Ok, I think I've got it. A playoff system that works, and there are only positives that I can think of.
First off, there are two bye weeks in the season. A rather large group of teams use one of these bye weeks to start the season a week late or to end it a week early. In order for the schedule to be worked out, one of these bye weeks would have to be removed, and we would have a 13 week season with 12 games. Then, of course, the extra week for conference championships to be played.
The first thing to do would be to make sure that every champion of each of the 11 conferences is in the playoff. No matter what conference you are in, you win it and you are in. This would be good for several reasons. 1.) Every team in the nation has a legitimate shot at the title. You go undefeated in the regular season and in the post season, and you will be the national champion. 2.) This would give teams like Notre Dame some more incentive to join a conference. 3.) There would be an added emphasis on winning your conference. It would mean more to win it. 4.) The little guys would get a shot, and those of you who are sick of hearing us complain would not hear it anymore.
Next, the five teams that did not win their conference who are ranked the highest in the BCS are given bids to the playoff, regardless of conference. That way, the six current BCS conferences would not be shafted by only getting "equal representation." If they have more than one of the top teams in the country, then they get more than one team in the playoff.
That sets up a sixteen team tournament field. You seed them by their BCS rankings, highest ranked against lowest ranked. So, assuming that the higher ranked team wins in all of the conference championships this weekend, and Florida drops, lets say two spots, then here is what a playoff like this would look like this year.
#1 Alabama vs NR Troy
#2 Oklahoma vs NR Tulsa
#3 Texas vs #17 Boston College
#4 USC vs #13 Cincinatti
#5 Utah vs #12 Ball State
#6 Florida vs #11 TCU
#7 Texas Tech vs #10 Ohio State
#8 Penn State vs #9 Boise State
The bracket is set up before the tournament starts, much like college basketball, so that if the higher ranked team wins every game, then the highest ranked team remaining plays the lowest ranked team remaining, and so on.
As far as the schedule goes, here is how it would look this season. Because of one of the two bye weeks getting removed, the conference championships would have been played this last weekend. The rest of the post season would go as follows:
Dec 5-6, off week
Dec 12-13, field narrowed down to eight teams
Dec 19-20, quarter finals, field narrowed to four
Dec 26-27, semi finals, field narrowed to two
Jan 2-3, off week
Jan 7, national title game.
The length of the season would not even change, the teams would just not take a month off preparing for their bowl games. Speaking of bowl games, all bowl-elligable teams not playing in the tournament would still play in the normal bowl games at the normal times.