You have to believe OUA football expansion is on the way, since a move to eight playoff teams is being discussed.
Ted Michaels at AM900 CHML in Hamilton reported today, "A proposal was raised at yesterday's coaches meeting to have the top eight teams make the playoffs," up from six. (Expanding dress rosters from 45 to 50 is also on the table.)
It would be great to hear the rationale, though granted this is a proposal which would still have to go through with the ADs. That's not questioning the report; it's an admission that, I don't know.
Teams which have had a first-round bye are only 2-4 in the semifinals across the past three seasons. However, the two who managed to avoid a stumble, coach Greg Marshall's 2008 Western Mustangs and Pat Sheahan's 2009 Queen's Golden Gaels, each went to the Vanier Cup. The OUA has had three teams reach the Vanier (two winning it) since it adopted the six-team format in 2004.
Other factors were at play, but the OUA was 0-for-3 at getting a team to the Vanier Cup when its top teams had to play the extra game from 2001-03. The 1 vs. 8 and 2-7 quarter-finals felt like exhibition games. The average score of the 1 vs. 8 game was 65-7. The average score of the 2 vs. 7 game was 42-12. The league is now deeper than it was in the early aughties, but it is hard to see what would have been the marginal benefit of holding a Windsor-Queen's and a Waterloo-Laurier quarter-final this season.
That raises the question of where this is coming from. Other leagues, such as basketball and men's hockey, have expanded their playoff fields in recent years, so perhaps football feels a need to follow suit. An eight-team playoff field would be reasonably fair for an expanded 12-team league (Carleton and one other school, questions about talent dilution to be addressed later). Eight of 10 seems too easy. It would offer more encouragement to rebuilding programs such as York, which face a long road to getting back to the playoffs and respectability. However, that could be easier served by having home-and-homes between teams in similar levels, while exploring interlocking playing for the conference heavyweights.
Point being, it was a great OUA season in 2009, why fix what ain't broke? (We're gonna need a montage: The Score put together a highlight reel of the OUA season.)