The School Soccer Playoff choice committee won’t ever ask coaches to run up the rating, and the protocol particularly states that evaluating video games in opposition to a standard opponent is completed “with out incenting margin of victory.”
That does not imply they do not admire old style drubbing.
With no adjustments to the highest 5 of the third rating on Tuesday evening — No. 6 LSU and No. 7 USC earned small promotions on the expense of two-loss Oregon, which sank to 12 — Week 12 will present a number of alternatives for the highest contenders to go away little question they’re the higher crew.
Within the case of No. 7 USC, now the committee’s top-ranked Pac-12 crew, the one-loss Trojans could make an announcement in opposition to a ranked rival in No. 16 UCLA — or remove the Pac-12 totally with a loss. No crew is healthier positioned to complete within the high 4 than No. 1 Georgia, which clinched the SEC East and can face LSU within the convention title recreation. A convincing win at Kentucky, although, could be one other spotlight the committee may level to if Georgia finishes as SEC runner-up.
No. 3 Michigan has an opportunity to proceed to say itself in opposition to unranked Illinois, a three-loss crew that dropped out of the CFP Prime 25 however may nonetheless win the Large Ten West. Tennessee and TCU, in the meantime, ought to cruise in opposition to unranked, unheralded convention opponents.
With solely two weeks remaining within the common season, here is how Week 12 may doubtlessly affect the committee’s analysis on Choice Day, ranked so as of greatest impression:
Anger Index | 12-team bracket | Résumés |
1. USC at UCLA
Why it is essential: USC has no margin for error, and the street recreation in opposition to the ranked neighborhood rival is the subsequent step in padding a résumé that might finally trump one-loss Tennessee. USC is the Pac-12’s greatest hope on the playoff, and whereas many appear to imagine No. 5 Tennessee will end within the high 4 as a result of the Vols are presently ranked forward of USC, it is going to be rather more difficult for the committee as soon as the convention titles are added to the résumés and Tennessee would not have one. USC may end the season with three straight wins in opposition to ranked opponents — UCLA, Notre Dame and the Pac-12 title recreation opponent — which might put it squarely within the dialog for the highest 4.
2. TCU at Baylor
Why it is essential: No. 4 TCU did not get a bump this week, despite the fact that it performed its greatest protection of the season, earned a street win in opposition to what was once a CFP Prime 25 crew in Texas, and clinched a spot within the Large 12 title recreation. That signifies the Horned Frogs nonetheless do not have a lot if any margin for error, and a loss on Saturday to an unranked Baylor (6-4) crew that Okay-State simply hammered 31-3 could be tough to beat on Choice Day. If TCU finishes as an undefeated Large 12 champion, the Horned Frogs will end within the high 4, however a loss to both Baylor or Iowa State alongside the best way will put them in a precarious place. It helped TCU that No. 22 Oklahoma State popped again into the Prime 25, giving the Frogs two wins in opposition to ranked opponents, together with Kansas State. That will in all probability match Clemson, if it finishes as a one-loss ACC champ, however they may each be wanting up at USC or Tennessee — or each.
3. Tennessee at South Carolina
Why it is essential: In case you’re not taking part in on championship weekend, you are praying. With out a division or convention title, Tennessee must impress the committee each probability it will get, and a street win in opposition to a bowl-bound SEC opponent is one other enhance for the Vols — even when South Carolina is not ranked. Assuming the SEC and Large Ten champions are within the high 4, Tennessee must be involved about undefeated TCU and one-loss USC. The Vols will want their wins in opposition to LSU and Alabama to beat not having a convention title. The place it may get attention-grabbing is that if LSU wins the SEC, as a result of Tennessee may then declare a powerful 40-13 win over the SEC champs — in Baton Rouge. The Vols cannot management any of that, although, so ending the season in type is their greatest guess.
4. Miami at Clemson
Why it is essential: Clemson and the ACC stay within the worst playoff place of any of the Energy 5 conferences, so the Tigers can’t afford to wrestle at house in opposition to a mediocre Miami crew. Clemson hasn’t precisely dominated anybody this season, both. The Tigers are 2-1 in opposition to groups presently ranked within the CFP, and have some extent margin of minus-5 in these three video games (wins in opposition to NC State and FSU, loss to Notre Dame). If the SEC, Large Ten and undefeated TCU are in, Clemson wants to fret about one-loss Tennessee. The Vols’ wins in opposition to LSU and Alabama could be extra spectacular than Clemson’s wins in opposition to NC State, Florida State and UNC. The Tigers may additionally lose a résumé debate with one-loss USC. Their greater downside, although, is that they are already wanting up at two two-loss groups, together with Alabama.
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5. Illinois at Michigan
Why it is essential: No, Illinois is not ranked, however the three-loss Illini are a minimum of above .500, and that is greater than you may say for many of Michigan’s opponents. As a result of the one ranked win to this point is in opposition to Penn State, and solely the Nittany Lions, Maryland, Iowa, Illinois and UConn have profitable information, Michigan must take advantage of each alternative it has in opposition to a decent crew in case it would not beat No. 2 Ohio State. It isn’t not possible for the loser of The Sport to complete within the high 4, however it could be tougher for the Wolverines. The choice committee is not thrilled with Michigan’s schedule, which at No. 82 is definitely the worst of any CFP contender. Michigan may face Illinois twice in the event that they win their respective divisions and meet within the Large Ten championship recreation.
6. Ohio State at Maryland
Why it is essential: The Buckeyes have not clinched the East but, and if they do not beat Michigan within the regular-season finale, there’s zero probability Ohio State will end within the high 4 if it will probably’t win in School Park. Ohio State has already struggled this season in dangerous climate in opposition to 1-9 Northwestern. One other ugly win may elevate some eyebrows within the committee assembly room if Ohio State would not win its division. Saturday can even give a glimpse into the well being standing of their two star operating backs, TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, who’ve been injured and will likely be key to creating a severe playoff run. Ohio State coach Ryan Day informed reporters he would not know their statuses till Thursday. The choice committee considers accidents to key gamers, however to this point, the Buckeyes have continued to piece it collectively however have relied closely on their passing recreation.
7. Georgia at Kentucky
Why it is essential: What if LSU wins the SEC? It is doubtless Georgia additionally finishes within the high 4, but it surely’s not a assure — particularly with Tennessee sitting there with a win over the SEC champs. The choice committee considers widespread opponents, and there’s no instance extra vital than this one. Would the committee put within the crew that misplaced to the SEC champs, and never the one which beat them? It isn’t the one element, although. Head-to-head outcomes additionally matter, and Georgia owned Tennessee in a recreation that was way more lopsided than the ultimate rating indicated. Georgia may proceed to spice up its case with a street win in opposition to a division opponent, and would not be an incredible look if the Bulldogs struggled in opposition to a crew Vanderbilt simply discovered a solution to beat.
There are simply two weeks remaining within the common season, which suggests we have simply three extra units of rankings to go earlier than the committee retires to its underground lair to start plotting in opposition to the Group of 5 for one more offseason. This week’s CFP Prime 25 provided few surprises. If anybody anticipated the committee to problem standard knowledge, they have been sorely upset. However that does not imply nobody has trigger for frustration within the aftermath of the discharge. That is faculty soccer, in any case. Anger is the default setting. So, let’s get to this week’s Anger Index.
1. Washington Huskies (8-2)
We discuss so much about résumé relating to the School Soccer Playoff rankings, however we not often outline what precisely résumé seems like. So, here is one suggestion:
• No less than one win vs. an excellent to nice opponent (within the high 10% of FBS groups) to show you may play with the very best of the very best.
• Three or extra wins in opposition to good groups (within the high one-third of FBS groups) to show you may survive the week-in, week-out grind.
• Two or extra wins in true street video games to point out you may go right into a hostile atmosphere and maintain your individual.
Add these three issues up, bundle them with a sterling win-loss report, and you have got a resumé worthy of playoff consideration.
So, who suits that invoice proper now?
As of this week, there are 9 groups. Eight of them are ranked among the many high 9 groups within the nation (No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 TCU, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 6 LSU, No. 8 Alabama and No. 9 Clemson).
The ninth crew? That’d be the Washington Huskies, who examine in at a less-than-exciting No. 17 on this week’s rankings, behind 4 different Pac-12 groups, together with two-loss Utah at No. 10 and two-loss UCLA at No. 16 in addition to two-loss Oregon, ranked 5 spots larger, regardless of shedding final week at house to… Washington!
So, why does the committee dismiss the Huskies? It is all about type factors.
Washington led Michigan State 39-10 within the second half, however the recreation completed 39-28.
The Huskies have been up 30-7 on Stanford on the finish of the third quarter, however the Cardinal rallied late for a 40-22 loss.
They have been up 42-24 on Arizona within the second half, too, however that recreation ended 49-39.
Basically, Washington has gone up huge then gone on autopilot, and the tip result’s a handful of wins in opposition to lackluster opponents that look totally mediocre.
Nicely, that and the loss to Arizona State. How can anybody clarify that one? A choose six? Three turnovers on downs? Some kind of voodoo curse? Your guess is nearly as good as ours.
The primary eight groups we included listed below are 23-0 in opposition to the underside half of FBS groups (per FPI) and have a mean margin of victory of 40 factors.
Washington is 4-1 and has received by a mean of 10 factors.
However is it cheap to guage Washington by what it did in opposition to Arizona State after we’ve witnessed the Huskies toppled Oregon in Eugene?
The Pac-12 is basically a five-team stalemate proper now, so so much can change. However there’s actually little or no case for Washington because the fourth of these 5 groups, and if we merely have a look at the credit relatively than the debits on the Huskies’ resumé, there’s truly a reasonably sturdy case for placing them on the high of the heap.
2. The ACC
Clearly the committee will not be a fan of the ACC, regardless of the league’s 9 groups with six wins or higher already. That pesky Notre Dame deal, which retains resulting in ugly losses for the league and no salvation from realignment from the Irish is an actual downside.
This week’s rankings put the ACC in a little bit of a bind. Clemson is ranked No. 9, the bottom by any of the supposed playoff contenders, a spot behind two-loss Alabama. Sure, Clemson’s résumé is much superior to, say, No. 7 USC. And sure, Clemson beat a Florida State crew that beat two-loss LSU (ranked three spots larger). And sure, the Tigers rebounded properly from the Notre Dame loss final week with an emphatic win over Louisville. However the committee is not shopping for, which suggests the Tigers can win out and nonetheless be on the backside of the convention champion pecking order.
That is doubly true for North Carolina. Here is a fast comparability:
Workforce A: 9-1, No. 11 power of report, No. 75 power of schedule, street loss to ranked crew, Heisman contender QB, shaky protection, former Large 12 teaching nice on the helm, kind of a wine-and-cheese fan base.
Workforce B: 9-1, No. 10 power of report, No. 65 power of schedule, street loss to a ranked crew, Heisman contender at QB, former Large 12 teaching nice on the helm, kind of a wine-and-cheese fan base.
Not a lot separating the 2, proper? And but, six spots separate Workforce A (North Carolina) from Workforce B (USC) within the rankings.
3. Everybody exterior the Large Ten
Ohio State is No. 2. Michigan is No. 3. Each, by any eye check or statistical metric, are excellent groups.
And but, have a look at the résumés.
Michigan beat Penn State. It is subsequent greatest win is by a landing at house vs. Maryland. Seven of its 10 wins are in opposition to groups .500 or worse (and the opposite is Iowa, which… sorry, we fell asleep whereas typing Iowa.)
Ohio State beat Penn State. It is subsequent greatest win was a relatively unimpressive affair within the opener in opposition to Notre Dame. In Large Ten play, the very best crew the Buckeyes have overwhelmed is… sorry, we nodded off once more eager about Iowa.
So the lynchpin for each groups to be ranked within the high three is Penn State. And but, Penn State’s greatest wins are Purdue, Auburn and Minnesota — all unranked.
None of that is to recommend Michigan and Ohio State aren’t two of the three greatest groups within the nation. They could be. However even earlier than the season started, it was apparent the trail to get right here was only a two-step course of: Beat Penn State, meet up in Columbus on Nov. 26.
Should be good.
How a 12-team playoff would look
Everybody with the ability to increase the School Soccer Playoff desires the sector to develop to 12 groups in time for the 2024 season.
However presently, enlargement is scheduled to start in 2026. So whereas discussions proceed on the best way to transfer up the timeline, we’re having a look at how a 12-team playoff would look right this moment based mostly on the already-determined mannequin launched by the commissioners and presidents.
The sector will likely be composed of the choice committee’s six highest-ranked convention champions and its subsequent six highest-ranked groups. The 4 highest-ranked convention champions will earn the highest seeds and a first-round bye. The opposite eight groups will play within the first spherical, with the upper seeds internet hosting the decrease seeds on campus or at one other website of their selection.
Here is what the playoff would seem like if the 12-team format have been in place right this moment:
Seeds with byes
2. Ohio State
(convention champs in daring)
11. Penn State
First-round video games
No. 12 UCF at No. 5 Michigan
No. 11 Penn State at No. 6 Tennessee
No. 10 Utah at No. 7 LSU
No. 9 Clemson at No. 8 Alabama
Quarterfinal video games
No. 9 Clemson-No. 8 Alabama winner vs. No. 1 Georgia
No. 10 Utah-No. 7 LSU winner vs. No. 2 Ohio State
No. 11 Penn State-No. 6 Tennessee winner vs. No. 3 TCU
No. 12 UCF-No. 5 Michigan winner vs. No. 4 USC
Report: 10-0 | SOS: 44 | SOR: 2
Largest win: Nov. 5 vs. Tennessee 27-13
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Saturday at Kentucky
Final playoff look: 2022 CFP Nationwide championship, No. 3 Georgia 33, No. 1 Alabama 18
No. 2 Ohio State
Report: 10-0 | SOS: 60 | SOR: 4
Largest win: Oct. 29 at Penn State 44-31
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Nov. 26 vs. Michigan
Final playoff look: 2021 CFP Nationwide Championship, No. 1 Alabama 52, No. 3 Ohio State 24
No. 3 Michigan
Report: 10-0 | SOS: 82 | SOR: 5
Largest win: Oct. 15 vs. Penn State 41-17
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Nov. 26 at Ohio State
Final playoff look: 2022 Playoff Semifinal on the Orange Bowl, No. 3 Georgia 34, No. 2 Michigan 11
No. 4 TCU
Report: 10-0 | SOS: 38 | SOR: 1
Largest win: Oct. 22 vs. Texas 17-10
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Saturday at Baylor
Final playoff look: By no means
No. 5 Tennessee
Report: 9-1 | SOS: 3 | SOR: 3
Largest win: Oct. 8 at LSU 40-13
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Saturday at South Carolina
Final playoff look: By no means
No. 6 LSU
Report: 8-2 | SOS: 11 | SOR: 7
Largest win: Nov. 5 vs. Alabama 32-31
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Nov. 26 at Texas A&M
Final playoff look: 2020 CFP Nationwide Championship: No. 1 LSU 42, No. 3 Clemson 25
No. 7 USC
Report: 9-1 | SOS: 65 | SOR: 10
Largest win: Sept. 24 at Oregon State 17-14
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Saturday at UCLA
Final playoff look: By no means
No. 8 Clemson
Report: 9-1 | SOS: 55 | SOR: 8
Largest win: Oct. 1 vs. NC State 30-20
Largest remaining regular-season recreation: Nov. 26 vs. South Carolina
Final playoff look: 2021 Playoff Semifinal on the Sugar Bowl, No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28