After what was presumably a productive bye week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are back at work these days getting ready for Friday's first-place showdown at the Calgary Stampeders.
Each one of the Roughriders had his own plans for the rare week off in the summer, not the least of which were receiver Chris Getzlaf, who got married in southern California, and defensive lineman Keith Shologan who, along with his bride, welcomed a bouncing baby boy to the Rider Nation.
Mostly the time off reminded us that there IS life outside of football in this beautiful province but before we got too attached to the outdoors, it was time to get back to the stadium.
Most onlookers were fixated on the status of star quarterback Darian Durant who missed the team's last game, a 32-20 win over Hamilton in Guelph July 27, with a foot sprain.
Clearly the bye came at an ideal time for Durant, who took the opportunity to sneak away to his off-season home in Atlanta and rest that banged up right foot.
Time heals all wounds and although we likely won't be told how much that foot truly has recovered, it's a safe bet Durant will be back behind centre for Friday's game under the lights at McMahon Stadium. Drew Tate has already been tabbed the starter for Calgary.
What a statement it was that the Riders were able to knock off the Ticats with back-up quarterback Drew Willy and seemingly not miss a beat. One of Rider fans' greatest fears going into the season was that the Riders would be sunk if Durant went down for an extended time but Willy has laid those fears to rest.
He was also able to extend the Riders' league record streak of games without an offensive turnover to five games-and-counting.
Ho hum. And did we mention tailback Kory Sheets is off to the greatest start by a tailback in CFL history? He's making it look easy and has gone out of his way to credit his offensive line which he's termed the "Green Wall of Regina". He's also bought them weekly burger and fries lunches for helping him to five straight 100+-yard rushing games.
However now comes the biggest test.
They're not too fond of the Roughriders in Calgary and Friday night's encounter surely is the marquee game of the CFL season so far.
The 5-0 Riders against the 4-1 Stamps? It's an instant classic. Saskatchewan will either leave the stadium with a win, a healthy advantage over Calgary in the standings and obvious supremacy over their top rivals (they spanked the Stamps 38-21 in Week 2) OR, with a loss, they would be tied with the Stampeders for first after the season's opening third and would likely have a pile of questions to answer.
Don't forget it was a Week 4 match-up in Calgary last season in which the Riders blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter and it touched off a five-game losing streak. They never truly recovered from it and ultimately lost 36-30 to the Stampeders in the West Division Semifinal.
Coach Corey Chamblin needs to ensure this doesn't happen again but the Green & White has shown a remarkable ability to "finish" as of late. They're a much better team than last year at this time.
Chamblin and GM Brendan Taman also say they identified during the bye week a few areas where there's room for improvement despite the club's 5-0 start.
Nothing is glaring, but perhaps the team's slow starts and propensity for giving up aerial yards were singled out. They're splitting hairs at this point but clearly the team wants to steer clear of complacency.
However should they improve to 6-0 Friday night and tie a franchise record for their best start ever, then this club will truly be on its way.
(For daily Rider news follow Rod on Twitter at @sportscage)