With five weeks remaining in the college baseball regular season, six teams in the Pac-12 are ranked in the NCBWA poll and have a shot at winning the regular season championship.
The Oregon schools still rule the roost but have yet to play each other save for the single non-conference game on April 9. The Beavers (31-8, 11-4 Pac-12) travel to Eugene to take on the Ducks (29-10, 13-5 Pac-12) on May 17-21 for a three-game weekend set and another non-conference matchup the following Tuesday.
Prior to the marquee matchup, the Beavers host the USC Trojans (16-23, 8-10 Pac-12) this weekend and look to rebound after dropping two to the cellar-dweller Washington Huskies (11-26, 5-10 Pac-12).
They then host the Cal Bears (18-21, 7-11 Pac-12) and travel to Stanford (22-12, 9-6 Pac-12) to take on the Cardinal. The Beavers end the regular hosting the Washington State Cougars (19-18, 6-9 Pac-12) after the four-game Oregon set.
The Ducks suffered two consecutive 1-0 losses to the UCLA Bruins (25-11, 9-6 Pac-12), but rebounded with a 5-3 victory in the series finale. They travel to Portland on Tuesday night to take on the Pilots then host Stanford this weekend before embarking on a eight-game road trip to Seattle, Pullman and Columbus, Ohio to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.They welcome the Gonzaga Bulldogs for a two-day mid-week set prior to Oregon State and finish the season against the Utah Utes (16-19, 5-13 Pac-12).
The Bruins and Cardinal are tied for third spot in the league and play each other in the final series of the regular season, May 24-26. UCLA has a considerably lighter schedule in the remaining weeks with their biggest challenges coming from Arizona for a three-game set May 10-12 and then having to travel to take on the No. 3 Cal State Fullerton Titans on May 14.
Stanford, on the other hand travels to Oregon this weekend, Arizona State next weekend and hosts Oregon State the following weekend. Nine tough games that the Cardinal need to win if they want to have a chance at the conference title.
The team with the most favorable remaining schedule is the fourth place Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils (24-12-1, 8-7 Pac-12) decimated non-conference foe Valparaiso last weekend winning the first two games by a total of 31-6 before dropping the finale 8-6. The Devils took 5-of-9 games against the top three teams in the Pac and won seven games against teams nationally ranked in the top 10. Their remaining schedule contains the bottom three teams in the conference in California, Utah and Washington and their toughest foes, Stanford and Arizona are at home.
Who Wins the Pac-12 Regular Season Championship?
The Arizona Wildcats also have an outside shot at the title with a little bit of help. They are home for the next seven games including Alabama State this weekend, Arizona State next Tuesday and Washington the following weekend. The final road trip of the season could spell their doom as they have to travel to UCLA and then to Tempe to take on Arizona State in consecutive weekends. They end the regular season hosting the USC Trojans.
There is no doubt that all six teams will make the postseason and perhaps USC and Washington State could still find themselves playing after Memorial Day weekend if they can pick up some quality wins.
With a lot of work, some blood, sweat, tears and a pinch of luck, the Pac-12 could be the dominant conference when it comes to this year's College World Series and I will keep you updated every step of the way.