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Who to root for in the Pac-12 this week

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Here’s a fun guide to help you watch the Pac-12 with strategic rooting interests.

UCLA v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Pac-12 season is now in full force so it’s time to dust off the ole weekly rooting guide. The basic rules of the rooting guide is that first and foremost, we’re rooting for the best interests of the Colorado Buffaloes. We want the Buffs to win all their games, win the Pac-12 South, win the Pac-12 Championship, sneak into the Playoff, upset Alabama, and then beat Oklahoma for the National Championship. The Buffs obviously need some help getting there, and that starts with the Pac-12.

First off, in inter-conference games between Pac-12 South and Pac-12 North teams, we almost always root for the North team. That’s because we want CU to win the South Division (again) and any loss from division rivals would benefit the Buffs. And in respect to the North division, nothing that will happen there will have any bearing on CU, since Washington is going to run the table anyway and we want them to be ranked as highly as possible for when we beat them in the Pac-12 Championship.

(If you really want to have a sense of who in the North to root for, here’s the official Ralphie Report stance, in order of importance: Washington will beat everyone, so it doesn’t matter how you root, and anyway we want them to look at good as possible; root against Oregon, because lol; root for Oregon State to upset everyone, because lol; root for Cal when appropriate, because their surprising run would be interesting to see continue; Washington State is cool too, but only if you’re OK cheering for Mike Leach; in Stanford games, just root for Bryce Love because he’s trying as hard as he can to carry the Cardinal.)

When you have two teams from the Pac-12 South playing, root for the team lower in the standings. The idea here is that same: We want CU to win the division, so if they’re in competition for the crown with someone like USC, we want USC to lose no matter who they’re playing.

Sometimes these South vs. South games get tricky if the standings don’t accurately reflect the state of the division. If a team like Arizona State is up in the standings and they’re playing a team like UCLA, a much better team but down in the standings, you can root for ASU because they’re more likely than UCLA to collapse later in the season.

For clarity, the teams most likely to challenge CU for the Pac-12 South, and thus the teams you should root against as much as possible, are, in order according to the most recent Pac-12 Power Rankings, USC, Utah, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State.

In conclusion, according to the rooting guide, we’re rooting for Washington State over USC, Washington over Oregon State (sorry, guys), Colorado over UCLA, Stanford over Arizona State, and Cal over Oregon. If you want to be mean, you can root for the bye weeks over Arizona and Utah.