It's rivalry weekend in the Pac-12!
Utah of course does not have a geographical rival, but that's ok since they have been awful this year. So the Utes get to host Nevada for four games, because of course they do.
Last weekend saw USC sweep a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since 2009, as well as Oregon sweeping Washington State. Washington, UCLA, and Stanford won the other series.
Lots of TV with the rivalry matchups. Here's a quick look:
USC @ UCLA (6 PM, Pac-12 Networks)
WSU @ UW, UO @ OSU, USC @ UCLA, ASU @ UA (7 PM, Regional Pac-12 Networks)
WSU @ UW, UO @ OSU, ASU @ UA (7:30 PM, Regional Pac-12 Networks)
UO @ OSU (1 PM, ESPNU)
ASU @ UA (4:30 PM, ESPNU)
Cal @ Stanford, WSU @ UW (2 PM, Regional Pac-12 Networks)
Cal @ Stanford (6 PM, Pac-12 Networks)
It's pretty clear who the top three teams are, but outside of that, who knows? The top stays the same from last week, but man those Arizona schools really screw things up in the middle.
1. Washington Huskies (27-8-1, 14-4)
Previous ranking: 1
Last week: 2-1 @ Cal
This week: @ Seattle U (Tues), vs. Washington State (Fri-Sun)
Despite a 7-1 loss to Cal on Sunday, Washington has still won 25 of their last 30 games, and are almost a consensus top-ten team in the polls. Think they luck out by getting WSU at home, but this team has been so good it probably doesn't matter.
2. Oregon State Beavers (27-8, 11-4)
Previous ranking: 2
Last week: Off
This week: 1-1 @ Sacramento State, vs. Oregon (Fri-Sun)
Those Sac State cames crept up on me. They lost Monday and won Tuesday. That loss Monday prevented me from moving the Beavs back up to the top spot. Again, the higher-ranked team gets the home-field advantage. You'll also notice that UW and OSU are tied in the loss column, both overall and in Pac-12 play. Still a few weeks until they finally play each other on the field.
3. Oregon Ducks (31-10, 10-5)
Previous ranking: 3
Last week: 3-0 vs. WSU
This week: @ OSU (Fri-Sun)
Besides the rivalry side of things, this series is important for Oregon as far as conference standings are concerned. One game behind OSU for second coming into this weekend. Big boy baseball going on in Corvallis.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (21-16, 10-8)
Previous ranking: 4
Last week: 1-0 vs. UNLV, 1-2 @ Stanford
This week: @ Arizona (Fri-Sun)
Big win against the Rebels, and then a disappointing weekend at Stanford. The bullpen is horrible for the Devils, which will be the biggest variable in their postseason aspirations. I wanted to drop them down, but the rest of the teams around this level also had poor performances, so ASU stays 4th.
5. Stanford Cardinal (15-17, 6-9)
Previous ranking: 8
Last week: 1-0 vs. St. Mary's, 2-1 vs. ASU
This week: @ Santa Clara (Tues), @ St. Mary's (Wed), vs. Cal (Sat-Mon)
The California schools play on weird days, and the NoCal get Saturday through Monday. A series win over ASU was probably a big-step in the right direction as we get to the second half of conference play. I'm still not sure how sold on the Cardinal I am though. Stanford is still 29th in the RPI. If they finish with a decent Pac-12 record, they should somehow be able to make the postseason.
6. Washington State Cougars (17-19, 7-8)
Previous ranking: 5
Last week: 1-0 @ Gonzaga, 0-3 @ Oregon
This week: vs. Gonzaga (Tues), @ Washington (Fri-Sun)
Being swept at Oregon isn't the most embarrassing thing in the world. I just can't believe I have two teams below .500 at the five and six spots. What's going on here?
7. UCLA Bruins (21-16, 9-6)
Previous ranking: 7
Last week: 2-1 @ Utah
This week: vs. Loyola Marymount (Tues), vs. USC (Thur-Sat)
I'm not convinced this team will succeed without closer David Berg. And giving up seven runs in an inning to Utah just isn't going to get the job done. USC comes in after a big weekend, so maybe there's even a little more intrigue to this series than before. And UCLA is definitely fighting for their postseason lives, just like Arizona last year. Defending National Championships is clearly not what you want to be doing in college baseball.
8. USC Trojans (20-17, 9-9)
Previous ranking: 10
Last week: 3-0 vs. Arizona
This week: vs. Hawaii (Tues), @ USC (Thurs-Sat)
Arizona's offense is bad, but USC's pitching looked really good last weekend. And now they are back to .500 in Pac-12 play. The Trojans have life, and are getting UCLA at the most-opportune time possible.
9. Arizona Wildcats (17-23, 6-12)
Previous ranking: 6
Last week: 0-3 @ USC
This week: vs. ASU (Fri-Sun)
Bad, bad weekend for the Wildcats. The pitching staff actually did its job for the most part, but absolutely no offense. This team matches up well against ASU though, and there's nothing really to play for this year besides this series. I expect this team to show the most intensity its shown all year this weekend.
10. California Golden Bears (16-19, 5-10)
Previous ranking: 10
Last week: 1-2 @ Washington
This week: @ Fresno State (Tues), @ Stanford (Sat-Mon)
A win over UW is nice, but not enough to make up for the rest of this season.
11. Utah Utes (12-23, 3-15)
Previous ranking: 11
Last week: 1-2 vs. UCLA
This week: @ Utah Valley (Tues), Four games vs. Nevada (Fri-Sun)
Three straight weeks with a win, and a Saturday win this time! Unfortunately the Utes are still awful, and don't even get to have a real rival on this special week.
12. Nevada Wolfpack (21-18)
Yeah, I know Nevada's not in the Pac-12, but they may as well be this week since they get Utah. The Wolfpack are hot, coming off of a series sweep over San Diego State a couple weeks ago. They've won four-straight weekend series, and have wins over common Arizona opponents Air Force (3-0) and Grand Canyon (1-1). Utah's in trouble.