This preliminary Lockbox houses teams that are 1) current conference leaders (tie-breaker to the RPI) or 2) very likely to be in the bracket in two months time based on performance to this point in the season. And, I'm talking about no-brainers here. No Bubble Boys listed on this one.
There are some teams included here that have major questions surrounding them (Wisconsin's B1G struggles, Florida's lack of beefy wins, etc), but in those two cases, the efficiency numbers point to ultimate success. Wisconsin is #3 overall in the Pomeroy ratings, sport the nations lowest Turnover%, the nation's best EffectiveFG% defense, and #2 overall Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. The Gators are rated #13 overall with the #1 offense. For now, those two get the benefit of the doubt...for now. Wiscy will have to turn around that conference record and Florida will have to win a lot of SEC games. And, I expect both will do that...for now.
There are a couple of other teams that could fall out of favor, but the purpose here is to get a feel for how many slots are actually out there at any given time. In this case, there are 23 At-Large teams that I would deem "stunners" if they don't show up in March. That means everyone else is playing for about 14 At-Large slots if they fail to win their automatic bid.
Again, this is a pre-Lockbox, so a full one comes later next week. The season's first bracket is coming on Monday.