It's another cold, rainy day in the valley, so of course Benny (and figgi) are thinking about baseball. After all, the season does start in just 44 days, and season tickets are on sale. The first formal practice is Friday.
Baseball America has released their pre-season rankings, and Oregon St. is ranked 23rd, which is 5th. highest of the Pac-
12 11 (Colorado, remember, doesn't field a baseball team). Florida is atop the rankings, and Stanford is #2.
South Carolina and Arkansas come next, with Arizona rounding out the top 5. Other ranked teams from the west include UCLA, at 14th, and Arizona St. at 17th. from the conference, and Cal-State Fullerton, who round out the top 25.
Boydsworld.com has also rated the strength of schedules of teams, and again, the Pac-12 is the toughest conference in baseball. The four toughest schedules belong to Stanford, USC, Oregon. and UCLA. In fact, 8 of the toughest 9 are faced by the Pac, with California, Washington St., Arizona St., and Washington in spots 6-9.
Oregon St. actually has the softest schedule in the conference, with the Beavers coming in at #35 overall. The other conference teams are Utah at #26 and Arizona at #29. The reason for this is the Beavers' relatively soft non-conference schedule, rated 130th of the 298 "Division I" teams. Stanford, by contrast, plays the #2 non-conference schedule to go along with the brutal Pac-12 schedule.
The SEC plays the second toughest schedules, with Florida at #5, while Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Vanderbilt occupying 5 of the 6 spots from 10-15.
Fullerton, who plays the toughest non-conference schedule, Long Beach St., UC-Santa Barbara, and UC-Davis are also in the top 30.