The College Football Playoff discussion cranked into another gear in Week 5 when Clemson pulled out a narrow win over North Carolina.
An argument can be made that Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Georgia deserve to be ranked above the defending national champion, but due to the weakness of the ACC, the Tigers should land in the final four come December.
While Clemson is expected to cruise through its conference, Alabama and Georgia could be involved in hard-fought SEC battles, while Oklahoma faces a challenge from Texas and as the Buckeyes compete in the tougher of two Big Ten divisions.
Plenty will change between now and the first week of December, but one thing may be certain: the presence of the SEC in the New Year's Six games.
With five programs currently ranked in the Top 10, the SEC could command at-large berths because of the strength of its conference compared to others.
If that is the case, the amount of second-tier bowls involving SEC programs could decrease, opening up the potential for more Group of Five vs. Power Five matchups.
College Football Playoff
Peach Bowl (December 28): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl (December 28): No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State
The College Football Playoff could feature undefeated conference champions from the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Big 12.
Alabama's toughest test comes at home versus LSU on November 9, and by the time it faces Auburn at the end of the regular season, the Tigers could be worn down from a brutal schedule.
Through five weeks, the Crimson Tide look like the best team in the SEC with a quintet of 20-plus-point victories, two of which were over conference foes.
If Nick Saban's team does not lose, it should land the top seed due to the overall strength of its league.
The same can't be said for Clemson, who has a single Top 25 foe left on its schedule. But there is no guarantee Wake Forest will still be ranked by November 16. One more loss by Virginia could land a two-loss squad in the ACC Championship Game opposite Dabo Swinney's side.
For now, the Tigers are second in the AP Top 25 and Amway Coaches Poll, but the amount of quality sides on Ohio State's schedule may make force an extended discussion.
The Buckeyes have four ranked foes left, and they could face Wisconsin twice if the Badgers take first in the Big Ten West.
An unblemished resume with victories over Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State might be enough to persuade the committee to place Justin Fields and Co. at No. 2.
Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma could be on a collision course for a meeting with his old team. If the Sooners beat Texas on October 12, they should have a clear path to the Big 12 Championship Game, but then they would likely have to beat the Longhorns again.
If Texas suffers a second conference loss, the Sooners may have to hurdle Oklahoma State or TCU to land in the playoff.
If the quartet of conference winners remain without a loss, Notre Dame would be on the outside looking in as well as the other contenders from the SEC.
New Year's Six
Cotton Bowl (December 28): Boise State vs. Georgia
Orange Bowl (December 30): Notre Dame vs. Auburn
Rose Bowl (January 1): Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Sugar Bowl (January 1): LSU vs. Texas
Even if Georgia, Auburn and LSU end up with two losses, the power of the SEC could land them in New Year's Six games.
A year ago, Florida landed a spot alongside Georgia and LSU in these games, and if the Gators beat Auburn on Saturday, they will be in the mix for a premier bowl game.
Since the loser of the ACC Championship Game may have three losses, one of the SEC teams could jump over it to earn one of the at-large positions.
If Notre Dame wins out, it should lock into the New Year's Six and likely position itself with a foe from the South.
Oregon needs to finish the campaign without another loss and some help to be considered in the playoff conversation as the Pac-12 champion, but the Rose Bowl would be a nice consolation.
As the possible loser of the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin would land in Pasadena, California. If Ohio State runs through all of its opponents, Penn State would be the only one-loss squad that could be left in the Big Ten East.
Bahamas Bowl (December 20): Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan
Frisco Bowl (December 20): Temple vs. Toledo
New Mexico Bowl (December 21): Southern Miss. vs. Wyoming
Cure Bowl (December 21): Cincinnati vs. Coastal Carolina
Boca Raton Bowl (December 21): Tulane vs. Louisiana Tech
Camellia Bowl (December 21): Kent State vs. Arkansas State
Las Vegas Bowl (December 21): Washington State vs. Utah State
New Orleans Bowl (December 21): Florida Atlantic vs. Appalachian State
Gasparilla Bowl (December 23): UCF vs. North Texas
Hawai'i Bowl (December 24): BYU vs. Hawaii
Independence Bowl (December 26): Miami vs. UAB
Quick Lane Bowl (December 26): Boston College vs. Maryland
Military Bowl (December 27): Syracuse vs. Navy
Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): NC State vs. Minnesota
Texas Bowl (December 27): Baylor vs. Kentucky
Holiday Bowl (December 27): Michigan State vs. Washington
Cheez-It Bowl (December 27): Kansas State vs. USC
Camping World Bowl (December 28): Virginia vs. TCU
First Responder Bowl (December 30): West Virginia vs. Marshall
Music City Bowl (December 30): Florida State vs. South Carolina
Redbox Bowl (December 30): Penn State vs. Arizona State
Belk Bowl (December 31): Pittsburgh vs. Arizona
Sun Bowl (December 31): Duke vs. California
Liberty Bowl (December 31): Iowa State vs. SMU
Arizona Bowl (December 31): San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Alamo Bowl (December 31): Oklahoma State vs. Utah
Outback Bowl (January 1): Iowa vs. Florida
Citrus Bowl (January 1): Michigan vs. Texas A&M
Birmingham Bowl (January 2): Colorado vs. Memphis
Gator Bowl (January 2): Wake Forest vs. Mississippi State
Idaho Potato Bowl (January 3): Eastern Michigan vs. Fresno State
Armed Forces Bowl (January 4): Nebraska vs. Army
Mobile Bowl (January 6): Western Michigan vs. Louisiana
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.