Southeastern Conference's chance to get two teams in the College Football Playoff took a hit Saturday.
Or maybe it would be better described as a chomp.
Florida's emphatic upset of No. 9 Georgia took a chunk out of the resume of what looked like the SEC East's best team. The Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2, No. 11 CFP) seemed to have a fairly manageable path to the conference championship game, along with the opportunity for a big victory against Auburn on Nov. 15 when star tailback Todd Gurley returns from suspension.
Now, with two losses to a pair of teams (South Carolina and Florida) that have been inconsistent at best this season, Georgia's looking like a long shot. The Bulldogs will need help just to get to the SEC championship game now.
And if the Bulldogs were to go on a run and win the conference, how would the committee handle that?
Leave out the SEC West winner and take the Bulldogs? Take one of those SEC West powers over the conference champion?
It's all about the West in the SEC now as far as the playoff is concerned. The best the teams in the East can do is not get in the way.
As for the West, Auburn (7-1, 4-1) handed Mississippi (7-2, 4-2) its second straight loss, 38-35 in Oxford, Mississippi.
"This was a playoff game," Auburn linebacker Kris Frost said. "But from here on in, every game is a playoff game. They just get bigger and bigger."
The Tigers and Rebels were in spots three and four in the playoff rankings. It'll be interesting what the committee does with them this week. A case could be made that Auburn has the best overall resume in the country, with this road win added to the one at Kansas State.
Could the Tigers jump past one of the unbeaten teams? No. 2 Florida State pulled off another comeback on the road at Louisville on Thursday night. No. 1 Mississippi State survived a scare against Arkansas on Saturday.
The Bulldogs have a victory against Auburn so that should be enough to keep the Tigers at bay in the rankings. As for Florida State, for all the complaints about how the Seminoles have played, they still have that zero in the loss column.
Then there's Ole Miss. They'll need major chaos to win the West now, trailing Mississippi State by two games. Weird things can happen, but if they don't, the Rebels are probably done.
The Big 12 avoided its own problematic upset Saturday when No. 10 TCU (7-1, 4-1), which was the conference's highest ranked team in the playoff top 25 at seventh, beat West Virginia on a last-second field goal.
The Horned Frogs return home to play Kansas State next week in a game that will go a long way toward determining the Big 12 champ. After that, TCU has a relatively smooth path with at Kansas, at Texas and Iowa State to close the season. The Frogs will have to hope for somebody to knock off Baylor, but the Bears still have some heavy lifting, starting with a road trip to Oklahoma next Saturday.
BEST OF THE REST
Five conferences vying for one spot and $4 million. You can't call them BCS busters anymore, but in many ways it's the same concept.
The so-called group of five — the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference and Sun Belt — won't be putting a team into the College Football Playoff, but it gets about $75 million in revenue to share and is guaranteed one spot in the other New Year's bowls.
East Carolina was in the driver's seat to earn that spot — and the additional $4 million that goes with it — for the American as the only team from outside the Big Five conference in the first playoff rankings.
A sloppy visit to rainy Philadelphia could cost the Pirates dearly.
Temple pulled a stunner of an upset, beating the Pirates 20-10. East Carolina (6-2, 3-1, No. 23 CFP) outgained the Owls by nearly 300 yards but lost five fumbles.
The Pirates already had wins against North Carolina and Virginia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference, plus a competitive loss at South Carolina.
The beneficiary of ECU's misstep could be Marshall. The 23rd-ranked Thundering Herd (8-0) weren't in the playoff rankings and are off this weekend. Marshall's schedule is simply not good. Conference USA provides few stiff tests and the Herd's nonconference opponents were three MAC teams and an FCS team. Marshall's best win so far is probably against Middle Tennessee.
The other group of five team that has been rolling along with little attention is Colorado State (8-1).
The Rams, under former Alabama assistant Jim McElwain, have victories at Mountain West rival Boise State and at Boston College. The Rams also beat in-state rival Colorado, though that's not a huge resume booster.
The race is on.
AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Oxford, Mississippi, contributed to this report.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP