The BCS as adjusted this year has made it easier for a non-major conference to finish higher. If you look at what the non-major conference teams have finished (Utah in 2004 at 4/5 and Boise in 2006 at 5/6). Prior to the BCS only BYU finished in the top 5 from the same amount of time (1987-1996 vs 1997-2006). The mid-majors get to play on the biggest stage, make the big money, and get national exposure, nothing has been better for them. For example, when BYU won the only Natl Title ever won by a mid-major they beat then 6-5 Michigan in the Holiday Bowl in 1984. The game was played before Jan 1. If that doesn't prove how little exposure the mid-majors got before the BCS I don't know what does...
As it's adjusted this year, possibly. Throughout its history, no. BYU still won that NC. Voters were free to vote for them, even if the big bowls shut 'em out. Now that that BCS basically has the sole prerogative of deciding the national champion, their shutting out of anyone outside the big six conferences becomes more of an issue.
There are 117 D-1 football programs, not 80.
I believe I started by saying that if half the division begin in the knowledge that whatever they do they won't win the NC, then they should reduce the size of the division, did I not?
Also, the conferences will NOT split up into lesser conferences. What motivation does that Big 10 or SEC have to split up and get into one of these smaller conferences when they each made $34 million from just the BCS bowl games alone. Also, all of the big paying bowl games (The Citrus, Gator, Cotton, Peach, Alamo) involve two major conference teams... the major conferences don't want to give up this guaranteed money.
They wouldn't have to. Take the two best programmes from each non-BCS conference, that's ten teams. Add in that ND (and the military schools if they stayed in 1-A) would have to join a conference, that's either eleven or thirteen. Move one team from the Big ten, four from the Big East, two from the big twelve and two from the SEC- if the military academies aren't part of it, that's your eight of ten. If they are, then you take fewer mid-major teams. The traditional rivalries would stay in place, the Rose Bowl could stay Big 10-Pac 10 etc, you'd have the four BCS bowls, and every team would have a shot at a championship. The character of the existing major conferences wouldn't change much by moving a team or two here and there. Reclassify the remaining 37 teams to 1-AA.
Now, I know this is a pipe dream, but then, any suggestion seems to be at this stage.