Labour Day Classics are the CFL

TED WYMAN

, Last Updated: 1:42 PM ET

The beauty of Labour Day in the CFL is that things like the standings, losing streaks, locker-room turmoil and injury woes don't really matter.

Labour Day is about two things -- rivalry and revelry -- and everything else takes a back seat.

Beat the Roughriders this week and it will be like a dose of Pepto Bismol for fans who are having a hard time stomaching the play of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers over the last month.

Beat the Bombers this weekend and Roughrider fans will have their official straw to grasp at when they inevitably flounder at playoff time.

This is pro football at its purest. Two teams mired in mediocrity -- they haven't won the Grey Cup in a combined 33 seasons -- slugging it out for bragging rights in front of the biggest crowd of the season.

It is the very definition of the CFL, encapsulated into one game and it's not to be missed.

BACKUP PLANS: Quick, what do Dave Dickenson, Ricky Ray, Henry Burris, Kevin Glenn, Jason Maas, Damon Allen and Anthony Calvillo have in common? They are all respected starting quarterbacks in the CFL who were once backups. So it kind of makes you wonder when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers explain away their woes by suggesting it's more difficult than rocket science to find a decent backup. Truth be told, history doesn't support that theory and the proof positive is in guys like Rocky Butler and Buck Pierce -- backups who are winning. Yeah, it's tough to find a capable stand in, but it's not impossible. Get it done ... Which Blue Bombers quarterback experiment was worse: Mike Quinn or T.J. Wobbly? Discuss ... It says here, if the Bombers had an experienced quarterback (say Khari Jones), to back up Glenn, they would be 7-3 right now, with wins over Hamilton and Toronto ... This swami is getting pretty good. We predicted way back when that Terrell Owens would become a distraction at the Dallas Cowboys camp and lo and behold, it came true. For our next trick we are going to predict that Christmas will come on Dec. 25 this year and it will be cold in January.

STAND UP GUY: Finnish shot putter Ville Tiisa is a new Hit Parade favourite -- sort of. He took performance-enhancing drugs, got busted, admitted he did it and explained that he was having a lousy season and wanted to win. We don't like cheaters but we've been waiting for someone to finally stand up and be honest. It's about time ... News has emerged that Mike Tyson is now a Las Vegas sideshow freak. Now there's a guy who has finally found his calling. For the last 20 years, the only thing missing was the sideshow ... A few weeks after Matt Leinart signed a fat contract with the Arizona Cardinals, a University of Southern California women's basketball player announced she is pregnant with his child. No doubt Leinart's favourite movie is no longer Million Dollar Baby ... You have to wonder if it was some sort of protest. Right after Pluto got dropped as a planet, Venus dropped out of the U.S. Open ... Convicted steroid supplier and personal trainer Greg Anderson is going to jail again rather than testify against Barry Bonds. In fact, he's doing such a good job of protecting the star slugger, the Giants are considering batting him third when he's released ... It was bad enough when an airline recently lost a female Paralympian's prosthetic leg, but here's something even worse. Alex Rodriguez claims the last time he flew, the airline lost his ability to play third base.

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QUICK HITS: Let's start off with Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the fact Pluto was recently nixed as an official planet because it is too small: "Will scientists declare that Barry Bonds' head is now part of the solar system?" ... From the Late Show's David Letterman: "Pluto was voted out because it was too small. However, it has now been mounted on a ring and given to Mrs. Kobe Bryant." ... And from Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: "Lawyers representing Pluto say they are confident their client will be reinstated as a planet just as soon as the B sample comes in." ... David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the coaching situation in Kansas City: "New Chiefs' coach Herm Edwards won't cry as much as the man he replaced, Dick Vermeil. Unless Larry Johnson gets hurt." ... Letterman on New York Yankees star "E-Rod's" latest slump: "Thanks to A-Rod, I'm no longer the most overpaid disappointment in New York City." ... Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, on pro golfer Jim Furyk: "His backswing looks like an old man in his boxers trying to close an umbrella in a hurricane." ... Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Tiger Woods getting a puppy: "Now Tiger is teaching Yogi to fetch winner's checks." ... Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, on Carolina receiver Steve Smith having the identical injury to Terrell Owens, but receiving little attention: "Smith's hamstring needs a better agent." ... Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated on the fact Tiger Woods has a lousy record at the Ryder Cup: "And no wonder. He wasn't wired for team play. He trusts nobody. Why should he buddy up with people he's been trained to swallow in two bites or less? The hangman doesn't play on the prison softball team." ... Elliott Harris of the Chicago Sun-Times, on Canadian Rick Fox, the ex-Los Angeles Laker and former husband of actress Vanessa Williams, scoring a part in the FX series Dirt as a pro basketball player with marital troubles: "If he can't pull off this role, he might want to consider another career." ... Greg Cote of the Miami Herald on track stars Marion Jones and Justin Gatlin expressing shock and disbelief that there were illegal substances in their bodies: "Neither won the Emmy Sunday night for Best Actor in a Feigned Innocence Role. But only because it was Floyd Landis' year." ... Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post on Marco Andretti and Dario Franchitti finishing 1-2 in an IRL race last weekend: "Congrats to 19-year-old Marco Andretti for winning. Though, I have to say, I'd rather finish second and be married to Ashley Judd."


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