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Charles Roberts, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' flyweight tailback, is brandishing a heavyweight attitude.

And, he quickly points out, he backs up the bravado with the coveted CFL rushing title belt.

The league's diminutive ball-carrying king, based on his 1,624 yards in 2005, expects to retain his championship hardware this season despite a bold challenge from Calgary Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds.

"I went home last year with the belt and I want to come out of this year with the belt again," said Roberts, a six-year veteran who leads the 6-6 Bombers into McMahon Stadium tonight (7 p.m.) to challenge the 7-5 Stamps.

"I call it 'the belt' because being the rushing champion isn't easy. There's durability and circumstances like whether your team is in a position to run the ball, not always behind. It's not easy to do in multiple years and I've been fortunate enough to be on some good teams and have some offensive co-ordinators who like to put the ball in my hands."

Reynolds finished second to Roberts last season with 1,453 yards and trails the Bombers back by just 41 yards with six games remaining.

One half expects Roberts to engage Reynolds in a mid-field stare-down tonight.

"It's me and him and then there's nobody else, so we've pretty much got 1 and 2 locked up," said Roberts, who also claimed the crown in 2003.

"This game right here is probably going to be the determining factor. It will probably be over after (tonight). He's a good back and hopefully he'll be satisfied being No. 2," said Roberts, taking a good-natured jab at his nearest competition.

"I want to go out and put on a show, make sure I'm one of the most dominant running backs out there and I think I'm doing it."

Tonight's miserable forecast -- rainy and cold enough to make the mailman stay in bed -- hasn't dampened Reynolds' sunny disposition. Rotten weather means the Stampeders workhorse will play a crucial role in attacking the Bombers defence.

It's a scenario to brighten any running back's day, although Winnipeg provides the loop's toughest run defence. In four games against the Bombers, Reynolds has never topped 100 yards.

The Blue and Gold are obviously tough to run against.

"Hell, yeah," insisted Reynolds, faced tonight with the challenge of escaping the grasp of tackles Doug Brown and Ron Warner, bolstered by middle linebacker Barrin Simpson.

"They've got two interior guys who are grown men. Their front seven is one of the top units in the league."

While the 5-ft. 6-in., Roberts is more elusive than Reynolds, he is also expected to provide more punch to an offence that doesn't feature the multiple weapons fielded by Calgary.

"He carries a lot of the weight on his shoulders on their offence," said Reynolds, whose 6.2-yard average per carry is a full yard better than Roberts.

Tonight's contest is being dubbed a "character game" by many Stamps, who trail first-place B.C. Lions by two points and expect to rebound from a pitiful outing a week ago in Edmonton.

Reynolds would like to win the CFL rushing title, but it's not as important to him as it is to Bombers RB Charles Roberts, who currently leads the race by 41 yards.

"It just depends on if we make the playoffs," Reynolds said. "If we don't make the playoffs, the rushing title doesn't mean nothing at all. I'm going home ... with nothing."

Unlike Roberts, Reynolds doesn't keep close tabs on the contest, either.

"Usually it's my teammates who tell me," said Reynolds, who plans on introducing himself to Roberts before tonight's game.

The forecast today in Cowtown calls for snow.

First reaction? Not cool.

Second reaction? The CFL season is officially entering its nitty-gritty stage.

The nip in the air is a strong indication that every game from here on out is a huge one, and that will be especially true tonight when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-6) take on the Calgary Stampeders (7-5) at McMahon Stadium.

Both the Bombers and Stamps have shown flashes of brilliance and moments of ineptitude this season. It's time to pick one or the other and stick with it the rest of the way.

"The funny thing is, after the first 12 games what we've accomplished is: We're still in it. We're still in the thick of things," Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown said. "And the last six actually define whether you're a contender or a pretender."

A win tonight would propel the Bombers into a first-place tie with the Montreal Alouettes (7-4) and Toronto Argonauts (7-5) atop the East Division, but both of those teams have games in hand and the Als play the B.C. Lions tomorrow.

And despite being eight points up on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East, the Bombers (or whoever finishes third in the East) are going to have to keep an eye on the West Division's fourth-place team, which is currently the 4-7 Edmonton Eskimos, for a potential crossover playoff spot.

"You've got six games left to see whether you'll be getting a first-round bye or whether you won't even be in the playoffs," Brown said. "That's how the race is shaping up, and we just need to all realize that."

So the big question is: Are the Bombers contenders or pretenders?

"I think we've figured it out, but we just have to put it together on the field. We know what we can do," Bombers slotback Milt Stegall said. "And a lot of people are saying 'Well, you won games against the Damon Allen-less Toronto Argonauts, you beat Hamilton, and you got a lucky break against Edmonton.'

"I don't care how you win. We've won six games, and you guys, including you guys -- the Winnipeg media -- didn't think we'd win five or six games all year, which is understandable.

"But we're 6-6 right now, and I think we could maybe have nine or 10 victories."

If the Bombers are going to reach that goal, they're going to have to beat some good teams, as five of their final six games are against the league's cream of the crop in Calgary (twice), Montreal (twice) and B.C. (once).

"I think we're a great team," Stegall said. "Are we the best team in the CFL? That remains to be seen. The best team in the CFL is the team who's won the last game of the year."

That Grey Cup game in Winnipeg is still two months away. The Bombers first need to find a way to put the reins on Stamps quarterback Henry Burris and running back Joffrey Reynolds, second only to Winnipeg's Charles Roberts in league rushing.

The Stamps had a four-game winning streak snapped last week in Edmonton, but their offence remains No. 1 in the league when it comes to rushing and total yards.

"If Henry Burris gets off early and gets going early, it's going to difficult to beat them," Stegall said. "But if we can control him and control Joffrey Reynolds, then we have a pretty good chance of winning this game."


For real?

Maybe snow, you never know what "tempratures " happen over the "Rockies". When I was talking to my son, it was hailing in Chilliwack / Abbotsford yesterday.

Yes the rockies got four to six inches! Bragg Creek 30 KLm from Calgary is also under a blanket of snow.

Steady rain now but cold north wind with temperatures dropping snow is almost certain

Okay Bombers fans who is the best running back? Can you Spell REYNOLDS!

Hey rw2005, how come you never go to any of the games? Do you live in Calgary?

Reynolds by far. You gotta hand it to the Calgary O-line. They manhandled the Bomber D-line.

I am at most games :lol: Tonight I could not make it I was out west with the dogs!

Lucky for you. It looked miserable.

It was balmy up here in Edmonton.

No I was not lucky out near Canmore there is much more snow but got back in time to watch teh game on the tube!

why are we acting like the folks south of the 49th? of the world? give me a breack! or a Kit Kat!

What the heck are you talking about Kanga?

I guess blink got taught how to run!

"Why are 'we' acting like 'folks' south of the 49th?"

Kanga, don't forget YOU live in ATLANTA!

I guess people in Atlanta are surprised when it snows in September too.

Well, a big percentage of Canadians live below 49th... Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Hamilton etc...

dang it, don't remind me! :twisted:

and I;m talking about this world class metalitly the americans have that some poster on here to me seem to be getting.

and Dgod, once again you have a pic where a stiff arming reciever clearly grabs the facemark of a Defender. an illegal move, and once again proving my point to get rid of the stiff arm.

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Sounds like the cry of the loser to me. Joffrey is a good back but if you dont win the rushing title can you really call yourself the best in the league, I dont think so.

yard per carry average (with a minimum number of carries) is way more important than total yards. Reynald average is way better than Roberts. This means, to those that need it explaining, that given the ball an equal number of times, Reynold will get more yards. That makes him the best.