Pac-12 Baseball Power Rankings: ASU, Wazzou struggle; USC impresses early

Michael Conforto - USA TODAY Sports

Here we go, my first Pac-12 Baseball Power Rankings of the season

Wanted to wait until two weeks were in the books to do this, so let's get to it.

Oregon and USC are the only undefeated teams left in the Pac-12, and claim the top two spots in the initial power rankings.  Oregon State will benefit this week when Ben Wetzler returns on Sunday after receiving word on his NCAA suspension due to issues with the Phillies after last year's draft.

Arizona State was at 2-4 before finishing the week at 3-4.  2-4 was the worst start in the history of ASU baseball.  Worst. Ever.  That's fantastic work to start the last year at Packard.

Washington State had a lot of hype coming into this season, but the Cougars sit at just 1-5 after being "swept" by Western Carolina as two of the four games were cancelled in Pullman.

Those are the highlights. So without further ado, here are my initial power rankings for the 2014 season:

1. Oregon Ducks (7-0)

The Ducks went 4-0 in Hawaii and 3-0 at Loyola Marymount.  Only two of those games haven't been close, but getting some close games early in the year can't hurt down the road.  The pitching is only giving up about three runs per game so far, so once their offense gets rolling, the Ducks are going to be deadly.

2. USC Trojans (7-0)

The Trojans have a win over powerhouse Cal State Fullerton already, and although they went to extra innings twice against Northwestern, they did win all of those games.  Again, this is another team riding its pitching staff.  USC is allowing 2.4 runs per game.

3. Oregon State Beavers (6-2)

Ben Wetzler returning will probably move this team up ahead of USC next week, but for now, they sit in the third spot after losses to Nebraska and Michigan St. in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge.  I saw them play twice at the Husker Classic in the first weekend of the year.  Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis are going to give pitchers fits all year long.  Let's see how they do when the weekend rotation returns to what it was supposed to be.

4. UCLA Bruins (4-3)

The Bruins are dealing with several injuries right now, and two of their three losses are to Cal Poly, and the Mustangs appear to be very, very good this year, so those aren't bad losses at all.

5. Arizona Wildcats (6-2)

The only time Arizona has looked impressive so far was against a horrible Alcorn State team.  This team gets its true test in two weeks when Mississippi State comes to Tucson.  For now, there's really no moving up for them.

6. California Golden Bears (5-2)

Cal has a series split with Texas, and a perfect trip to Auburn, where they defeated the Tigers in one of the three games they played.  The Bears are another one of those teams doing it with pitching.  They've given up just 15 runs in their seven games this season.

7. Stanford Cardinal (3-4)

Stanford has also played Texas, but went 1-2 against the Longhorns.  The Cardinal opened the year with a really good Rice team, and took one of three from them as well.  Stanford travels to Vanderbilt this weekend, where they get another tough test early in the year.  They easily have the toughest non-conference schedule of all the Pac-12 teams this year.

8 Utah Utes (4-3)

Utah is interesting.  They went to a much-improved Sacramento State team, and split a four-game series.  Then they won two games in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, including a win over formerly-ranked Indiana.  This weekend the Utes take on Loyola Marymount, so we'll be able to compare how they do there with how Oregon did.

9. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-4)

Sorry ASU, but you belong way down here right now.  I'm open to moving you up, but the Ryan Burr experiment is not working right now.  The closer-turned-Friday night starter is struggling, and that's not what you want on a team that is supposed to be contending for a conference championship.

10. Washington Huskies (3-4)

The fact that the Huskies have a tie this year is enough to drop them to the ten spot.  Two of their three wins are against Michigan and Michigan State, and we all know you can't play baseball outside in Michigan yet.  Hung tough with Oregon State in the first conference game of the year, so that's a plus, although it happened on a Monday as both teams' fourth game in four days.

11. Washington State Cougars (1-5)

The one win is over Cal State Fullerton, at Goodwin Field, so that's the good news.  The bad news: dropping two games at home to Western Carolina.

12. Colorado Buffaloes

Get a baseball team already Colorado.  Even Utah has one.

That's how I see it through two weeks of the season.  Expect a lot of changes heading into conference season, which is what makes baseball great.  One loss in February doesn't kill you.

How would you rank 'em?

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