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Pac-12 Baseball Power Rankings: The curious case of Stanford

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No in-conference sweeps makes this week a little more difficult

Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

The Pac-12 had an interesting weekend, with none of the five conference series being swept.  Oregon was the only team to pull off an undefeated weekend, but they were playing at home against UC-Riverside.

UCLA had the most disappointing week, losing the series at Arizona, and possibly losing their closer David Berg due to a bicep injury.

Also surprising was Oregon State losing on a Friday.  That almost never happens.  Props to Washington State for pulling that off.

Stanford is the most confusing of all the Pac-12 teams, with an extremely-high RPI for their record.  More on that down lower, but it could present an interesting problem for the selection committee if things remain the way they are.

Not a lot of movement at the top from last week, but once again, we've got some shuffling of positions in the middle of the Pac.

1. Washington Huskies (25-7-1, 12-3)

Previous ranking: 1

Last week: 2-1 vs. Stanford, 1-0 vs. Northern Colorado

This week: @ Cal (Thurs-Sat)

All series this week are a day earlier than normal due to Easter Sunday, so make sure you get yourself adjusted for that.  Washington manages to hang on to first place in the conference by a game after another series win.  Only two losses for the Huskies since March 15th.  It's starting to get ridiculous how well this team is doing without having that one star player.  Andrew Ely and Robert Pehl are their leading hitters at .345 and .344 respectively, and starting pitcher Tyler Davis keeps getting it done on the mound with his 7-1 record and 1.38 ERA.  This week is their first road series since sweeping USC, so it'll be interesting to see if they can keep on this incredible run.  At this pace, UW will be hosting a regional at their new stadium.

2. Oregon State Beavers (27-7, 11-4)

Previous ranking: 2

Last week: 2-1 @ Washington State

This week: Off

The Beavs lost on Friday, which was the most shocking single-game result this weekend.  But as usual, they pitched themselves back into a series win, and got a ton of offense, winning the final two games by a combined 20-6.  A bye week right in the middle of the conference season is nice timing for the perennial favorites.  Who awaits them in two weeks?  Oregon.

3. Oregon Ducks (28-10, 7-5)

Previous ranking: 4

Last week: 2-0 vs. Portland, 3-0 vs. UC Riverside, 1-0 vs. San Diego

This week: vs. Washington State (Thurs-Sat)

I predicted the Oregon offense would come alive this weekend, and it did.  The Ducks averaged seven runs per game in their six games last week, a far cry from the few weeks before where they struggled to even reach four runs in one game.  Every WSU series intrigues me at this point, because the Cougars have shown since conference play started that they belong in the conversation with the big boys.  Oregon has a chance to position themselves at a run towards the Pac-12 title with a series win here and then Oregon State the week after.

4. Arizona State Sun Devils (19-14, 9-6)

Previous ranking: 3

Last week: 0-1 vs. Arizona, 2-1 vs. Cal

This week: vs. UNLV (Tues), @ Stanford (Thurs-Sat)

The UNLV game is just as important as the Stanford series for the Devils.  The Rebels are highly-regarded nationally this year, and this could be a match up that determines a possible two seed when regionals come around.  Also a side benefit for ASU, Stanford's RPI is still insanely high despite their struggles.  Statement week for ASU if they can come away with a 3-1 record.

5. Washington State Cougars (16-16, 7-5)

Previous ranking: 5

Last week: 0-1 vs. BYU, 1-2 vs. Oregon State

This week: @ Gonzaga (Tues), @ Oregon (Thurs-Sat)

A win over OSU's Ben Wetzler is impressive, but it's also strange when it's the only win for the week.  Just like ASU, WSU has a chance to make a statement at Oregon this weekend.  Still have no idea how to read this team right now.

6. Arizona Wildcats (17-20, 6-9)

Previous ranking: 8

Last week: 1-0 @ ASU, 2-1 vs. UCLA

This week: @ USC (Thurs-Sat)

Big couple of weeks for Arizona are in the books, and they came out of it with a 5-2 record.  Heading the right direction, and taking on a USC team that has had problems in recent weeks.  Starting pitching is a problem on both ends of the weekend, but Cody Hamlin sandwiched in the middle has been spectacular.

7. UCLA Bruins (19-15, 7-5)

Previous ranking: 6

Last week: 0-1 @ Cal State Fullerton, 1-2 @ Arizona

This week: @ Utah (Thurs-Sat)

The Bruins have now lost five of their last six and seven-of-ten.  The last series they won was against Washington State four weeks ago.  And now they may be without David Berg?  A lot of similarities to this team to last year's Arizona team, where the National Champion struggles in the middle part of conference season, puts themselves on the bubble, and misses the postseason.  UCLA is headed for that same fate right now unless they get it turned around quickly.  Getting a chance to see them in person for all three Arizona games did not impress me at all.  Not a lot of good things happening on that team.

8.  Stanford Cardinal (12-16, 4-8)

Previous ranking: 7

Last week: 1-0 vs. UC Davis, 1-2 @ Washington

This week: vs. St. Mary's (Tues), vs. ASU (Thurs-Sat)

Here's the thing about Stanford.  Even with their dismal record, they moved up ten spots in the RPI this week from 36th to 26th.  That is the third-best RPI in the Pac-12.  Yet they're 4-8 in conference, and only have two series wins ALL SEASON (Oregon and Kansas).  They've even lost a series, at home, to USC.  And yet they're 26th in the RPI.  Weird stuff.

9.  California Golden Bears (15-17, 4-8)

Previous ranking: 9

Last week: 1-2 @ ASU

This week: vs. Washington (Thurs-Sat)

Two of those ASU games went to extras (Friday loss and Sunday win), so it's not like it was a lost weekend for the Bears.  It was also the first time they weren't involved in a series sweep one way or the other, so that must be a nice change of pace.  Pac-12 leaders are in Berkeley this weekend.  Expect Washington to sweep the Bears.

10. USC Trojans (17-17, 6-9)

Previous ranking: 10

Last week: 0-1 @ Pepperdine, 2-1 vs. Utah

This week: vs. Arizona (Thurs-Sat)

The Trojans were on the verge of disaster on Saturday, but got a walk-off sac fly from Reggie Southall to avoid losing the series early.  Then they came out and laid the hammer down on Sunday to take the series with a 13-2 win.  The only time USC's been involved in a sweep is when Washington came to L.A. and took all three games.  Arizona comes in hot, so USC will need to get to them early if they want a chance at the series.

11. Utah Utes (11-21, 2-13)

Previous ranking: 11

Last week: 1-2 @ USC

This week: vs. UCLA (Thurs-Sat)

Two straight weeks with conference wins for the Utes!  Unfortunately for them, they have yet to win on a Saturday or Sunday to turn those Friday wins into something more.  But a struggling UCLA team comes to the SLC this weekend.  Huge chance for Utah to take the next step as a team.

As you can see, the bottom and top have really worked themselves out so far this season.  The middle is the only thing that's up in the air right now.  I just can't get over that Stanford RPI situation though.  Also, Arizona has the worst RPI in the conference despite having a better conference record, and a couple of big wins on their resume.

Lots of TV again this week!  Here's a look:


6 PM: UCLA at Utah (P12 Networks)

7 PM: Arizona at USC (P12 Networks)


6 PM: UCLA at Utah (P12 Networks)

7 PM: Arizona at USC (P12 Networks)


7 PM: Arizona at USC (P12 Networks)

Not the marquee matchups, but chances for Arizona and UCLA to position themselves on the bubble come selection weekend.