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Canada

Rick Zamperin: Tiger-Cats vs. Blue Bombers would be a special Grey Cup final

Besides Grey Cup Sunday and Labour Day, this weekend is the most exciting on the Canadian Football League calendar.

The CFL’s Eastern and Western Finals are on tap as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats host the Edmonton Eskimos and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Two of the four teams, Hamilton and Winnipeg, are hoping to advance to the final and put an end their long championship droughts. The Ticats last won in 1999 while the Blue Bombers last celebrated a title in 1990.

Edmonton is attempting to become the first crossover playoff team in league history to make it to the Grey Cup, and Saskatchewan is trying to book its 12th trip to the Grey Cup final and first appearance since they last won in 2013.

READ MORE: Rick Zamperin: There’s room for you on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats bandwagon

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So, which two teams are going to play in the big game?

I think the sentimental choice is Hamilton versus Winnipeg. Who doesn’t want to see one of the two longest active Grey Cup droughts come to an end?

This matchup would guarantee that a long-awaited championship parade would be held in one of these two cities. It would also be a blast to see former teammates Mike O’Shea and Orlondo Steinauer — now the head coaches in Winnipeg and Hamilton, respectively — go head-to-head for all the marbles.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers and their fans get ready for big game against Saskatchewan

An Edmonton vs. Winnipeg or Saskatchewan title match would be the most unexpected, as the Eskimos would not only become the first crossover team to play in a Grey Cup, but they would have to do something that no team has done this season — beat Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field.

READ MORE: Eskimos’ defence up to the challenge of facing Tiger-Cats’ high-octane offence

I think the most intriguing showdown would be the Ticats against the Roughriders.

Hamilton (15-3) and Saskatchewan (13-5) have the best records in the Canadian Football League this season. Both squads have rookie head coaches and backup quarterbacks who have been thrust into the spotlight because of injury.

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I’d love to see the Tiger-Cats and Blue Bombers duke it out in the Grey Cup but I’m foreseeing a Ticats-Riders finale because I think it is too tall of a task for Winnipeg to win another massive game on the road as they did last week in Calgary.

Whatever the Grey Cup matchup turns out to be, fans in two cities will be ecstatic while the other two fanbases will be left to think what could have been.

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