the conferences are the primary mechanism to preserve the status quo. years ago, boise state scared the hell out of the “powers that be” by consistently crashing their party; this was a huge problem, so those prime movers then came up with conference realignment to guarantee there would never again be a new mouth to feed.
to suppress the outrage of the unwashed and unlearned masses, they threw the groundlings a bone with the worthless playoff system. the groundlings were stupid enough to buy it.
every now and then, you run into someone who has escaped the matrix, but for the most part, all you see is mindless bitching about big schools playing small schools at inconvenient times, which is just playing into the hands of your masters, and reinforcing the system of control.