10 straight wins. 17 of 18. Sounds like something Oregon State would do, right?
Welcome to the top spot of the Pac-12 Power Rankings Washington. Nothing short of miraculous considering the Huskies were picked to finish 10th in the conference before the start of the year. And really, the first couple weeks of the season, they weren't showing anything to disprove that.
But here we are, with a huge run by UW, combined with a couple of average weeks from Oregon State, and there's a new team at the top.
You'll also notice that there's quite a bit of shifting among the top from last week because of some surprising results from this weekend's series.
1. Washington Huskies (20-5-1, 8-1)
Previous ranking: 4
Last week: 1-0 vs. Gonzaga, 3-0 @ USC
This week: vs. Oregon (Fri-Sun)
UW's only conference loss was their first Pac-12 game at ASU. Since then, ten straight wins, and the pitching staff hasn't given up more than four runs in a game since the first game of the Arizona series. This team is for real, and can't wait to see if they stay in the hunt to win the conference this year. That would be something.
2. Oregon State Beavers (21-6, 6-3)
Previous ranking: 1
Last week: 2-1 @ Arizona
This week: @ Portland (Tues), vs. Stanford (Fri-Sun)
3-3 the last two weeks against Arizona and ASU have done the Beavers no favors with regards to staying in the top spot. Stanford is coming off a big weekend against the other Oregon school, so that OSU/Stanford series could be the series of the week this week.
3. Arizona State Sun Devils (15-11, 5-4)
Previous ranking: 5
Last week: 1-0 vs. Arizona, 2-1 @ UCLA
This week: vs. USC (Fri-Sun)
ASU has back-to-back series wins on the road at OSU and UCLA. That's pretty damn impressive. And their only series loss is to that red-hot Washington team. After a 2-4 start which was the worst in school history, the Devils have now won consecutive series on the road vs. top-15 teams for the first time in school history. Safe to say that they've found something up there in Tempe.
4. Oregon Ducks (19-8, 6-3)
Previous ranking: 2
Last week: 1-1 @ San Francisco, 1-2 @ Stanford
This week: @ Gonzaga (Tues-Wed), @ Washington (Fri-Sun)
Tough week for Oregon last week, and they continue to play a ton of games heading into their weekend trip to Seattle. Just a bad break with the scheduling. Can't imagine their pitching staff being perfectly lined up for the Washington games. Oregon's suffering from an inconsistent lineup right now, scoring more than four runs just twice in the last two weeks. Just a small downturn, or something more?
5. UCLA Bruins (16-10, 6-3)
Previous ranking: 4
Last week: 1-0 vs. Long Beach State, 1-2 vs. ASU
This week: @ Loyola Marymount (Tues), vs. Long Beach State (Fri-Sun)
UCLA drops just because they lost a series at home to ASU. This week is sneaky though playing three games against Long Beach (Friday and Sunday in Long Beach, Saturday at UCLA). The Dirtbags are 4-1 against Pac-12 teams this year, and also have wins over Indiana and Cal State Fullerton. The Bruins return to conference play next weekend when they travel to Tucson.
6. Stanford Cardinal (10-11, 3-3)
Previous ranking: 8
Last week: 2-1 vs. Oregon
This week: @ Oregon State (Fri-Sun)
A nice series win against Oregon, but can they keep it up when travelling to Corvallis? Being below .500 for the season still scares me away from this team a little bit. They also travel to Washington next weekend. Big two weeks coming up for the trees.
7. Washington State Cougars (12-13, 3-3)
Previous ranking: 7
Last week: 3-1 vs. San Jose State
This week: vs. Cal (Fri-Sun)
The Cougs put a lot of runs up to make up for a series-opening loss against San Jose State to take that series. Time for them to return to conference play this week to try and keep climbing up the standings.
8. California Golden Bears (14-12, 3-3)
Previous ranking: 9
Last week: 3-0 vs. Utah
This week: @ Washington State (Fri-Sun)
It's a big series for this tier of the Pac-12 in Pullman. Cal established that they're better than Utah (everyone's better than Utah), but what can they do against a team that is similar to the Bears? Si, si, I'm intrigued.
9. Arizona Wildcats (12-18, 2-7)
Previous ranking: 10
Last week: 0-1 @ ASU, 1-2 vs. Oregon State
This week: @ Utah (Fri-Sun)
A win over Oregon State is enough to bump the Cats up one spot this week. But realistically, a series sweep at Utah is needed to give this team any shot at making noise this year. Even lose just one game to the Utes, and that should pretty much do Arizona in for 2014.
10. USC Trojans (13-13, 3-6)
Previous ranking: 6
Last week: 1-0 @ Loyola Marymount, 0-3 vs. Washington
This week: vs. Long Beach State (Tues), @ ASU (Fri-Sun)
Remember when USC was 7-0? Neither do they. The Trojans have that series win at Stanford, and a win against Oregon, so they have the chance to do something against the Sun Devils this weekend. Even with an extra inning game, USC lost every game against UW by at least five runs. Biggest beatdown of the weekend in the Pac-12 pushes the men of Troy down near the bottom.
11. Utah Utes (9-17, 0-9)
Previous ranking: 11
Last week: 0-1 vs. BYU, 0-3 @ Cal
This week: vs. Arizona (Fri-Sun)
The Utes almost had that BYU game. Almost. Just let it slip through their hands in the late innings, and now Utah has lost 11 of their last 12 games. But hey, they play a struggling Arizona team at home this week. As good of chance as any to pick up their first conference win of 2014.
Just one baseball series will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks this week. Oregon @ Washington is your baseball special this week. Here's a look at the game times:
Friday (7 PM), Saturday (7 PM), Sunday (3 PM)
Get your baseball watching on with that series to see this Washington team, and their new ballpark. Guaranteed that they'll talk about Husky Ballpark a lot given how much they talked about ASU moving to Phoenix Muni during last week's ASU/UA game.