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Who to root for in the Pac-12 this week

Colorado is on bye, so we’re left to be third-party viewers. Stress free weekend!

Utah v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Colorado doesn’t play football this weekend, thanks to a bye week. This weekend is perfect to do anything besides watch football — go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, take a trip up to your parents’ house, have a Korean movie marathon — but we know you’re addicted to college football. To support your addiction, we have a rooting guide for this weekend’s Pac-12 games.

Cal at USC (Thursday, 8:30, ESPN)

According to the previous, broader Pac-12 rooting guide, we have to root for the Buffs’ best interests, which means rooting against any and all Pac-12 South teams if they’re playing a Pac-12 North opponent. USC has an outside chance at making a run at the Buffs in the South, but a loss would essentially eliminate them. On Thursday night, it’s time to replace black and gold with blue and yellow and cheer for Davis Webb, the Colorado quarterback who could have been.

Sidebar: If you haven’t already, take the time to be thankful Webb bailed on CU. At the same time, take the time to fully appreciate Sefo Liufau and everything he’s done for this program.

No. 4 Washington at No. 17 Utah (Saturday, 1:30, FS1)

Another North-South game, another easy rooting decision. As it stands, Utah is Colorado’s biggest competition in the Pac-12 South, so any loss for them is a gain for the Buffs. With a Utah loss, Colorado would be the sole leader of the Pac-12 South, which was (almost) unimaginable before the season.

The most important thing in this game is that Washington wins. The second most important thing is that this game should be entertaining as possible. Utah has won in every way possible — a comeback win against USC, surviving the ugliest game of the year at Oregon State, winning a shootout with UCLA — and can actually threaten the dominant Huskies, whose only non-blowout win was at Arizona, the worst team in the Pac-12.

Also of note, this could be the best running back duel of the season, besides Lindsay v. McCaffrey last week. Utah has leaned on the recently unretired Joe Williams, who has been incredible in his comeback. Washington, meanwhile, has a Heisman contender in Jake Browning at quarterback but they also have Myles Gaskin at runnng back, who is just pure fun. Washington should win, but this should be a great game.

Arizona State at Oregon (3:00, Saturday, Pac-12 Networks)

How glorious it is to root against Arizona State, the university founded on booze and vitriol (to be polite). Of course, rooting against them on Saturday means rooting for Oregon, who we have established as easily hateable. Sometimes you have to take one for the team and root for Nike.

In the long haul, this game is meaningless as both teams are essentially eliminated from Pac-12 contention. And since both teams can’t lose, you might want to skip this game.

Washington State at Oregon State (8:45, Saturday, ESPN2)

Oregon State will have a Pac-12 game on national television before Colorado will. It’s fine, really. Whatever.

Though this game is North v. North, this game has Colorado-centric importance. Wazzu dropped their first two games of the season but haven’t lost since. There’s a realistic chance that they enter their meeting with Colorado (November 19) undefeated in conference play. This game will be tough no matter Washington State’s record, so the Buffs might as well play an 8-2 team ranked in the top 20 (or maybe 15).

With that in mind, we should be rooting for Washington State. I won’t be, because I'm an Oregon State fan.

Stanford at Arizona (9:00, Saturday, FS1)

Arizona will play their second Pac-12 game on national television before Colorado will play their first. It’s fine, really. Whatever.

Let’s just hope Stanford bashes in Arizona and makes Colorado look really good for having beaten them last week, a game that was aired in the middle of the day on Pac-12 Mountain, not even the Pac-12 Network. It’s fine, really. Whatever.