We’re just about three weeks removed from the BCS national championship game and the cry for a Division 1 playoff has already begun to subside.

This happens every year.

Next year will be the same. There will be some playoff chatter as the season gets under way, but nothing of consequence. Near the beginning of November — about nine weeks into the college football season — the discussion about a playoff will begin to crescendo on fan boards and sports talk radio.

Most of the playoff talk will come from fans whose teams have lost a couple of games and have been mathematically eliminated from a chance to play for the national championship.

You know how the rest of the story goes…

Once the final BCS rankings are released and the BCS bowls have made their selections, a few deserving teams will have been left out. Their fans and administrators will then lead the next charge in crying for a playoff.

A playoff system wouldn’t eliminate the post-season whining in college football. Regardless of whether a 4, 8 or 16-team playoff scenario was deployed, teams who were ranked just outside the margin would continue the postseason whine.

So, let’s get realistic.

Without getting into a lesson on the history of the major college bowl games and their longstanding relationship with the Division 1 college football postseason, just accept the fact that any sort of playoff system would have to be based on a structure that upheld certain longstanding traditions (such as the Rose Bowl Game being played on New Year’s Day between the Big Ten and Pac-10 conference champions).

The major BCS bowls not only have the expertise of hosting national championship games; the Fiesta and Sugar Bowl folks have also proven in the past two years of the current system that they can host two major bowl games in successive weeks. Most important, is that the major bowl game organizations possess the power to make or break any new postseason scenarios.

Following is a playoff scenario that allows 10 teams to participate and keeps certain bowl game traditions intact:

The Cotton Bowl and the Holiday Bowl would host play-in games to reach the final eight…the four teams playing in these two qualifier bowls would have to be ranked in the Top 15 final BCS poll and be a conference champion from the MAC, WAC, MWC, C-USA, or Sun Belt.

Historically, there usually wouldn’t be more than one team from this pool…the other three slots are filled by the highest ranking teams that are not conference champions…this includes Notre Dame, Navy, or any team, regardless of conference affiliation.

In a season like 2007, the play-in scenario would look like this:

December 25
Holiday Bowl: Kansas versus Hawaii: Winner advances to Fiesta Bowl

Dec 26
Cotton Bowl: Missouri versus Georgia: Winner advances to Sugar Bowl

Your final 8 slots would look like this:

Jan 1
Rose Bowl: Big Ten champion (Ohio State) versus Pac-10 champion (USC)
Orange Bowl: ACC champion (Virginia Tech) versus Big East champion (West Virginia)

Jan 2
Sugar Bowl: SEC champion (LSU) versus Holiday Bowl winner
Fiesta Bowl: Big 12 champion (Oklahoma) versus Cotton Bowl winner

Final 4 slots:

Jan 8
Rose Bowl winner versus Fiesta Bowl winner, with Rose and Fiesta alternating each year as host for the semi-final
Jan 9
Orange Bowl winner versus Sugar Bowl winner, with Orange and Sugar alternating each year as host for the semi-final

The host site for the national championship game would alternate between the four sites each year…this means that each major bowl site would host a final 4 game two of every 4 years, a national title game once every four years, and once every four years only one game…

National Championship game:

Jan 16
Winner of the Jan 8 and Jan 9 games

This only adds a week to the season, and it allows for all the other bowl games to be played…one key addition to this scenario that might add vitality to the other bowl games…Each conference’s previous season bowl game record could add bonus points to their conference champion’s BCS final tally the following year…this gives all the teams playing in minor bowls extra incentive as they could be helping their own cause the following year.

The drawbacks? There are plenty. One glaring problem is that you could end up having a school playing in two major bowls and then the national championship game in three successive weeks. You would have to cap the payout amount they could receive under such a scenario and raise the payouts to all the Division 1 schools.

Another problem is the cost to fans who want to see their team play each week, the distribution of tickets, etc. Any way you look at it, don’t try to equate the current Division 2 and 3 football playoff systems with Division 1 football and think it would be easy to implement.

You have to factor in the major bowl games and that’s not an easy equation to solve. In fact, it might be close to impossible. But, that’s not a bad thing, either.

There’s something very special about college football’s regular season because it’s like a mini-playoff system in its own right. It may not be perfect, but the alternatives are far from perfect, too.