Let's take a quick look at how this year's candidates for the College Football Playoff stack up relative to past precedent using a simple sorting system: record and strength of schedule. For a more robust discussion, see just about everything that CFBMatrix.com has written on the subject in the last three years. Most importantly, look at how the selection committee tabulates strength of schedule (SOS).
It seems as though the selection committee is deferring to number of wins first, followed by SOS. There are some clear exceptions to that rule of thumb, though.
What about 2016? (Note that rankings and SOS measures are from last week, while records have been updated to reflect last night's games.)
If the selection committee is adhering to the "wins-SOS" precedent, my projection for the final four: 1. Alabama, 2. Clemson, 3. Washington, 4. Penn St.
The committee could justify this based on the argument that the Nittany Lions' body of work is close enough to the Buckeyes' to honor PSU's head-to-head win and conference title, two objective criteria.
The reality is that we really don't have much to go on based on two years of experience, though. What happens this year should be very instructive going forward.