Twenty-eight of ESPN’s college football game and studio analysts provided their picks of the winner for each Power 5 conference, both College Football Playoff Semifinal matchups and the team that will win the second annual College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Overall, the 28 analysts predicted nine different teams to win the title. Defending national champion Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship, garnering 12 picks to repeat. Alabama, Auburn and TCU follow the Buckeyes with three each; Baylor and Michigan State with 2; and one for LSU, Oregon and Stanford. Highlights:
- Twelve teams were picked to participate in the national championship matchup, led by Ohio State with 19. Auburn and TCU round out the top three with seven each followed by Alabama (6); Baylor and Michigan State (4 each); LSU (3); and Arizona State, LSU, Oregon, UCLA and USC (1 each).
- Six of the 12 teams picked to play for the title will face the Buckeyes: Auburn (7), TCU (5), Alabama (3), LSU (2), Baylor (1) and USC (1).
- The Pac-12 holds the closest race for a title prediction with six different picks: USC (9), Oregon (6), Stanford (5), UCLA (4), Arizona State (3) and Arizona (1).
- The Big Ten had the least amount of teams picked to win the conference championship with Ohio State favored by 23 analysts and Michigan State five.
- TCU was the favorite to win the Big 12 with 16 followed by Baylor (9) and Oklahoma (3).
- The ACC and SEC had four and five teams, respectively, predicted to win the title. Clemson leads the ACC with 15 followed by Florida State (6), Georgia tech (5) and Virginia Tech (2). Auburn is the top team in the SEC with 14 followed by Alabama (7), LSU (5), Georgia (1) and Texas A&M (1).