I'm sure that there are logical reasons why this has transpired in this way. The most obvious reason I can think of for why college football plays bowl games is money (teams are paid to participate in bowl games). In 2010 70 of the 120 division 1 teams played in bowl games that year. That's 35 bowl games! And while I suppose 68 of those teams were glad to get paid for participating, and maybe some people enjoyed watching those games, none of those games really mattered. Only the best 2 teams, the 2 that played in the BCS Championship Game, were playing for a shot at being the national champion. Isn't that what the post-season is really about? To determine what team in the country is number 1, and not about how much money the university can get by playing some meaningless post-season bowl game that most people probably don't care about.
College football has never really done it right. Oh, it was once kind of special. After the Rose Bowl began the number of bowl game grew to five: [Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl(1935), Cotton Bowl Classic(1937), Orange Bowl(1935), and Sun Bowl(1935)]. By 1950 it grew to 8. By 1970=11. By 1980=15 games. 1990=19 games. In 2000 we had 25. Up to the dreaded 35 of 2010 that we still have today. More and more teams have jumped onto the gravy-train to cash in, with the American public
sitting back all accepting of the situation. Is this really what the people of US want? I know that football is probably the most popular sport in the US, so I would guess that showing more and more games would in one way please their senses. However, should this be done to the detriment of the sport? Playing so many bowl games for no real reason other than to pay those teams who participate in them and to have something on TV to watch I suggest makes zero sense. Especially when
we see how brilliantly the post-season is handled in baseball and basketball.
Rather than the current schedule of bowl games where those teams participating play their games and are then one-and-done, a much more logical approach, and one worth actually playing for the teams involved, would be a playoff system. It might seem impossible to many to implement such a system in football (where it is normal to play at most one game per week), but I've given this some thought and feel that it could be done--even using a great deal of what already exists. Bowl games that are currently scheduled could serve as the event locations for where the games would be played. The only major change to our current system would be not knowing ahead of time the teams to be matched up against one another. And although I'm sure that this would be a problem for some people it is unfortunately the way it need be done (and it is how both basketball and baseball are handled, fans be damned). The tournament locations involving basketball and baseball could care less who is playing at their venues. All that matters is that the games are being played to determine an ultimate winner. This is how football should fare as well. Currently fans have weeks if not months to plan and prepare for their team's bowl game(s). This would be reduced to a much shorter time frame-perhaps as little as only 1 week. I understand the difficultly this imposes. But I also realize that somehow the baseball and basketball crowds seem to cope with these difficulties perfectly well. So I would ask that the football crowds follow suit.
At any rate below I've created an example rendering of how a ncaa post-season might look. Instead of the current number of teams (70) I'd start with 24, but give the top 8 teams first round byes. This would give us a staggered 5 round bracket and a total of 23 games (instead of the current 35), so the total number of games would be greatly lessened, while keeping fairly close to the current schedule of game days. The major advantage to this system is that every game means something and is not simply a money-maker for universities. We would have no more than 4 games played on any particular day, due to the staggered play arrangement, which is a common occurrence already.