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Which ACC, Big 12 & SEC Teams Should You Root For?

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Pac-12 football is cancelled. Some other conferences still are green-lighting the gridiron.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Notre Dame at Georgia Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Pac-12 football cancelled for this fall and other conferences, such as the ACC, Big 12 and SEC, looking like they’ll go ahead and play college football, we decided to figure out what teams you can root for in Oregon State’s place for one season.


ACC

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse
Syracuse defensive back Trill Williams is a trendy riser on 2022 NFL Draft boards.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The_Coach: Syracuse Orange - As a native New Yorker, I had to give some love to Syracuse. Head coach Dino Babers is entering his fifth season at the helm, while the program has achieved some amazing highs and seen some troubling lows as well. Their win over #2 Clemson back in 2017, one of the Tigers’ five losses in the past five years, was the moment that defined the Orange as giant killers. Maybe similar to Oregon State, at any given moment, Syracuse can always take down a big name foe.

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

John: Clemson Tigers - If I’m going to have to bandwagon some teams this fall, I might as well bandwagon one that has a shot at winning it all. Of those, Clemson seems to be the most enjoyable. A large part of that is Trevor Lawrence’s hair, but the whole team is fun to watch. I’m particularly excited to see what Amari Rodgers can do this year, now that he’s healthy and appears to be Lawrence’s top target.


Big 12

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Liberty Bowl - Navy v Kansas State
Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson is expected to be one of the Big 12’s breakout stars.
Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The_Coach: Kansas State Wildcats - I sometimes forget that Kansas State even exists in the Big 12 and trying to think like an outsider, I sadly imagine that’s how most people might view Oregon State who don’t focus on the Pac-12 every day. The crazy part about the Wildcats is that they finished 8-5 last year under new head coach Chris Klieman, who won four FCS National Championships in five seasons at North Dakota State. Led by a rising QB in Skylar Thompson, the Wildcats are a trending team.

Camping World Bowl - Notre Dame v Iowa State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

John: Iowa State Cyclones - I refuse to root for a team from Texas, and Oklahoma is basically just north Texas so those two are out as well. That limits my options, but fortunately the Cyclones are very fun. Iowa State’s been on the uptick for the past few years, and headed into 2020 the Cyclones should have a real fun team. Brock Purdy is an excellent quarterback, maybe the the best in the conference. They’ve also got a great young RB in Breece Hall, who grabbed 9 TDs in his 8 starts as a freshman. ISU’s also got a great group of Tight Ends, who will probably be getting the lion’s share of Purdy’s looks. the O-line is a little inexperienced, but that should just make things interesting.

I assume the team also has a defense but I haven’t checked.


SEC

Missouri v Arkansas
Rakeem Boyd averaged 6.2 yards per carry for Arkansas in 2019.
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The_Coach: Arkansas Razorbacks - Like Oregon State boasts in Jermar Jefferson, Arkansas has an absolutely menacing running back in Rakeem Boyd, who might just be the best rusher in the league not counting Alabama’s Najee Harris. He anchors a new program under first-year head coach Sam Pittman, a well-liked recruiter similar to Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith and all of this revolves around a program who seemingly has nowhere to go but up. Would a Razorback and a Beaver get along? Do they? I have no idea. I’m not an animal expert.

South Carolina v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

John: South Carolina Gamecocks - There are two possibilities with the Gamecocks; Will Muschamp finally puts together the team people thought they were getting in his first year and South Carolina contends with the top teams in the SEC East, or autumn in Columbia starts to resemble a slow motion Jenga collapse. Either way it should be interesting. The offense is very uncertain, but the defense has a lot to appreciate. The secondary in particular should be exciting to watch; I hope to see a lot of interceptions from Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu.