Argos look to beat the best


, Last Updated: 1:35 AM ET

Jim Barker has something in common with his predecessor after all.

Bart Andrus, fired after a 3-15 season as head coach of the Argonauts, used to talk about wanting his team to become like the Montreal Alouettes, a club that was solid in every spot in the roster and seemed to have an annual appearance in the Grey Cup.

For Barker, the Alouettes remain the standard-bearer in the Canadian Football League.

Theyre the defending Grey Cup champs, and until theyre dethroned, theyre the best team in the league, Barker said. For us, its a great opportunity to again see if we can play toe-to-toe with the best in the league.

The Alouettes are 5-1, and if the Argos are able to pull off an upset victory on Saturday night at the Rogers Centre, the teams would be tied atop the East Division with 10 points each. But where the Als have enjoyed some lopsided wins, the Argos four wins have been decided by seven points or less.

At a time when the Als are fairly sure of what theyre about, the Argos continue to grow into themselves as they rebound from a couple of horrific seasons.

Theyre setting the tone for the East and now we have to model ourselves after them, Toronto running back Cory Boyd said. But at the same time, we dont want to be them. We want to be greater and thats our motivation, just to be better.

Continuity would help, and in that regard, the Argos in two or three years might be where the Alouettes are now. Of the 46 players on the Als active roster, only nine have worn the colours of other Canadian Football League teams. By comparison, the Argos have 13 players who had been elsewhere in the CFL, and had 15 rookies on their 46-man roster.

It can take several years to build a champion, but its a process Barker began just six months ago.

And not every Argo will be looking over at the visitors on Saturday night and thinking of what the Double Blue could become.

We have our own standards, centre Dominic Picard said. Its all about us. I dont have time to think about those guys. Were 4-2 and what were building is good, but its not good enough. We couldnt ask for anything more than getting the defending Grey Cup champs at our place. Its going to be fun.