FTC appears to be going through changes (the new name proves it), so I felt like this was an appropriate time to bring this up. What if it returned to the pilot roots of three years ago, when each team was limited to a MAXIMUM of three basic kits to be used on their robots (only one RC and 8 motor/servos though), and a few other parts sent by FIRST (rubber bands and rope). The expansion kits (treads, omni wheels, etc) weren't out yet, but the point remains the same that each team had an absolutely identical set of parts to work with. Teams figured out how to create completely unique and dynamic machines from this common set of parts, and beyond that, how to use parts for tasks they really weren't intended to do. While that still exists in Vex (to a certain degree), with the release of more and more specialty kits, teams can purchase solutions to certain problems rather than having to design solutions of their own. You can still see pictures and videos of some of those creations here:
Those bots were capable of completing all the tasks of that challenge, without the aid of chain & sprocket kits or lighter-weight metals, or even more components than other teams. Granted, three kits is plenty of supplies and more than some teams have, but it doesn't have to be three and/or a solution might be able to be worked out.
Also, I know that FIRST may be moving away from the Vex platform after the 2008 season, but the same idea can be applied to the new platform.