Let’s speak head-to-head matchups.
Besides these will not be performed out on the sphere. The 2-team battles we’re discussing as we speak shall be waged behind the closed (Zoom?) doorways of the School Soccer Playoff choice committee. We’re asking the query: If it got here down to those two groups, in these precise eventualities, which might the committee select?
To reply these questions we’re counting on our trusty Allstate Playoff Predictor. As a result of it is a mathematical mannequin based mostly on the committee’s previous conduct, the Predictor will not inform us definitively whom the committee would select, however as a substitute will dish out its opinion in possibilities. Generally, it is going to be fairly assured; different conditions shall be extra of a toss-up. However it would all the time have an opinion. So, who will get in …
Undefeated USC vs. one-loss Notre Dame (loss in ACC championship recreation)
Allstate Playoff Predictor: lean USC
This actually may go both manner. In a traditional season it would not be shut — an undefeated Energy 5 convention champion is a shoo-in — however the Pac-12’s abbreviated schedule signifies that its convention champ will not have as robust a résumé as faculties from different conferences, typically even when these different faculties have losses. And that is the case right here: We challenge that Notre Dame with a loss would have a stronger energy of report than an undefeated USC.
However, USC nonetheless would haven’t one however two issues going for it right here in comparison with Notre Dame: a zero within the loss column and a convention championship. As we have famous earlier than, variety of losses should not be within the Playoff Predictor mannequin as a result of energy of report already incorporates it and the committee has traditionally positioned an additional emphasis on the variety of losses whatever the problem of a schedule.
Regardless of that, that is shut. Whereas the Predictor thinks the Trojans can be the (barely) extra possible choice, it would not be shocked if the committee in the end sided with the Preventing Irish.
Undefeated BYU vs. two-loss champion Clemson
Allstate Playoff Predictor: BYU extra possible, with a caveat
The primary a part of this equation could be very more likely to occur. No workforce is extra more likely to report an undefeated common season than BYU, at 89%, with simply two video games to go (together with a gimme towards North Alabama). For Clemson, we’re assuming a loss towards Virginia Tech earlier than a win over Notre Dame to win the ACC.
This units up an excessive model of the controversy the committee has had for years: greatest vs. most deserving. There’s not a soul on the earth that may argue BYU is best than Clemson, even when the Tigers drop one other recreation. However on the identical time, it’s miles simpler to argue that BYU earned the playoff spot, having gone undefeated and with Clemson having a pair of losses.
The Playoff Predictor thinks the Cougars would in all probability win this battle, with Clemson’s second loss torpedoing the Tigers’ probabilities. However would the committee excuse Clemson’s loss to Notre Dame because it did not have Trevor Lawrence? It additionally does not really feel not possible that we might hear the argument that the Tigers are “mainly a one-loss champion,” despite the fact that that may primarily imply that among the best school soccer video games of the season really had no penalties for Clemson. That half is out of the Predictor’s purview and it doesn’t account for it. With out the Lawrence argument, it thinks BYU would have a strong edge.
Undefeated Cincinnati vs. one-loss champion Wisconsin
Allstate Playoff Predictor says: lean Wisconsin
That is fascinating as a result of it has a complete confluence of things flying in numerous instructions. We have Group of 5 vs. Energy 5, which usually would not be a query. However Cincinnati is undefeated towards a for much longer schedule than Wisconsin — which might be simply 6-1 on this state of affairs and would have a worse energy of report than the Bearcats.
Nonetheless, the Allstate Playoff Predictor thinks the Large Ten champ would have the sting. Be mindful, nevertheless: FPI is head over heels for the Badgers. It thinks they’re the fourth-best workforce within the nation, largely based mostly on its preseason opinion since Wisconsin has solely performed one recreation. If the Badgers had been to stumble en path to that 6-1 report, this might flip.
One-loss champion Oregon vs. 10-1 Texas A&M
Allstate Playoff Predictor says: Texas A&M, clearly
The Allstate Playoff Predictor is sympathetic to the Pac-12’s playoff probabilities … as long as that Pac-12 champion is undefeated. That goes again to the committee’s deference to the loss column. However as soon as the Pac-12 champion picks up that loss, the Predictor loses any affection it has for the convention. The quick schedule with none really elite wins obtainable signifies that Oregon’s convention championship would not be sufficient to earn the respect of the committee over an A&M workforce that did not attain the SEC championship recreation however misplaced to solely Alabama.
Résumé-wise, this one is not shut: A&M would possible have one of many best energy of information within the nation at 10-1 towards a schedule that featured Alabama, Florida, Auburn and LSU, whereas Oregon’s common SOR rank can be 13.
One-loss champion Oklahoma State vs. one-loss non-champion Ohio State
Allstate Playoff Predictor says: lean Ohio State
That is really too unlikely for the Predictor to make a precise name on. FPI thinks Oklahoma State is simply the 18th-best workforce in school soccer and thus the possibilities of it really profitable out are fairly slim. That is additionally an element with regards to the committee’s resolution. Whereas we have famous that résumé is extra vital than workforce high quality — and Oklahoma State would have the résumé edge right here when it comes to each energy of report and convention championship — the latter does play a task. And that is a kind of conditions the place Ohio State, regardless of being the non-champion on this matchup, is clearly the higher workforce (the Buckeyes rank second in FPI’s rankings).
Lauren Poe contributed to this text.