I like the "and 1" plan. Play all the bowl games on Jan 1 and a championship on Jan 8th. Top 4 teams play it out.
My thoughts for a playoff system would be with 16 teams and teams would only play an 11 game schedule. All conference champs would be in with some at-large bids. No more playing 1-AA schools for the Div 1 schools. At the risk of sounding like a nanny NCAA president, make some stipulations on schedules to make sure there are better balanced schedules. No more Kansas like schedules from this year.
There would still be some minor bowls. The top rated teams would have HOME games for the first two rounds. (this would take care of the travel issues for fans going to games) For these home games there would have to be some sort of revenue sharing with the visiting team, NCAA, home team and the home team conference. There would then be a final four similar to the basketball tourney. Games could be played at the major (BCS) bowl destinations. The BCS bowls that do not get used for the final four can be held for the highest rated teams not in the tourney.
I believe a system like this could work, would make a ton of money and be EXTREMELY popular!
Could you imagine if ISU was ranked 8th one season and had say #9 Oregon or Georgia coming to town???? How crazy would the town be????
Also, if the first round games are a home field, why should the Conference games be at a neutral site if it's a 10-1 ISU against an 8-3 Texas?
Rose Bowl: Big 10 v. Pac 10
Sugar Bowl: SEC v. ACC
Fiesta Bowl: Big XII v. Big East or at large
Orange Bowl: Big East or at large v. at large
That way, the Rose Bowl can quit their ******** about not having their "traditional" Big 10 v. Pac 10 matchup (although they didn't seemed too concerned initially after selling their soul when cash was flashed in front of their eyes, nor were they all that upset during the USC-Texas national championship game)...
I don't see why anyone on either side of this issue has to tie the "minor" bowl games into the argument for/against a playoff. They have nothing to do with a potential tournament and could be left "as is." I guess the only thing you decide is if you let teams that are knocked out of the tournament into the "minor" bowl games. As for money, you obviously don't let just the teams that make the tournament get the majority of the income, you somehow split it up close to even (I'm not a good "money" person but I'm sure someone out there could draw up something).
The one problem I could think of with keeping all the minor bowls would be trying to play them at the same time as the playoffs are going on. Who's going to watch the crappy bowls when they could watch the playoffs. So you would have to delay the playoffs which makes the season longer, and that's one argument I've heard against a playoff system. However, if you get rid of some of the minor bowls that have little meaning anyways you wouldn't have as much of a problem.
And to answer your question earlier about who remembers teh Insight bowl years later? I do, a lot of fans here do. It was a great time. Getting to bowls, even crappy ones is an advantage we had over at least Baylor in our own conference. If you are going to bowls and other teams aren't, it's a selling point, plain and simple. I really see the elimination of the lesser bowls and narrowing the field down to 16, being the most detrimental thing you could do to 1A college football. You will literally put all the power in the top tier teams, even more than they have now. With nothing to play for after your second loss of the year, you might as well, fold the rest of D1A and reduce it to about 30 or 40 teams. That's truly all that will be able to compete.
Plus, I've had this argument with other people. In the end it's an advertising dollar. Why pop a couple commercials in here or there when you can have your own bowl game. You get a lot of free pup with your name on it. A lot more than you'd get as a minor sponsor in the playoff or championship game. The bowls aren't run by the NCAA. So, if you aren't invited to the playoff, what's stopping Tom's Catfish Nugget Emporium from offering you $2 mil to come play in their bowl game? What's stopping the Rose Bowl from offering $20 mil for USC and tOSU to play each other even though they were invited to the Championship playoff already. Honestly, money talks and right now there is a lot more of it in a bowl system than there is in a playoff. You just aren't going to get enough people to go to the Orange Bowl, then the Next bowl, then the Next to follow their team. Somewhere in there you have to make a choice on how and where you spend your money and your vacation time. Namely vacation. Money wouldn't be an issue with me if we ever got into the playoff. Time I'd be able to take to make the games, would be the issue. It just wouldn't happen. These towns don't want me showing up for the game and leaving. They want me to spend a couple of days and blow some cash in their town. That's not going to happen with a playoff. Then it would be about TV money. And where does that leave Shreveport. I think they count on that game as a boost for their economy. I doubt it goes away soon.
Keep the crappy bowls during each weekday/night and have the tournament games on the weekends. As the field gets narrowed down you'd have more and more room to put other bowl games on the weekends.
They don't necesarilly have to go hand in hand, I just happen to think half the bowl games are useless. They could have 100 bowl games, and Iowa State could go to one every year, does that make it an accomplishment?