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Rating 131 school soccer groups after Week 9: Who has a path to the Playoff?

The School Soccer Playoff rankings are upon us. It is time to ask who actually has an opportunity to make it.

It has been a enjoyable season by nine-plus weeks, partially as a result of there was little or no CFP dialog. ESPN has pulled again on the discuss throughout video games and exhibits, and we have been in a position to revel within the shocking and enjoyable outcomes for what they’re, with out enthusiastic about the larger image.

However that greater image is now right here, with the primary CFP rankings coming Tuesday evening. It is at all times been a captivating train, rating 25 groups once they choose solely 4 on the finish. In the end, it is content material, and what the game has at all times been constructed on is content material.

So as a substitute of 4 or 25, and earlier than all the rankings of all 131 groups, I’ll listing the groups I consider can really make the School Soccer Playoff, so as based mostly on what I feel is their probability, with their present rating in The Athletic 131 in brackets.

Georgia (2)
Tennessee (1)
Clemson (5)
Michigan (3)
Ohio State (4)
Alabama (7)
TCUs (6)
Oregon (8)
USC (9)
Ole Miss (11)
UCLA (10)
North Carolina (18)
Illinois (13)

That’s not the highest 13 groups, however these are the one groups who nonetheless have a shot at making the CFP. That’s each Energy 5 workforce with one or zero losses. 13 is not dangerous for a four-team subject with a bit greater than a month to go.

The Tennessee-Georgia matchup is a giant sport for the winner, but additionally for the loser. The winner is sort of assured a spot within the CFP (see: Georgia shedding the SEC championship final 12 months however nonetheless getting in). If the sport is shut, the loser may very well be in a great spot as nicely, if the winner goes on to win the SEC.

We’ll in all probability get 11-0 Michigan vs. 11-0 Ohio State. The winner will doubtless win the Large Ten and be within the CFP (the Large Ten West has by no means gained the convention title sport). The loser may have a troublesome path as a result of it will not have many high quality wins, because the Large Ten is down as an entire.

TCU is undefeated and has its hardest video games behind it, however the Frogs nonetheless have a number of tough video games forward. An undefeated TCU could be in. A 12-1 TCU with one shut loss earlier than the Large 12 championship may keep alive as a result of it has high quality wins. A one-loss Pac-12 champion would have a shot however would doubtless need assistance elsewhere. One-loss Ole Miss nonetheless has a path by the SEC West. Win out and get an LSU loss, and the Rebels could be in. One-loss Illinois would want to beat Michigan on Nov. 19 after which win the Large Ten, and one-loss North Carolina would want to win out and beat Clemson within the ACC title sport, however even nonetheless would in all probability need assistance.

So that is the state of affairs going into the CFP rankings. However do not forget: The CFP just isn’t the one essential factor about school soccer. There are nonetheless massive video games for convention titles, rivalries, bowl eligibility and extra. These rankings acknowledge everybody, so let’s get into this week’s version of The Athletic 131.


Ohio State pulled away for a 44-31 win at Penn State. (Matthew O’Haren/USA As we speak)

1-10

Rank Group File Prev

1

8-0

1

2

8-0

2

3

8-0

4

4

8-0

5

5

8-0

3

6

8-0

7

7

7-1

6

8

7-1

8

9

7-1

10

10

7-1

12

I needed to see Ohio State face a take a look at, and the Buckeyes received examined at Penn State. The Buckeyes have been flustered at occasions and struggled to run the ball, they usually discovered themselves trailing within the fourth quarter. However a string of massive offensive and defensive performs led to a 44-31 win. That sport, coupled with Michigan’s domination of Michigan State, ends in the Wolverines and Buckeyes shifting forward of Clemson. The Tigers additionally stumble right here as a result of their two greatest wins, Wake Forest and Syracuse, have been devalued by their respective blowout losses on Saturday. Don’t fret, Clemson followers, because the Tigers nonetheless have a transparent and favorable path to the CFP, and having three High 25 wins is an effective case to make.

TCU additionally strikes forward of Alabama, and that is admittedly one thing I would been considering for some time. I ought to word that these rankings aren’t solely about power of schedule or power of file. My subjective opinion is a part of this too. It isn’t a formulation. It is a mixture of the notable issues a workforce has carried out and the way it’s regarded doing it.

Alabama could be a betting favourite to beat TCU, and the Tide almost beat Tennessee. On the similar time, TCU has higher wins, a greater power of file (third vs. sixth, per ESPN) and an analogous power of schedule within the Sagarin scores (although Bama’s is way harder on ESPN). TCU needed to come again from down three scores to win some video games, whereas Alabama was a play away from shedding to Texas and Texas A&M. You possibly can make an argument to place TCU within the prime 4, although one may additionally push again by noting the Frogs have performed towards a number of backup or injured QBs. In the end, I put TCU forward of the Tide this week, however Alabama’s subsequent two video games towards LSU and Ole Miss may change that shortly.

The one different modifications on this group are USC and UCLA shifting up on account of losses by Oklahoma State and Wake Forest.

Tennessee vs. Georgia, No. 1 vs. No. 2 relying on which rankings you utilize, must be an excellent one.

11-25

A string of losses from groups on this group ends in Illinois, Tulane and Kansas State shifting into the highest 15. The Illini lead the nation in scoring protection and look primed to succeed in the Large Ten championship sport. Kansas State destroyed Oklahoma State 48-0, the worst lack of Mike Gundy’s profession. Tulane was idle this week however rose solely due to its earlier win towards Kansas State. Victories earlier within the season can change into extra spectacular as a season goes on, and changes must be made. Tulane controls its future for the AAC title and Group of 5 New 12 months’s Six spot, however the Inexperienced Wave nonetheless should play UCF, SMU and Cincinnati within the common season.

Oklahoma State tumbles after the loss, however wins towards Texas and Baylor and the additional time sport towards TCU preserve the Cowboys within the prime 25 for now. Equally, Kentucky has wins towards Mississippi State and Florida and the slender loss to Ole Miss to remain right here, whereas Syracuse has a win towards NC State. Texas strikes again in at No. 25. I am positive that’ll draw a response, however all the opposite groups across the Longhorns have been additionally idle this week, so it simply type of occurred. Texas’ three losses are by a mixed 11 factors, for what it is value.


Notre Dame has taken an uncommon path to a 5-3 file. (Mark Konezny/USA As we speak)

26-50

Notre Dame has wins towards Syracuse and North Carolina however losses towards Stanford and Marshall. The Irish are a tough workforce to rank. The identical goes for Louisville, which has wins towards UCF and Wake Forest however a loss to Boston School. Coastal Carolina beat Marshall 24-13 on the highway and might be best-positioned for the G5 NY6 spot behind Tulane.

UCF’s win towards Cincinnati ended the Bearcats’ 19-game AAC profitable streak and put the 2 groups in the identical pool with East Carolina, which beat UCF final week.

51-75

Boise State has gained 4 consecutive video games since a 2-2 begin and now appears to be like just like the Mountain West favourite once more. Missouri strikes up after a 23-10 win towards South Carolina. BYU’s loss to East Carolina was the Cougars’ fourth consecutive defeat. Southern Miss beat Louisiana 39-24 and is one win away from a bowl in head coach Will Corridor’s second season, regardless of nonetheless counting on a working again at quarterback in some conditions.

North Texas dominated Western Kentucky 40-13 to take management of second place in Convention USA, and the Imply Inexperienced are 9-1 of their previous 10 C-USA video games. Toledo made a late comeback with out QB Dequan Finn to beat Japanese Michigan and keep in charge of the MAC West. San Jose State beat Nevada 35-28 with a fourth-quarter comeback, an emotional win on an evening this system honored and celebrated working again Camdan McWright, who died final week.

76-100

I am pretty sure that is the primary time since these rankings started in 2017 that UConn is inside the highest 100, and it is deserved! The Huskies are 4-5 after a 13-3 win towards Boston School. This program had 4 wins over its earlier three seasons mixed. Jim Mora has one thing going there.

Miami’s 14-12 four-overtime win towards Virginia didn’t have somebody cross the aim line with the ball till the game-winning two-point rating on the ultimate play. Actually ugly stuff. Rice’s gorgeous loss to Charlotte all of a sudden places the Owls’ bowl prospects at risk. Virginia Tech blew a 21-3 third-quarter lead towards NC State and has misplaced 5 consecutive video games for the primary time since 1992. The Hokies additionally misplaced each October sport for the primary time since 1952. Fresno State overcame a 28-17 deficit within the ultimate two minutes to beat San Diego State. With Jake Haener lastly again, can the Bulldogs make a run within the Mountain West?

101-131

How about FIU? The Panthers went 1-16 within the earlier two years and entered this season on a 17-game shedding streak towards FBS opponents. Now FIU is 4-4 beneath first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre and should have a QB to construct round in Grayson James. The Panthers’ 4 wins — Bryant, New Mexico State, Charlotte and Louisiana Tech — will not mild the world on fireplace, however they’re the type of wins they should begin constructing a basis.

Northwestern continues to hit new lows, most not too long ago a 33-13 loss to an Iowa workforce that has one of many worst offenses within the nation. Charlotte’s 56-23 win towards Rice was some of the stunning outcomes of the weekend, one week after firing head coach Will Healy. UMass had a chance to get out from the No. 131 spot, however the Minutemen misplaced to New Mexico State.

(High pic: John Adams/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures)

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