Conference Watch: Pac-12 women's race is wide open

The Pac-12, one of three conferences that decides its conference champion based on the regular-season standings and does not hold a postseason tournament, kicks off its conference slate on Friday. Never has the race been more wide open as UCLA and No. 13 Stanford, both former national champions, are slumping, Five teams begin conference play with only one loss: No. 23 Arizona, No. 17 California, Oregon State, No. 21 Washington and Washington State.

2015 Pac-12 Records:
*Washington State, 7-1-0
*Washington, 7-1-1
*Arizona, 6-1-1
*California, 6-1-2
*Stanford, 6-2-0
*Colorado, 6-2-1
Oregon State, 4-1-3
*USC, 5-3-1
*Arizona State, 4-3
Utah, 3-3-3
*UCLA, 4-4-0
Oregon, 3-5-0
*Made 2014 NCAA Tournament.

UCLA has already lost to Long Beach State, Virginia, Texas and North Carolina. The Bruins' four losses are double they had in the 2013 and 2014 seasons combined when they went 43-2-5 and won their first national title in 2013.

Stanford opened with four wins to claim the top spot in the Soccer America Top 25, but the Cardinal then lost to Penn State and Santa Clara in the space of 10 days. Scoring has been a problem. Stanford has just 11 goals in eight games. Stanford, one of nine Pac-12 teams to make the 2014 NCAA Tournament, reached the College Cup semifinals in 2014.

UCLA or Stanford has won every Pac-12 title over the last decade. Since conference play began in 1993, only once has UCLA or Stanford not won or shared the title. Washington was the 2000 champion. UCLA shared titles with Cal and USC in 1998 and Arizona in 2004.

In the first NCAA RPI rankings, the Pac-12 has five teams in the top 30: Stanford is No. 8, California is No. 9, Washington is 12th, Washington State is 22nd and Arizona sits at 29th.

Pac-12, Week 1 Schedule:
Utah vs. Stanford, PAC12/PACBA/PACMT 4 p.m. MT
Arizona vs. Washington, PACAZ/PACWA 4 p.m. PT
UCLA vs. Oregon, PAC12/PACLA/PACOR 8 p.m. PT
USC vs. Oregon State
Arizona State vs. Washington State, PAC12/PACAZ/PACWA 11 a.m. PT
Colorado vs. California, PACMT 1 p.m. MT
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