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College football picks: Predicting winners for Power Five games – Los Angeles Times

If you’re like me, August is the longest month of the year. That has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with college football being so close that you can practically feel “Ralphie” running onto the field in the Rocky Mountains or hear all the different renditions of “Tiger Rag” trumpeting across the Southeast.

Seven years ago, to get through this month, a friend of mine who shares my disgust for August joined me in picking every single Power Five football game. No matter how much we disagreed on the result of a game, we had to come to a consensus and go with it. It was a way of checking each other and, we hoped, coming to a greater place of understanding.

Well, after a few years, we stopped doing this. Life moved on. I got married and happened to honeymoon in August. The next year, my wife and I had our daughter in August. (Those are definitely two recommended ways to get through this month, if you’re so lucky).

But this year, with me in my first season as the Los Angeles Times’ national college football reporter, we decided to do it again. Here are our picks for 2019, and thanks to Sam for getting me to September like old times.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

Fiesta Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Georgia

Peach Bowl: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan

College Football Playoff championship: Georgia over Alabama

OTHER BOWLS

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Utah

Sugar Bowl: Texas vs. Texas A&M

Orange Bowl: Virginia vs. Louisiana State

Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Central Florida

PAC-12 CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

USC linebacker Cameron Smith tackles Utah running back Zack Moss during a game in 2018.


PAC-12 championship: Utah over Washington

GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

ARIZONA (6-6, 3-6)

@Hawaii — Win

Northern Arizona — Win

Texas Tech — Win

UCLA — Loss

@Colorado — Win

Washington — Loss

@USC — Loss

@Stanford — Loss

Oregon State — Win

@Oregon — Loss

Utah — Win

@Arizona State — Loss

ARIZONA STATE (6-6, 4-5)

Kent State — Win

Sacramento State — Win

@Michigan State — Loss

Colorado — Win

@California — Loss

Washington State — Win

@Utah — Loss

@UCLA — Loss

USC — Win

@Oregon State — Loss

Oregon — Loss

Arizona — Win

CALIFORNIA (6-6, 4-5)

UC Davis — Win

@Washington — Loss

North Texas — Win

@Ole Miss — Loss

Arizona State — Win

@Oregon — Loss

Oregon State — Win

@Utah — Loss

Washington State — Win

USC — Loss

@Stanford — Loss

@UCLA — Win

COLORADO (2-10, 0-9)

Colorado State — Win

Nebraska — Loss

Air Force — Win

@Arizona State — Loss

Arizona — Loss

@Oregon — Loss

@Washington State — Loss

USC — Loss

@UCLA — Loss

Stanford — Loss

Washington — Loss

@Utah — Loss

OREGON (9-3, 7-2)

Auburn — Loss

Nevada — Win

Montana — Win

@Stanford — Win

California — Win

Colorado — Win

@Washington — Loss

Washington State — Win

@USC — Loss

Arizona — Win

@Arizona State — Win

Oregon State — Win

OREGON STATE (2-10, 1-8)

Oklahoma State — Loss

@Hawaii — Loss

Cal Poly — Win

Stanford — Loss

@UCLA — Loss

Utah — Loss

@California — Loss

@Arizona — Loss

Washington — Loss

Arizona State — Win

@Washington State — Loss

@Oregon — Loss

STANFORD (7-5, 6-3)

Northwestern — Win

@USC — Loss

@UCF — Loss

Oregon — Loss

@Oregon State — Win

Washington — Win

UCLA — Win

Arizona — Win

@Colorado — Win

@Washington State — Loss

California — Win

Notre Dame — Loss

UCLA (5-7, 4-5)

@Cincinnati — Loss

San Diego State — Win

Oklahoma — Loss

@Washington State — Loss

@Arizona — Win

Oregon State — Win

@Stanford — Loss

Arizona State — Win

Colorado — Win

@Utah — Loss

@USC — Loss

California — Loss

USC (8-4, 6-3)

Fresno State — Win

Stanford — Win

@BYU — Win

Utah — Loss

@Washington — Loss

@Notre Dame — Loss

Arizona — Win

@Colorado — Win

Oregon — Win

@Arizona State — Loss

@California — Win

UCLA — Win

UTAH (10-2, 7-2)

@BYU — Win

Northern Illinois — Win

Idaho State — Win

@USC — Win

Washington State — Win

@Oregon State — Win

Arizona State — Win

California — Win

@Washington — Loss

UCLA — Win

@Arizona — Loss

Colorado — Win

WASHINGTON (11-1, 8-1)

Eastern Washington — Win

California — Win

Hawaii — Win

@BYU — Win

USC — Win

@Stanford — Loss

@Arizona — Win

Oregon — Win

Utah — Win

@Oregon State — Win

@Colorado — Win

Washington State — Win

WASHINGTON STATE (7-5, 4-5)

New Mexico State — Win

Northern Colorado — Win

Houston — Win

UCLA — Win

@Utah — Loss

@Arizona State — Loss

Colorado — Win

@Oregon — Loss

@California — Loss

Stanford — Win

Oregon State — Win

@Washington — Loss

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa carries the ball against Mississippi State in November 2018.


SEC Championship: Alabama over Georgia

GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

ALABAMA (11-1, 7-1)

Duke — Win

NM State — Win

@South Carolina — Win

Southern Miss — Win

Ole Miss — Win

@Texas A&M — Win

Tennessee — Win

Arkansas — Win

LSU — Win

@Miss St. — Win

Western Carolina — Win

@Auburn — Loss

ARKANSAS (4-8, 0-8)

Portland State — Win

@Ole Miss — Loss

Colorado State — Win

San Jose State — Win

Texas A&M — Loss

@Kentucky — Loss

Auburn — Loss

@Alabama — Loss

Miss St. — Loss

Western Kentucky — Win

@LSU — Loss

Mizzou — Loss

AUBURN (8-4, 4-4)

Oregon — Win

Tulane — Win

Kent St. — Win

@Texas A&M — Loss

Miss St. — Win

@Florida — Loss

@Arkansas — Win

@LSU — Loss

Ole Miss — Win

Georgia — Loss

Samford — Win

Alabama — Win

FLORIDA (9-3, 5-3)

Miami — Win

Tennessee-Martin — Win

@Kentucky — Win

Tennessee — Win

Towson — Win

Auburn — Win

@LSU — Loss

@South Carolina — Loss

Georgia — Loss

Vanderbilt — Win

@Mizzou — Win

Florida State — Win

GEORGIA (12-0, 8-0)

@Vanderbilt — Win

Murray State — Win

Arkansas St — Win

Notre Dame — Win

@Tennessee — Win

South Carolina — Win

Kentucky — Win

Florida — Win

Mizzou — Win

@Auburn — Win

Texas A&M — Win

@Georgia Tech — Win

KENTUCKY (6-6, 2-6)

Toledo — Win

EMU — Win

Florida — Loss

@Miss St — Loss

@South Carolina — Loss

Arkansas — Win

@Georgia — Loss

Mizzou — Loss

Tennessee — Win

@Vanderbilt — Loss

Tennessee-Martin — Win

Louisville — Win

LSU (10-2, 6-2)

Georgia Southern — Win

@Texas — Win

NW State — Win

@Vanderbilt — Win

Utah State — Win

Florida — Win

@Miss St — Win

Auburn — Win

@Alabama — Loss

@Ole Miss — Win

Arkansas — Win

Texas A&M — Loss

MISSISSIPPI STATE (6-6, 2-6)

UL-Lafayette — Win

Southern Miss — Win

Kansas State — Win

Kentucky — Win

@Auburn — Loss

@Tennessee — Loss

LSU — Win

@Texas A&M — Loss

@Arkansas — Win

Alabama — Loss

Abilene Christian — Win

Ole Miss — Loss

MISSOURI (9-3, 5-3)

@Wyoming — Win

West Virginia — Win

SEMO — Win

South Carolina — Win

Troy — Win

Ole Miss — Win

@Vanderbilt — Loss

@Kentucky — Win

@Georgia — Loss

Florida — Loss

Tennessee — Win

@Arkansas — Win

OLE MISS (5-7, 2-6)

@Memphis — Loss

Arkansas — Win

SE Louisiana — Win

Cal — Win

@Alabama — Loss

Vanderbilt — Loss

@Mizzou — Loss

Texas A&M — Loss

@Auburn — Loss

New Mexico St — Win

LSU — Loss

@Miss St. — Win

SOUTH CAROLINA (6-6, 3-5)

North Carolina — Win

Charleston Southern — Win

Alabama — Loss

@Mizzou — Loss

Kentucky — Win

@Georgia — Win

Florida — Win

@Tennessee — Loss

Vanderbilt — Win

App State — Win

@Texas A&M — Loss

Clemson — Loss

TENNESSEE (7-3, 3-5)

Georgia State — Win

BYU — Win

Chattanooga — Win

@Florida — Loss

Georgia — Loss

Miss St. — Win

@Alabama — Loss

South Carolina — Win

UAB — Win

@Kentucky — Loss

@Mizzou — Loss

Vanderbilt — Win

TEXAS A&M (9-3, 6-2)

Texas St — Win

@Clemson — Loss

Lamar — Win

Auburn — Win

@Arkansas — Win

Alabama — Loss

@Ole Miss — Win

Miss St. — Win

UTSA — Win

South Carolina — Win

@Georgia — Loss

@LSU — Win

VANDERBILT (7-5, 3-5)

Georgia — Loss

@Purdue — Win

LSU — Loss

North Illinois — Win

@Ole Miss — Win

UNLV — Win

Mizzou — Win

@South Carolina — Loss

@Florida — Loss

Kentucky — Win

ETSU — Win

@Tennessee — Loss

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE AND NOTRE DAME PREDICTIONS

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence looks to pass against Wake Forest in October 2018.


ACC Championship: Clemson over Virginia

GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5, 4-4)

Virginia Tech — Win

Richmond — Win

Kansas — Win

@Rutgers — Win

Wake Forest — Loss

@Louisville — Win

NC State — Win

@Clemson — Loss

@Syracuse — Loss

Florida State — Loss

@Notre Dame — Loss

@Pitt — Win

CLEMSON (12-0, 8-0)

Georgia Tech — Win

Texas A&M — Win

@Syracuse — Win

Charlotte — Win

@North Carolina — Win

Florida State — Win

@Louisville — Win

Boston College — Win

Wofford — Win

@NC State — Win

Wake Forest — Win

@South Carolina — Win

DUKE (4-8, 2-6)

Alabama — Loss

North Carolina A&T — Win

@MTSU — Win

@Virginia Tech — Loss

Pitt — Win

Georgia Tech — Win

@Virginia Tech — Loss

@North Carolina — Loss

Notre Dame — Loss

Syracuse — Loss

@Wake Forest — Loss

Miami — Loss

FLORIDA STATE (8-4, 5-3)

Boise State — Win

Louisiana-Monroe — Win

@Virginia — Loss

Louisville — Win

NC State — Win

@Clemson — Loss

@Wake Forest — Loss

Syracuse — Win

Miami — Win

@Boston College — Win

Alabama State — Win

@Florida — Loss

GEORGIA TECH (1-11, 0-8)

@Clemson — Loss

South Florida — Loss

Citadel — Win

@Temple — Loss

North Carolina — Loss

@Duke — Loss

@Miami — Loss

Pitt — Loss

@Virginia — Loss

Virginia Tech — Loss

NC State — Loss

Georgia — Loss

LOUISVILLE (2-10, 0-8)

Notre Dame — Loss

Eastern Kentucky — Win

Western Kentuckty — Win

@Florida State — Loss

Boston College — Loss

@Wake Forest — Loss

Clemson — Loss

Virginia — Loss

@Miami — Loss

@NC State — Loss

Syracuse — Loss

@Kentucky — Loss

MIAMI (9-3, 6-2)

Florida — Loss

@North Carolina — Win

Bethune-Cookman — Win

Central Michigan — Win

Virginia Tech — Loss

Virginia — Win

Georgia Tech — Win

@Pitt — Win

@Florida State — Loss

Louisville — Win

@FIU — Win

@Duke — Win

NC STATE (6-6, 3-5)

East Carolina — Win

Western Carolina — Win

@West Virginia — Loss

Ball State — Win

@Florida State — Loss

Syracuse — Loss

@Boston College — Loss

@Wake Forest — Loss

Clemson — Loss

Louisville — Win

@Georgia Tech — Win

North Carolina — Win

NORTH CAROLINA (3-9, 2-6)

South Carolina — Loss

Miami — Loss

@Wake Forest — Loss

App State — Loss

Clemson — Loss

@Georgia Tech — Win

@Virginia Tech — Loss

Duke — Win

Virginia — Loss

@Pitt — Loss

Mercer — Win

@NC State — Loss

NOTRE DAME (10-2)

@Louisville — Win

New Mexico — Win

@Georgia — Loss

Virginia — Win

Bowling Green — Win

USC — Win

@Michigan — Loss

Virginia Tech — Win

@Duke — Win

Navy — Win

Boston College — Win

@Stanford — Win

PITT (4-8, 2-6)

Virginia — Loss

Ohio — Win

@Penn State — Loss

UCF — Loss

Delaware — Win

@Duke — Loss

@Syracuse — Loss

Miami — Loss

@Georgia Tech — Win

North Carolina — Win

@Virginia Tech — Loss

Boston College — Loss

SYRACUSE (9-3, 6-2)

@Liberty — Win

@Maryland — Loss

Clemson — Loss

Western Michigan — Win

Holy Cross — Win

@NC State — Win

Pitt — Win

@Florida State — Loss

Boston College — Win

@Duke — Win

@Louisville — Win

Wake Forest — Win

VIRGINIA (10-2, 7-1)

@Pitt — Win

William & Mary — Win

Florida State — Win

Old Dominion — Win

@Notre Dame — Loss

@Miami — Loss

Duke — Win

@Louisville — Win

@North Carolina — Win

Georgia Tech — Win

Liberty — Win

Virginia Tech — Win

VIRGINIA TECH (9-3, 6-2)

@Boston College — Loss

Old Dominion — Win

Furman — Win

Duke — Win

@Miami — Win

Rhode Island — Win

North Carolina — Win

@Notre Dame — Loss

Wake Forest — Win

@Georgia Tech — Win

Pitt — Win

@Virginia — Loss

WAKE FOREST (9-3, 5-3)

Utah State — Win

@Rice — Win

North Carolina — Win

Elon — Win

@Boston College — Win

Louisville — Win

Florida State — Win

NC State — Win

@Virginia Tech — Loss

@Clemson — Loss

Duke — Win

@Syracuse — Loss

BIG TEN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson looks to throw a pass against Penn State in November 2018.


Big Ten Championship: Michigan over Nebraska

GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

ILLINOIS (4-8, 1-8)

Akron — Win

@UConn — Win

Eastern Michigan — Win

Nebraska — Loss

@Minnesota — Loss

Michigan — Loss

Wisconsin — Loss

@Purdue — Loss

Rutgers — Win

@Michigan State — Loss

@Iowa — Loss

Northwestern — Loss

INDIANA (5-7, 2-7)

@Ball State — Win

Eastern Illinois — Win

Ohio State — Loss

UConn — Win

@Michigan State — Loss

Rutgers — Win

@Maryland — Loss

@Nebraska — Loss

Northwestern — Win

@Penn State — Loss

Michigan — Loss

@Purdue — Loss

IOWA (8-4, 5-4)

Miami (OH) — Win

Rutgers — Win

@Iowa State — Win

MTSU — Win

@Michigan — Loss

Penn State — Loss

Purdue — Win

@Northwestern — Win

@Wisconsin — Loss

Minnesota — Win

Illinois — Win

@Nebraska — Loss

MARYLAND (6-6, 3-6)

Howard — Win

Syracuse — Win

@Temple — Win

Penn State — Loss

@Rutgers — Win

@Purdue — Loss

Indiana — Win

@Minnesota — Loss

Michigan — Loss

@Ohio State — Loss

Nebraska — Win

@Michigan State — Loss

MICHIGAN (11-1, 8-1)

MTSU — Win

Army — Win

@Wisconsin — Win

Rutgers — Win

Iowa — Win

@Illinois — Win

@Penn State — Loss

Notre Dame — Win

@Maryland — Win

Michigan State — Win

@Indiana — Win

Ohio State — Win

MICHIGAN STATE (8-4, 5-4)

Tulsa — Win

Western Michigan — Win

Arizona State — Win

@Northwestern — Loss

Indiana — Win

@Ohio State — Loss

@Wisconsin — Loss

Penn State — Win

Illinois — Win

@Michigan — Loss

@Rutgers — Win

Maryland — Win

MINNESOTA (7-5, 4-5)

South Dakota St. — Win

@Fresno State — Win

Georgia Southern — Win

@Purdue — Loss

Illinois — Win

Nebraska — Loss

@Rutgers — Win

Maryland — Win

Penn State — Loss

@Iowa — Loss

@Northwestern — Loss

Wisconsin — Win

NEBRASKA (9-3, 6-3)

South Alabama — Win

@Colorado — Win

Northern Illinois — Win

@Illinois — Win

Ohio State — Win

Northwestern — Loss

@Minnesota — Win

Indiana — Win

@Purdue — Loss

Wisconsin — Win

@Maryland — Loss

Iowa — Win

NORTHWESTERN (7-5, 5-4)

@Stanford — Loss

UNLV — Win

Michigan State — Win

@Wisconsin — Loss

@Nebraska — Win

Ohio State — Loss

Iowa — Loss

@Indiana — Loss

Purdue — Win

UMass — Win

Minnesota — Win

@Illinois — Win

OHIO STATE (10-2, 7-2)

FAU — Win

Cincinnati — Win

@Indiana — Win

Minnesota — Win

@Nebraska — Loss

Michigan State — Win

@Northwestern — Win

Wisconsin — Win

Maryland — Win

@Rutgers — Win

Penn State — Win

Michigan — Loss

PENN STATE (10-2, 7-2)

Idaho — Win

Buffalo — Win

Pitt — Win

@Maryland — Win

Purdue — Win

@Iowa — Win

Michigan — Win

@Michigan State — Loss

@Minnesota — Win

Indiana — Win

Ohio State — Loss

Rutgers — Win

PURDUE (6-6, 5-4)

@Nevada — Win

Vanderbilt — Loss

TCU — Loss

Minnesota — Win

@Penn State — Loss

Maryland — Win

@Iowa — Loss

Illinois — Win

Nebraska — Win

@Northwestern — Loss

@Wisconsin — Loss

Indiana — Win

WISCONSIN (7-5, 5-4)

@South Florida — Loss

Central Michigan — Win

Michigan — Loss

Northwestern — Win

Kent State — Win

Michigan State — Win

@Illinois — Win

@Ohio State — Loss

Iowa — Win

@Nebraska — Loss

Purdue — Win

@Minnesota — Loss

RUTGERS (2-10, 0-9)

UMass — Win

@Iowa — Loss

Boston College — Loss

@Michigan — Loss

Maryland — Loss

@Indiana — Loss

Minnesota — Loss

Liberty — Win

@Illinois — Loss

Ohio State — Loss

Michigan State — Loss

@Penn State — Loss

BIG 12 CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger scores a touchdown against the Oklahoma Sooners in October 2018.


Big 12 Championship: Texas over Oklahoma State

GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

BAYLOR (8-4, 5-4)

Stephen F. Austin — Win

UTSA — Win

@Rice — Win

Iowa State — Win

@Kansas State — Win

Texas Tech — Win

@Oklahoma State — Loss

West Virginia — Win

@TCU — Loss

Oklahoma — Loss

Texas — Loss

@Kansas — Win

IOWA STATE (7-5, 5-4)

Northern Iowa — Win

Iowa — Loss

Louisiana-Monroe — Win

@Baylor — Loss

TCU — Win

@West Virginia — Win

@Texas Tech — Loss

Oklahoma State — Loss

@Oklahoma — Loss

Texas — Win

Kansas — Win

@Kansas State — Win

KANSAS (2-10, 0-9)

Indiana State — Win

Coastal Carolina — Win

@Boston College — Loss

West Virginia — Loss

@TCU — Loss

Oklahoma — Loss

@Texas — Loss

Texas Tech — Loss

Kansas State — Loss

@Oklahoma State — Loss

@Iowa State — Loss

Baylor — Loss

KANSAS STATE (3-9, 1-8)

Nicholls — Win

Bowling Green — Win

@Mississippi State — Loss

@Oklahoma State — Loss

Baylor — Loss

TCU — Loss

Oklahoma — Loss

@Kansas — Win

@Texas — Loss

West Virginia — Loss

@Texas Tech — Loss

Iowa State — Loss

OKLAHOMA (10-2, 7-2)

Houston — Win

South Dakota — Win

@UCLA — Win

Texas Tech — Win

@Kansas — Win

Texas — Loss

West Virginia — Win

@Kansas State — Win

Iowa State — Win

@Baylor — Win

TCU — Win

@Oklahoma State — Loss

OKLAHOMA STATE (10-2, 7-2)

@Oregon State — Win

McNeese State — Win

@Tulsa — Win

@Texas — Loss

Kansas State — Win

@Texas Tech — Win

Baylor — Win

@Iowa State — Win

TCU — Win

Kansas — Win

@West Virginia — Loss

Oklahoma — Win

TCU (7-5, 4-5)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff — Win

@Purdue — Win

SMU — Win

Kansas — Win

@Iowa State — Loss

@Kansas State — Win

Texas — Loss

@Oklahoma State — Loss

Baylor — Win

@Texas Tech — Loss

@Oklahoma — Loss

West Virginia — Win

TEXAS (10-2, 8-1)

Louisiana Tech — Win

LSU — Loss

Rice — Win

Oklahoma State — Win

@West Virginia — Win

Oklahoma — Win

Kansas — Win

@TCU — Win

Kansas State — Win

@Iowa State — Loss

@Baylor — Win

Texas Tech — Win

TEXAS TECH (6-6, 4-5)

Montana State — Win

UTEP — Win

@Arizona — Loss

@Oklahoma — Loss

Oklahoma State — Loss

Baylor — Loss

Iowa State — Win

@Kansas — Win

@West Virginia — Loss

TCU — Win

Kansas State — Win

@Texas — Loss

WEST VIRGINIA (6-6, 4-5)

James Madison — Win

@Mizzou — Loss

NC State — Win

@Kansas — Win

Texas — Loss

Iowa State — Loss

@Oklahoma — Loss

@Baylor — Loss

Texas Tech — Win

@Kansas State — Win

Oklahoma State — Win

@TCU — Loss

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