Commissioners in the process of molding the first major-college football playoff are leaning toward floating bowl sites for the semifinal games.
In fact, the predetermined rotation of semifinal sites in the bowls was described as a “non-starter” to CBSSports.com. There are still discussions over the sites of the entire three-game playoff (in or outside of bowls), but there seems to be a growing consensus that the bowls will at least host the semifinals. The Big Ten recently backed off an idea for campus sites to host semifinals.
While site issue is one of many yet to be resolved in the playoff discussion, this development does point out that the commissioners are sensitive to the fairness issue.
They do not want the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds having to “go on the road” in the semifinals. In other words, if the Sugar Bowl were anchored in advance to be a semifinal site, it would be possible that a No. 4 seed – say, LSU – would have the home-field advantage playing the No. 1-seeded opponent in the Superdome.
So in that instance, LSU as the SEC champ would forego its Sugar Bowl berth and instead would be the visiting team at the No. 1 seed's bowl tie in site. I presume that if No. 1 or No. 2 was an independent [scoffs at self] or from a conference without a fixed bowl tie in, the semifinal bowl game would be backed into by determining which conference champions had to stay or be moved from their tie in bowls based on BCS standings.
Since the Rose Bowl would be a "home" game for a B1G champion ranked 1 or 2, if that team was matched with a 3 or 4 ranked Pac-12 team, home could be in name only, especially if the Pac-12 rep was USC or UCLA. Even so, this is probably the best solution after campus sites (a non-starter option anyhow).