1. I hate to lead off with one of the Pac teams on its way out of the conference, but InsideUSC raises a great discussion topic: what’s with all the June commitments? The summer has long been a time for schools to host official visits and build relationships with rising seniors. But the tide has turned and now many schools are filling up all or most of their classes during the early part of the summer. Arizona got six commitments on a single day earlier this month. Stanford, historically a careful and deliberate recruiting program, is already over 20 commitments in Troy Taylor’s first class. Are the earlier commitments related to a trend of players being more willing to de-commit later? Are players increasingly interested in locking down a spot before their senior year starts? I honestly don’t have a great answer to the question, but the trend highlights the importance of the 20+ official visitors UW will host this month.
2. Arizona Desert Swarm has a thorough breakdown of proposed College Softball rule changes. The headlines focus on easing of restrictions of illegal pitches that would allow disengagement from the pitching rubber earlier in the motion. The rule changes that caught my eye were the pace of play proposals. The games noticeably slowed during the NCAA tournament and adopting a shorter pitch clock and keeping batters in the box- similar to what MLB has required of its hitters and pitchers- would be a welcome change.
3. Jon Wilner looks at the updated Pac-12 Football better futures and picks some of his best and worst bets for the money. Given the amount of public money that comes in for every LA-based team, it’s no surprise that a) USC is the better favorite, and b) their odds do not provide much value. Wilner highlights both UW (+380) and Utah (+500) as teams with more favorable odds and a real chance to cash in on those bets. As much as I understand that Utah is a less sexy pick, it’s hard for me to imagine them ranking outside the top three most likely champions as the defending champs with many key stars returning.
4. Speaking of sports betting, Write for California takes a novel approach to looking at Pac-12 expansion candidates. They use betting odds to forecast the probability for several schools to join the conference and rank them by most to least likely to actually bolt their current situations. It’s not surprising to see SDSU and SMU on top of the list given the whispers about both, but I was surprised that schools like Boise St. and Fresno St. were so far down the list.
5. One theme in Max’s recent series on men’s basketball projections has been that Oregon’s coaching score has fluctuated in recent years. Is Dana Altman an asset, a liability, or somewhere in between? Addicted to Quack addresses that same question with a deep dive on Altman’s evolving resume.
6. WSU has hired a new baseball coach. Nathan Choate will take over the Cougar team after most recently serving as head coach at Loyola Marymount. WSU baseball had some momentum early in the year but tailed off as the season went on, so Choate will try to build back to competitiveness in a very challenging Pac-12 Conference.