Fun (for me at least) hypothetical: what if Chris Olave never stayed his senior year. Assuming Jamo doesn't transfer (why would he?) And Bama doesn't adequately replace him (they sure as shit couldn't in the NCG), I could easily see Bama picking up a close loss in Atlanta or one of their games that ended up being single possession (LSU, Florida, Arkansas). Jamo was out for targeting most of the iron bowl so I'm not sure that's affected. Assuming one of those materializes into an L (they honestly could've gone 8-4 without him, maybe 10-2 with an "adequate" replacement).
Chris Olave's performance was not a factor in Ohio State's two losses. I do not believe his presence or lack thereof affects us going 10-2.
That would have left the playoff field as 1 UGA 2. tTUN 3. Cincinnati and likely #4 ND given they finished ahead of us in the selection rankings. Nobody in their right mind questions UGA would've rolled ND and any opponent they faced in the Natty, HOWEVER, I wouldn't put it past TTUN to beat Cincinnati, and I do think getting into the NC and winning at least one playoff game would have helped them establish more recruiting momentum. It possibly could've prevented Harbaugh's flirtation with the NFL that destroyed his staff's confidence.
Update: a poster mentioned below and I think it's relevant: the Bryce-Jamo connection at Bama may have singlehandedly prevented Hutchinson from winning the heisman