FIVE NOTEWORTHY NOTES ON THE LABOUR DAY CLASSIC
1. Former Bomber Geroy Simon has caught at least one pass in 178 straight games and is five catches shy of tying Terry Vaughn for the No. 2 in all-time receptions with 1,006. Ben Cahoon is the all-time leader at 1,017.
2. The last time the Bombers were this awful was 1998, when the club started 0-10 before finishing 4-14.
3. The Bombers are second-last in turnovers with 29; Saskatchewan is first overall with just seven. The Riders are plus-14 in the takeaway/giveaway ratio; Winnipeg is minus-18.
4. The Riders are 10-2 in their last 12 games against Winnipeg.
5. Bomber Alex Hall leads the CFL with 11 sacks. He is on pace for 25, a total not reached since Joe Montford's 26 sacks in 1999. The Bomber club record is 22, set by Elfrid Payton in 1993.
QUOTABLE: Rider head coach Cory Chamblin has seen all versions of the Labour Day Classic as an assistant coach in Winnipeg, Calgary, Hamilton and now as the boss in Saskatchewan. The differences between the Bombers-Riders, compared to the Battle of Alberta and the Tiger-Cats-Argonauts?
"Here it's a lot different because our fans are always pumped and ready to go. It is just a little bit different... it may just be more liquor sales, that's probably the biggest thing."
ALL-TIME: Despite their recent woes, the Bombers lead the all-time series (dating back to 1936) 127-96-4.
The Bombers have made four changes to their starting roster, all on offence. New wide receiver Aaron Kelly steps in for Doug Pierce, Andre Douglas replaces Shannon Boatman at right tackle, slotback Cory Watson returns to the lineup for the injured Rory Kohlert and Justin Goltz will start at quarterback for Max Hall.
New defensive end Greg Peach will be one of the designated imports and see lots of action while Jeremy McGee will be the extra defensive back over Marty Markett.
Former Bomber defensive end Jason Vega, scooped up by the Dallas Cowboys after his recent release by the New England Patriots, was cut again on Saturday. Word from Dallas is Vega may be a candidate for the Cowboys' practice roster.
-Bomber draft pick Andy Mulumba, selected second overall last spring, has made the Green Bay Packers. The Pack cut 22 players on Saturday and Mulumba, a defensive end who has impressed, was not among them.
-Rider long snapper Cory Huclack, a Winnipeg product, will play in his 99th career game today.
Who are these guys?
Chamblin, on facing a Bomber squad undergoing a makeover:
"The toughest part is they've had so many changes in the last couple of weeks, whether it be coaches or just their personnel. That's the toughest thing to exactly key on. You start chasing ghosts on what they could do, instead of what they really are going to do.
"It makes it a little bit more uneasy because when you step out there you're actually guessing until they show what they're going to do."
Familiar face in unfamiliar place
CFL legend Geroy Simon has seen and done a lot in his illustrious 15-year career. But his last Labour Day Classic -- his only one, come to think of it -- came way back in 2000 in his second year as a Bomber.
"I get excited for every game, but this game is one of the reasons I wanted to come here: to have the opportunity to play in a Labour Day Classic is something special," said Simon, who was acquired from B.C. in a trade this past January. "It's something I didn't get an opportunity to do for a number of years."
Simon is in Rider colours, in part, because the man who discovered and brought him into the league -- former Bomber GM Brendan Taman -- is now the football boss in Saskatchewan.
"This business is all about relationships," said Simon. "I've had a great relationship with Brendan ever since he brought me into the league back in the day. Khari (Jones, the Riders QB coach) is here, I know B. Miles (former Lions safety Barron Miles, the defensive back coach) here... I've had a fairly good relationship with the Riders. Obviously it was tumultuous on the field, but I would come to town every once in a while to do appearances and would get a good reception.
"Coming here felt right, even though we were heated rivals on the field."
-- Ed Tait