008 CFL playoffs.
But the Argos think they have more moxie than the doomed Liberal leader (who doesn't?), and like a pit bull on a poodle, they refuse to give up.
Toronto has to win its remaining three games and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have to lose their final three in order for the Argos to make it. The Argos and Bombers don't play each other again, so the Boatmen have little control over how the next three weeks will unfold.
"Other teams are not going to co-operate," linebacker Mike O'Shea said. "They're not going to roll over and let us win games easily. Winning three in a row is tough, for sure. I'm sure there has been crazier situations teams have come through, and we would not be the first. I have been with teams that were a lot worse that this one and had a better record."
It starts -- or ends -- with a visit by the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday afternoon to the Rogers Centre. On Saturday night, the Blue Bombers are in Calgary to clash with the Stampeders. The Argos twice have been soundly crushed by the Alouettes this season, the most recent loss on Sept. 7, a 45-19 drubbing that resulted in the firing of coach Rich Stubler two days later.
Argos coach Don Matthews will face his former team for the first time since leaving the Als two years ago because of health issues and will stick with Kerry Joseph as his starting quarterback.
But Dominique Dorsey, who is recovering from injuries to his left ankle and knee, will not play, despite targeting this game as his return after missing two.
His replacement, Keith Stokes, suffered an ankle injury against Winnipeg last week and Matthews doubted Stokes would play against Montreal.
The Alouettes have clinched first place in the East Division and will play host in the East final.
Matthews was asked yesterday if he is in evaluation mode of players for next season. He scoffed.
"The time for evaluation is when the season is over," Matthews said. "Until that point, you live in the moment. Right now we are working hard with the players we have and we are trying to win. When the season is over, we will sit down, devise a scouting plan and target players. That's not even close to happening right now."
The Argos are loathe to look past this weekend for fear of appearing that they have thrown in the towel, even when no one thinks they will get into the post-season.
In one of those silver-lining moments, though, Joseph tried to find something to grab on to from 2008 that would pay off down the road.
"You know what? We're going to step it up this week," Joseph said. "It has been a tough, frustrating year. Throughout your career you will have years like this. But years like this make you a better player. It makes you a better football team.
"We have had passes overthrown, had receivers open. We have had passes dropped, interceptions dropped. Do you call out a player? It just happens to be part of the game. The breaks will eventually come our way."