Big tension in Texas: College Football Playoff committee has a lot on its plate

Urban Meyer
When Coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State exited Penn State with a loss on Oct. 22, it turned the Big Ten Conference race and College Football Playoff picture into a mess. (Abby Drey / Centre Daily Times via AP)

It sounds like the perfect weekend, everyone gathered around the television to watch football.

But, in this case, the 12 men and women of the College Football Playoff selection committee have convened in Grapevine, Texas, for some potentially headache-inducing work.

With conference title games continuing across the nation through Saturday night, they will take one more look at the top teams and maybe debate into the early hours before voting on who gets to vie for the national championship.

“You know, there are number of legitimate contenders who could stake a claim to being in those top four spots,” committee Chairman Kirby Hocutt said. “The committee takes its work very seriously.”

At least one piece of the puzzle is in place.

No. 4 Washington took care of No. 8 Colorado for the Pac-12 title Friday night, the Huskies making their argument for a slot in the semifinals. But the overall picture remains fuzzy, particularly in the Big Ten.

No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan, despite their lofty rankings, did not even qualify for the conference championship game. Instead, sixth-ranked Wisconsin will face No. 7 Penn State in Indianapolis. Ohio State is 11-1; Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan are 10-2.

If the Badgers win, you could make an argument for keeping them out of the playoff in favor of Ohio State, which prevailed in Madison during the regular season.

If Penn State wins, the whole thing becomes a lot messier because the Buckeyes’ only loss was to the…