Acadia had a great university football team this season.

Allow me to rephrase that.

Acadia had a great university football team this season, based on recent Atlantic University Sport standards.

The Axemen were unbeaten against fellow AUS teams, losing only to Laval in interlock play, as they rolled into the national semifinal appearance.

But the Uteck Bowl showed the Axemen were out of their league against a powerful Laval team in Saturday’s game in Quebec City.

Laval carried the day decisively, on offence and defence. Even Acadia’s talented quarterback Kyle Graves and his usual impressive group of receivers couldn’t shake off the Laval pressure. All the numbers, offensively and defensively, were heavily in Laval’s favour.

Pair this one-sided 42-7 loss to Laval with Acadia’s 45-21 defeat at the hands of McMaster in last year’s Uteck Bowl and you have to wonder if the gap between the best in the AUS and the best of the other three conferences has become too great to bridge.

There’s a core group of football schools across the CIS that routinely advance to post season action. In fact this season’s four national semifinalists are the same as last season. Most years it seems you can count on a select group headed by the likes of Laval, Calgary and McMaster dominating the final four berths.

Acadia has been by far the best of the AUS teams the past couple of years, so it has had to face powerhouse clubs in national playoff action.

The difference is that the teams coming out of the AUS these days aren’t nearly as strong as the mini-dynasty clubs that are emerging from the other three conferences. In fact, the AUS has had only one Vanier Cup appearance in the past nine years, Saint Mary’s in 2007.

Unless there are drastic changes to the present CIS system of team funding and building, or AUS schools are prepared to better bulk up their teams, there’s no clear solution to bucking this trend. Yet, AUS teams obviously need to find some way to become stronger if they want to compete nationally.

Until something changes, one-sided national semifinals involving AUS teams will be more the norm than the exception.