Throughout Saturday’s 28-17 victory towards Penn State, Ohio State coach Ryan Day turned to one in every of his assistant coaches and mentioned, “Possibly it has been a little bit too straightforward at occasions.”
Ohio State, which entered the sport ranked No. 1 within the nation in scoring margin at 41.7 factors per recreation, received by 11 factors Saturday — its smallest margin of victory this season. It was a season-defining win that clinched the Huge Ten’s East division and assured the Buckeyes a spot within the convention championship recreation, however it won’t have been sufficient to leap LSU for the No. 1 spot this coming week within the School Soccer Playoff rankings.
Why does that matter now?
As a result of it may imply the distinction later between going through undefeated defending nationwide champion Clemson in a semifinal — or the No. Four crew, which may now be Utah. Or Oklahoma. Or a Tua-less Alabama.
What we do know is that it will not be Oregon.
With one-loss Energy 5 contenders Georgia, Alabama, Utah, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Baylor all successful Saturday, the controversy over No. 1 needs to be the most important query going through the 13-member School Soccer Playoff choice committee this week, however Oregon’s loss at Arizona State opens the door wider for all of them on Choice Day.
The affect of the Geese’ second loss will transcend eliminating them from the playoff dialog. The Pac-12’s hopes now hinge on Utah, which ought to transfer as much as the No. 6 spot this week. However there are two primary causes the Utes have been behind Oregon within the first three CFP rankings: their loss to USC, and a nonconference schedule that included BYU (7-4), Northern Illinois (4-7) and Idaho State (3-9). And now the Utes might want to beat the Geese within the Pac-12 title recreation and hope these two components do not stop them from moving into the playoff forward of Alabama or one other one-loss convention champion akin to Oklahoma.
With Penn State additionally shedding, it is necessary to see who the committee’s highest-ranked two-loss crew is that this week, as a result of if Oregon falls out of the highest 10, it could considerably devalue a victory for Utah within the Pac-12 convention championship recreation. Would a Utah win over Oregon be higher than a Baylor win over Oklahoma? Most likely not after Saturday, however it would possibly nonetheless carry extra weight than an OU victory over Baylor.
No person can have a greater alternative to punctuate its playoff résumé in a convention title recreation than LSU. After a sluggish begin, LSU hammered 2-9 Arkansas as anticipated and clinched the SEC West title, cementing its spot within the SEC championship recreation towards No. Four Georgia. If the Tigers beat the Bulldogs, that opens the No. Four spot, and it may very well be a big hole this season between No. Three Clemson and the No. Four crew.
Which is why the No. 1 spot is necessary beginning now.
Ohio State will finish the common season towards a ranked rival in No. 13 Michigan, then face a possible top-10 crew (Minnesota or Wisconsin) within the Huge Ten title recreation. However Saturday towards PSU may need been the Buckeyes’ finest probability to leap to No. 1. If the Buckeyes cannot bounce the Tigers this week, after beating the No. eight Nittany Lions, can they actually count on to take action if LSU provides a Georgia win to its already-stellar portfolio? Most likely not, except Ohio State places up one other 2014-style, 59-Zero title-game win.
Which is alongside the traces of what Alabama will want Saturday towards Auburn within the Iron Bowl. Whereas Alabama has held regular on the No. 5 place, the committee has but to judge the Crimson Tide towards ranked competitors with quarterback Mac Jones within the lineup. Will probably be the primary and solely time the committee can decide if Alabama is “unequivocally” one of many 4 finest groups within the nation.
Alabama’s alternative is towards a three-loss Auburn crew. Different playoff contenders from the Pac-12, Huge Ten and Huge 12 can have the chance to earn wins towards equally ranked groups — and take house all-important convention titles — whereas the Crimson Tide are watching from house.
So between the race for No. 1 and the scramble for No. 4, issues simply bought a complete lot extra fascinating for the ultimate two weeks.