A look at the race for the Pac-10 title





Cal’s game against UC Davis was rained out today and will be played tomorrow.

Cal only has two Pac-10 series left on the year, as does the rest of the Pac-10, so it’s intriguing to look at how the Pac-10 race is shaping. Who’s going to win the conference? How does it look compared to pre-season expectations?

All predictions are courtesy of College Baseball Daily. Stanford was the favorite heading into the year, despite not having a lot of draft-eligible upperclassmen and question marks with their offense. Arizona State followed, and then what would have been my favorite UCLA took third in the pre-season poll. Oregon and Washington State took fourth and fifth, respectively, despite problems scoring runs. Arizona, Cal, and Oregon State followed low on the totem pole and Washington and USC occupied the final two spots.

The current standings are a different story. Predicted 8th place Oregon State currently occupies first place relatively comfortably, with a 2 game lead over 2nd place Arizona State. UCLA follows at third, and Cal and Arizona finish out the upper half of the conference. Stanford and USC are tied for sixth at 10-11, with Oregon, Washington State, and Washington in the cellar of the conference.

The “race” is not very close. Oregon State is two games up on UCLA/Arizona State with series against USC and Oregon remaining. With all due respect to those teams, the Beavers are good enough to go at least 4-2 against those clubs and force the Bruins and Sun Devils to run the table to even tie. UCLA and Arizona State play each other, while the Bruins still have a tough series against Cal left. The odds of a tie, let alone a sneak up to take the conference, are probably less than 5%. It’s very unlikely a team other than the Beavers are celebrating a championship.

The only other real potential change in the standings is who takes second between UCLA and ASU, and the order of Cal, Arizona, Stanford, and USC. Otherwise, the last two weeks of the season lack the kind of intrigue we usually see from the great conference. However, making the tournament leaves plenty for these teams to play for in their final 6 games.

If there’s a reason to not buy into predictions, just look at the Pac-10 this season. Oregon State, predicted 8th, has 1st place in their hands with 6 to play. Despite the lack of potential change at the top, there’s still plenty to watch for as the season winds down, with teams fighting it out for NCAA Tournament position. Go Bears!