EUGENE – Three days from its season opener, the University of Oregon softball team was chosen third in the annual Pac-12 Coaches Preseason Poll released Monday.
After scoring its second-ever World Series trip last year, the Ducks trailed fellow WCWS returnees California and Arizona State who were tabbed first and second overall by league head coaches.
Other teams’ rankings in the nine-team conference included Washington (fourth), Arizona (fifth), Stanford (sixth), UCLA (seventh), Oregon State (eighth) and Utah (ninth).
In recent years under fourth-year head coach Mike White, UO has scored back to back third-place Pac-12 finishes in 2012 and ’11 after it was tabbed seventh in the Pac-12 Preseason Polls. The Ducks also bettered their preseason league position (seventh) in his first season when the team ended the season sixth in 2010.
Point totals for each team follow, and were awarded in the following format: 1st (8 points), 2nd (7), 3rd (6), 4th (5), 5th (4), 6th (3), 7th (2), 8th (1).
2013 Pac-12 Softball Preseason Poll (1st Place Votes)
1. California (7) 62
2. Arizona State (1) 56
3. Oregon 52
4. Washington 41
5. Arizona 32
6. Stanford 29
7. UCLA 28
8. Oregon State 16
9. Utah 9
In recent weeks, UO ranked fifth and sixth nationally in the NFCA and USA Softball preseason national polls – its all-time preseason high in each.
Six other Pac-12 teams stood top 20 (with their NFCA/USA SB pollings in (): California (3/3), Arizona State (4/4), Arizona (13/14), Washington (16/16), UCLA (19/19) and Stanford (21/20).
One other league member, Oregon State, also received votes in both national polls.
The Pac-12’s reputation as the ‘Conference of Champions’ is validated by the fact that five different Pac-12 schools have combined to win 24 of the 31 softball NCAA national championships, including crowns in six of the last seven years by four different league members.
Last year, the Ducks were one of five Pac-12 teams that advanced to Super Regionals with the Huskies and Wildcats. The Beavers and Cardinal were NCAA Regional finalists, and an eighth team (UCLA) also advanced to the 64-team field.
This week, Oregon kicks off its 2013 Pac-12 season vs. Western Michigan on Thursday, February 7 in the Kajiikawa Classic.