By the time Friday night was over out west, the Saskatchewan Huskies had locked up first place in the conference and home-field advantage through the Canada West playoffs. With their 52-29 win over the Regina Rams the Sled Dogs capped off their regular season campaign with their fifth consecutive win, and set the playoff scene.
Huskies earn home-field
The Huskies' dominant run through the second half of the regular season has them heading into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the nation, and the favourite to take the Hardy Cup given their dominance of late and results against second place Calgary.
Friday's game against Regina was an aerial assault from both sides, with the Rams' Marc Mueller throwing for 437 yards, while Saskatchewan pivot Laurence Nixon wasn't far behind with 424 yard passing.
Dathan Thomas' three touchdowns on the ground and Nixon's four TD passes were enough and then some for the Huskies in a game that saw Regina turn the ball over four times (twice via interception) and get penalized to the tune of 156 yards. Saskatchewan had their issues at times as well, with a pair of fumbles, an interception, and 132 yards of penalties.
Saskatchewan head coach Brian Towriss and company may not like those turnover and penalty stats, but putting up seven majors was certainly an impressive offensive outburst as the Huskies head into the playoffs to take on the best of the bottom, the Alberta Golden Bears.
Regina on the other hand heads into the postseason on a two-game losing streak, having lost last weekend to Calgary in the Stampede City. The Rams will take on the Dinos next week in Calgary.
Speaking of those Calgary Dinos, in what was a meaningless game, the Dinos played host to the Golden Bears, handing the Green and Gold a 37-5 setback that saw Alberta throw for an abysmal 80 yards through the air.
It was a rather pedestrian win for Calgary who rushed for 310 yards on the ground without having a single back with over 80 yards, spreading the touches around in the glorified exhibition game.
Alberta QB Julian Marchand passed for only 59 yards, had two interceptions and went 6 of 16 before giving way to backup Curtis Dell who had 21 yards on two completed passes.
The Bears will head to Saskatoon next weekend to take on Saskatchewan in what shapes up to be a game between teams from two very different football realities, with the Huskies a Vanier Cup calibre team and the Bears a sub-.500 squad.
In other sub-.500 related news, the Manitoba Bisons and UBC Thunderbirds hooked up in Winnipeg to write the final chapter of their seasons.
With their playoff chances already dashed heading into the weekend, the Herd and T-Birds met for the ultimate meaningless game. Manitoba came out on the right side of a 35-25 result, sweeping the season series, as both teams finished with 2-6 records.
Foregone conclusion for the Cup?
The playoff matchups are pointing to one thing - a Saskatchewan-Calgary Hardy Cup game. The Huskies shouldn't have too many issues with an Alberta team that has hardly inspired confidence this season in their ability to put up much resistance against the conference's best.
Calgary-Regina should be a good matchup between two teams that played a pair of close games this year, with the Dinos coming out on the right end of both those contests. It's been a good season for the Rams, but the Dinos are the better team and don't look ready to bow out in their push to get back to the Vanier just yet.