The infinite debate in regards to the attainable permutations of the School Soccer Playoff race will get narrowed after Week 12. 5 of the most important contenders for the semifinals face troublesome opponents which can be able to knocking them out of consideration.
The largest showdown comes within the Massive Ten as No. 4 Ohio State hosts No. 8 Michigan State. The Buckeyes have already misplaced as soon as at house to Oregon. The Spartans might be seeking to make it two defeats in opposition to playoff contenders after a earlier defeat of Michigan. The winner would simply want yet one more victory to lock up the Massive Ten East title.
No. 2 Alabama is predicted to achieve the SEC title recreation and face No. 1 Georgia, nevertheless a pair important opponents are in entrance of the Crimson Tide. No. 22 Arkansas pays a go to Saturday, seeking to lengthen its three-game win streak and earn its first victory within the collection since 2006.
HIGHS AND LOWS: School Soccer Playoff rankings winners and losers
There’s additionally a problem for No. 3 Cincinnati this weekend with SMU coming to city. The Mustangs rose as excessive as No. 17 within the USA TODAY Sports activities AFCA Coaches Ballot earlier than consecutive losses, however have an offense able to scoring on the unbeaten Bearcats and making this a troublesome recreation.
No. 5 Oregon heads to No. 25 Utah in a difficult matchup that doubtless would be the first of two video games between the colleges. Every wants yet one more win to lock up their respective division titles. The Utes are 6-1 since switching to Cam Rising at quarterback and the weather and atmosphere might be troublesome to beat.
Within the loopy world of faculty soccer, there are at all times surprises and surprising outcomes. A few of our consultants provide their forecasts on what we might be shocked by this weekend.
A staff that might damage some Massive Ten hopefuls’ title aspirations is Wisconsin. The Badgers misplaced three of their first 4 video games, wanting completely pathetic within the course of, to Penn State, Notre Dame and Michigan. They’ve turned it on recently. Of their final six video games, all victories, the protection hasn’t allowed greater than 14 factors. After all, these wins got here in opposition to offensive juggernauts corresponding to Illinois, Military, Iowa and Rutgers. Subsequent up is difficult luck loser Nebraska and one other probability for the protection to shine.
That is the week the School Soccer Playoff says goodbye to the Pac-12. Oregon has been sitting within the prime 4 because the first version of the rankings, however the Geese have been residing virtually solely off their street upset of Ohio State. They haven’t been particularly spectacular within the month of November, and their loss to Stanford, even when it got here in additional time, is the worst defeat any one-loss Energy 5 playoff contender has on its resume this season. Merely put: Oregon has no margin for error. So after all it has to play Utah, probably the most constant and bodily program within the league, this week — within the Utes’ home. Utah, winners of six of its final seven with 5 double-digit victories in that span, pulls the upset to make sure the Pac-12 misses the playoff for the fifth consecutive season.
Iowa State palms Oklahoma a second straight loss and knocks the Sooners fully out of School Soccer Playoff competition. The loss even places OU on the surface of the Massive 12 championship recreation relying on the outcomes of Oklahoma State in opposition to Texas Tech and Baylor in opposition to Kansas State. The Cyclones have had an uneven season after being picked to contend for the playoff however can end within the High 25 with three wins in a row to finish the 12 months.
Following an emotional house victory with a tricky journey is at all times a difficult proposition. The state of affairs performed out earlier this season with Baylor beating Texas after which following up with a loss at TCU. Now the Bears face the identical problem after their defeat of Oklahoma. A visit to face Kansas State looms this weekend and Baylor’s emotional state might be important to leaving with a win that may maintain it within the Massive 12 title race. The Wildcats have been surging recently with 4 consecutive wins and appear poised to make the Bears repeat historical past. Search for Skylar Thompson and Deuce Vaughn to supply the offense as Kansas State pulls off an upset.
Sorry, Pac-12, however, to borrow a phrase from the Sundays, right here’s the place the story ends. Oregon’s Week 2 win at Ohio State has apparently earned the staff the good thing about loads of doubts from the playoff committee, even to the purpose of forgiving what’s turning into an more and more unhealthy loss to Stanford. However whereas one loss may be overcome, a second can’t be, and that second loss for the Geese will arrive Saturday evening at Utah. Oregon may very nicely win the rematch with the Utes in a few weeks and declare the Pac-12 title, however the harm might be achieved. The convention’s playoff drought will final one other 12 months.
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: School soccer picks: Predictions for High 25 NCAA video games in Week 12