Why not keep/assign rivalries, fill out the rest of the schedule rotationally and then whichever two teams end up with the best records, they play in the conference championship. Wouldn't the BCS have preferred that Oklahoma play Texas (or Texas Tech) in the Big 12 championship a couple years ago instead of Missouri?
Here's my rivalry table
|Team||Rivalry 1||Rivalry 2||Rivalry 3|
Nothing would be perfect of course. In fact there is quite a disparity in the quality of each teams trios of rivals. Looking at the past 10 years winning percentage and ordinal ranking of those winning percentages of the trios:
|Team||rivalry %||Riv rank||Ordinal||Ord rank|
Funny how PSU fans always think they're getting the shaft from the conference. Looks like they would have the toughest trio. However since the teams would only have 3 rivals every year instead of the 5 they would have in a divisional system, I think it would be more likely the differences would balance out in the remaining 5 or 6 conferences games.
This way you would have had a UM - OSU championship game in 2006 for instance, instead of a geographical OSU vs - Wisconsin(?) or Penn St.