In addition to the final weekend of Big 10 play (discussed in yesterday's entry, below), another highlight of this weekend will be UCLA's two games at Oregon State (single games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon). Both major national polls agree on the Bruins at No. 1 and the Beavers at No. 5 (see links on the right).
Within the Pac 10 standings, OSU (9-5) remains within striking distance of UCLA (12-3) with each team having six games remaining (today, OSU hosts Washington and UCLA is at Oregon; then, next weekend, UCLA plays the Northern California schools and OSU, the Arizona schools).
If this weren't enough to spur interest in the UCLA-OSU match-up, there's even more...
In the teams' one previous meeting this season, the Beavers came into L.A. and shut out the Bruins, something that rarely happens.
Also, as illustrated in a pair of ESPN.com articles, UCLA represents the "old guard" of collegiate softball, absolutely engulfed in tradition, whereas Oregon State is very much the upstart.
Behind every top team, it seems, is a star pitcher and, as discussed in the article about OSU, for the Beavers it's Brianne McGowan. (That softball appears to be so "pitcher-centric" is a topic I'd like to explore in a future entry.)
Finally, it's Senior Weekend for Oregon State. In the true spirit of Y-M-C-A, here are the seniors spelling out O-S-U (reproduced with permission from OSU Sports Information, whom I thank).
Update to a previous entry: This past Monday, May 1, I wrote about "Bracketology," a tradition in men's college basketball of forecasting (often well in advance) the exact match-ups for the NCAA field. I noted at the time that, "The best analogue I can find for softball comes from a discussion thread at Ultimate College Softball." Daniel Platt of Northwestern University's student radio WNUR e-mailed me to inform me of a weekly Softball Bracketology that he and his colleague Howard Tilman post on the station's website. I have now added a link to WNUR's sports page, where you can find their Bracketology write-ups. My apologies for the omission.