While there are 17 teams still unbeaten in FBS, only about a dozen or so realistically remain in the hunt for a spot in the four-team playoff field. The SEC West, with six of its seven teams ranked in the top 15, takes up almost half of the list of the contenders.
But that does not mean multiple teams from that division will get into the playoff. The possibility does exist, though it's a longshot. The SEC West will begin in earnest its own elimination process this weekend as three divisional showdowns take place as Alabama visits Ole Miss, Auburn hosts LSU and Mississippi State welcomes Texas A&M.
None of the other conferences are likely to land more than one team in the playoff field and they will now go through their own internecine battles. So here's a look at where everyone stands at the end of the "preseason" phase:
COMPLETE CFP STANDINGS
The Playoff Teams
The Sooners remain on top of the standings but will now enter the most challenging portion of their schedule, beginning with a visit to unbeaten TCU. OU's solid strength of schedule will keep it in the playoff field as long as it keeps winning. (Projected bowl: Playoff at Sugar Bowl)
The Tigers will enter the most brutal six-game stretch of 2014 beginning with the LSU game. After that, they'll play five more teams currently ranked in our top 25, including road games at both Mississippi schools and Georgia. And if they get through all of that unscathed, they still have to visit Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl at the end of the regular season. (Projected bowl: Playoff at Rose Bowl)
3. Florida State
A second consecutive narrow escape doesn't affect FSU's place in the playoff but it might influence its seeding. Because they're the defending national champions, the 'Noles will make the playoff field as long as they win the ACC undefeated, or perhaps even with one loss. (Projected bowl: Playoff at Rose Bowl)
Even though they're also in the SEC West, the Tide somehow have an easier schedule than most of their divisional foes. They avoid the better teams in the SEC East and have likely their toughest two games (Texas A&M and Auburn) at home. (Projected bowl: Orange Bowl)
First Four Out
Don't let the heading fool you: The Ducks are in the playoff field if they win out, no ifs and buts. Even with one loss, Oregon likely will have a shot to get into the playoff as long as it wins the conference title. It will help their chances as the Ducks host Stanford this year. (Projected bowl: Playoff at Sugar Bowl)
6. Texas A&M
The Aggies can still play their way into the playoff field, thanks to last week's overtime escape against Arkansas. But for them, it's likely one (loss) and done because of their atrocious nonconference schedule. (Projected bowl: Cotton Bowl)
The Bruins did themselves a huge favor with an emphatic win at Arizona State last Thursday. That was enough to wipe away a rather unimpressive nonconference portion of the season in which they barely beat three middling teams in Virginia, Memphis and Texas. But things are just getting started for UCLA, as it must navigate through perhaps the top-ranked schedule in FBS this year. (Projected bowl: Fiesta Bowl)
8. Ole Miss
The Rebels might not be in this spot for long after getting by September against subpar competition, struggling against Memphis for three quarters in their last game. The upcoming game against visiting Alabama arguably will be the most important in program history in at least a quarter century, or more. (Projected bowl: Non CFP bowl)
Other Fun Facts
* At the moment, there does not appear to be a spot for BYU in the six CFP bowls. The Cougars' independent status is not helping their cause as there is no guarantee of any sorts for them. Complicating things is that the ACC has a guaranteed second spot in the Orange Bowl should Florida State qualify for the playoff, and right now that belongs to Clemson (ranked at No. 26).
* The other independent, Notre Dame, likely will not be squeezed out as long as it either wins out or finishes the season with just one loss. The Irish can play their way into the playoff field if they can knock off Florida State and essentially grab the ACC's place for themselves.
* East Carolina remains in the driver's seat for the "Group of 5" guaranteed bowl slot. It's likely that the Mountain West, MAC and Sun Belt are already eliminated, leaving just Marshall from Conference USA and the winner of the East Carolina-Cincinnati game (if it wins the American title) as the only contenders for that bowl slot.