Earlier this year ACCNole suggested bringing an aspect of European soccer to the world of college sports: Relegation and promotion. In most professional European leagues the bottom 2-3 teams from the highest division are relegated to the next level down, while the 2-3 best teams from that second tier are promoted up to the premier level. As a long time world football fan I've enjoyed the air of freshness and drama this adds to the season. However, I know that it's also a financial strain that would be tougher for US college sports, and then there's the whole scheduling thing.
There is another idea from across the pond which could help us out here, though, with our notorious BCS. Each year, the best teams from the different national leagues compete in a very lucrative European Champions League. Here's the key - The number of spots awarded to each national league is based upon performance in past European competition. England, Spain and Italy each have four teams involved, Holland gets two, the likes of Norway, Stitzerland just one team, etc. Every league gets an invitation, but usually the cream rises to the top.
My suggestion/investigation for the BCS.
Expand the "BCS" membership. Involve all/most of the bowl games and tier them. If you can't afford to invite a rep from every conference, divvy up your at-large berths based upon past bowl performance. If the MWC goes 4-0 in bowls, their champ gets in next year, guaranteed. If the Big 10 goes 3-4 one year, they can't get an at large berth.
I don't have all the answers here. Yes, I know we risk punishing a really good team that finishes second in their conference. But then again, we're trying to reward and match-up conference champions.
Maybe the system works better if based on the regular season interconference play, if such scheduling could become balanced. Perhaps the first game of every season is an interconference match-up based upon the last season and those games are used to determine eligibility. I'm just thinking out loud, here.
The premise, though, remains; Can the BCS find a way to invite participation based upon performance? No polls needed, a full play-off would not be vital (which makes the bowls happy), and the non-BCS schools have a guaranteed in if they indeed perform well.
Just a thought.