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Canadian Football League

Inside the CFL: Reasons to be thankful

By Ted Michaels, CFL Columnist

Hamilton, ON ( - Ah yes, Canadian Thanksgiving.

Much like our brethren south of the 49th, we Canadians spent our weekend loading up our bodies with tryptophan from the turkey, potatoes, gravy and everything else, and watching football.

A few things jumped out at your humble servant after the CFL games of Week 16.

To wit:

- If I had a vote (oh, wait a minute, I do!) for the Most Outstanding Player award, my nominees would be Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders and Henry Burris of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Cornish, a native of New Westminster, B.C., ran for 130 yards and a touchdown in the Stamps' 40-26 win over the B.C. Lions, thereby breaking his own record of single-season rushing yards by a Canadian running back (1,457). In addition, he leads the CFL in rushing yards - 1,545 - and yards from scrimmage - 1,865.

His better days as a runner are well behind him, but I love the way the Kansas grad moves, especially when he gets into the open field. We should all be thankful we're getting a chance to watch a possible double award winner because there's no doubt he will be the West's nominee for outstanding Canadian.

As far as Burris, the 38-year-old from Temple put up another scintillating performance in the Tiger-Cats' 24-18 win over the Argos. He completed 27-of-36 pass attempts for 350 yards. Thanks in no small part to his offseason workouts, he is staying injury-free and playing, arguably, the best football of his career.

He has passed for 4,523 yards, 758 more than the next quarterback, Darian Durant of Saskatchewan. Here's hoping Hamilton fans give thanks for a quarterback who may, just may, lead their team to the Grey Cup in Regina.

-From our "just when I thought they were out, they pulled me back in" files: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers avoided elimination by beating Montreal, 34-27, in Montreal - their second win in Montreal this year, the third in a row and fourth in the last five.

The Blue Bombers still have to win their last three games and the Als have to lose all three in order for Winnipeg to make the playoffs. Tall order, yes, but Winnipeg fans should be thankful they still have a chance.

- On the other side, supporters of the Edmonton Eskimos can give thanks the 2013 campaign is almost over. Their team was eliminated from the postseason party, losing 14-9 at Saskatchewan. They also should be thankful they've found their quarterback for the future in Mike Reilly. I really love the way this guy plays, and if he stays healthy, he will be just fine.

- CFL fans in general should be thankful that with three weeks to go, the playoff berths have yet to be decided.

Here are the races to watch:

In the East Division:

A Hamilton win against Montreal this weekend and Hamilton clinches a home playoff game.

A Montreal win or a Winnipeg loss to Toronto means Montreal clinches a playoff berth.

A Toronto win or a Montreal loss ensures that Toronto clinches a home playoff game

In the West Division:

A Calgary win in Edmonton and a Saskatchewan loss at home to BC, and the Stampeders clinch first place in West Division.

A Calgary win or a BC loss means Calgary clinches a home playoff game.

A Saskatchewan win clinches a home playoff game for the Riders.

- Finally, there are people who aren't CFL fans, but they'll be thankful anyway.

Tiger-Cats fans set a new Purolator Tackle Hunger record for food collected at a CFL game by donating 220,500 pounds at Monday's Thanksgiving Day Classic. Proceeds from the food drive support the Guelph Food Bank.

Now in its 11th year, the Purolator Tackle Hunger food drive has helped deliver the equivalent of over 6 million pounds of food to food banks since 2003.

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.

Comments? Criticism? Applause?

10/16 06:44:56 ET