Bowls do not exist because of football, they exist because football FANS make the trip. Are the fans going to make three trips? Probably not. Does filling the bowl with locals satisfy the sponsors? HELL NO. Look at who the sponsors are for illumination, because they get a far more direct economic benefit from the bowl fans than Tostitos would sponsoring a tournament.
If it got to a playoff, BTW, the offered "appeasement" of continuing the Rose Bowl matchup won't work. You'd probably have both conferences demanding byes to the final... in the Rose Bowl. This is a tradition that you'll have to kill, not tweak.
Playoffs will have to happen without bowls. Stop going to bowls, stop watching bowls, stop patronizing their sponsors, and the entire scene will change rapidly.
I understand the sentiment about getting rid of the bowl system entirely in favor of an NCAA Tournament-style playoff and you make an interesting point about the sponsors. However, I still believe that the bowl system is still in place primarily because that is what's best financially for the BCS conferences today. We can pontificate all we want about how unfair the process is now, but the fact remains that there will never be any type of playoff system unless there is complete buy-in from the BCS conferences. A tournament can't be forced upon them because they form a majority of the Division 1-A schools and have a super-majority of the financial power when it comes to television rights and sponsorships.
Therefore, my proposal wasn't made as a start-from-scratch and perfect solution. Instead, it's meant to be a way for us to get to some sort of playoff system, which is what most people want, while giving the BCS conferences a compelling reason to do it. Whether this is done through the existing bowls or a separate playoff system really isn't the key. The main point is that every playoff proposal needs to appease the BCS conferences first and foremost. Otherwise, it's just going to be people throwing out ideas that have no chance of being implemented.
As for the fans, I would argue that they would much rather go to and watch 3 games that have national championship implications as opposed to one game that's just a consolation prize. Every other sport has at least that many rounds to win a championship. Considering that college football is the only sport, college or pro, that can sell out 100,000 seat stadiums routinely along with contingents of fans that will travel, I don't think a bowl/playoff hybrid would have any trouble selling tickets. The first 4 rounds of the NCAA Tournament routinely sell out at neutral locations, so I'm pretty confident that college football would be able to do the same.
Like I've said, I don't necessarily think that a bowl/playoff hybrid is a perfect solution, but I do believe it's a way to get the BCS teams into some sort of playoff, which is many times better than what's going on now. Saying that we ought to have a completely open tournament is nice in theory, yet it's something that we can't reasonably expect to ever be implemented. Any type of playoff, whether it's through the bowls or a separate tournament, has got to be something that the BCS conferences can look at and say unequivocally that they want it to happen in order for it to be a real possibility.