I started the exercise mentioned by Bart in the previous post- looking at what teams would have made the playoffs in the past several years.
2011 was pretty easy. If you just take the 4 best teams regardless of conference. LSU, Alabama, Stanford, Oklahoma State. All were undefeated or had one loss. 3 out of 4 won thier conference championship. The only other one loss team was Boise State at #7. If you went with Bart's idea that only conference Champions can make it, the committee would have had to choose between a 10th ranked UW, or a 11th ranked Virginia tech, in addition to Boise (all rankings BCS).
2010 was a crazy year. Auburn, Oregon and TCU went undefeated. Stanford, Boise, and a triple play of UW, MSU, and OSU from the Big Ten all had one loss. This brings up the weird problem of tie breakers determining who goes to what bowls.
As Badger fans will remember, the first Rose Bowl under Barry Alvarez would have never been except for a weird tie breaker between UW and OSU. Both teams were 6-1-1 that year and tied head to head. The tie breaker came down to what team had not been to the Rose bowl most recently. Perhaps one of the stupidest tie breakers ever, but one that changed the fortunes of a team, and started the legacy of Barry Alvarez.
Apparently I have blocked 2009 out of my memory, because I don't remember this at all. There were 5 undefeated teams going into bowl season. Alabama-Texas, and Cincy, TCU, and Boise in smaller conferences. Florida was the only major conference team with one loss.
Things just get nuts from here.
In 2008 Utah and Boise were undefeated, and Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Alabama, USC, Texas Tech, and Penn State all had one loss.
In 2007 only Hawaii was undefeated, and only #1 OSU, and Kansas had only one loss. LSU, Va Tech, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, West Virginia, USC, and Arizona State had 2 losses among major conference teams.
With years like those it seems impossible to create a fair system. I'll post my incredibly brilliant solution to this soon.