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Five Predictions For The Pac-12 Conference In 2016

Christian McCaffrey had a great 2015 season and is considered one of the favorites or the Heisman in 2016. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)
Christian McCaffrey had a great 2015 season and is considered one of the favorites or the Heisman in 2016. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)

Five Predictions For The Pac-12 Conference In 2016

The 2016 College Football season is less than two weeks away as Hawaii and California kick off on August 26th (if you are watching in the US) in Sydney, Australia. Below are five predictions for Pac-12 Conference for the 2016 season. Some predictions will be right, some predictions will be wrong, and some will be spectacularly awful (or correct) by the end of the season.

There are no changes for the Pac-12 Conference as the twelve teams remain the same and are split into North and South Divisions. The six teams in the North Division are California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, and Washington State. The six teams in the South Division are Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC, and Utah.

Here are five predictions for the Pac-12 Conference in 2016:

1. California and Oregon State will both miss a bowl game – California went 8-5 last year with Jared Goff throwing for 4,719 yards with 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. There was a lot of talent coming back in 2015 outside of Goff with eight starters on offense (put up 37.9 points and 529 yards per game) and nine on defense (gave up 30.7 points and 454 yards per game). That will change for 2016 as the offense has only four starters back while the defense has five. 2015 showed the best output on offense under Sonny Dykes and the best defense as well in his three years. It is hard to find six wins for Cal when they have to face both San Diego State (away) and Texas (home) in the non-conference schedule to go along with the nine conference games they will play.

For Oregon State, they had a miserable season going 2-10 overall and 0-9 in Pac-12 play in Gary Andersen’s first season. The offense put up only 19 points and 337 yards per game while the defense gave up 37 points and 482 yards per game, the highest total in nearly three decades (1987). Even with seven starters back on offense and six back on defense (had just two in 2015) they have to face Minnesota on the road and Boise State at home out of conference. Oregon State will be better, but it will not be enough to get to a bowl game.

2. Colorado will make a bowl game – This one is going to be close. Colorado will be in the fourth year of Mike MacIntyre and he has struggled to rebuild this team going 10-27 overall with a 2-25 conference record. 2016 will be his most experienced squad with nine starters back on both offense and defense. The offense has stagnated with the highest total coming in 2014 at 28.5 points and 439 yards a game. Sefo Liufau is back for his fourth year at quarterback though he will be missing his top target in Nelson Spruce, who went to the NFL. The rest of the receivers are back including some new enrollees as is running back Phillip Lindsay (653 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2015).

The defense is where the biggest improvements have been made. They went from allowing 39 points and 461 yards per game in 2014 to 27.5 points and 417 yards per game in 2015. There is even more room for improvement as the Buffaloes return those nine starters and will be in their second year under defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt. The defense allowed 199 yards rushing per contest, but can improve on that with the return of five starters as well as 2012 through 2014 mainstay Josh Tupou. The entire secondary returns after improving their passing yards allowed per game by 38 yards and could improve again in 2016.

The schedule opens with Colorado State in Denver before a home game against Idaho State. They close their non-conference with a trip to Michigan before going on the road the next week to open Pac-12 play against Oregon. In total, they have four road games in-conference, which will help their chances. It will take wins against teams like Oregon State (home), Arizona State (home), Arizona (away), Washington State (home), and Utah (home) to get to six wins. They will need a few upsets to get to a bowl game, but Colorado can do it.

3. The duo of Christian McCaffrey and Royce Freeman will rush for a combined 4,000 yards – These two players had wonderful 2015 seasons. Christian McCaffrey ran for 2,019 yards and 8 touchdowns while also catching 45 passes for 645 yards and 5 touchdowns. We cannot forget his return abilities when he added in a combined 1,200 yards and two touchdowns. He was electrifying in 2015. Royce Freeman did not get the same hype as McCaffrey, but he too was exciting to watch. He ran for 1,836 yards and 17 touchdowns while adding in another 26 receptions for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns.

What leads to this prediction is both Stanford and Oregon will have new quarterbacks. These two players were already likely to get a majority of the touches, but having new quarterbacks only makes it more likely for them to be relied upon. Even Oregon’s Mark Helfrich has made it known what his offensive game plan is for his quarterbacks. Sure the defenses will key in on these two, but these are guys are not easy to contain.

4. Washington will not win the Pac-12 – There is a lot of hype surrounding the Washington Huskies in 2016. Even ESPN wrote an article on the amount of hype the Huskies have around them this year. There is no doubt the Huskies have potential with 15 starters back (8 on offense and 7 on defense) including super sophomores Jake Browning at quarterback (2,955 yards with 16 touchdowns an 10 interceptions) and running back Myles Gaskin (1,302 yards and 14 touchdowns). The defense will be tough again in 2016 after allowing just 18.8 points and 452 yards per game last year.

The Huskies have five Pac-12 games in 2016 against Arizona, Oregon, Utah, California, and Washington State, which are all teams that made bowl games in 2015. Arizona and Utah will not be easy, but are games that should be won by Washington. Their toughest two will be against Oregon (a team they have not beaten since 2003) and Washington State in the Apple Cup (the Huskies have won three in a row and six of the last seven games). They also face Stanford and USC at home this year, which will not be easy even at Husky Stadium.

It feels like Washington is going to peak in 2017 rather than 2016. Even if the Huskies do win the Pac-12 North, they will have to defeat the South winner, which is likely to be UCLA or USC.

5. The Pac-12 will not make the College Football Playoffs – The Pac-12 conference schedule looks like it might cannibalize the conference and keep it out of the College Football Playoffs for the second straight year. Some teams even play a strong non-conference schedule that could provide more losses (or conversely impressive wins to factor in). Let’s take a look at all the contenders and their toughest games.

Stanford – They face Kansas State at home and Notre Dame on the road in their non-conference schedule. In conference, they play USC and Washington State at home while taking on UCLA, Arizona, and Oregon on the road.

Oregon – They face Nebraska on the road in non-conference while in Pac-12 they play Washington State, USC and Utah on the road. At home, they will play Washington and Stanford.

Washington – Their toughest non-conference game is Rutgers at home the opening week in what should be a comfortable win. They face Stanford and USC at home while playing Arizona, Oregon, Utah, and Washington State on the road.

UCLA – They face Texas A&M and BYU on the road as part of their non-conference schedule. In conference, they face Stanford, Arizona, Utah, and USC at home while taking on Washington State on the road.

USC – They open with Alabama in Arlington, Texas and also face Notre Dame at home to end the season. In conference, they have to face Utah, Arizona, Washington and UCLA on the road and play Oregon at home.

Utah – They face BYU at home as well as USC, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon at home in Pac-12 play. On the road, UCLA is their toughest opponent.

Some teams definitely have a manageable schedule, but the Pac-12 will need a team with one loss (preferably none) and that loss better not come in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If it does, it could mean the Pac-12 is left out of the College Football Playoffs for the second straight year.

The Prediction Schedule

With the Pac-12 predictions above, there are now predictions for nine conferences in the books. Below are the predictions completed and which conference is next.

July 17 – FBS Independents

July 17 – Sun Belt

July 23 – C-USA

July 24 – MAC

July 30 – American Athletic

July 31 – Mountain West

August 7 – Big 12

August 13 – Atlantic Coast

August 14 – Pac-12

August 20 – Big Ten

August 27 – SEC

2015 College Football Preview: Pac-12 South

Todd Graham is back for his fourth year at Arizona State in the deep Pac-12 South Division. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)
Todd Graham is back for his fourth year at Arizona State in the deep Pac-12 South Division. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

2015 College Football Preview: Pac-12 South

We have reached part seventeen of Sports Enthusiasts’ 2015 College Football Preview. The Pac-12 South is on tap to be previewed as well as the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Previews will close out next week with the SEC. The entire schedule is below.

MAC East Division – July 1

MAC West Division – July 3

Mountain West, Mountain Division – July 7

Mountain West, West Division – July 10

C-USA East Division – July 14

C-USA West Division – July 17

The American East Division – July 21

The American West Division – July 24

FBS Independents – July 28

Sun Belt – July 28

Big 12 – July 31

ACC Coastal Division – August 4

ACC Atlantic Division – August 7

Big 10 West Division – August 11

Big 10 East Division – August 14

Pac-12 North Division – August 18

Pac-12 South Division – August 21

SEC East Division – August 25

SEC West Division – August 28

Let’s delve into the tough Pac-12 South Division.

1. Arizona State Sun Devils

Todd Graham came in for the 2012 season and immediately made the offense better and also improved the defense. They went from 6-7 in 2011 to 8-5 in 2012. 2013 was even better when the Sun Devils went 10-4, but lost the Pac-12 Title Game, as well as Holiday Bowl. 2014 was another double digit win season with ASU going 10-3 thanks to a 36-31 win over Duke in the Sun Bowl. 2015 represents Graham’s most starters returning with 16 (previous high was 15 in 2013).

The offense will have seven starters back from a unit hat produced 36.9 points and 442 yards per game. Taylor Kelly is gone after an injury filled season, which saw Mike Bercovici play at quarterback. Bercovici threw for 1,445 yards with 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions while returning this year to lead the offense. DJ Foster ran for 1,081 yards and 9 touchdowns, but has been moved to wide receiver while Demario Richard had 478 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. Jaelen Strong was the top receiver last year with 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns, but has moved on to the NFL. Foster was the second leading receiver with 62 catches for 688 yards and 3 touchdowns and should be one of the top receivers again in 2015 with the full-time move to the position. Also in the fold are Cameron Smith (41 catches for 596 yards and 6 touchdowns), Gary Chambers (10 catches for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns), Kody Kohl (16 catches for 167 yards and 4 touchdowns), and Ellis Jefferson (11 catches for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns). Three starters are back on the offensive line as well. While the loss of Strong hurts, there is plenty of talent and experience on the team to see the offense have a chance to be even more productive.

The defense has nine starters back, which is a vast improvement over last year. In 2014, the defense had only two starters returning and still gave up 27.9 points and 417 yards per game. Three starters are back on the defensive line led by Edmond Boateng (22 tackles and 2.5 sacks) and Tashon Smallwood (23 tackles and 2 sacks). The linebackers have two starters returning led by Salamo Fiso (83 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 7.5 tackles for loss) and Antonio Longino (94 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss). The secondary has three starters back led by Jordan Simone, who had 100 tackles (#2 on team), 1 sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2 interceptions. The defense will probably be the key for ASU in 2015 if they are to contend for the Pac-12 title and they have an excellent chance at being even better than they were in 2014.

Arizona State opens the year in Houston, Texas to face Texas A&M. The final two non-conference games are at home against Cal Poly and New Mexico. In division, they face USC, Colorado, and Arizona at home while playing UCLA and Utah on the road. From the North, ASU has Oregon (home), Washington State (road), Washington (home), and California (road). The offense will be good enough for ASU to probably win most of their conference games and could set up a rematch of the Oregon game in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

2. UCLA Bruins

UCLA will be entering 2015 with Jim Mora in his fourth season. UCLA went 9-5 in year one during 2012 including a three point loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 Title Game. 2013 and 2014 produced identical 10-3 records with bowl victories each year. 2015 sees Mora have his most experienced team with 18 starters, which makes them a very dangerous team this year.

The offense for UCLA has 10 starters returning, but quarterback Brett Hundley (3,155 yards passing with 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions; 644 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns) departs. The trio of Josh Rosen, Jerry Neuheisel, and Asiantii Woulard will be battling to replace Hundley. The good news is the rest of the offense returns led by Paul Perkins at running back. Perkins ran for 1,575 yards and 9 touchdowns while also grabbing 26 catches for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns. The top five receivers all return led by Jordan Payton (67 catches for 954 yards and 7 touchdowns), Thomas Duarte (28 catches for 540 yards and 4 touchdowns), and Devin Fuller (59 catches for 447 yards and a touchdown). The entire offensive line returns as well. After putting up 33.4 points and 468 yards per game in 2014, the offense could reach those numbers again, but will need the quarterback to play very well right out of the gate.

The defense has eight starters back in 2015, just like they did last year. The 2014 version allowed 28.1 points and 399 yards per game. Two starters are back on the defensive line in Kenny Clark (58 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss) and Eddie Vanderdoes (50 tackles, 2 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss). At linebacker, two starters return including the versatile Myles Jack. Jack was second on the team with 88 tackles, but also had 8 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, and an interception (also had 113 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns). Also returning is Deon Hollins, who had 31 tackles, 9 sacks, and 2 pass breakups. The secondary has all four starters back after allowing 251 yards passing and 61.6% completions. Priest Willis (22 tackles), Fabian Moreau (53 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 8 pass breakups), Jaleel Wadood (59 tackles), and Randall Goforth (2013 starter with 78 tackles and 3 interceptions) will be in the secondary. After performing worse than expected in 2014, the defense should bounce back and could produce the best defense yet under Mora (2013 with 23.2 points and 386 yards per game allowed).

UCLA welcomes Virginia to LA before a road trip to UNLV in week two. Their final non-conference game is at home against BYU. Within the South division, UCLA faces Arizona, Utah, and USC on the road. At home, they will take on Arizona State and Colorado. From the North, UCLA draws Stanford (road), California (home), Oregon State (road), and Washington State (home). The games against Arizona State (10/3) and USC (11/28) are sure to decide if they make the Pac-12 Championship Game, which they definitely can.

3. USC Trojans

USC was crushed by NCAA sanctions in Lane Kiffin’s first two years, but they still managed to go 18-7 those two seasons including a 10-2 record in 2011. In 2012, they slumped to 7-6 after being considered as one of the top teams that year and Kiffin’s time ended in 2013 after the Arizona State game when they were 3-2. They finished the year 10-4 before hiring Steve Sarkisian prior to the 2014 season. Sarkisian went 9-4 in year one and the expectations are high for his second season in charge.

On offense, USC will have seven starters returning from a group that put up 35.8 points and 458 yards per game. Cody Kessler looked comfortable in the system throwing for 3,826 yards with 39 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He loses three of his top five receivers including Nelson Agholor, who had 104 catches for 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns. Juju Smith-Schuster is back to take one of the starting spots again after grabbing 54 passes for 724 yards and 5 touchdowns. Darreus Rogers had 21 catches for 245 yards and 4 touchdowns while Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Steven Mitchell, and Adoree’ Jackson could make an impact in the passing game. The rushing game took a hit with Javorius “Buck” Allen leaving after rushing for 1,489 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014. Justin Davis (595 yards and 4 touchdowns), James Toland (102 yards), and Tre Madden (703 yards in 2013) are all expected to see action. The offensive line returns intact as well to help make holes for the rushing game and protect Kessler. The offense loses some big players at running back and wide receiver, but they could match last year’s numbers in year two of Sarkisian’s schemes.

The defense has seven starters back in 2015 after allowing 25.2 points and 408 yards per game. The two linemen returning are Antwaun Woods (37 tackles and 1 sack) and Delvon Simmons (4 tackles and 1 sack). Two linebackers also return in Anthony Sarao (74 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions) and Su’a Cravens (68 tackles, 5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 9 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions). The secondary has three starters back including two-way play Adoree’ Jackson (49 tackles and 10 pass breakups), Kevon Seymour (49 tackles and 13 pass breakups), and Leon McQuay (36 tackles, 4 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions). The defense should improve in 2015 with the new schemes under their belt and more depth as well.

USC opens with Arkansas State and Idaho at home the first two weeks before completing their non-conference slate on October 17 against Notre Dame on the road. Within their division, USC will face Arizona State and Colorado on the road while taking on Utah, Arizona, and UCLA at home. From the North, USC has to play Stanford (home), Washington (home), California (road), and Oregon (road). The talent is there for USC to win the division, but facing the top three from the North makes it harder for them to do it. However, do not count them out in year two under Steve Sarkisian.

4. Arizona Wildcats

Rich Rodriguez did not have a good time at Michigan going 15-22 with two losing seasons. After a year off in 2011, Rich Rod came back to coaching by taking over at Arizona, which was coming off a 4-8 record. Rich Rod has done well in his three years going 8-5 in both 2012 and 2013 while upping the record to 10-4 in 2014 with a Pac-12 Title Game appearance (lost 51-13 to Oregon).

Offense has not been an issue for Arizona in Rodriguez’s tenure. Last year, the offense put up 34.5 points and 464 yards per game and seven starters return from that group. Quarterback Anu Solomon threw for 3,793 yards with 28 touchdowns and 9 interceptions while also rushing for 291 yards and 2 touchdowns. He will be back along with last year’s top rusher in Nick Wilson, who had 1,375 yards and 16 touchdowns. The top receivers are back for Arizona with Cayleb Jones catching 73 passes for 1,019 yards and 9 touchdowns last year. The other is Samajie Grant, who had 45 catches for 718 yards and 6 touchdowns. The offensive line has only two starters back, but does have some transfers coming in. The offense has a great chance to produce higher numbers than the last two years.

The defense has not been bad under Rodriguez the last two years. In 2013, the defense allowed 24.2 points and 401 yards per game, but that was due to all 11 starters returning. Last year, the defense gave up 28.2 points and 451 yards per game with six starters back. That same number returns this year including the electric Scooby Wright at linebacker. He was named 1st Team All-American last year after recording 163 tackles, 14 sacks, and 15 tackles for loss! He will be joined by Derrick Turituri at linebacker after he had 44 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss. On the line, three starters return led by Reggie Gilbert, who had 49 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss. The other two starters will be joined by junior college transfers to give them solid depth on the line. The secondary has two starters back in William Parks (81 tackles, 1 sack, 12 tackles for loss, 8 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions) and Jarvis McCall (49 tackles and 7 pass breakups). The defense will probably have similar numbers to last year.

Arizona’s non-conference schedule consists of Texas-San Antonio (home), Nevada (road), and Northern Arizona (home). From the South, Arizona will have to play UCLA and Utah at home while going on the road to face Colorado, USC, and Arizona State. From the North, Arizona has to play Stanford (road), Oregon State (home), Washington State (home), and Washington (road). Arizona should be back in a bowl game in 2015 and could make some noise with an upset or two in the Pac-12.

5. Utah Utes

Kyle Wittingham has been the head coach at Utah since 2005. In that time, Utah has 85-43 with only two losing seasons and also transitioned from the Mountain West to Pac-12. The Utes went 8-5 in year one of their Pac-12 career in 2011, but dropped to 5-7 the next two seasons. 2014 was a much improved effort with Utah going 5-4 in conference and 9-4 overall. Despite that 5-4 record in conference, Utah still finished fifth in the South Division, but they were very good last season.

There will be seven starters back on offense from a group that put up 31.3 points and 388 yards per game. Travis Wilson threw for 2,170 yards with 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, but may find himself in a battle with Kendal Thompson (324 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions). Devontae Booker is returning at running back as well after he ran for 1,512 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. Booker is also the second leading receiver that is coming back after grabbing 43 passes for 306 yards and 2 touchdowns. The top receiver this year will be Kenneth Scott, who had 48 catches for 506 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Utes did lose three of their top four receivers from 2014. The offensive line has four starters back and the offense will probably do well no matter who is at quarterback.

The defense will have seven starters returning after allowing 24.9 points and 393 yards per game in 2014. The line will have three starters back in Hunter Dimick (52 tackles, 10 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss), Lowell Lotulelei (33 tackles and 4 sacks), and Jason Fanaika (55 tackles, 5 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss). Also in the mix on the line will be UCLA transfer Kyle Fitts. Two are returning at linebacker led by Jared Norris, who had 116 tackles, 4 sacks, and 9 tackles for loss. The secondary has Dominique Hatfield (38 tackles, 9 pass breakups, and an interception), Marcus Williams (59 tackles), and Gionni Paul (51 tackles and 4 interceptions) back. The defense will be solid again in 2015.

Utah will have an interesting non-conference schedule to set them up for Pac-12 play. They will face both Michigan and Utah State at home before a road game at Fresno State. From their division, Utah will face Arizona State, UCLA, and Colorado at home while playing USC and Arizona on the road. From the North, Utah has to play Oregon (road), California (home), Oregon State (home), and Washington (road). While it is hard to pick Utah fifth with a solid team, someone has to be put here. However, Utah is capable of pulling upsets (see UCLA and USC in 2014 and Stanford in 2013). Utah should not have trouble making a bowl game in 2015 and could make some noise in this tough Pac-12 South.

6. Colorado Buffaloes

It has been a rough decade for Colorado. They have not had a winning season since 2005 and only one bowl appearance in that time (2007 loss to Alabama 30-24). The Buffaloes entered the Pac-12 in 2011 with Jon Embree at the helm, but he struggled mightily with his final record being 4-21 in those two years. Mike MacIntyre was hired for the 2013 season and the Buffaloes won four games in 2013 to go 4-8 before falling to 2-10 last year. There are some positives for Colorado going forward in MacIntyre’s third year.

The offense for Colorado put up only 17.8 points and 303 yards per game in 2012. With the coaching change, those numbers increased to 25.4 points and 370 yards per game in 2013 before going even higher in 2014. There will be seven starters back from last year’s group that put up 28.5 points and 439 yards per game. Quarterback Sefo Liufau threw for 3,200 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Three of the top four running backs return, but their output was poor last year. Christian Powell (448 yards and 4 touchdowns), Michael Adkins (398 yards and 3 touchdowns), and Phillip Lindsay (391 yards) will all be back as they look to increase production. The top two receivers return in Nelson Spruce (106 catches for 1,198 yards and 12 touchdowns) and Shay Fields (50 catches for 486 yards and 4 touchdowns). The offensive line has four starters back while the offense as a whole should be able to improve on last year’s numbers.

The defense has been the issue the last four seasons. In 2012, they gave up 46 points and 489 yards per game while those numbers went down to 38.3 points and 468 yards per game in 2013. 2014 was about the same with the defense surrendering 39 points and 461 yards per game. There will be nine starters back from that defense, which may or may not be a good thing. The defensive line has three starters back in Derek McCartney (24 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss), Josh Tupou (28 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss), and Jimmie Gilbert (27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss). The linebackers all return led by Kenneth Olugbode (70 tackles), Addison Gillam (64 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss), and Chidobe Awuzie (62 tackles). The secondary has three starters back led by Tedric Thompson, who had 56 tackles and 3 interceptions last year. The defense should improve in 2015 with depth and experience both going upward.

Colorado begins the year on the road at Hawaii, which will allow them to have four non-conference games. They finish up the non-conference slate within the state of Colorado against Massachusetts (home), Colorado State (in Denver), and Nicholls State (home). In their division, Colorado has to face Arizona State, UCLA, and Utah on the road while playing Arizona and USC at home. From the North, Colorado has the quartet of Oregon (home), Oregon State (road), Stanford (home), and Washington State (road). It will be another rough year for Colorado in terms of their record, but they will be making strides this year to set them up for the next few seasons.

Overview

The Pac-12 South is very deep in terms of talent and experience, which made it hard to predict. Arizona State, UCLA, and USC seem to be the trio that stands out, but counting out Arizona and Utah would be a mistake. Colorado is clearly the worst team in the division and they will more than likely be back in the cellar this year. Below is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-12 South.

1. Arizona State

2. UCLA

3. USC

4. Arizona

5. Utah

6. Colorado

Pac-12 Championship

We predicted that Oregon would win the Pac-12 North and that will set up a Championship Game between them and Arizona State. That would be a wonderful game to see with plenty of offense on the field. We will call Oregon to win by a field goal if they were to meet and have a chance at making the College Football Playoff again.

Next week will wrap up our 2015 College Football Preview with the Southeastern Conference. Be sure to check that out on Tuesday (East) and Friday (West), respectively.

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 3 Wrap Up

2015 Women's College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)
2015 Women’s College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 3 Wrap Up

Elimination Saturday comprised four games that would cut the field in a half from eight teams to four teams. It was an exciting day that sets up Sunday to determine the two teams that will contest the Championship Series starting on Monday.

An updated schedule of games can be found here while recaps of the games on Thursday are here and Friday are here.

#8 Tennessee Versus #4 Auburn – Game 7 Recap

A close game between SEC foes Tennessee and Auburn saw the Tigers come out on top with a 4-2 win. Auburn will be back on the field again on Saturday needing to win a second game to stave off elimination.

Auburn started a two out rally with a walk drawn by Kasey Cooper and single to left field by Branndi Melero, but a ground out ended the rally in the top of the first.

The Volunteers also had a two out rally of their own in the bottom of the first. A single past the shortstop by Megan Geer was followed by a single from Annie Aldrete to put runners on the corners. A pop out in shallow left field also left Tennessee without any runs.

The top of the second produced an even better chance for Auburn. Haley Fagan led off with a single and Carlee Wallace did the same. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to second and third, but like the first inning, the Tigers could not capitalize.

Tennessee also had a great opportunity to put up the first runs of the game. A one out double by Rainey Gaffin was followed up with a walk and single to load the bases. A line out by Meghan Gregg to short allowed a double play to occur as Tory Lewis was too far off the base and thrown out at first. After two innings, the game was still scoreless.

The top of the third was a similar story for Auburn, but a different ending this time. Cooper drew a one out walk and moved up to second on a ground out by Melero. Morgan Estell hit an infield single and then stole second to put runners on second and third. A little dribbler off the end of the bat by Fagan was perfectly placed with the infield back and the Tigers took a 1-0 lead.

The Tigers continue to build their lead with a double by Wallace to the right center field wall to clear the bases. At this point, Tennessee’s Erin Gabriel was removed from the pitching circle for Cheyanne Tarango with Auburn leading 3-0. Auburn added another run with Jade Rhodes hitting a pop fly down the left field line that could not be caught by Shaliyah Geathers despite it being in her glove. Wallace scored to make it 4-0, which is the lead the Tigers took after the top of the third.

Tennessee was finally able to put their first run on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Scarlet McSwain started with a lead off single while a ground out two batters later saw he thrown out at second, but Gaffin reach base. Geathers then hit a double that reached the left center field wall to bring home Gaffin while the Vols trailed 4-1 after four innings.

The Tigers had a chance to rebuild their lead to four runs with runners on first and second with two outs, but the Volunteers did not give up a run by forcing a ground out to end the threat.

The Vols had a chance to cut into their deficit in the bottom of the fifth and did so. Gregg reached on a funky hop over the pitcher’s glove while Lexi Overstreet singled to right field. Geer hit into a double play with a line out to right field while Overstreet was doubled up at first on an overzealous base running trip. A single by Aldrete and hit by pitch from McSwain loaded the bases with two outs.

After going to a full count, Tarango was able to hit an opposite field single to right field to score Gregg to make it a 4-2 game. Auburn decided to replace Lexi Davis in the circle with Rachael Walters who was able to get the last out of the inning with a fly out to left field by Gaffin.

A formful sixth inning set up a tense finish between the Tigers and Volunteers in the bottom of the seventh with Auburn holding a 4-2 lead. Overstreet struck out to start the bottom half of the inning while an error by at second base by Emily Carosone allowed Megan Geer to reach first base. It was just the third error by Carosone all season.

Walters was able to get Aldrete to chase a rise ball for a strike out and out number two. Walters then struck out McSwain to end the game and keep Auburn alive. Tennessee was eliminated with the loss.

The win against Tennessee was Auburn’s first Women’s College World Series win in program history. They will be back on the field again on Saturday with a game against UCLA at 7 PM Eastern Time.

#6 Alabama Versus #2 Oregon – Game 8 Recap

The Alabama Crimson Tide survived to play another game on Saturday with a tight 2-1 victory over Oregon. Alexis Osorio threw a complete game three hitter for the Tide.

In the bottom of the first, Alabama got a one out walk from Haylie McCleney and she then stole second. A strike out by Jadyn Spencer and deep fly out to the warning track by Chaunsey Bell left McCleney stranded.

The Tide were in better position to score in the bottom of the second. A one out single by Danae Hays was followed by a double off the right center field wall from Daniell Richard, however, the runners were stopped at second and third. Cheridan Hawkins struck out Leona Lafaele, but a flare single into right field by Chandler Dare brought home both runners for a 2-0 Alabama lead after two innings.

Oregon was able to cut the deficit in half to 2-1 in the top of the third inning. Lauren Lindvall drew a one out walk while a ground ball moved her up to second. A single from Janie Takeda drove Lindvall home for a 2-1 game after two and a half innings of play.

The Ducks had a chance in the top of the fourth to tie the game. Jenna Lilley started with single to right center field and she was sacrificed to second by Hailey Decker. A strike out, walk, and hit by pitch loaded the bases for Oregon with two down, however, Lindvall grounded out to second to end the inning.

Oregon’s Janie Takeda bunted to reach base in the top of the fifth, but was thrown out trying to steal second and the Ducks could not continue the rally. In the bottom of the fifth, Dare had a one out double over the right fielder to put Alabama in position to score a crucial insurance run. Dare would be run down after a ground ball back to Hawkins while Demi Turner was able to get all the way to second. After intentionally walking McCleney to put runners on first and second, Hawkins was able to strike out Jadyn Spencer to keep the game at 2-1 in favor of Alabama.

Both teams went down in order in the sixth inning to set the stage for a last chance in the top of the seventh for Oregon. The Ducks would provide an anticlimactic finish with a pop out and two strikeouts to end the game.

Alexis Osorio ended up going the distance giving up only one run, three hits, and two walks, but struck out nine Oregon batters in the win.

Oregon has been eliminated from the Women’s College World Series while Alabama will play LSU on Saturday night after UCLA versus Auburn.

#7 UCLA Versus #4 Auburn – Game 9 Recap

The game of the tournament thus far was wild from start to finish. Both teams had plenty of action while UCLA blew a five run lead in the third inning and Auburn blew a two run lead in the top of the seventh. In the end, Auburn won 11-10 on a walk off walk of all plays. (The box score is worth checking out and is linked at the end of the previous sentence).

UCLA’s top of the first began with a hard hit to right center field by Delaney Spaulding that went to the warning track, but the ball was caught. After a bunt out, Ally Carda hit a soft single to right center field while Stephany LaRosa hit a two out double to right field to put runners on second and third. A check swing by Mysha Sataraka led to a Carda being thrown out at home to keep the game scoreless after half an inning.

The bottom of the first gave Auburn a chance to take the lead with a two out rally. Back-to-back walks ended up not leading to anything more as a fly out ended the first inning with no score in the game.

In the top of the second, UCLA was able to get runners on first and second with one out after an error by Auburn’s Kasey Cooper and a single to shortstop. Once again, the Bruins could not take advantage as a foul out and ground out ended the top of the second.

The Bruins finally got on the board in the top of the third. A lead off walk by Allexis Bennett turned into a runner on second after she stole second easily. Another walk drawn by Carda and a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to second and third with only one out. Another walk to Sataraka loaded the bases while Auburn elected to take Lexi Davis out of the circle in favor of Rachael Walters.

The first pitch to Gabrielle Maurice was crushed into the right center field gap for a bases clearing triple and a 3-0 UCLA lead. After another walk, a bunt by Gracie Goulder was fielded and thrown back to home to get Maurice at the plate to keep it a 3-0 game. The Bruins added a fourth run with a single to right center by Kylee Perez that scored Maddy Jelenicki. The Tigers then made another pitching change with Marcy Harper coming in for Walters. One more run scored after a double steal of second and home (to go along with a blown call at second on the steal) to make it a 5-0 game after the top of the third.

Auburn’s offense responded in the bottom of the third. A walk by Jenna Abbott and back-to-back singles from Tiffany Howard and Emily Carosone loaded the bases with no outs for the Tigers. Kasey Cooper drew a walk to bring home one run while Branndi Melero single to right field to make it a 5-2 UCLA. At this point, Ally Carda was taken out with Selina Ta’amilo stepping into the pitching circle.

The first pitch by Ta’amilo was a wild pitch that allowed Carosone to score and the two runners to move up to second and third. The bases were loaded again after a four pitch walk to Morgan Estell with still no outs on the board. After a force out at home, Carlee Wallace cleared the bases with a double to left center field to give Auburn a 6-5 lead and still only one out in the bottom of the third.

Ally Carda then re-entered the game after the double and her second pitch was well over the catcher’s head to move Wallace to third base. Wallace was thrown out at third on a ground ball from Jadyn Rhodes. Carda and UCLA finally got out of the third inning, but blew a five run lead and trailed 6-5.

The Bruins were able to tie the game in the top of the fourth. A fielding error and bunt single followed a wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out. Sataraka hit a fly ball to left field that scored Bennett to knot the game up at six while Jelenicki flied out to end the inning.

Auburn would reclaim the lead in the bottom of the fourth. A single by Emily Carosone and walk by Kasey Cooper set up Branddi Melero, who drilled a line drive over the left center field wall for a three run shot and a 9-6 lead.

The Bruins continued to battle in the top of the fifth. A lead off single from Gabrielle Goulder was followed up with an infield single by Kylee Perez to put runners on with no outs. A single from Delaney Spaulding to right field scored Goulder as she slid into home to make it a 9-7 Auburn lead. Both runners also moved up to second and third with no outs on the board.

Bennett struck out looking before Ally Carda drew a walk to load the bases. A foul out behind home plate from Stephany LaRosa and a nice jumping catch by Auburn’s Kasey Cooper at third kept the game at 9-7 after the top of the fifth.

The Bruins had a two out rally in the top of the sixth with a walk by Goulder and single up the middle by Perez. A grounder through the infield by Spaulding loaded the bases, but a pop out to left field by Allexis Bennett ended the bases loaded threat.

UCLA had one final chance in the top of the seventh and they made the most of it. Carda led off with a single and LaRosa singled back to the pitcher to put runners on first and second. A sacrifice moved them up one base before a ground out by Gabrielle Maurice scored Carda who slid around the tag to make it 9-8 with two down. Jelenicki came up and crushed a two run blast to left center for a shocking 10-9 lead in the top of the seventh.

The Tigers still had a chance to come back and tie or win. Haley Fagan started with a lead off single back up the middle and Carlee Wallace crushed a ball into the gap in left field to score Fagan to tie the game at ten while Wallace was at second with no outs. Wallace was replaced by Victoria Draper. Jade Rhodes sacrificed Draper to third to set up Jenna Abbott, but she grounded to third with Draper caught in a run down and thrown out at third. Abbott was also thrown out on the play going for second in a bizarre ending to the seventh inning.

In the top of the eighth, Perez led off with a single before a ground out and infield single from Bennett put runners on first and second with one out. Carda then flew out to center and LaRosa grounded straight to third base to set Auburn up with a chance to win the bottom of the inning.

Carosone was hit in the helmet by a pitch, but was okay and took first base with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A walk drawn by Melero put Morgan Estell in the batter’s box and she too was able to draw a walk to load the bases with two outs. Haley Fagan hit a deep shot to right field, but it was on the warning track for the third out of the inning and the two teams continued to play into the ninth inning.

UCLA had another scoring chance in the top of the ninth. Gabrielle hit a one out double to left center field past the diving left fielder and she advanced to third on a passed ball. However, Jelenicki struck out and Goulder grounded out to first to keep the game at 10 apiece heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Auburn’s Wallace drew a lead off walk, but was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice. Strikeouts by Abbott and Howard sent the game into a tenth inning.

Auburn had yet another chance to end the game in the bottom of the tenth. Carosone was walked on four pitches while Cooper singled to center field to put runners on first and second with no outs. Melero then flared a single to left field to load the bases, which brought up Morgan Estell. Estell drew a walk to give the Auburn Tigers the walk off win by a score of 11-10.

UCLA has been eliminated from the 2015 Women’s College World Series and Auburn will face the Florida Gators on Sunday at 1 PM Eastern. Auburn will need to defeat Florida twice on Sunday to reach the Championship Series.

#6 Alabama Versus #5 LSU – Game 10 Recap

The LSU Tigers held on for a 5-3 victory over rival Alabama on late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. The Tigers have moved on to the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series with the victory.

Alabama got on the board in the top of the first. Demi Turner drew a lead off walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She later advanced to third on a ground out and was able to score on a single to right field by Marisa Runyon. After the top of the first, Alabama held a 1-0 lead.

LSU answered back in the bottom of the first. LSU had a runner on first after a single by Bailey Landry. She later stole second base with two outs and scored after a rope single to center field by Sahvanna Jaquish. Kellsi Kloss came up and hit a single between the left fielder, center fielder, and shortstop that scored Jaquish. However, Kloss was able to move to second and then scored after a bad throw to second base to make it a 3-1 LSU lead after the first inning.

Alabama’s defensive problems continued in the bottom of the second. After Constance Quinn drew a lead off walk, she was able to advance to second after a bunt. A single by Emily Griggs was not fielded properly, but no error was charged to put runners on the corners with one out. A ground out by A.J. Andrews to first base allowed Griggs to move to second and Landry hit a two run single past the second baseman to bring the score up to 5-1 after two innings.

The third and fourth innings were mostly uneventful. LSU got a lead off walk from Quinn, which led to Alabama’s Sydney Littlejohn being replaced by Leslie Jury as pitcher. Quinn tried to steal second, but was thrown out and LSU held a 5-1 lead after four innings.

Alabama’s Andrea Hawkins reached first base after a fielding error at shortstop to start the top of the fifth. After back-to-back ground outs, Hawkins was on third, but could not be brought home after a fly out to right field ended the frame. LSU started with a lead off single from Andrews in the bottom of the fifth, but were set down in order after that.

The Tide put together an excellent rally to start the top of the sixth. An error allowed Jadyn Spencer to reach first and Runyon hit a single to center field to put the first two runners on with no outs. Runyon was taken off the base paths for Rachel Bobo. LSU’s Allie Walljasper induced two fly outs to left field from the next two batters and a pop out to short to get out of the jam unscathed.

LSU tried to put together a two out rally and increase the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Quinn hit a single up the middle while Dylan Supak drew a walk and was pinch ran for by Sydney Bourg. The Tigers would not be able to advance as Emily Griggs grounded out to third to end the inning. LSU led 5-1 heading to the top of the seventh.

Alabama’s last chance in the top of the seventh started with a ground ball by Hawkins and she was able to leg out an infield single. Chandler Dare had the same result for the Tide to put runners, which led to Walljasper coming out and Carlee Hoover entering to try and close the game out.

Hoover started with a strikeout of Demi Turner and a wild pitch allowed the runners to move up to second and third. Haylie McCleney drew a walk to load the bases while Jadyn Spencer hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Hawkins to make it a 5-2 deficit with two outs. Both runners also moved up to second and third while a wild pitch by Hoover allowed a run to score to make it 5-3, but Hoover forced a ground out to end the game.

Alabama has been eliminated while LSU will face Michigan on Sunday at 3:30 PM Eastern Time. LSU will need to win twice against Michigan on Sunday to make the Championship Series.

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 2 Wrap Up

2015 Women's College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)
2015 Women’s College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 2 Wrap Up

The winner’s brackets at the 2015 Women’s College World Series were pared by two teams going into elimination Saturday. The LSU Tigers took on the Florida Gators in the first game on Friday while the nightcap was between the UCLA Bruins and Michigan Wolverines.

A recap of Thursday’s opening day action can be found here. A schedule of the Women’s College World Series can be found here and is updated upon completion of each game.

#5 LSU Versus #1 Florida – Game 5 Recap

The Florida Gators won their 13th straight postseason game on Friday night with a 4-0 victory over LSU. Lauren Haeger went the distance and was in complete control after a rocky first inning. She struck out four Tigers while giving up only five hits and no walks.

The Gators nearly started as well as they could. Kelsey Stewart led off with a triple while Haeger drew a walk two batters later. Kirsti Merritt hit a bunt single that popped up and fell in front of LSU’s Carley Hoover, but Hoover could not get an out on the play to load the bases. Hoover settled down to force an infield pop out and strike out to end the bases load threat with no damage done.

LSU also had an excellent start, but like the Gators could not capitalize. A single by A.J. Andrews through the right side into right field and perfectly placed bunt by Bailey Landry put runners on base with no outs. A flare to left field by Bianka Bell loaded the bases with no outs.

A great snag by Taylore Fuller at third base kept the game scoreless. A ground ball by Kellsi Kloss was hit to Kathlyn Medina at shortstop and Medina was able to apply the tag to the runner head to third followed by a throw to first for the double play.

The Gators had another chance in the top of the third. A two out hit by Merritt was followed up by a stolen base and advancement to third on a high throw from the catcher. Fuller drew a walk to put runners on the corners and she stole second, but the Gators could not break through with the runners in scoring position for the second time after a second strike out by Bailey Castro.

Florida finally was able to score in the top of the fifth. After a lead off single by Nicole DeWitt, Haeger came up and hit a two run homer to left field for the first runs of the game for a 2-0 lead. After the home run, Merritt bunted to reach base while Castro drew a walk and was subsequently pinch ran for by Justine McLean. A sacrifice fly resulted in runners on the corners while McLean stole second, but a ground out to third left the Tigers down 2-0 after four and a half innings.

The Gators began the sixth with a lead off double from Aubree Munro to left field while Jessica Damico came in to pinch run for her. A ground ball by Stewart was thrown to first for the out while Damico was thrown out at third trying to advance. DeWitt came up with two outs and hit a high riser towards right field that just got over the wall for a solo shot.

The home run by DeWitt caused Hoover to be replaced by Kelsee Selman for LSU. Selman was able to get a ground out from Haeger to minimize the damage, but LSU still trailed 3-0 after the top of the sixth.

The top of the seventh saw the Gators put runners on base again. Merritt was able to single to center field past the diving shortstop while Fuller put a bunt down perfectly that landed between the catcher and pitcher to put runners on the first two bases with no outs.

While McLean struck out looking, Merritt took off to steal third and a wide throw allowed her to score for a 4-0 Florida lead and Fuller on second. Kayli Kvistad then drew a walk to put runners on first and second with only one out. Once again, the damage was limited to only one run after a line out to first and fly out to center. LSU went into the bottom of the seventh trailing 4-0.

Lauren Haeger threw another complete game shut out this tournament while the Gators move onto the semifinals where they will await the winner of game 9 (those teams have yet to bet determined).

LSU will play an elimination game on Saturday against the winner between Alabama and Oregon. The game between LSU and Alabama or Oregon will be played at 9:30 PM Eastern Time on Saturday.

#7 UCLA Versus #3 Michigan – Game 6 Recap

An entertaining and very offensive affair between UCLA and Michigan saw the Wolverines win 10-4 over the Bruins on Friday night. Three runs batted in apiece from Kelly Christner and Kelsey Susalla lifted Michigan after falling behind 3-0 after one inning.

UCLA showed no grogginess after their finish in the wee hours of Friday morning. Delaney Spaulding hit a lead off double to right center field while Allexis Bennett singled to the shortstop. Ally Carda was able to tough out a walk in a ten pitch at bat to load the bases with no outs. A strike out was followed by a single to left field from Mysha Sataraka to score Spaulding and give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with only one out on the board.

After a foul out for the second out of the inning, a walk drawn by Maddy Jelenicki brought home another run to make it 2-0. Morgan Betsa then hit Gracie Goulder with a pitch that precipitated a change of pitcher for Michigan to Haylie Wagner. Wagner was able to get a strike out to end the inning, but the Wolverines trailed 3-0 after one inning of play.

Michigan came out in the top of the second with a decent response to the deficit. Kelsey Susalla singled and Lauren Sweet walked with both of those runners moving up on a sacrifice bunt. A fly out by Wagner may have produced a run on a sacrifice fly, but Susalla elected to stay on third to keep it a 3-0 deficit and with two outs. A fly out by the next batter ended the inning with no runs scored, which compounded the decision to stay at third even more.

The Wolverines were back in the top of a third with another excellent opportunity and more than took advantage of it. Abby Ramirez started with a single while Sierra Lawrence drew a walk. Sierra Romero sacrificed the runners up a base with Kelly Christner ground ball dribbling to right field to bring home Ramirez for a 3-1 deficit.

A stolen by Christner set up Susalla with a double to right center off the glove of a diving Kylee Perez for UCLA. Both Lawrence and Christner scored while Susalla moved all the way up to third on a throwing error to home. Lindsay Montemarano was able to hit a deep fly ball to center field to score Susalla for a 4-3 Michigan lead. Despite a wild pitch by Carda to advance Nikki Wald up to second, a fly out on the warning track in right field ended the top of the third.

The bottom of the third was also crazy, particularly in the fashion it ended. It began with Stephany LaRosa being hit by a pitch while Sataraka was able to single to left field. A sacrifice bunt moved those two runners up before the craziness ensued. A ground out by Jelenicki to first put both runners in a run down situation, with Sataraka at second in no man’s land. The throw to third was poor, which allowed LaRosa to score. However, Sataraka was caught in a run down after the run scored and the inning ended with her being tagged out. UCLA tied the game at four apiece, but could have reclaimed the lead.

The fourth inning produced base runners for both teams, but neither team was able to get a runner past second and a relatively easy inning for this offensive game.

Michigan was back in business in the top of the fifth after back-to-back singles by Susalla and Sweet put runners on the corner. UCLA opted to bring Ally Carda back to the circle after she was removed in the top of the fourth following a lead off single by Michigan. Carda’s first pitch was a sacrifice fly from Montemarano that scored Susalla to give Michigan a 5-4 lead. The Bruins were able to keep the damage down to one run thanks to a ground out double play from Michigan.

In the bottom of the fifth, Carda was able to start with a lead off bloop single to left and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by LaRosa. The Wolverines would not allow her to advance any farther thanks to a strike out and ground out. Michigan held a 5-4 lead after five innings.

Michigan was able to add valuable insurance runs in the top half of the sixth. Abby Ramirez started the rally with a single before a pop out and strike out put the Wolverines down to their last out of the inning. Kelly Christner was able to hit a double to the right field wall to score Ramirez and Susalla then singled to left field that brought home Susalla for a 7-4 Michigan lead. A walk to Lauren Sweet put runners on second and third, but a pop out in shallow right field ended the possibility of more runs being scored.

In the bottom of the sixth, UCLA got a lead off single from Maddy Jelenicki while Sam Duran pinch ran for her. A ground out moved Duran up to second and a great diving catch in center field by Sierra Lawrence ended the inning with Michigan still leading by three runs.

Michigan’s offense was not done. The top of the seventh started with a pop out followed by back-to-back singles. A single to left field by Lawrence scored one run while Sierra Romero hit a sacrifice fly that scored Ramirez. A single to center field by Christner made it 10-4 as Lawrence scored. A wild pitch, walk, and another wild pitch but Christner on third and Susalla on second with two outs. A pop out in foul territory ended the inning with UCLA needing six runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extras.

Haylie Wagner pitched very well after replacing Megan Betsa with only two outs gone in the first inning. She surrendered only one run on four hits and one walk while striking out five batters.

Michigan is now off until Sunday where they will need one win on Sunday to make the Championship Series. Their opponent will be determined on Saturday.

For UCLA, they will now need to win on Saturday or they will be eliminated. The Bruins will face the winner of the Tennessee and Auburn game on Saturday at 7 PM Eastern Time.

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 1 Wrap Up

2015 Women's College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)
2015 Women’s College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 1 Wrap Up

The 2015 Women’s College World Series got underway with four games played on Thursday night and into early Friday morning due to some severe weather in Oklahoma City. Each game is recapped below while a schedule for the upcoming games can be found here.

#8 Tennessee Versus #1 Florida – Game 1 Recap

The Florida Gators opened their defense of the National Championship with a 7-2 win over Tennessee on Thursday. Another complete game by Lauren Haeger lifted the Gators to the victory.

The Gators started the scoring in the bottom of the first with a rocket to left field by Haeger to give them a 1-0 lead. Florida loaded the bases after a walk, single, and hit by pitch, but could not add to their lead.

The Gators would have another chance to add to their lead in the bottom of the second. Following a walk and ground out, Kelsey Stewart singled to put runners on first and second with only one out. A grounder back to the pitcher advanced the runners and the Volunteers opted to load the bases by intentionally walking Haeger. Bailey Castro came up next, but could not capitalized as her strike out ended the rally.

Florida did add to their lead in the bottom of the third. Following a strike out and walk, Kayli Kvistad came up and drilled a shot to right center field to put the Gators up 3-0. The three run lead would not last long, however.

The Volunteers finally got their first runner on base in the top of the fourth following Shaliyah Geathers being hit by a pitch. A fly out brought Megan Geer up to the plate and she hit a two run shot to left field to make it a one run game again at 3-2.

Florida would respond in the bottom of the fourth. After two quick outs, Haeger was able to single to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch while Castro was hit by a pitch. Kirsti Merritt was able to hit a hard ground ball to second, but it was not fielded by Geer that allowed Haeger to score. Merritt then stole second and while sliding head first the ball went off her helmet allowing Castro to waltz home for a 5-2 Florida lead after four innings.

The bottom of the sixth saw the Gators add more insurance runs. A lead off single from Stewart was followed by a ground out and Stewart was able to get to third on a stolen base. After Haeger was hit by a pitch (and pinch ran for by Jessica Damico), a throw by the catcher to third base went into left field that scored Stewart. Damico scored on a bunt back to the pitcher that was not fielded cleanly to make it 7-2.

The Gators were able to load the bases, but could not score another run. It would not matter as the Volunteers went down in order to end the game in the top of the seventh.

Haeger gave up only one hit (the two run homer by Geer) while striking out four batters and allowing no walks.

Florida moves into the winner’s bracket and will face the winner of LSU and Auburn game on Friday at 7 PM Eastern Time. Tennessee will be playing the loser of LSU and Auburn on Saturday at 12 PM Eastern Time.

#5 LSU Versus #4 Auburn – Game 2 Recap

The LSU Tigers sound defeated fellow SEC rival Auburn 6-1 on Friday afternoon in the second game of the Women’s College World Series. LSU’s Carley Hoover gave up only one run in a complete game.

LSU got on top first with a solo shot to left field by Bianka bell in the top half of the first inning. Auburn was unable to answer with LSU taking a 1-0 lead after one inning.

In the top of the second, LSU Constance Quinn hit a bloop single to right field and an error fielding the ball put her on second. Sydney Bourg came up and struck out to end the rally.

In the top of the third, Emily Griggs led off with a lead off single to left field before a double play with Auburn’s third baseman Kasey Cooper charging and catch a bunt then throwing down to first. LSU, however, would still come out with a bigger lead.

A two out single by Bailey Landry and walk drawn by Bell put runners on first and second. Sahvanna Jaquish then delivered a ball into the right center field gap to drive home two runs on a double. Up next was Kellsi Kloss and she drove an 0-1 pitch to left off the foul pole. LSU led 5-0 after just two and a half innings of play.

Auburn was in great position to score in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back singles put runners on first and second while a close ground out put runners on the corners. A fly out by Cooper ended the threat and Auburn was still looking for their first run of the game.

LSU put runners on first and second in the top of the fourth following back-to-back singles, but were unable to take advantage of the opportunity. The bottom of the fourth saw a tremendous catch by A.J. Andrews in center field as LSU led 5-0 after four innings.

In the bottom of the fifth, Auburn got a lead off double from Morgan Estell and she was sacrificed to third on a bunt by the next batter. Up next was Jenna Abbott who hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Estell and make it a 5-1 deficit.

LSU started the top of the sixth with a single from Quinn while Griggs singled two batters later. A ground ball by Andrews back to the pitcher was thrown over the third baseman’s head and Quinn was able to score. Griggs moved to third and Andrews, despite a stumbling out of the batter’s box, was able to move all the way to second. Auburn settled down to limit the damage to one run in the top of the sixth to trail 6-1.

The bottom of the sixth began with a single by Emily Carosone and she advanced to third on back-to-back ground outs. She could not score after another ground out ended the inning and Auburn trailed 6-1 after six.

Auburn had one last chance in the bottom of the seventh. H Fagan reached first base after LSU’s Sandra Simmons could not hold on to the ball. Estell then came up to hit a bunt single with her speed to put runners on first and second with no outs. Jade Rhodes then hit into a double play with a ground ball back to third base and she was thrown out at first. A strike out ended the game.

Carley Hoover went the distance giving up only one run on six hits while striking out five Auburn Tigers.

LSU will move to the winner’s bracket and face the defending National Champions, the Florida Gators on Friday at 7 PM Eastern Time.

Auburn drops into the loser’s bracket and will face the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday at 12 PM Eastern Time. The loser of that game will be eliminated while the winner will play a second game on Saturday.

#6 Alabama Versus #3 Michigan – Game 3 Recap

Another excellent pitching performance by Megan Betsa helped send the Michigan Wolverines to the winner’s bracket with a 5-0 win. She pitched a complete game shutout giving up only four hits and one walk while striking out six batters.

The Wolverines struck first in the bottom of the first. Kelly Christner took an 0-2 pitch to right field with a line drive over the wall and a 1-0 Michigan lead.

Neither team was able to get a runner on base in the second and third innings. Alabama got their second base runner and first hit in the top of the fourth, but that was the extent of that rally for the Tide.

Michigan was able to load the bases in the bottom half of the fourth after a single by Sierra Romero, walk by Christner, and single by Kelsey Susalla. After battling back to get a full count, Lauren Sweet took a 3-2 pitch to right center field that just go over the fence for a grand slam and a 5-0 Michigan lead. Michigan was unable to add to the lead despite putting a runner in scoring position.

Michigan had another chance to tack on runs in the bottom of the fifth after a walk by Romero, but she was thrown out trying to steal second. Christner then drew a walk and she successfully stole second, but Susalla’s strike out ended the inning.

Alabama finally put together a serious threat in the top of the sixth. Demi Turner singled up the middle with one out and then tagged up to second base following a fly out. Jadyn Spencer singled to shortstop to put runners on first and second, the first time Alabama had a runner in scoring position in the game. The Wolverines got out of the jam by forcing a pop out from Marisa Runyon to end the top of the sixth still five runs to the good.

The Tide were unable to get more than a runner on first and were shut out for the second time this season. The other game was against fellow WCWS participant Florida.

Michigan moves to the winner’s bracket and will face either UCLA or Oregon on Friday evening. Alabama moves to the loser’s bracket to face the loser between UCLA and Oregon.

#7 UCLA Versus #2 Oregon – Game 4 Recap

UCLA upset the second seeded Oregon Ducks 7-1 on Friday night. UCLA’s Ally Carda pitched a complete game giving up one run on six hits with only one walk and three strike outs.

Despite a steady rain in the first couple of innings, the game was played through the precipitation. Oregon had a great opportunity in the bottom of the first, but an uncharacteristic base running mistake hurt them. After a fielder’s choice got Janie Takeda on base, Jenna Lilley hit a single to right field, but Takeda hesitated rounding second and was thrown out at third. The Ducks would not score in the bottom of the first.

The Bruins were able to get a couple of runs of Cheridan Hawkins in the top of the second. Stephany LaRosa hit a bomb to straightaway center field to lead off the inning. Gabrielle Maurice did the same, but to left field with two outs and UCLA led 2-0 after the top of the second.

The game was delayed at the start of the top of the third with UCLA leading 2-0. A lightning strike in the area was the cause for the delay that lasted about 45 minutes.

Delaney Spaulding hit a one out double in the top of the third and later advanced to third on a ground out, but Carda’s ground out ended the rally. Oregon had a chance to get on the board in the bottom of the third with a lead off runner getting on after an error. Nikki Udria was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, but Takeda lined out into a double play while Lilley lined out to end the inning.

The Ducks threatened again in the bottom of the fourth back-to-back singles to open the frame put the Ducks in great scoring position. Carda settled down to get the next two batters out before another single loaded the bases. Yet another ground out ended the threat and UCLA held a 2-0 lead after four innings.

A largely uneventful fifth inning gave way to the game changing sixth inning. With runners on second and third with two outs, Mysha Sataraka hit a pop fly to right field that could not be handled properly allowing both runners to score for a 4-0 lead. More defensive issues would haunt the the Ducks.

Maurice struck out for the third out of the inning, but a wild pitch allowed her to make it to first to keep the inning alive. A single by Gracie Goulder brought home one run while Kylee Perez‘s single to right field brought home to more runs to make it 7-0.

Oregon was able to get one run across in the bottom of the seventh after a lead off double from Koral Costa and a single by Lauren Lindvall scored Costa. A wild pitch allowed Lindvall to move to second, but Carda forced a foul out and then hit Udria with a pitch. Another pop out and another wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, but Carda was able to work out of the jam by forcing a pop out to end the game.

UCLA will have a quick turnaround by taking on the Michigan Wolverines on Friday evening at 9:30 PM Eastern Time. Oregon will play on Saturday to keep their Championship hopes alive against Alabama at 2:30 PM Eastern Time.

2015 Women’s College World Series Schedule

2015 Women's College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)
2015 Women’s College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)

2015 Women’s College World Series Schedule

With the completion of the 2015 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament Super Regionals on Sunday, May 24, the 2015 Women’s College World Series is now set.

There was not much in the way of upsets in the 2015 Tournament to this point as witnessed by the fact that the top 8 national seeds all made the 2015 WCWS. Only the Auburn Tigers are making their debut in the WCWS in 2015.

In 2015, the Women’s College World Series will take place between Thursday, May 28 and Wednesday, June 3. The best of three Championship Series will take place on Monday, June 1, Tuesday, June 2, and Wednesday, June 3 (if necessary).

All the games in the 2015 Women’s College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium – OGE Energy Field in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Recaps of each day of action thus far in the tournament can be found here.

The complete game schedule for the 2015 WCWS can be found below including which channel it will be shown on.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Game 1: #8 Tennessee Volunteers vs. #1 Florida Gators – 12 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 2: #5 LSU Tigers vs. #4 Auburn Tigers – 2:30 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 3: #6 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #3 Michigan Wolverines – 7 PM Eastern Time on ESPN2

Game 4: #7 UCLA Bruins vs. #2 Oregon Ducks – 9:30 PM Eastern Time on ESPN2

Friday, May 29, 2015

Game 5: #1 Florida (Game 1 Winner) vs. #5 LSU (Game 2 Winner) – 7 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 6: #3 Michigan (Game 3 Winner) vs. #7 UCLA (Game 4 Winner) – 9:30 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Game 7: #8 Tennessee (Game 1 Loser) vs. #4 Auburn (Game 2 Loser) – 12 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 8: #6 Alabama (Game 3 Loser) vs. #2 Oregon (Game 4 Loser) – 2:30 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 9: #7 UCLA (Game 6 Loser) vs. #4 Auburn (Game 7 Winner) – 7 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 10: #6 Alabama (Game 8 Winner) vs. #5 LSU (Game 5 Loser) – 9:30 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Game 11: #4 Auburn (Game 9 Winner) vs. #1 Florida (Game 5 Winner) – 1 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 12: #5 LSU (Game 10 Winner) vs. #3 Michigan (Game 6 Winner) – 3:30 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Game 13: Only necessary if Game 11 is won by the Winner of Game 9 – 7 PM Eastern Time on ESPNU

Game 14: Only necessary if Game 12 is won by the Winner of Game 10 – 9:30 PM Eastern Time on ESPNU.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Championship Series Game 1: #3 Michigan vs. #1 Florida – 8 PM Eastern Time on ESPN2

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Championship Series Game 2: #1 Florida vs. #3 Michigan – 8 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Championship Series Game 3 (If necessary): #3 Michigan vs. #1 Florida – 8 PM Eastern Time on ESPN

 

Be sure to check back each day for recaps of all the games played.

UCLA And Cincinnati To Play Future Series

UCLA is expected to play at Cincinnati in 2019 or 2020 (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)
UCLA is expected to play at Cincinnati in 2019 or 2020 (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)

UCLA And Cincinnati To Play Future Series

University of Cincinnati Mike Bohn stated on Thursday that UCLA and the Bearcats have tentatively agreed to a home-and-home series to take place in 2019 and 2020.

No further details were released such as the dates the games will take place or who will play at home first. The two teams have never faced each other on the gridiron.

This is the latest in a series of games coming up for the Bearcats that will be against some high profile teams. Cincinnati has previously agreed to home-and-home series with Nebraska in 2020 and 2025, BYU in 2015 and 2016, and the Miami Hurricanes will be visiting Cincinnati on October 1st of this year.

In addition, Cincinnati will be visiting Michigan in 2017 and Ohio State in 2019 in a duo of one-off games. The Bearcats also have a home-and-home series scheduled with another Big Ten opponent, Indiana, in 2020 and 2021.

“We couldn’t be more inspired by our donor base,” Bohn said. “They have really created an incredible passion for the project that matches that of our coaches and our student-athletes and our recruits. That’s why it’s so exciting to have so many people, really in a synergistic way, recognizing the incredible vision of being able to bring UCLA, Indiana, Nebraska into Cincinnati and compete at a high level.”