Ohio State has already made the playoff twice with one-loss in the CFP era. Would they be able to make it again this season if they lose two games?
Ohio State has now made the playoff three times out of the six years it has been in place. Of the three times that they have made it, they have lost a game during the regular season twice. Last season was the only time they made it through the regular season undefeated.
No team has ever made the College Football Playoff with two losses. There have been times when it was discussed, such as Penn State back in 2016 when they won the Big Ten, but Ohio State was chosen over them instead. No team has had a legitimate argument.
Would Ohio State be the first to do it this year if they lose? Honestly, it depends on who the losses are. If they lose at Oregon and at Penn State, they have a chance. They would have to hope that Penn State wins the Big Ten and Oregon wins the Pac 12.
The SEC champion will get in no matter what. That leaves the Big 12 and the ACC. Neither conference is very strong. Clemson is by far the best team in either conference. But if they were to slip up, what argument would they have to be selected?
Clemson has by far the easiest schedule of any true CFP contender. Even if they lose just one game and OSU loses these two specific games, the Buckeyes have a valid argument to make it over the Tigers. The Buckeyes would have wins over Michigan, Iowa, and Nebraska.
Oklahoma is in the same boat in the Big 12, but they at least have another decent team in their conference. Texas would be a strong win to have for the Sooners. But if they lose to someone other than the Longhorns and don’t win the conference, they would lose the discussion to a two-loss Ohio State team. Texas would be in the same boat.
Notre Dame is the biggest wildcard in this discussion. They have no conference and have a brutal schedule. They play at Wisconsin, at USC, and home vs. Clemson. Even a one-loss Notre Dame with no conference title would get in over a two-loss OSU. Maybe even a two-loss team would too.
Because of the strength of the Big Ten in general, Ohio State has a chance to be the first two-loss team to be selected in the CFP era. Of course, if they lose two games to begin with, something has already gone very wrong. This is a discussion that I hope never has to happen.