The NFL is not the NCAA. So let's just toss any of that **** out the door right now.
IMO, the most "deserving" will be the best. Plain and simple. Teams are allowed to schedule their out of conference games, this is why NFL/NCAA is not relevant as NFL teams have no say in who they play, so, if they want to be deserving, they better have a few roadblocks. Those roadblocks, or tests, can be in conference. If not, the team needs to schedule one or two. Who did OSU schedule?