The Pac-12 heads into rivalry weekend with a lot more than bragging rights on the line in Los Angeles.
Both USC and UCLA had big-time weekends, and now head into this weekend's showdown as the top two teams in the conference.
A lot of shifting around from last week's rankings, so let's get right to it:
1. USC Trojans (25-6, 7-2 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 2
USC moves back into the top spot after impressing everyone that watched them in Tucson this week, including myself. That team has it all. They can hit. They can pitch. They can field. And coach Lopez and the players all agreed that USC is the best team that Arizona has seen all season. They'll host UCLA this weekend. The Trojans already have a win over the Bruins earlier this year at Dodger Stadium too, so the Bruins will be looking to get some revenge.
2. UCLA Bruins (23-6, 10-2 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 3
UCLA continues to stay hot, taking two-of-three from Oregon State this weekend. After dropping the first game, the Bruins bounced back to win the next two, and pulled away late on Saturday to wrap up the series. What a big weekend in L.A. this is.
3. Arizona State Sun Devils (21-8, 9-3 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 1
ASU struggled at Utah this weekend, and lost a game to the Utes for the first time since 1960 (27 games). Both wins were in extra innings after late Sun Devil comebacks. One thing about ASU is they definitely fight all the way to the end of the game. They've won six or seven games this year when trailing after six innings. Probably not a way you want to keep winning games, but it's impressive.
4. Oregon State Beavers (22-9, 5-4 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 5
OSU moves up simply based on how bad Cal was. The Beavs do look good though, and their four conference losses have come to ASU and UCLA, all on the road. That's nothing to be ashamed of. OSU gets the ice-cold Ducks, and should easily get the sweep even though it's in Eugene.
5. Arizona Wildcats (22-9, 7-5 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 6
I'm gonna look like a homer, moving a team up in the power rankings after getting swept, but I'm doing it anyways. Outside of two innings, Arizona wins that series against USC. They'll get their chance to prove themselves against ASU this weekend and OSU the weekend after that. I still think Arizona belongs up here for the time being.
6. California Golden Bears (21-9, 8-4 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 4
Cal is coming back down to earth a little bit, and just lost a series to Washington State after losing a game to Utah. I would imagine they'll get back to winning games this weekend against Stanford, but the Bears are not as impressive as they once were. Also, that series win over Oregon is carrying less weight as each week goes by.
7. Washington Huskies (18-12, 5-7 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 7
The Huskies went into Stanford and did what a lot of teams will probably do this year, dominate. This UW/WSU series just got sneaky good with what the Cougs did to Cal. I wanted to put Washington ahead of Cal, but the Bears did sweep the Huskies earlier this year.
8. Washington State Cougars (14-16, 3-9 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 10
A series win over Cal is good, especially in Berkeley. The Cougs have held their own against UCLA and OSU this year as well, so maybe they're better than their record would indicate. Like I said, the UW/WSU series all of the sudden got sort of intriguing. It's in Pullman.
9. Utah Utes (10-19, 4-8 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 9
I jokingly asked for Utah to win a game or two against ASU last week, and they did it! And they realistically could have won all three. The Utes are getting better, which is all you can ask of a team really. It's crazy to me that they hadn't won a game against ASU since 1960. That's the best Pac-12 baseball stat of the year in my opinion. Utah's rivalry weekend games are against Southeastern Louisiana, because there's no tradition quite like a Utes game against whatever the mascot is for SELA (it's Lions).
10. Oregon Ducks (18-15, 2-7 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 8
Nice knowing you Oregon. You just got swept at home by something called Michigan State, and you also lost a game to Portland after getting swept by Arizona. They have to play Portland again this week before hosting Oregon State, which is just cruel. That Sunday game against Michigan State had an extremely long lightning/hail delay, which is probably the worst possible way to spend your Easter.
11. Stanford Cardinal (11-17, 0-9 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 11
Just don't go 0-30 in conference Stanford.
12. Seattle Redhawks (15-15, 8-1 WAC)
Our honorary Pac-12 team of the week is Seattle U. The Redhawks hosted and swept the previously-unbeaten in conference Sacramento State Hornets to take control of the WAC. Seattle has losses to Oregon and Washington this season, but get two more cracks at the Huskies before the year is up.
Enjoy rivalry weekend, and make sure to watch some USC/UCLA baseball on the Pac-12 Networks. Friday at 3 PM, Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2 PM for that series. Arizona and ASU is probably the second-best series, starting Saturday night at 7:30 PM.