Not much introduction needed here. With Utah's destruction of 'Bama in the Sugar Bowl, this issue is at hand. Let's get to the nitty-gritty.
Current system--BCS #1 vs #2 for the national championship
Pros: Gives you a clearcut title game with the teams that pollsters and computers generally agree are the top two teams in the nation. Sometimes provides a compelling matchup like this season.
Cons: If there are a bunch of teams with the same record, how would you figure out who the best team was? 45-35? Didn't Auburn go 13-0? Nebraska lost their Big 12 title; why are they playing Miami for all the marbles? How is USC's loss to Oregon State worse than Oklahoma's or Florida's losses? How does Ohio State keep getting back in here (and in the BCS)?
And the questions go on, and on...
Who likes this system: Jim Tressel, Rose Bowl fanboys, Hydrotech (who I'm sure will argue his case willingly), General Grievous, Amitab Bachchan
Old system--whoever's ranked #1 by the pollsters/computers at the end of the bowl season gets the #1 seed.
Pros: Restores the traditional tie-ins. Big 12 champ goes to Cotton, SEC goes to Sugar, Pac-10/Big 10 in the Rose again. Creates classic clashes and revives local hatred, provides continuity to past rivalries and keeps the sports entirely regional.
Cons: The computers decide the national champion. That won't cause any conflict at all. Plus the midmajors get excluded. No one will object to this except everyone but carp.
(Of course you could argue for a +1 adaptation, where the top two teams after the bowls gets to go to a MNC, but that'd cause just as much problems, no?)
Who likes this system: Tom Hansen, Wilford Brimley, Ayn Rand, whales, British character actors.
+1 system--a four team playoff, where #1 goes against #4 in some BCS bowl and #2 goes against #3 in some BCS bowl and meet for the title game x weeks later. The additional bowls could be kept for the regular conference champs who don't get in.
Pros: Would end much of the painful lobbying that seems to follow the last two weeks of the season, since most of the grousers would get their chance (i.e. Texas and USC this year, Georgia and USC last year, Michigan the year before, Auburn two years before that, etc.). Would allow for two more compelling matchups of the top 4 teams and would definitely generate high ratings.
Also, the Big 10 commish hates it, so it must be good.
Cons: Great for the teams, but will the fans travel around to TWO sites in two weeks? Even if it was at one site how would they stay occupied for the time they were there? The only other option seems to be that #1 and #2 get a home game and they play it a week after the conclusion of the reg, but you'd have to think that's comically unfair to #3 and #4. Plus some big conferences would protest not being included (hint hint ACC/Big East) because their teams always blow.
Other issues; midmajors would still be excluded from this formula under most circumstances since their SOS barely cracks the Top 12. They would still be left out of the mix even if they ran the table, barring dramatic circumstances. The Utahs and Boise States of the world would be out of the party and calling for their own piece of the pie.
Who likes this system: Pete Carroll, Mack Brown, Bob Stoops--essentially, everyone who's won a BCS title already.
6-8 team tournament--Top teams from each conference compete against each other (plus two at-largers), probably first round would give the higher ranked team home field; maybe an option for top 2 teams to get a first round bye. Basically a +2 format.
Pros: Would allow every conference to get a representative, no one would feel excluded, so every conference would have its strength gauged against every other conference in that certain year;
Cons: OH NO KIDS GOTTA TAKE FINALS OH NO THEY'LL NEVER FIND A WAY TO TAKE THEM OH NO WHAT DO WE DO????
Well, more importantly, the more games you add on, the less likely fans will travel along; and because it's a college event, it's not likely to attract the huge sponsors and $10,000 boosters that will put their fannies in the seats like the Super Bowl does. In other words, the National Championship could take place in a half-empty stadium.
Who likes this system: Italian Spiderman, Cesar Milan, Mark Wahlberg, postmodernists, and the Geico Gecko.
Crazy ideas: Anything above 8 teams in a tournament. The Pirate suggested that the team with the best academic GPA should win tiebreakers (something that'd favor Texas Tech in the Big 12), which would be great because a Harvard-Yale title game would enthrall everyone at MENSA. Phil Steele wants a 64 team playoff, which I'm sure will be approved by the year 2509. The college football season would probably end around February 28.
My personal preference is to have a playoff system implemented overseas in Europe. BCS winners get a free study abroad program in Europe in the springtime, and they could play football games every week with random soccer stadiums. They could fill the stadium with rabid English soccer hooligans and studying abroad college students. Whenever they throw an incompletion fans could start throwing flares on the field, and then Rey Maulauga would run into the stands and start breaking them with his bare hands.
Pete Carroll would totally set up a pad in Amsterdam and start wearing a beret, Tim Tebow and the Pope could have a 'philosophical' discussion about Jesus, and ABC could dedicate plenty of reality show time to it to encourage Americans to travel overseas. I believe Barack Obama should approve this plan immediately. Me and carp would be all over that.
Who likes crazy ideas: Phil Steele, Mike Leach, Stephen Colbert, the cast of Monty Python, and Charles Bronson.
If you have alternatives, provide your proposals. And vote--which system do you like best?