Penn State Men’s Soccer Cracks Top Ten In RPI Rankings

After defeating Northwestern in overtime last Saturday, Penn State Men’s Soccer has landed at No. 8 in college soccer’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings.

The RPI is a ranking system used in collegiate sports. Most commonly known for its implications in March Madness bracketology, the RPI is an important component for determining the 26 at-large berths in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament.

Unlike the United Soccer Coaches Poll, the system lacks human judgment and is strictly up to a mathematical formula that takes into consideration the strength of schedule (SOS), and both team’s winning percentages for each match.

Despite being far behind Indiana and out of the top 25 of the United Soccer Coaches poll, the typical ranking used for NCAA soccer, Penn State finds itself top of the heap among Big Ten schools in the RPI. Indiana is 11th, good for second in the conference. The Hoosiers lead the Big Ten standings with four matches remaining, and currently claim the No. 8 spot in the United Soccer Coaches Poll.

The Nittany Lions have yet to reach the top 25 this year, however, with continued success in the RPI, a College Cup appearance is a realistic goal.

According to the current RPI Tournament Projections, Penn State would claim an NCAA berth as the Big Ten’s automatic representative. While it is unrealistic for Jeff Cook’s side to hoist the conference trophy due to Indiana’s current steamrolling form, an at-large berth is practical. Florida International University (No. 38) is the last team included in the projection, which means there’s a comfortable buffer for the No. 8 Nittany Lions.

Typically, four of the nine Big Ten members are assumed to be participating in the Big Dance. The Nittany Lions are second in the conference and have an easier remaining schedule than the teams around them. As long as they continue their good form and avoid upsets, the Nittany Lions should find themselves playing soccer beyond conference tournament play in College Park, Maryland this winter.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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