Of course the Bowl Championship Series is about money. But before one rags the "evil" BCS conferences, one should do a little reading.
The BCS had to make concessions to get the conferences to join. For example, to get the Big Ten and Pac-10 to join, the BCS had to grant automatic bids. Why? Because for over 50 years (then, since 1947) the Big Ten and Pac-10 had an agreement to have the conference champions meet on New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl, pre-BCS, was the highest paying and more prestigious of all the bowls.
The so-called BCS National Championship game has been played for the last 3 years. Prior to the 2006 season, there was no such game. The SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, and Pac-10 conference champions plus independent Notre Dame played in 4 bowls, Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange.
It is important to remember that the so-called BCS National Championship game is NOT recognized by the NCAA as a collegiate championship.
Prior to the BCS was the Bowl Alliance (95-97) that included the SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, and the Southwest (1995 only) conference champions plus Notre Dame playing in the Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange bowls. 2 at-large teams were allowed to compete.
Prior to the Bowl Alliance was the Bowl Coalition (92-94) that included the SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 8, and Southwest conference champions plus Notre Dame playing in the Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, Gator, and Sun bowls. 5 at-large teams were allowed to compete.
Prior to 1992, there were just the bowl games. The bowl games were rewards to teams that had good seasons and offered players one last opportunity to showcase their skills to the NFL. There were the major bowls (Rose, Sugar, Cotton, and Orange) and mid and minor bowls.
Rose: tied-in with the Big Ten and Pac-10
Orange: at various times tied-in with the Big 12, ACC, and Big East
Sugar: tied-in with the SEC
Cotton: tied-in with the now defunct Southwest Conference
Sun: tied-in with now defunct Border Conference
Fiesta: no conference tie-ins, originally associated with the Western Athletic Conference
Gator: loosely tied-in with the SEC
Of course it is about money. The BCS is nothing more than a business arrangement that allows better negotiating terms for TV revenues, etc. No one is going to get the conferences to give up their automatic bids, especially the conferences that had prior business agreements that spanned decades.
My vote is to scrap the BCS and go back to the old bowl system. The BCS and this clammoring for a playoff system is only pushing college football further down the road to being NFL farm teams. We really should go back to the true student-athlete approach.