There are three weeks left in the regular season and lots has to be settled. Colorado and Oregon are tied atop the standings at 9-4. Arizona and Arizona State are right behind at 8-4, while USC and UCLA are within spitting distance at 8-5.
This is unprecedented territory for Colorado fans, who have never seen a team at the top of their conference, other than that wild 2012 Pac-12 Championship run that has been immortalized. We haven’t had to strategically root for teams in the conference, so I made a guide for everyone.
If the Buffs go 5-0, they win the Pac-12 title no matter what happens elsewhere. They are the favorites in each of their remaining games, even on the road against Stanford and Utah (and California). But if the Buffs do drop a game, they will need a little help to win the title.
Also if you’re concerned about just getting a bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, the Buffs can lock up a top-4 seed if they beat UCLA and USC at home this week.
The Ducks final five games are at Arizona State, at Arizona, vs. Oregon State, vs. California and vs. Stanford. The Ducks are very likely to win their final three, so their performance at Arizona may make-or-break their title chances. We want them to lose one so that the Buffs have room to breathe, and we want them to both to basically eliminate them from the title race.
That said, Oregon vs. Arizona is tricky for Buffs fans’ rooting interests, because they’re the two real contenders in the title race.
Arizona is very hard to project because they’re so young and volatile. They’re probably going to lose one or two games since they’re so unpredictable — they just badly lost at home to UCLA, mind you. They will host the Oregon schools this week before traveling to Los Angeles next week; if they lose to Oregon and drop one game in L.A., they’re done.
What we’re really hoping for is that Arizona beats Oregon, then loses both games at USC and UCLA next week. It would put Oregon back one game behind CU (or two games, if ASU beat Oregon), and the Wildcats would be eliminated after that road series.
We want USC to beat Arizona at home, but otherwise Andy Enfield can piss off.
The Sun Devils are still in the title race, but they would have to win out to get a share of the title. Their remaining schedule is vs. Oregon, vs. Oregon State, at UCLA, at USC, vs. Washington and vs. Washington State. They could sweep that series, but they’re bound to cool off and lose at least one of those games.
We really want them to beat Oregon, as mentioned earlier. If they finished 5-1 in that stretch and finished second in the Pac-12, it would also look great for Colorado that the Buffs beat them twice in Shanghai and Tempe.
Obviously we will be rooting for Colorado to beat UCLA in Boulder. Aside from that, however, we want the Bruins to beat up Arizona for the second time this season. We also want UCLA to finish strong so that the Buffs’ loss to them becomes a quad-1 road loss, which wouldn’t hurt CU’s resume.
The Beavers are a sneaky chaos team that will play Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon in their next three games. If they can win one or two of those, it would be a major boon to Colorado’s Pac-12 aspirations. It would also boost Colorado’s resume that (1) they lost at home to a chaos team, and (2) CU avenged that loss by blowing out a quality team on the road.