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Pac-10 Baseball Heads North
2005-05-16 16:24
by Jon Weisman

The weirdness of the Pacific 10 Conference baseball season has kind of snuck up on me. Here and there I've caught glimpses. UCLA losing game after game. Washington State winless. Stanford unable to put together any kind of a streak.

But I finally got a look at the standings, and who's up in first place? Oregon State, with a 17-4 record in conference play and 39-8 overall. The Beavers are ranked third nationally by Baseball America.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in my memory, Oregon State is a program rarely heard from come College World Series time. What baseball alumni has the Beaver program produced? Ken Forsch is probably the best, but perhaps the most famous is ... Steve Lyons.

2005-05-16 16:39:22
1.   Ken Arneson
Speaking of weirdness, why does the Pac-10 only have nine teams? Doesn't Oregon want to play?

I remember when it was the 6-pack. When did that change?

2005-05-16 16:42:04
2.   Jon Weisman
It changed sometime after I graduated, that's all I know. I loved the Six-Pac (that's how I spelled it). And the idea that a team outside the old Six-Pac is leading the conference is what surprises me so. Hard to teach a young-but-aging dog new tricks.

The nine-team Pac-10 is just another reminder that we're only human.

2005-05-16 16:54:34
3.   Xeifrank
Perhaps it's time to stop putting numbers after the name of college conferences. I guess I'm not that old of a dog. :)



2005-05-16 16:56:09
4.   Xeifrank
Perhaps NCAA baseball should go to some sort of BCS system to determine who plays in it's championship game. Think it doesn't make any sense? Doesn't make sense for football either.



2005-05-16 16:56:48
5.   Bob Timmermann
Oregon dropped baseball many years ago because of financial reasons and Title IX issues.

Apparently Phil Knight doesn't like baseball enough to write one of his monstrous checks to endow that part of Nike University.

2005-05-16 16:59:57
6.   Suffering Bruin
When I did the play-by-play for UCLA (backslapping so hard I think I just sprained my wrist) it was even weirder. They had the Pac-10 North and the Pac-Ten South.

The Oregon and Washington schools were north. Everybody else was south, including Cal and Stanford.

I asked why. It had something to do with how the schedule would work out every other year. I never did get a clear explanation.

2005-05-16 17:04:28
7.   Xeifrank
See you all during the game, gotta sign off for a while.

Remember the Over/Under of 6 1/3 for Penny tonight. 7IPs is his best outing so far.



2005-05-16 17:08:33
8.   Bob Timmermann
The Six-Pac was the Southern half of the Pac-10. I believe there were 12 teams playing baseball under the Pac-10 banner. I don't think enough WCC teams had a program or schools like Gonzaga and Portland didn't want to travel to Pepperdine and Loyola or something like that.

For a few years, the Pac-10 North and South winners would have a playoff series to see who would get the automatic bid for the NCAA playoffs. As if there was any doubt that the South team wouldn't go. Or even the North winner.

2005-05-16 19:12:14
9.   Nick Iyengar
I think the biggest surprise in the Pac-10 is Stanford, a perrenial powerhouse. As a Palo Alto native, I've been treated to great college baseball for years on end, but Stanford is now lingering at #21, and is only 10-8 in conference play. I picked them to easily win the conference and remain comfortably in their usual Top-10 neighborhood. However, the Beavers mathematically eliminated the Cardinal from Pac-10 title contention this weekend. I think given that Stanford has been somewhat under the radar this year, we might see people "surprised" in Omaha. The Card definitely have the talent to stack up with just about anyone -- they've suffered tons of one-run losses, which have skewed their record.

Anyway, nice to see some people out there are following college baseball.

2005-05-16 21:27:03
10.   alex 7
Oregon has pretty legit high school talent and Oregon State has been able to clean up on state talent with no other major university competing against it (with the UofO having no baseball).

Our best player of the last few seasons is now playing for Cal State Fullerton and a couple of guys end up in the Southeast, but for the most part, Pat Casey, the coach at OSU, gets to over-recruit for every position from the entire state.

I would imagine that he's also able to recruit a bit from Washington with the horrible baseball weather found in that state. OSU also has a recently renovated million dollar facility.

2005-05-17 17:30:25
11.   The Hungerford Devil
The Pac-10 merged back into one division after Portland State (a member of the Pac-10 for baseball) dropped the sport 5-6 years ago. The two divisions used to allow home-and-home conference series -- the Six-Pac teams played each other 3 games at home and 3 games on the road. Six games each against ASU, Arizona, UCLA, USC, Cal and/or Stanford was hellish compared to the cupcake schedules played by SEC and ACC schools, so I'm sure the conference wasn't that sorry make the change.

Now, with 8 other teams in the league to play every year, the teams only meet for one weekend (the season isn't long enough to have 16 weeks of conference play). This makes for some very unbalanced schedules. Generally each Pac-10 team plays one of the "matched" schools home and one away. For instance, in a given year UCLA might play Stanford on the road and Cal at home, Arizona at home, ASU on the road, et cetera. If one of the matched schools is up and one is down that particular season, the luck of the draw (which one you get at home) can make a major difference.

Some of the home-and-home flavor remains (USC and Stanford play two different 3-game sets, as do Cal and Stanford) but only the second three game series counts in the conference standings.

People interested in college baseball should check out for more accurate rankings than the polls or the horribly flawed RPI and for quick links to scores and standings.

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