Plenty of teams are holding onto hope for a league title this weekend. Here is a rundown of what to watch for.By J.R. Eskilson
Big East league play is over. Congratulations go out to UCONN for taking home the Blue Division title and Louisville for taking home the Red Division title. Big West is all but settled as well, with UCSB just needing to take one point from their last two games to clinch the regular season title. UCLA should clinch the Pac-10 title (they do not play a conference tournament) this weekend with points over Washington and Oregon State.
In the ACC, North Carolina and Wake Forest are currently level (after Wake’s shocking defeat to Boston College) behind Maryland with both teams having a game in hand over the Terps. Wake plays Duke at home on Friday, while North Carolina is on the road against Clemson. Duke is clearly the superior opponent of the two, but still expect the Deacons to win on Senior Night (in college, it is the last home game for the Seniors on the team). Clemson should be no trouble for the Tar Heels, but we have seen crazier things happen this season.
Also, in the games-to-keep-an-eye-on column, Big Ten play comes down to two games over the weekend. Currently in first place are the Nittany Lions of Penn State with a 3-1-1 record. They face off against Indiana in Bloomington on Saturday. Very tough place to play, but on Senior Night it will be especially difficult to win there. Indiana needs a win to stay above .500 for the season. A loss would open the door up a crack for the Wildcats of Northwestern to grab a share of the league title. Northwestern will need to take care of Michigan State at home on Sunday; that might be easier said than done, the Wildcats have lost the previous two meetings.
Furthermore, there are three teams left in the race in Ivy League play. Harvard is in the driver’s seat to take the league title with two games remaining against Penn and at Columbia. Anything but full points from those games would bring Brown and Dartmouth back in the mix. They both trail Harvard by only one point. Tons of pressure fall on the boots of Andre Akpan and the Crimson Tide.
Goal.com’s Top 25
Rankings through Nov. 2
1.) Akron 16-0-0 (Next up: Michigan State, Nov. 4) Previous Rank:1
2.) North Carolina 11-2-2 (Next up: Elon, Nov. 3) PR:3
3.) Maryland 10-4-2 (Next up: Navy, Nov. 3) PR: 5
4.) UCLA 9-3-2 (Next up: Oregon State, Nov. 6) PR: 4
5.) Wake Forest 12-3-2 (Next up: Duke, Nov. 6) PR:2
6.) UCSB 14-3-1 (Next up: Cal Poly, Nov. 4) PR: 6
7.) South Florida 12-3-2 (Next up: Big East Tourney, Nov. 4-15) PR: 7
8.) Connecticut 11-3-3 (Next up: Big East Tourney, Nov. 4-15) PR: 8
9.) Harvard 11-3-1 (Next up: Columbia, Nov. 7) PR: 9
10.) Northwestern 9-3-4 (Next up: Michigan State, Nov. 7) PR: 10
11.) Virginia 10-3-2 (Next up: American, Nov. 3) PR:12
12.) Louisville 13-2-2 (Next up: Big East Tourney, Nov. 4-15) PR: 13
13.) Butler 11-2-1 (Next up: UIC, Nov. 4) PR: 14
14.) Monmouth 14-1-1 (Next up: Mount St. Mary’s, Nov. 6) PR: 15
15.) Stanford 10-4-2 (Next up: California, Nov. 14) PR: 16
16.) North Carolina State 11-4-1 (Next up: Presbyterian, Nov. 3) PR: 18
17.) Charlotte 10-2-4 (Next up:Saint Joseph’s, Nov. 6) PR: 11
18.) Duke 12-4-0 (Next up: Wake Forest, Nov. 6) PR: 19
19.) San Diego 11-4-0 (Next up: Portland, Nov. 6) PR: 20
20.) William and Mary 12-4-1 (Next up: Drexel, Nov. 6) PR: 22
21.) Tulsa 10-4-2 (Next up: UCF, Nov. 7) PR: 23
22.) UC Irvine 12-5-0 (Next up: UC Riverside, Nov. 4) PR: 24
23.) Boston College 10-7-0 (Next up: Virginia Tech, Nov. 6) PR: Unranked
24.) San Diego State 6-4-5 (Next up: Washington, Nov. 6) PR: 25
25.) UAB 12-3-1 (Next up: Marshall, Nov. 7) PR UN
Team of the week:
GK: Justin Luthy, Boston College, seven saves in 1-0 win over Wake Forest
Def: Kevin Mejia, Boston College, game winning goal vs Wake Forest
Def: Tim Pontius, UCSB, game winning goal (in double overtime) vs UC Irvine
Def: Paolo DelPiccolo, Louisville, three assists vs Villanova
Def: Andrew Cuevas, Rutgers, game winning goal vs South Florida
Mid: Corben Bone, Wake Forest, three assists vs Davidson
Mid: Mike Pezza, UCONN, goal and assist vs Marquette
Mid: Luis Silva, UCSB, game winning goal vs Cal State Northridge
Fwd: Mattias Bonvehi, Cal State Northridge, three assists (off the bench) vs UC Riverside
Fwd: Alex Dixon, UNC, three goals vs Stetson
Fwd: Conor Chinn, San Francisco, 13 shots, 11 on goal, 3 goals vs LMU (ridiculous stat line!)
National Television Game of the Week
Santa Clara vs San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 6, 11 P.M. (EST), Fox Soccer Channel
I am not going to say this is a terrible game, but it certainly is not a good game. San Francisco is fifth in the West Coast Conference, and Santa Clara is sixth (there are only seven teams in the league). On the positive side, both teams give up more than one goal per game. We might actually get some action to keep color commentator Keith Tabatznik awake.
The true highlight of the game is Conor Chinn. The USF forward scores, and he scores in bunches. He has eight goals and three assists through fifteen games. If you want to know his secret, just YouTube “Star Kick.”
Now you must be excited for some WCC men’s soccer and “Nationally Ranked” Chinn!
J.R. Eskilson writes a weekly NCAA column on Tuesday for Goal.com. Follow the College Soccer Professor at twitter.com/NCAAsoccer.
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