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Rating 131 faculty soccer groups after Week 12: TCU retains proving it belongs

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There was a common sense across the Faculty Soccer Playoff dialog that TCU is fortunate to be there and that one loss will knock the Horned Frogs out. However that should not be the case.

Little question, TCU has wanted plenty of second-half comebacks to win, none extra notable than the hearth drill game-winning subject purpose to beat Baylor on Saturday. However this goes again additional. Final week, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith dismissed the Frogs and mentioned they hadn’t performed anybody and that “competitors issues.” He learn off the schedule and mentioned it is not deserving of a top-four rating, even when undefeated.

It obtained a number of response, as a result of that is the purpose, in spite of everything. However Smith was not alone. Paul Finebaum, in the identical phase, agreed and downplayed the standard of the Huge 12.

What Smith, Finebaum and others missed is that the Huge 12 is the deepest convention within the nation. Eight of 10 groups are bowl-eligible. There aren’t any pushovers, and the 9 convention video games are greater than the SEC or ACC. Among the many CFP high 4, TCU has the strongest energy of schedule in a number of scores, together with ESPN’s FPI and Sagarin. The Horned Frogs are No. 1 in ESPN’s energy of document, which evaluates the probabilities the typical top-25 crew would have that very same document in opposition to the identical schedule.

An undefeated TCU will make the CFP. We all know that. The dialog we must be having is whether or not or not a one-loss TCU ought to get in.

All of that mentioned, the place the place you may ding the Frogs is that they lack a real marquee win. Georgia beat Oregon and Tennessee. Ohio State and Michigan beat Penn State. Each crew TCU has defeated has not less than three losses. That is partially because of the depth of the convention. However if you wish to show you may beat a top-tier crew, TCU hasn’t finished that and will not have an opportunity to. (Michigan and Ohio State will attempt to show it in opposition to one another.) That in the end may very well be what retains TCU out if it does not win the following two video games.

However what you may’t say is that TCU hasn’t performed anybody. You may’t say it hasn’t deserved these victories. After a weekend through which Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan all struggled in opposition to far inferior opponents, possibly pulling out a late November comeback at Baylor proved the Horned Frogs do belong.

Right here is that this week’s version of The Athletic 131.

1-10

rank Crew Report forecast

1

11-0

1

2

11-0

2

3

11-0

3

4

11-0

4

5

10-1

7

6

9-2

6

7

10-1

9

8

9-2

5

9

9-2

8

10

9-2

11

There isn’t a change within the high 4, and the second of reality is right here. After Michigan escaped Illinois, I believed I might lastly put Ohio State forward. Then the Buckeyes needed to escape in opposition to Maryland. Each argument you can also make about these two groups has its factors. Ohio State has a greater second win (Notre Dame), whereas Michigan did not play anybody in nonconference. Michigan flattened Penn State, whereas Ohio State wanted a fourth-quarter comeback. Ohio State’s struggles in sure circumstances make me suppose this may very well be a replay of final yr, when Michigan’s toughness within the trenches gained out. However now Wolverines operating again Blake Corum could also be harm, and quarterback JJ McCarthy hasn’t been excellent. I am undecided if Michigan can win a giant sport along with his arm.

I nonetheless lean towards Michigan barely, however now it can lastly be settled on the sphere and we will transfer on to arguing if the loser must be within the CFP.


Michigan held onto an undefeated document earlier than the Ohio State sport. (Rick Osentoski/USA Right this moment)

USC lastly obtained a marquee win, beating UCLA 48-45, which strikes the Trojans forward of LSU. The Tigers do have wins in opposition to Alabama and Ole Miss and the schedule is more durable. However USC does not have a lopsided loss, and the Oregon State win on the street is efficacious. Both manner, each of those groups nonetheless management their future for the CFP, I consider.

Clemson jumps as much as No. 7 as a consequence of Tennessee’s lopsided loss to South Carolina. The loss to Notre Dame nonetheless holds Clemson down, however the Florida State win has gotten higher with time.

Tennessee’s 63-38 loss to South Carolina makes the Vols a really troublesome crew to put. They’re out of the CFP race, however wins in opposition to LSU and Alabama maintain them from dropping additional. The one different change is Washington transferring into the highest 10 after Utah’s loss to Oregon.

11-25

Penn State is an odd crew to evaluate as nicely. The 9-2 Nittany Lions have seven blowout wins, however they’re in opposition to comparatively weak competitors. Not one of the wins stand out. They obtained manhandled at Michigan however performed Ohio State robust. Oregon stays forward of Penn State as a result of it has two marquee wins in opposition to Utah and UCLA. Notre Dame continues to inch up and up, and Clemson’s transfer again up makes that Irish win even higher. The Irish additionally moved forward of Florida State due to the Clemson outcomes between them.

The Group of 5’s New Yr’s Six spot continues to be more likely to go to the American Athletic Convention champ, however it’s about time Coastal Carolina, UTSA and Troy are acknowledged for the seasons they’re having as nicely.

26-50

Illinois stays put after the slim loss at Michigan due to the trouble and due to different outcomes across the nation. UCF drops out of the highest 25 after a loss to Navy however stays forward of Cincinnati due to the head-to-head. That might change when Cincinnati and Tulane meet this week. Iowa is again, controlling its future within the Huge Ten West after beating Minnesota. Kirk Ferentz retains doing simply sufficient.

South Carolina is one other robust crew to put. The blowout win in opposition to Tennessee is among the most spectacular of the season, however the Gamecocks additionally obtained trounced by Florida final week and misplaced to Arkansas earlier within the season. The Razorbacks keep behind Liberty due to the head-to-head loss.

Oklahoma strikes forward of Oklahoma State after Saturday’s 28-13 Bedlam win. Boise State’s win at Wyoming clinched the Mountain West’s Mountain division and residential subject within the league championship sport. The Broncos are 6-1 since a 2-2 begin, after they fired their offensive coordinator and QB Hank Bachmeier entered the switch portal. They’ve figured issues out, however losses to UTEP and BYU nonetheless maintain them behind different Group of 5 groups.

51-75

Wisconsin sneaked into bowl eligibility for the twenty first consecutive season with a 15-14 comeback win in opposition to Nebraska. It hasn’t been fairly, however it appears to be like like Jim Leonhard will in all probability get the full-time job. Houston demolished East Carolina 42-3 and continues to be some of the inconsistent groups within the nation. James Madison is 7-3 in its first FBS season, however it’s not eligible for the postseason as a transitioning FCS crew. Nonetheless, the Dukes can nonetheless win a share of the Solar Belt East in the event that they beat Coastal Carolina this week.

Iowa State misplaced 14-10 to Texas Tech and can miss a bowl sport. The Cyclones are 3-11 in one-possession video games over the previous two seasons. SMU has allowed 145 factors over the previous three video games, together with 59 in Thursday’s loss to Tulane. Wyoming’s slim loss to Boise State does not drop the Cowboys far. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will play for bowl eligibility of their rivalry sport subsequent week, as App State just isn’t but eligible as a result of it has two FCS wins. Texas A&M obtained previous UMass in one other uninspiring efficiency. How about Vanderbilt? The Commodores have defeated Kentucky and Florida in consecutive weeks.

Fresno State rotated its season in a giant manner and clinched the Mountain West’s West division with a 41-14 win in opposition to Nevada, its sixth consecutive win. San Diego State has gained 5 of six (the loss coming to Fresno State) and quarterback Jalen Mayden has on condition that offense a lift for the primary time in a very long time.

76-100

Miami had 9 yards at halftime in opposition to Clemson and misplaced 40-10. The Canes should beat Pitt to get to a bowl sport. Georgia Tech beat North Carolina 21-17, and Brent Secret is 4-3 as interim head coach with two Prime 25 wins. Ohio’s bounce-back continued with a 32-18 win in opposition to Ball State, and the Bobcats are one win away from profitable the MAC East, however the standing of injured quarterback Kurtis Rourke is essential.

Cal beat rival Stanford 27-20. UConn misplaced to Military 34-17 and should wait and hope for a bowl choice. FAU misplaced 49-21 to Center Tennessee with bowl eligibility on the road and should beat WKU subsequent week. Rice (at North Texas) and UTEP (at UTSA) additionally want upsets subsequent week to get to bowl video games and maybe save their coaches’ jobs. Indiana beat Michigan State 39-31 in double time beyond regulation regardless of being closely outgained and finishing simply two passes. Virginia Tech ended its lengthy dropping streak with a 23-22 win at Liberty. UNLV started the season 4-1 however has misplaced six consecutive video games after a 31-25 loss at Hawaii, ending its bowl hopes.

101-131

Bowling Inexperienced obtained bowl-eligible with a last-second landing at Toledo within the snow in a wild end. The Falcons are nonetheless within the combine for the MAC East title if they’ll beat Ohio. Buffalo’s sport in opposition to Akron was snowed out and will affect that MAC East tiebreaker. Navy beat UCF and Military beat UConn, and each did so with out finishing a move. Neither academy can have a bowl sport or the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy to compete for (as a result of Military has two FCS wins and Air Pressure clinched the CIC), however that rivalry sport is at all times particular. The center of the MAC continues to have a number of parity. UMass fought valiantly in opposition to Texas A&M and lined the unfold in a 20-3 loss, however it’s not sufficient to maneuver out of the underside spot.

(Prime photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty Photographs)

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