There is an absurd amount of Bowl games. The NCAA is a bunch of money hungry pigs.
Teams switching conferences at will, the BCS points sytem, there new "playoff" system it is all crap.
That said most of these kids go out and play to the best of their ability, some for future gains some for the love of the game and for that reason I will watch bits and pieces of whatever bowl game is on at a given time. Despite my loathing of the NCAA.
The Motor City Bowl in Detroit was a good building block for Pitt. Young team, got a win, now have a winning season, and their apparent QB of the future got to play in a big game. It was a good, tight game and it meant a lot for the future of the Pitt program, so for the Panthers it indeed was worthwhile.
I don't think it's the NCAA as much as it is the college presidents and the conferences.
All other divisions of collegiate football, D-III, D-II, and the D-I "Football Championship Series" settle it in a playoff format. So the idea that the players would miss classes or it would be too hard is not valid. The kids who are less likely to play in the NFL are doing it already.
Imagine the money the NCAA itself would make on a 16-team playoff format for the D-I football championship. It would be as much or more, due to the exorbitant TV fees it would command. Look at March Madness.
Not as many universities and conferences would get a cut of the swag. You figure, with 30-some games that's 60 teams playing, not 16.
Cut the regular season back to 12 games max, start the playoffs right on Thanksgiving weekend on Saturdays, do the championship on New Years day. Ratings would be ginormous.
They could still have the "Car Care Bowl" and the "Beef O'Brady Bowl" and the "Poinsettia Bowl", but their ratings would be even lower, the TV rights cheaper, and the payouts less.