Okay, the start of the season didn’t go as planned. You had high hopes coming in, but Week 1 ended with a loss. Are your dreams of lifting the national championship trophy dashed? Or can you still make the College Football Playoff?Let’s take a look at the history.
There have been four editions of the CFP since its inception in the 2014-15 season. Four teams make the playoff every year, so that’s 16 teams we can learn from.
And there’s good news! (Sort of.) Of the 16 teams, only three have entered the CFP undefeated: Florida State in 2014-15, Clemson in 2015-16, and Alabama in 2016-17. Having a loss on your schedule definitely doesn’t shut you out from the party: 81 percent of all CFP teams have had one loss on their resume. (But only one. No team has made the College Football Playoff with two losses.) What’s more, no undefeated team has won the national championship.
Unfortunately for your team, no team has lost in Week 1 and made the CFP.
Here’s every one-loss team that made the playoff:
|14-15||Ohio St||Game 2||Virginia Tech||35-21||14||Home||Champion|
|14-15||Alabama||Game 5||No. 11 Ole Miss||23-17||6||Away||Semifinal loss|
|15-16||Alabama||Game 3||No. 15 Ole Miss||43-37||6||Home||Champion|
|15-16||Oklahoma||Game 5||Texas||24-17||7||Home||Semifinal loss|
|15-16||Michigan St||Game 9||Nebraska||39-38||1||Away||Semifinal loss|
|16-17||Washington||Game 10||No. 20 USC||26-13||13||Home||Semifinal loss|
|16-17||Ohio St||Game 7||Penn St||24-21||3||Away||Semifinal loss|
|17-18||Georgia||Game 10||No. 10 Auburn||40-17||23||Away||Runner-up|
|17-18||Alabama||Game 12||No. 6 Auburn||26-14||12||Away||Champion|
|17-18||Oklahoma||Game 5||Iowa St||38-31||7||Home||Semifinal loss|
|17-18||Clemson||Game 7||Syracuse||27-24||3||Away||Semifinal loss|
The earliest loss for a playoff team came from 2014-15 Ohio State, which fell to unranked Virginia Tech 35-21 at home in the second game of the season. Not only is that the earliest loss for a CFP team, it’s also the second-largest deficit.
But the Buckeyes finished the season about as strong as possible, winning their final 11 games by an average of 28 points, and capped off the season with a crazy 59-0 win over No. 11 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. If you’re going to bounce back from an early-season stumble, this is the way to do it.
In total, six of the 13 teams that entered the CFP with a loss suffered that loss before the midway point of the season.
The latest any team has lost and still made the CFP came last year, when Alabama fell on the road to No. 6 Auburn in the final game of the regular season, 26-14.
That game serves as our best way to answer the question we set out with. Before Alabama last year, no team had lost their final game and made it into the College Football Playoff. Not only did the Crimson Tide set that mark, they also won the national championship.
No team has ever lost in Week 1 and made the CFP. But don’t be surprised if it happens.