The first official RPI for NCAA women’s football was released on Monday. Arizona has some work to do if they want to make the NCAA Tournament by starting numbers. The RPI is one of several criteria that will be used to determine who will challenge for the national title after the regular season ends.
The Wildcats debut at No. 63 after going 3-2-2 in the non-conference portion of their schedule. In a normal season, there would be many conference opponents whose high RPI could help improve this. This year, however, the Pac-12 as a whole lacks strong numbers.
UCLA is the highlight at the beginning. The Bruins are No. 1 on the RPI, but they are the only Pac-12 team in the top 30. and Stanford (47) are the only other conference teams in the top 50.
Arizona sits in the bottom third of the Pac-12, but most teams in the bottom half are clustered together. Utah – the Wildcats’ next opponent – is in 55th place. Close behind the Utes are the California Golden Bears in 56th place, and Oregon comes just above Arizona in 61st place.
Behind the Wildcats are USC (67), Oregon State (78) and Colorado (86).
Arizona didn’t play an overly easy schedule. Five of his seven opponents were in the RPI’s top 90. The Wildcats’ lowest ranked opponent was UC Davis in 156 out of 348 teams. Iowa State was the other opponent outside the top 90 with the Cyclones sitting at number 132. Arizona defeated both teams.
The Wildcats played against three top 60 opponents. Pepperdine, who entered Arizona’s game ranked 10th by the United Soccer Coaches, ended the week at 36th in the RPI. Grand Canyon (59) and Nebraska (60) were the other two opponents in the top 60. The Wildcats lost to the Waves and Lopes and scored a draw against the Huskers.
Arizona has two top 100 wins, defeating Texas Tech (88) and UAB (80). The Wildcats welcomed both teams.
The NCAA Tournament will feature 64 teams, but 31 of them will automatically qualify by winning their conference. Of the 348 teams that play Division I football, only 337 are eligible for the tournament because 11 are in the process of being reclassified to the top division.