The school soccer calendar is a merciless one. The offseason lasts eight months (9, in case your workforce is not superb), and we attempt to savor each ounce of the three to 4 months of motion that we get. Solely … most of what we find yourself really remembering from a given season occurs in a single month: November.

The Kick Six occurred on Nov. 30. Nebraska-Oklahoma 1971, aka the Sport of the Century? Nov. 25. Hail Flutie? Nov. 23. The Flea Kicker: Nov. 9. Michigan beating Ohio State in 1969 to begin the Ten 12 months Warfare: Nov. 22. Extensive Proper I: Nov. 16. Run, Lindsey, Run: Nov. 8. You get the concept.

It takes a few months to set the stakes for a given season, after which November settles them.

Pleased Nov. 1, by the way in which.

To prepare for the largest month of the school soccer season, let’s check out an important video games and, in all probability, the largest arguments we’ve got in retailer for this wonderful month forward.

What’s going to we be arguing about in a month?

The primary School Soccer Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday, and since there is not an entire heck of so much happening in Week 10 — 4 of the highest 5 groups on this week’s AP ballot are on bye, and the fifth (Clemson) is taking part in Wofford — we’ve got a good thought of how the primary rankings will look. Alabama, LSU and Ohio State will in all probability be the highest three in some order, Clemson and Penn State can be fourth and fifth, and from there we’ll get a batch of one-loss groups (Oklahoma, Oregon, the Florida-Georgia winner, perhaps Utah), then the remaining Energy 5 unbeatens (Baylor and Minnesota).

We are going to argue about this as a result of it is what we do. The preliminary rankings will not matter for all that lengthy, although. All that issues is the place we find yourself. Utilizing the ESPN Stats & Info’s playoff predictor instrument (which itself makes use of FPI), I attempted to create a hierarchy of School Soccer Playoff odds based mostly on potential upcoming outcomes.

Monday by Friday, host Mina Kimes brings you an inside take a look at probably the most fascinating tales at ESPN, as advised by the highest reporters and insiders on the planet. Listen

Teams in bold win out from here through championship week. For the teams that aren’t in bold, I created specific circumstances in parentheses. Obviously tons of other scenarios exist, but I was aiming to account for all the most likely ones.

1. 13-0 Alabama: 99.9%
2. 13-0 Ohio State: 99.8%
3. 13-0 LSU: 99.6%
4. 13-0 Penn State: 99.6%
5. 13-0 Clemson: 99.3%
6. 12-1 Alabama (SEC champ with a loss to Auburn): 97.0%
7. 12-1 LSU (SEC champ with loss to Texas A&M): 96.4%
8. 12-1 Penn State (Big Ten champ with regular-season loss to Minnesota): 94.9%
9. 12-1 Ohio State (Big Ten champ with loss to Michigan): 91.7%
10. 12-1 Georgia: 88.6%
11. 12-1 Florida: 78.6%
12. 13-0 Minnesota: 78.4%
13. 11-2 Auburn (wins SEC): 73.7%
14. 11-1 LSU (loses to Alabama, doesn’t reach SEC title game): 73.0%
15. 11-1 Alabama (loses to LSU, doesn’t reach SEC title game): 65.3%
16. 11-1 Penn State (loses to Ohio State, doesn’t reach Big Ten title game): 59.2%
17. 13-0 Baylor: 54.7%
18. 11-1 Ohio State (loses to Penn State, doesn’t reach Big Ten title game): 51.8%
19. 12-1 Oregon: 42.7%
20. 12-1 Oklahoma: 29.5%
21. 11-2 Florida (loses to Florida State but wins SEC): 29.2%
22. 12-1 Clemson (ACC champ with a loss to South Carolina): 27.3%
23. 11-2 Georgia (loses to Auburn but wins SEC): 23.3%
24. 12-1 Minnesota (Big Ten champ with regular-season loss to Penn State): 21.5%
25. 12-1 Utah: 18.2%
26. 12-1 Clemson (loses in ACC title game): 13.8%
27. 11-2 Wisconsin: 9.6%
28. 12-1 Baylor (Big 12 champ with regular season loss to Oklahoma): 5.4%
29. 11-2 Iowa: 5.4%

These were the teams and scenarios I could find that produced at least a 5% chance of making the CFP. We can quibble with some of these numbers if you want. If Baylor wins out, for instance, then the only likely way I think the Bears don’t get a playoff spot is if there are four other unbeaten teams. I think their odds are better than 55%. (Baylor’s odds above do not take into account their win over West Virginia.)

Still, this gives us a solid understanding of both the title hierarchy and the arguments to come.

Imagine scenarios involving some combination of an 11-1 Bama-LSU loser, an 11-1 Penn State/Ohio State loser, a 12-1 Oregon and a 12-1 Oklahoma (or, apparently, 13-0 Baylor) battling for one spot. It’s quite possible at least one of those four candidates will lose another game beyond what’s listed, but this would be one doozy of a debate featuring all the greatest hits — the value of conference titles, which teams didn’t play anybody, etc. And while most races come down to basically choosing one of two teams, it’s not hard to envision this one being a lot more complicated.

Are you mad about this already? Good. I’ve done my job.

Where each conference race stands

Flipping from FPI to my SP+ ratings, let’s take a look at the conference title races. There’s still a lot to be decided between now and Nov. 30.

Using SP+ projections and average projected conference wins, I’m listing everyone from each division projected within a game of the lead.


Atlantic: Clemson (7.9 projected conference wins)
Coastal: Virginia (5.0), UNC (4.4), Pitt (4.4), Miami (4.0), VT (4.0)
Key remaining games: Virginia at UNC (Nov. 2), Wake Forest at Virginia Tech (Nov. 9), North Carolina at Pitt (Nov. 14), Wake Forest at Clemson (Nov. 16), Pitt at Virginia Tech (Nov. 23), Virginia Tech at Virginia (Nov. 29)

I listed Clemson-Wake in the key games because Wake is the only team within even 3.5 projected wins of the Tigers in the Atlantic, but we know who’s winning that division. The fact that four Coastal teams are within easy striking range of that title, however, is delicious.

Big 12

Baylor (7.5), Oklahoma (7.1), Iowa State (5.4), Texas (4.9)
Key remaining games: Iowa State at Oklahoma (Nov. 9), Oklahoma at Baylor (Nov. 16), Texas at Iowa State (Nov. 16), Texas at Baylor (Nov. 23)

Thanks to Iowa State’s gut-wrenching bad fortune, this race has grown pretty clear. If anyone can muddy up the waters, though, it’s either ISU or Texas, but Baylor probably needs to lose a couple of times at this point.

Big Ten

East: Ohio State (8.5), Penn State (7.6)
West: Minnesota (7.4)
Key remaining games: Penn State at Ohio State (Nov. 23), Wisconsin at Minnesota (Nov. 30)

In the playoff discussion above, I referenced a scenario in which Ohio State loses to Michigan — stop snickering, Michigan will beat the Buckeyes again … at some point … maybe — but that one probably matters only to the national title race. It’s hard to imagine anyone but the winners of the two games above winning this conference. And Minnesota will need to have lost another game before Wisconsin visits for that one to even matter.


North: Oregon (8.1)
South: Utah (7.3), USC (6.6)
Key remaining games: Oregon at USC (Nov. 2), Utah at Washington (Nov. 2)

The North race is just about over; but the South is a little blurrier — USC has the tiebreaker over Utah but is far more likely to lose another game down the stretch. If the Trojans survive Oregon on Saturday, a pothole trip to Arizona State looms.


East: Florida (5.9), Georgia (5.9)
West: Alabama (7.3), LSU (7.1)
Key remaining games: Florida vs. Georgia (Nov. 2), LSU at Alabama (Nov. 9)

The East race will be all but decided this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, and the West race (plus the team we use in the “They’re 11-1 and clearly elite but didn’t win their conference title!” scenarios) will probably settle itself in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, next Saturday.


East: Cincinnati (6.6), UCF (6.4)
West: SMU (6.1), Navy (6.1), Memphis (6.1)
Key remaining games: SMU at Memphis (Nov. 2), SMU at Navy (Nov. 23), Cincinnati at Memphis (Nov. 29)

Cincinnati’s obviously in excellent shape in the East thanks to the home win over UCF, while Memphis already holds the tiebreaker over Navy and could seize control with a win over SMU. But if the Mustangs win, that SMU-Navy game in a few weeks is enormous.