The College Football Playoff selection committee will face an interesting dilemma if both Clemson and Washington win out this weekend. It would have to decide between one-loss Ohio State, which has seven wins over ranked teams and is currently ranked in the top four, and a two-loss Big Ten champion, which will be either Penn State or Wisconsin. The committee has not been confronted with such a choice in the first two years of its existence.
Yes, it had to make some tough decisions both years, but it was always choosing between conference champions. And there was certainly no situation in which it had to choose between a conference champion and another team from that conference. Wisconsin could make it a little easier for the committee to pick Ohio State if it wins. The Buckeyes beat the Badgers in the regular season. But Penn State defeated Ohio State in the regular season, so if the Nittany Lions win, they could rightfully argue that they hold two advantages over the Buckeyes – head-to-head and the conference championship. It would be interesting to see how the committee could justify selecting Ohio State over them.
Of course, a 9-3 Virginia Tech team could get the committee off the hook by beating Clemson, which would allow them take Ohio State and the Big Ten champ, without having to think twice. But don’t count on that happening, as the Hokies are double-digit underdogs. A Clemson win and a Washington loss to Colorado would only create more chaos, with the 11-2 PAC-12 champion Buffalos arguing that they deserve just as much consideration as the 11-2 Big Ten champs. The 10-2 Big 12 champions, whether Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, would have lesser justification because of one less win and a softer regular season schedule.