The first College Football Playoff rankings arrive at the end of October.
Between now and the end of the month, the majority of the playoff hopefuls will have their championship credentials tested by programs beneath them in the rankings hungry to take their spots.
Defending national champion Alabama holds the top spot in the AP Top 25 entering Week 6, while Georgia, Ohio State and Clemson follow in that order.
Beneath the top four teams in the polls, a quartet of programs are lining up their respective paths to the playoff, some of which involve defeating one or more of the top four teams.
The top seven teams in the nation will be bowl eligible with one more victory, as will three other teams who aren't chasing playoff glory at the moment.
College Football Playoff
Cotton (December 29): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Clemson
Orange (December 29): No. 2 Georgia vs. No. 3 Ohio State
New Year's Six
Rose (January 1): Penn State vs. Washington
Sugar (January 1): LSU vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta (January 1): Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin
Peach (December 29): West Virginia vs. UCF
Other Bowl Projections
New Mexico (December 15): New Mexico vs. Southern Miss
Cure (December 15): Tulane vs. Georgia State
Las Vegas (December 15): Utah State vs. Washington State
Camellia (December 15): Georgia Southern vs. Toledo
New Orleans (December 15): Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State
Boca Raton (December 18): Florida International vs. SMU
Frisco (December 19): Houston vs. Western Michigan
Gasparilla (December 20): Cincinnati vs. UAB
Bahamas (December 21): Louisiana Tech vs. Ohio
Idaho Potato (December 21): Boise State vs. Northern Illinois
Birmingham (December 22): South Florida vs. Tennessee
Armed Forces (December 22): Army vs. San Diego State
Dollar General (December 22): Buffalo vs. Appalachian State
Hawai'i Bowl (December 22): Hawai'i vs. Marshall
First Responder (December 26): Florida Atlantic vs. Virginia
Quick Lane (December 26): Indiana vs. Duke
Cheez-It (December 26): Kansas State vs. Cal
Independence (December 27): Minnesota vs. Ole Miss
Pinstripe (December 27): Wake Forest vs. Maryland
Texas (December 27): Texas Tech vs. Texas A&M
Music City (December 28): Florida State vs. Missouri
Camping World (December 28): Syracuse vs. TCU
Alamo (December 28): Oklahoma State vs. Arizona State
Belk (December 29): Virginia Tech vs. Mississippi State
Arizona (December 29): Troy vs. Nevada
Military (December 31): Boston College vs. Navy
Sun (December 31): USC vs. NC State
Redbox (December 31): Colorado vs. Northwestern
Holiday (December 31): Iowa vs. Oregon
Liberty (December 31): Texas vs. Mississippi State
TaxSlayer (December 31): Miami vs. Florida
Outback (January 1): Michigan State vs. Auburn
Citrus (January 1): Michigan vs. Kentucky
CFB Playoff Outlook
A legitimate argument can be made for four SEC teams to occupy each of the playoff positions if the rankings came out today.
Alabama is the unquestioned No. 1 overall team, and it doesn't look like the Crimson Tide will be slowing down anytime soon.
With Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee ahead on the schedule in October, Alabama should move into November undefeated.
November is when the sorting out of the SEC will occur, as the Crimson Tide play both No. 5 LSU and No. 8 Auburn, and if they win both of those games, a clash with No. 2 Georgia likely awaits in the SEC Championship.
A trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the last thing on the minds of the Georgia Bulldogs, as they face four ranked opponents in the next five weeks.
The October 13 clash with LSU could serve as an elimination game for playoff contention, while back-to-back clashes with No. 13 Kentucky and No. 22 Florida will be for SEC East supremacy.
If the Bulldogs survive all of those games, Auburn awaits November 10 at Sanford Stadium in yet another playoff elimination game.
If Georgia wins all four of those games, it'll have a case to qualify for the playoff even with a defeat in the SEC Championship.
LSU and Auburn are waiting in the wings to represent the SEC if Alabama and Georgia slip up, and each program has the opportunity to beat the top two teams in the nation and rise in the rankings.
No. 3 Ohio State's path to the playoff got much clearer following Saturday's win over No. 11 Penn State.
The victory combined with No. 4 Clemson's close win over Syracuse pushed the Buckeyes above the Tigers into a bit of security at the No. 3 spot in the AP Top 25.
Much like Alabama, Ohio State's toughest tests come in November in the form of No. 20 Michigan State and No. 15 Michigan.
Victories in both games would secure the Buckeyes' spot in the Big Ten Championship, with No. 16 Wisconsin the likely foe in that contest.
Six wins over ranked opponents should be enough for the Buckeyes to advance to the playoff as the Big Ten champions.
The fight for the fourth playoff position will get contentious between Clemson, LSU, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 Oklahoma and Auburn.
Despite stumbling into a win over Syracuse, Clemson is still undefeated and that's really all that matters.
The one factor that will hurt the Tigers is the down year in the ACC, as only one of the conference foes on their schedule is ranked.
If the decision comes down to Clemson, Notre Dame or Oklahoma, the Tigers might not have the resume in December to hold on to the No. 4 spot, but for now, they haven't done anything to lose it.
Notre Dame needs a third win over a ranked opponent Saturday at Virginia Tech in order to strengthen its resume with a weak schedule for the final six games of the campaign.
If Oklahoma runs the table, it'll have three quality wins over TCU, West Virginia and Oklahoma State, but there's no guarantee that would be enough for the Sooners compared to consistent Clemson and the national brand of Notre Dame.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.