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Stampeders look to become first CFL franchise to hit 700 all-time win

Calgary Stampeders' Reggie Begelton, left, celebrates his touchdown against the B.C. Lions with his teammates during the second half of a CFL football game, in Vancouver, on Friday, October 20, 2023. It won't affect the West Division standings but the Stampeders' regular-season finale is significant for the franchise.
Calgary Stampeders' Reggie Begelton, left, celebrates his touchdown against the B.C. Lions with his teammates during the second half of a CFL football game, in Vancouver, on Friday, October 20, 2023. It won't affect the West Division standings but the Stampeders' regular-season finale is significant for the franchise. Photo by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

It won’t affect the West Division standings but the Calgary Stampeders’ regular-season finale is significant for the franchise.

Calgary (6-11) hosts the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (13-4) on Friday night with both teams having clinched playoff spots. The Stampeders already know, win or lose, they’ll face the B.C. Lions (12-6) in the West Division semifinal Nov. 4 at B.C. Place Stadium.

National Post

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Winnipeg has also cemented top spot and home-field advantage against either Calgary or B.C. in the West Division final Nov. 11.

But Calgary comes into the contest having registered 699 all-time regular-season wins, leaving it tied with archrival Edmonton for tops overall. The Elks (4-14) have already completed their 2023 campaign.

The calculations were made using the creation of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (forerunner to East Division) in 1907 and Western Interprovincial Football Union (precursor of West Division) in 1936 as starting points.

Winnipeg stands third with 695 victories, 17 ahead of the Toronto Argonauts. The remainder, in order, includes: Saskatchewan (613); B.C. (573); Hamilton (567); Montreal (526); and Ottawa (512).

Calgary emphatically punched its ticket to the CFL playoffs for an 18th straight seasons with last week’s 41-16 road win over B.C. The Stampeders ran for 213 yards on 31 carries (6.9-yard average) in the contest.

That victory, coupled with Toronto’s 29-26 road win over Saskatchewan, secured a post-season berth for Calgary. The Lions’ loss also clinched first in the West for Winnipeg.

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So Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea has an opportunity to give many of his veterans a decent break with limited playing time versus Calgary. During last week’s 45-25 home win over Edmonton, backup Dru Brown completed all seven passes he threw in relief of starter Zach Collaros for 94 yards and two TDs.

Workhorse Brady Oliveira, the CFL rushing leader with 1,498 yards, ran for 72 yards and two TDs against Edmonton. Oliveira has more carries (252) than any other running back this season while also registering 38 catches for 482 yards and four touchdowns.

And with fellow Canadian Johnny Augustine available, Oliveira could be a prime candidate for a lesser workload in this one.

Neither team wants to head into the playoffs on a losing note but it’s hard to fathom Calgary being able to run as successfully against Winnipeg as it did last week. The Stampeders are also 3-5 at home while the Bombers are a solid 5-3 on the road.

And with Calgary having a playoff game next weekend, head coach/GM Dave Dickenson must concern himself with potential injuries, especially with B.C. on a bye week.

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Pick: Winnipeg.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats versus Montreal Alouettes (Saturday afternoon)

At Montreal, this matchup is interesting as both teams will meet here Nov. 4 in the East semifinal. Bo Levi Mitchell makes a third straight start for Hamilton (8-9), which is coming off a bye following a 33-30 home loss to B.C. on Oct. 13. Mitchell was 13-of-19 passing for 135 yards with two TDs and an interception before giving way to Matt Shiltz. The Alouettes (10-7) also come off a bye having won four straight. They’re 2-0 versus the Ticats and 4-4 at home but the visitors counter with a 5-3 road record.

Pick: Hamilton.

Toronto Argonauts versus Ottawa Redblacks (Saturday night)

At Ottawa, the Redblacks have lost three straight (10-of-11 overall) and are 0-9 within the East. They’ve scored 58 points in two previous meetings with Toronto (15-2) but have also allowed a CFL-high 68 sacks while the visitors have a league-best 65. The Argos can tie the CFL single-season record with a win while establishing a club mark. Chad Kelly is expected to start but Cameron Dukes and/or Bryan Scott should also play, along with Canadian running back Daniel Adeboboye, who ran for 109 yards and a TD versus Saskatchewan.

Pick: Toronto.

Last week: 2-1.

Overall: 55-23

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2023.

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