And so we have reached the end of the College Baseball regular season. As an Arizona fan, this couldn't come fast enough. As a baseball fan, I'm pumped to get to watch a lot of good baseball on TV in the coming weeks leading up to the College World Series.
Last weekend saw the Pac-12 series of the year, and Oregon State managed to take two-of-three from Washington to essentially lock up the regular season crown, and pushed the Beavers to the top of the major polls. Of course thanks to the weirdness that is Pac-12 Networks, I didn't get to see a second of it, but thanks for showing me the totally meaningless Arizona/Cal games about twenty times the last four days. Appreciate it.
I think the one team that should be nervous heading into Selection Monday is USC. After making a big run in the middle of conference season, the Trojans have fallen off a little bit. They get the Beavers at home this weekend, and a series win would be huge for USC's case to be in the postseason.
So here we are, the final Pac-12 Power Rankings of the 2014 season. Bittersweet moment, but it's been a fun ride, and given me some good baseball teams to talk about on a weekly basis.
Here we go:
1. Oregon State Beavers (41-9, 22-5)
Previous ranking: 1
Last week: 1-0 @ Portland, 2-1 vs. Washington
This week: @ Oregon (Tues), @ USC (Fri-Sun)
Congrats Beavers on showing why you're one of the best teams in the nation this weekend, holding Washington scoreless over the final two games.
I would like to take Oregon State to task about the Ben Wetzler "punishment" here. You may have seen that Wetzler was arrested after OSU's Friday night game two weeks ago, and released on bail. Well, OSU responded by suspending Wetzler five games. Good punishment, right? Wrong. All it did was move Wetzler back from Friday to Sunday against Washington. So he didn't even miss a weekend. Does that seem like a punishment? No it does not. Not at all. And I understand that the Beavers were without Wetzler at the beginning of the season because the Phillies were idiots, but if your star player gets arrested in a crucial part of the season, the punishment from the team needs to be worthwhile. Don't sell this five game junk. All you'll do is move him up to Saturday this weekend, and then he'll be right back to the Friday spot for Regional play if the Beavs so desire. What a joke.
2. Washington Huskies (38-13-1, 20-7)
Previous ranking: 2
Last week: 1-0 vs. Seattle, 1-2 @ Oregon State
This week: vs. UCLA (Fri-Sun)
If you had told the Huskies that they would still technically be in the hunt for the Pac-12 title on the last week of the season, I'm pretty sure they would have signed up for that in a heartbeat. Tough to lose 1-0 and 3-0 games to Oregon State after winning on Friday, but it is what it is, and Washington is still a likely regional host. Given they were picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll, pretty damn good first year at the new ballpark.
3. Oregon Ducks (40-16, 17-10)
Previous ranking: 3
Last week: 1-0 vs. Pacific, 3-0 @ UCLA
This week: vs. Oregon State (Tues), vs. Cal (Thurs-Sat)
Oregon's lack of offense may kill them come postseason, but they did just fine with minimal offense in L.A this weekend. Maybe a win over OSU on Tuesday would bump them up a little bit, but I think the Ducks are locked in as a two seed in a regional somewhere at this point.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (30-21, 17-10)
Previous ranking: 4
Last week: 1-0 @ UNLV, 3-0 vs. Utah
This week: vs. Abilene Christian (Tues), @ Washington State (Fri-Sun)
The last ever game at Packard Stadium is upon us. It'll be the end of an era, but I gotta say, after ASU got out to a program-worst 2-4 start this year, I didn't see the last year on campus being this successful. But the Sun Devils figured it out, and I give them credit for that. Hopefully they get a decent draw in the Regional and have a shot at moving forward.
5. USC Trojans (27-22, 14-13)
Previous ranking: 5
Last week: 1-0 vs. GCU
This week: @ Cal State Fullerton (Tues), vs. Oregon State (Fri-Sun)
Essentially a week off for the Trojans, and it couldn't have come at a worse time really. Out of sight, out of mind, and last week was important for the tournament committee. But of course, a couple wins over OSU this weekend and USC plays themselves right into the postseason.
6. Stanford Cardinal (27-23, 13-14)
Previous ranking: 7
Last week: 0-1 vs. San Jose State, 2-1 vs. Washington State, 1-0 vs. Pacific
This week: @ Utah (Fri-Sun)
Stanford certainly has an outside chance to make the tournament based on where they sit in the RPI, but they would need to sweep Utah this week. What a bizarre year Stanford's had though. Goodness.
7. Washington State Cougars (23-28, 13-14)
Previous ranking: 6
Last week: 0-1 @ Gonzaga, 1-2 @ Stanford, 0-1 @ Seattle
This week: vs. Arizona State (Fri-Sun)
I moved WSU below Stanford based solely on the results from last weekend. No postseason aspirations here as they can no longer finish above .500 overall. Decent step in the right direction for this team, but didn't quite live up to expectations.
8. California Golden Bears (24-26, 11-16)
Previous ranking: 8
Last week: 2-1 vs. Arizona, 1-0 vs. San Francisco
This week: @ Oregon (Thurs-Sat)
Outside of the Oregon State series a few weeks ago that the Beavers swept, Cal has gone 8-3 overall since the start of Rivalry Weekend. Pretty good way to build some confidence heading into next year.
9. UCLA Bruins (23-29-1, 10-17)
Previous ranking: 9
Last week: 0-1 @ UC Irvine, 0-3 vs. Oregon
This week: @ Washington (Fri-Sun)
Another year, another defending champion left out of the postseason. Injuries did UCLA in this year. But it is a little bit of a relief that David Berg has been able to return after what looked like a serious injury against Arizona. I think they also suffered from a ton of quality teams that they played in midweek games. Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State are all better than UCLA this year, which is quite a shock to the balance of power in the area. Not to mention USC.
10. Arizona Wildcats (20-32, 9-21)
Previous ranking: 10
Last week: 1-2 @ Cal
This week: vs. Abilene Christian (Fri-Sun)
What a disappointing year, and you really can't blame injuries for it like UCLA can either. Just an overall lack of execution in clutch spots cost this team big in 2014, and will once again be sitting at home in late May. So frustrating that since winning a National Championship, Arizona hasn't had a sniff of the postseason.
11. Utah Utes (16-33, 4-23)
Previous ranking: 11
Last week: 1-0 vs. BYU, 0-3 @ ASU
This week: vs. Stanford (Fri-Sun)
I know Utah wasn't at the bottom of one of the first ones of these, but they've been the cellar dwellers for a very long time now. Baseball is certainly not the reason that the Utes made the move to the Pac-12, but they've got a ways before they catch up to the rest of the group with this diamond-sport thing.
Anyway, it's been a good run, and good luck to the Pac-12 teams and fans that are going to have baseball beyond this weekend. Gonna root my ass of for a third-straight National Championship for the conference!