Three years ago I pointed out that only six teams accounted for 75% of the conference champions (and therefore the bowl game participants) in the ten seasons from 2001 to 2010: Laval, Saint Mary's, Saskatchewan, Calgary, Western, and McMaster.
Since then, here are our conference winners, from west to east:
CW: Calgary, Calgary, Calgary
OUA: McMaster, McMaster, Western
RSEQ: Laval, Laval, Laval
AUS: Acadia, Acadia, Mount Allison
Notice any patterns?
The only conference to go outside of our "chosen six" group from the first decade of the 2000s cannot be applauded for helping competitive balance nationally, as they lost the first of those bowl games by 24, the next one by 35, and probably the third by 20 or more when the dust settles on Saturday. (Those scores, as you all surely know, come after semifinal losses of 28, 24, and 16 in '08 through '10 — but that is another issue entirely.) Though a tip of the cap is due to Mount A for making it this far, even if the local paper thinks their opponent is called the "Verte et Or."
Drop the AUS, and the other conference championships in the seven years since Saskatchewan last won break down like this:
All other programs tied for 0
So while previously it was our "chosen six" taking 75% of the bowl game spots in ten years, now our new "chosen four" (Laval, Calgary, Western, McMaster) take 19 out of 28, or 68% overall, and 90% of the spots in their three conferences alone.
In that post in 2010 I asked you to imagine putting six teams in one division and awarding them three of the four Mitchell and Uteck Bowl berths every year, giving the other spot to the best of the remaining 20-something programs. Madness, right? Nobody would go along with that.
Now it's down to just four teams, and the rule is something like "award them three berths, except in leap years when they get two." Or "award them three berths every year and the other one goes to a team they can all beat by multiple touchdowns."
Maybe there is no problem here, maybe CIS football is better with the big programs always playing at the end. But whatever is going on, over three years we haven't seen much change.