Deseret News predicts the scenarios for 6A, 5A boys soccer playoffs

Editor’s note: Deseret News’ McCade Pearson, a graduate of Riverton High, has a passion for all sports, including high school sports. He is also passionate about sports analysis, refining formulas and models for his own performance ranking and state tournament prediction system. Here’s his take on the upcoming 6A, 5A boys soccer playoffs.


On Wednesday morning, the UHSAA released its RPI rankings for 6A and 5A boys soccer and the next round of brackets. It’s an exciting day that’s the culmination of months of hard work as teams learn what path they need to take to win a state championship. The RPI ranking uses win-loss records and the strength of the schedule, but my analytical nature has always been curious about a better, more efficient formula.

Throughout my life, two things have always been connected – my love of sports and my love of numbers. The last decade has given me the opportunity to work in athletics and earn a degree in mathematics and statistics.

As I glanced over the blank brackets ahead of the final RPI release, my mind wandered and I started thinking about all the exciting things that could happen over the next few weeks. I quickly built some models to try and predict what might unfold in the boys’ 6A and 5A football tournaments.

The prediction model I designed rewards teams for the past two seasons’ results, with additional weight being added to the current season for obvious reasons. It has aspects that attempt to make it predictable for the future rather than analytical for the past. Trying to predict the future is always a work in progress in sport.

There is always another number to crack and another variable to consider and quantify. I freely admit that these predictions are far from perfect and I will probably spend a lot of time refining and redefining them in the coming months to try to bring the final results for numerous sports closer to reality .

But that’s what makes the sport great. No matter how many predictions are made, the future is only one reality. Below is a summary of 100,000 simulations for each 6A and 5A football tournament. And yet, when players actually take the field in the coming weeks, only one version of each game will be played, only one team will claim a win, and they will only do so once when a champion is crowned. We just have no idea which of the infinite simulations that will be, and that’s the magic of the sport.

The 5A tournament begins on Thursday with nine play-in games, while 6A follows on Friday with eight first-round games.


6A model predictions and takeaways

The No. 1-seeded Weber emerged as the team to beat after a perfect 19-0 season was followed by a strong 13-2 season in which they defeated every team on their schedule at least once. The model gives the Warriors a 53.7% chance of winning the title in consecutive years. When the coin flips the other side, the tournament is wide open as seven teams have between 3.5% and 7.5% chance of winning the tournament. Any of these teams could catch fire by May 25th. One team to keep an eye on early on is Corner Canyon. There’s going to be a much tougher matchup in Round 2 than a regular No. 2 seed would expect, whether it’s Herriman or Westlake, but if the Chargers can survive this home game, they have a great chance of making it to the round to create title game.

Note: The ranking column is the power ranking formula I created. The other columns are the odds of reaching those rounds of the playoffs.

6A State Tournament Prediction

teams rank RPI R16 QF SF final champion
weaver 1980.5 1 100% 94% 80% 65% 54%
C Canyon 1735.0 2 100% 59% 46% 24% 8th%
Binham 1722.5 3 100% 76% 38% 21% 6%
Davis 1746.5 5 100% 69% 40% 11% 6%
Syracuse 1725.3 4 100% 76% 39% 11% 5%
sky ridge 1762.5 22 77% 42% 26% 16% 5%
Farmington 1701.6 6 100% 52% 27% 14% 4%
Herrmann 1736.7 18 59% 28% 22% 11% 4%
mountain ridge 1669.6 8th 100% 55% 10% 4% 2%
Pl. grove 1700.4 9 80% 41% 8th% 4% 2%
Fremont 1666.9 12 69% 24% 12% 3% 1%
western lake 1647.6 15 41% 14% 9% 4% 1%
Lonely peak 1570.5 10 85% 53% 15% 5% 1%
Hunter 1581.3 13 82% 23% 7% 1% 0%
copper mountains 1575.7 14 63% 17% 5% 2% 0%
Am. Fork 1561.6 16 86% 6% 2% 1% 0%
west 1458.7 7 100% 44% 8th% 2% 0%
layton 1551.0 21 31% 7% 2% 0% 0%
Riverton 1531.5 11 23% 6% 2% 1% 0%
granger 1509.4 19 37% 8th% 2% 1% 0%
clear field 1480.1 24 20% 5% 0% 0% 0%
kearns 1343.0 20 18% 2% 0% 0% 0%
Roy 1274.2 17 14% 0% 0% 0% 0%
West Bank 1300.8 23 15% 4% 0% 0% 0%

5A model predictions and takeaways

Wasatch is a strong title favorite despite being No. 3. It has a strong win against top seed Provo and championship experience, having won the title last year. Meanwhile, other top-seeded teams like Provo, Alta and Skyline have great chances of continuing their successful seasons all the way to Rio Tinto Stadium. Maple Mountain could be a sneaky Cinderella team as the Golden Eagles snagged the number 24 but had an incredibly tough schedule and notched up a couple of impressive wins along the way. Region 5 have been beating each other all season as Northridge, Bonneville and Viewmont shared the region’s title just 6-4 and it will be interesting to see if either side can play their best football at the perfect time.

5A State Tournament Prediction

teams rank RPI R32 R16 QF SF final champion
Wasatch 1840.7 3 100% 100% 92% 64% 52% 41%
horizon 1722.0 6 100% 100% 80% 30% 20% 14%
provo 1656.6 1 100% 100% 72% 45% 28% 10%
Alta 1640.4 2 100% 100% 84% 52% 16% 9%
murray 1619.2 4 100% 100% 73% 45% 23% 8th%
Maple Mtn. 1625.3 24 95% 49% 34% 17% 10% 3%
Brighton 1600.9 10 100% 65% 37% 19% 5% 2%
Stansbury 1591.2 9 100% 51% 33% 15% 8th% 2%
Northridge 1571.5 12 100% 66% 36% 17% 8th% 2%
Lehi 1517.7 5 100% 100% 49% 20% 8th% 2%
Olympus 1529.3 7 100% 100% 46% 19% 4% 1%
sale 1510.4 13 100% 73% 23% 11% 4% 1%
plentiful 1551.6 32 74% 42% 14% 7% 3% 1%
Jordan 1537.6 16 76% 42% 13% 6% 3% 1%
Sp. fork 1549.3 23 84% 33% 16% 7% 1% 1%
cramming 1460.6 8th 100% 100% 33% 10% 3% 1%
W Cross 1513.0 21 80% 31% 14% 6% 2% 1%
hill crest 1527.2 11 100% 71% 16% 3% 1% 1%
Viewmont 1520.2 19 74% 51% 6% 2% 1% 0%
park city 1392.4 15 100% 63% 11% 3% 0% 0%
time view 1432.6 27 80% 27% 4% 1% 0% 0%
Bonneville 1359.6 18 83% 35% 5% 1% 0% 0%
box elder 1378.7 20 59% 17% 3% 1% 0% 0%
east 1349.8 17 27% 8th% 1% 0% 0% 0%
mountain view 1367.6 33 24% 8th% 1% 0% 0% 0%
C. Valley 1342.8 29 41% 10% 2% 0% 0% 0%
Orem 1344.8 14 100% 36% 2% 0% 0% 0%
highlands 1367.9 30 26% 13% 1% 0% 0% 0%
Uintah 1281.1 26 16% 2% 0% 0% 0% 0%
tools 1132.5 25 5% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Springville 1296.8 28 20% 3% 1% 0% 0% 0%
Payson 1118.1 31 18% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0%
ctwood 1169.1 22 21% 2% 0% 0% 0% 0%

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