3 weeks of great football, at the expense of the other 13.It pretty much always needed to be an 8 team affair, in my opinion. Take the champions of each league in the Power 5 and then three at-large bids for teams like Cincinnati or a second SEC team. Follow with 3 weeks of great football.
I happened upon the wikipedia page of the 2007 West Virginia/Pitt game today. You remember that one, Dave Wannstedt's crappy Pitt team somehow shut down Pat White and Steve Slaton's juggernaut that needed only that win to make the national title game and won a prime time game in Morgantown 13-9, in what was the 100th Backyard Brawl game. Rich Rod leaves for Michigan a week later. It was an epochal moment in the sport, like a plot twist in Game of Thrones or something.
And it feels like it comes from a different universe. Last week of the regular season, a massive rivalry game played at a campus site and an outcome that takes a game for the national title away from a program that may never get that close again.
Conference chicanery has taken so many of those rivalries from us, the Backyard Brawl being a prominent one. And everything just leads up towards the antiseptic, charmless carnival of exactly alike neutral site games where the entire leverage of the season is played out. Just awful, and a metaphor for so much else in our world. I'm so ridiculous, but I really did just sit there with that wikipedia page and feel sad for a bit today.