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Your Pac-12 football rooting guide

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It’s been awhile since you’ve had to strategically root against teams, so here’s a handy guide to help you along.

NCAA Football: Arizona at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes are competing in the Pac-12 and are currently the frontrunners in the South division. They’re the heroes we need, the heroes we deserve.

It’s been a long, long, long, long, long time since No. 21 Colorado has been even remotely competitive in their conference, and it’s been eleven years since the Buffs won their division. That was in 2005 when they won the Big 12 North and lost 70-3 to Texas in their National Championship tune-up game the Big 12 Championship.

Now that the Buffs are competing in their division, we have to relearn how to properly root against No. 21 CU’s third-party competition. Apropos of that, we have a rooting interest guide to help you along.

Root against any Pac-12 South team

If a South team is playing a North team, always root for the North team. That’s because if a South team loses to a North team, their conference record will worsen and No. 21 CU will therefore have a better chance at winning the division, so we have no choice. Anyway, Washington is going to run the table, so nothing in the North has any significant bearing on No. 21 CU.

Rooting against any and all South teams can feel icky at times, like when blood brother Utah played Davis Webb and the Cal Golden Bears (poor Utes) this past Saturday. Utah should be our primary third-party rooting interest, but they might be No. 21 CU’s biggest competition in the South, so we need them to lose every game.

In South vs. South games, root for whichever team has the worse conference record

This can be tricky, icky and even prickly. The Pac-12 South has the four most despicable teams in the entire Pac-12, so on any given Saturday, you’ll be forced to root for USC, UCLA, Arizona or Arizona State. If you didn’t know No. 21 CU being competitive would force these rash actions, how I pity your naïveté.

To see an impossibly tough rooting decision, look no further than this weekend. Arizona State and UCLA face off in a battle of insidiousness and insolence. ASU enters this game 4-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. UCLA is 2-2 and 0-1. Because ASU is up in the standings, we need to root against them and cheer on the blue and gold. (This gets tricky when you note that UCLA has a better chance than ASU to win the South and an ASU victory may favor the Buffs.)

For an even tougher decision, this same weekend pits 4-1 (1-1) Utah against 2-3 (0-2) Arizona. Because Arizona is unlikely to compete for the South and No. 21 CU needs every step on Utah they can get, we have to root for the Wildcats [vomits].

The heart of this rooting strategy is chaos, our dear friend. If No. 21 CU wants to win the South with a few losses (What’s up, Stanford?), the easiest route involves the rest of the division cannibalizing itself. If the rest of division falls into collective turmoil, No. 21 CU can rise above it.

If both teams have the same record, root for the worse one

Just from my gut instincts, these are the teams most likely to challenge the Buffs in the South:

  1. Utah
  2. UCLA
  3. Arizona State
  4. USC
  5. Arizona

If both Pac-12 South teams have the same record, root for whichever has the better chance of winning the South, unless that team is Arizona State, in which case root against them, because screw those guys.