EDMONTON — As the Canada West Football season winds down, we’ll soon get a much clearer picture of how the playoffs will shape up.
We start with this week’s featured game, the defending Hardy Cup Champion (8) Manitoba Bisons visiting the winless Regina Rams.
Regina must win all three of their remaining games if they hope to have a chance at the post season. A loss would officially eliminate them.
They’ll certainly have their hands full, as they’ll have to put the brakes on Alex Vitt. The fourth-year receiver was instrumental in the Bisons 34-19 win two weeks ago against the Rams, putting up 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Their only hope is for another big game by third-year slot back Davin Johnston who burst his way through the Bisons defense for over 200 yards.
As for the Bisons, a win would go a long way in giving them home field advantage in the Hardy Cup Semi Finals. With Calgary all but assured of top spot in the Canada West, second place and home field is on the radar for a number of teams, including the Bisons.
The game kicks off Saturday at 4 p.m. and you can watch it LIVE on Canada West Football on Shaw TV.
BEARS – THUNDERBIRDS
A promising start to the season has turned upside down for the Alberta Golden Bears. After a pair of wins, the Bears have dropped three straight and could see their playoff hopes take a serious blow with a loss this weekend on the west coast.
The Bears are tied with Saskatchewan for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Canada West at 2-3. But, with games against Manitoba and Calgary to finish the season, this week is as close to a “must win” as they’ll get. And they’ll have to do so without starting quarterback Ben Kopczynski. Kopczynski was injured two weeks ago in a 39-21 loss to UBC. He left in the second quarter with a right knee injury. Brad Baker is expected to get the nod Saturday afternoon.
As for UBC, expect them to come flying out of the gates. In their last meeting, the T-Birds put up 18 points in the opening quarter to set the tone for the rest of the game. A win would keep them on pace with the Manitoba Bisons for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Kick Off is at 3 p.m. MST on Saturday.
DINOS – HUSKIES
The Calgary Dinos (5-0) have returned from the Thanksgiving bye week with plenty to be thankful for.
They remain the unanimous No. 1 ranked team in the country, and with a win this Friday in Saskatoon (7 p.m., Shaw TV) they would lock up top spot in the Canada West, for the fifth straight season.
The Huskies will try to avoid back-to-back losses at the hands of the Dinos, and stay in the playoff race. The Huskies remain in a logjam in the middle of the standings with two wins, currently tied for the final spot with Alberta.
It’s the Huskies annual Blackout Game Friday night. They’re expecting a crowd of close to 10,000. The Dinos will counter with their all-white look, so it’ll be black and white night Friday at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon.
You can read Global Calgary’s Brendan Parker’s preview of the game here.
CANADA WEST FOOTBALL ON SHAW TV/GLOBAL
With playoff races heating up, Shaw TV/Global has made some scheduling changes. Here is the updated schedule for Canada West Football on Shaw TV and Global TV.