Pac-12 softball boats plenty of top 25 teams
This includes four schools ranked in top 10
With the release of the USA Today/NFCA Coaches 2018 softball rankings, it’s a good time to preview the strength of schedule for Arizona Softball, and in particular, the strength of their conference, which boasts some of the best teams in the country.
There are six Pac-12 teams in the top-25, with the University of California just narrowly being edged out of a seventh spot. The University of Oregon came in at No. 3, with Washington right behind them at No. 4, and following them is UCLA at No. 5.
The Wildcats came in at No. 7, fourth out of Pac-12 teams, and head coach Mike Candrea said that’s just about where they belong.
“That’s about where it should be right now,” Candrea said. “UCLA is very good, Washington is very good, and Oregon — Oregon was my pick for No. 1.”
Other Pac-12 schools check in just outside of the top-10. Utah came in at No. 15 and ASU came in at No. 23.
Last year, the Wildcats finished 18-6 in the Pac-12, sweeping Washington, Cal and Stanford. When they played against Oregon, the ‘Cats were 2-1, winning by scores of 2-0 and 10-7. Against UCLA, Arizona was 1-2, getting shut out twice before winning 7-2 in the final game of the regular season.
Against rival ASU the Wildcats were 2-1, with a stand-out 8-0 win in five innings.
Candrea said that he doesn’t put too much stock in preseason rankings because you never truly know what the team is capable of until you start playing.
“I don’t really look at the rankings, because it’s the preseason,” he said. “The preseason ones are based pretty much on last year and who you lost to. You don’t know who the freshman are here.”
The Pac-12 has the second most schools inside the top-25, right behind the SEC. If the preseason rankings are any indication, the 2018 season will be another challenging one for Arizona, playing in one of the toughest conferences in the country.