Just three weeks remain in the Pac-12 baseball season, and there's still a lot to be decided.
The top two teams in the actual Pac-12 standings get together this weekend in UCLA and ASU, but the Devils are definitely on a downward trend, while the Bruins have not lost a true weekend series all year.
No change in the top four from last week, because those four teams have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the conference over the course of the year. But all four had their fair share of problems this week, setting up an interesting stretch run.
1. UCLA Bruins (33-11, 16-5 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 1
UCLA lost two games this past week, one to Long Beach State, and one to Gonzaga. They'll put their series winning streak on the line as they travel to Phoenix to take on ASU Friday-Sunday. It's a chance for the Bruins to essentially put the Pac-12 Championship on lock and get ready for the postseason.
2. USC Trojans (32-14, 13-8 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 2
USC lost a ten inning game on Sunday to just miss out on a road sweep at Utah. The Trojans have a big midweek game with UC-Irvine on Tuesday before hosting Stanford this weekend. Still super impressive how far this USC program has come in the last three years though, and they just keep rolling through their schedule.
3. Oregon State Beavers (29-14, 12-9 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 3
OSU continues to play close games, and continues to win them. This could be a good weekend for the Beavers to get some blowout wins though as they host Utah. Big wins late in the year should certainly help them with seeding come tournament time.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (29-15, 14-7 Pac-12)
As expected, ASU lost its first Pac-12 series of the year this weekend at Cal. For the week, ASU went 1-3, including an absolute beatdown suffered at the hands of Arizona. I tried to warn you about ASU's bullpen last week, and this week, their relievers gave up 18 earned runs in 16 total innings of work. The Sun Devils host conference-leading UCLA this week, and still have Washington State and USC on the schedule after that. ASU might just play themselves out of a regional host spot with that stretch.
5. California Golden Bears (29-15, 15-9 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 6
Just like ASU, Cal has a tough stretch of games remaining. Although they have this weekend off from Pac-12 play when they travel to Campbell, the Camels are nothing to overlook. Campbell's 27-19 this year, and have a couple impressive wins on the resume. After this weekend, Cal then has to host USC and travel to Oregon State to close out the season.
6. Oregon Ducks (27-20, 9-12 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 7
Oregon's picked it up here lately, winning three of their last four series. They were staring down a sweep of Stanford this weekend before giving up four runs in the final two innings to lose 6-5. The Ducks have a lot of games remaining to pick up wins as well with at least one midweek game in each of the final three weeks. They probably dug themselves too big of a hole at the start of conference play, but they're definitely making it interesting for the selection committee.
7. Arizona Wildcats (27-18, 11-13 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 8
Arizona needed this week with the beatdown of ASU followed by a road series win at Washington State. A very winnable weekend awaits as the Wildcats host Washington. Still, an RPI currently sitting in the 90s is not good.
8. Washington State Cougars (25-21, 8-13 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 5
I was high on WSU, and they didn't really show me a lot this weekend against Arizona. Oregon, ASU and Stanford are the remaining Pac-12 series, so they certainly still have a chance to finish close to .500 in conference play.
9. Stanford Cardinal (20-25, 6-15 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 9
The bottom of the conference did what it was supposed to do this weekend...lose. Stanford almost got swept, but a late rally on Sunday allowed them to squeak out a game against Oregon. At USC this weekend probably means more losses.
10. Washington Huskies (24-21, 9-15 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 10
Washington is quite good at losing close games, and they did that twice against Oregon State this weekend. Of course, they did win on Saturday, because the Huskies pitch their best pitcher on Saturdays, just like ASU and WSU. One thing Arizona fans should know before this week is that UW is better on the road (12-6) than at home (11-12) this year.
11. Utah Utes (15-27, 7-14 Pac-12)
Previous ranking: 11
Utah's funny in that they keep managing to get one win per weekend. A trip to Oregon State and a Beavs team that is heating up at the right time may not work out so well for the Utes though.
12. UC-Irvine Anteaters (28-16, 11-4 Big West, 2-4 Pac-12)
Irvine went to Minnesota this weekend and swept the Gophers to pretty much solidify themselves in the postseason according to all accounts. The Eaters play USC on Tuesday, and also play UCLA again later this year for a chance to finish .500 in Pac-12 play in 2015.
The clear series of the week is UCLA at ASU, since the rest of the top teams are playing the lower tier of the conference. I would imagine UCLA comes in and takes complete control of the conference championship, but maybe ASU's bullpen will get its issues worked out by Friday.