Notre Dame has arguably the toughest matchup in the entire country for Week 1: at Ohio State.

Despite the difficulty of the opponent, the venue and the early date on the calendar, Notre Dame’s College Football Playoff hopes might rest on whether or not it can pull off the upset.

That’s the case ESPN’s Desmond Howard made on “Get Up” on Thursday morning.

“If Notre Dame loses Saturday, I think their College Football Playoff hopes are shot,” Howard said, while adding he believes Ohio State’s CFP résumé could survive a loss in Week 1.

A big reason for Howard’s stance is the lack of a conference championship game opportunity for Notre Dame. That proved to be impactful last season as Notre Dame (11-1) missed out on the playoff despite having just 1 loss to another playoff-calibre team.

It’s also worth noting that no team has ever made the College Football Playoff without a Week 1 victory.

Notre Dame and Ohio State kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night.