I don’t know if they’ve settled on a name yet (Rough Riders?, Renegades?), but the city of Ottawa took a major step toward returning to the CFL fold today when city council voted 21-3 to proceed with a $300 million refurbishment of Lansdowne Park that will include some retail and residential development along with upgrades to Frank Clair Stadium. Here’s the TSN report here.
If everything goes according to plan, the team could be ready to play in 2014. Overall, I think another team would be good for the league. With an 18 game season and only eight teams, you end up in a situation where some teams (like B.C. and Saskatchewan this year) play each other four times excluding pre-season and playoffs. That’s too much, so a ninth team would allow for more variety as far as the schedule goes.
Assuming Ottawa does join the league, Winnipeg would likely shift back to the West Division. The next step after that would be to add a fifth CFL East team either in the Maritimes or Quebec City to create a 10 team loop. Five teams fighting for three playoff spots in each division would hopefully increase competitive pressure and prevent the type of situation that often arises in the East in particular where one team is usually able to sneak into the playoffs simply because they stink less than a team lower than them in the standings.
As well, with more Canadian players heading south to play U.S. College ball, and the quality of Canadian university football improving every season, the addition of Ottawa and perhaps another team in a few years would open up professional opportunities for more Canadian players.