I submit that only the 4-team playoff has ANY meaning.
However, the other 4 games that occur during semi-final week have a HUGE pay-out.
But as far as who wins them - who cares ? They are "just another game".
ESPN will try to hype them. they may present some interesting match-ups, but the pressure will mount to go to an 8 game plyoff,
and create 4 quarter-final bowls (probaly the same ones in the current rotation) that will have much more intense / relevance.
I think they'd have to consider allowing a top seed to host (or sponsor nearby if stadium isn't 80K) if going to 8, but if they used the bowl I think you're right.
I think ESPN and the big conference would also like to keep an eilte status (like calling them BCS bowls) for a few top tier tie-in bowls even if they go to an 8 team playoff so I think Florida (possibly Orlando/JAX/TB), Texas (Hou/SA), California (SD/SF) would all receive a 2nd bowl and maybe 1 in the North like Detriot, Indy or NYC.
Fan of the Big 12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and...