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The Sports Report: Predicting the winner of every major college football game

A photo illustration of Jayden Daniels, Caleb Williams, J.J. McCarthy and Jordan Travis.
A photo illustration featuring LSU’s Jayden Daniels, USC’s Caleb Williams, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and Florida State’s Jordan Travis.
(Photo illustration by Tim Hubbard; photographs by Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From J. Brady McCollough: As a senior in high school in the spring of 2000, I decided to attend the University of Michigan. Earlier that fall, my mom surprised me with tickets to see a quarterback named Tom Brady lead the Wolverines against Notre Dame in Ann Arbor. Michigan won with a late fourth-quarter drive, and I was officially enamored.

My annual picks of every “Power Five” game now have to be made during a year in which the Wolverines are ranked No. 2 in the preseason polls, certainly the highest positioning since I’ve followed the program closely. Michigan is coming off two straight emphatic wins over Ohio State and returns its starting quarterback, dominant tailback tandem and key leaders up and down the depth chart. I know Michigan is going to be very good, but I also know too much about how wrong it can go when it’s supposed to be right.

Read on to see what we do with Michigan, plus: Can Georgia three-peat? Will Caleb Williams lead USC to its first playoff appearance? How will UCLA fare in Chip Kelly’s first season without Dorian Thompson-Robinson?

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DODGERS

From Jack Harris: The Boys of August kept on rolling Wednesday night.

In an 7-0 blowout of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers continued their torrid performance, finishing the month’s penultimate day with a 24-4 record since the end of July.

They’ve won all nine series they’ve played in the month. Wednesday clinched their fifth sweep in that stretch. And, with one more to go in Thursday night’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves, they have a chance at franchise history, on the verge of winning 25 games in a month for the first time since relocating to Los Angeles (and the third time overall).

Wednesday was one of the Dodgers’ most emphatic August wins.

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His Lahaina restaurant was a Dodgers paradise. He lost it but says ‘I feel blessed’

Dodgers box score

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NL WEST STANDINGS

Dodgers, 83-49
San Francisco, 69-64, 14.5 GB
Arizona, 69-65, 15 GB
San Diego, 62-72, 22 GB
Colorado, 49-84, 34.5 GB

WILD-CARD STANDINGS
top three teams qualify

Philadelphia, 74-59
Chicago, 71-62
San Francisco, 69-64

Arizona, 69-65, 0.5 GB
Cincinnati, 69-66, 1 GB
Miami, 66-67, 3 GB

For full standings, go here

ANGELS

From Steve Henson: Perhaps Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout and Perry Minasian and Arte Moreno just need elementary history lessons mixed with an appreciation of the occult.

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Perhaps the disappointment and dismay that come with every dream being dashed could have been tempered if not avoided.

Perhaps the Angels’ two superstars, general manager and owner might have considered that the franchise is cursed. Always has been.

Perhaps Ohtani wouldn’t have been reckless with his arm he

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Angels rally to beat Phillies on Brandon Drury’s homer in ninth

Angels box score

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AL WEST STANDINGS

Seattle, 76-57
Houston, 77-58
Texas, 75-58, 1 GB
Angels, 64-70, 12.5 GB
Oakland, 39-95, 37.5 GB

WILD-CARD STANDINGS
top three teams qualify

Tampa Bay, 82-52
Houston, 77-58
Texas, 75-58

Toronto, 73-61, 2.5 GB
Boston, 69-65, 6.5 GB
New York, 65-68, 10 GB
Angels, 64-70, 11.5 GB
Cleveland, 64-70, 11.5 GB

For full standings, go here

USC FOOTBALL

From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Alex Grinch knows how this sounds. The fans who already were calling for the USC defensive coordinator’s job before watching the No. 6 Trojans give up 28 points to San José State in their season opener Saturday probably aren’t interested in it anyway.

But yes, Grinch is still “very bullish” on his defense.

“It sounds like coach speak if you play the way we played and get too positive, but percentage is way tilted in the positive direction,” he said Tuesday. “I’m not really a rose-colored-glasses type of guy, but you can’t ignore that. The percentage of plays I thought we played at a high level were obviously good.”

Breaking in a rebuilt defense that started four transfers and one freshman, the Trojans (1-0) did little to sway skeptical fans who were hoping to erase the memories of back-to-back losses to end last season, which was marked by defensive failures.

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SOCCER

From Kevin Baxter: The reconciliation between national team coach Gregg Berhalter and star playmaker Gio Reyna will have to wait. Berhalter began his second stint as coach of the U.S. soccer team Wednesday by calling up a 24-man roster for September friendlies with Uzbekistan and Oman, but it did not include Reyna, who is sidelined with a calf injury.

Also missing because of injury or fitness concerns are midfielder Tyler Adams, captain of last fall’s World Cup team; defenders Walker Zimmerman and Cameron Carter-Vickers; goalkeepers Sean Johnson and Zack Steffen; and forward Josh Sargent.

“Watching the team from the outside in these last six months, it’s been very clear that there’s a strong identity both on and off the field. One of the exciting things is that we continue to build on this strong foundation,” Berhalter said. “I’m excited by the roster. It’s a really good mix of experienced guys that have been around for the last four years and some new players.”

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GALAXY

Dejan Joveljic scored on a penalty kick in the 61st minute and the Galaxy held off the San José Earthquakes 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Tyler Boyd gave Los Angeles (7-10-7) the lead in the 16th minute, using an assist from Raheem Edwards to score his sixth goal of the season.

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Jeremy Ebobisse put San José (9-9-8) ahead 2-1 with a goal in the 31st minute. It came two minutes after an own-goal by L.A. defender Calegari knotted the score. Jamiro Monteiro picked up an assist on Ebobisse’s eighth netter of the campaign.

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SPARKS

From Annika Johnson: Jordin Canada had only one offer going into WNBA free agency before last season: a training camp spot with the Sparks. It came out of nowhere, she said. And though it promised no long-term guarantees, it was a dream come true for the lifelong Sparks and Lakers fan.

The L.A. native knew it was time to come home after playing four years in Seattle as Sue Bird’s backup.

“I just thought that was a sign from God telling me that I have to bet on myself,” Canada said before Tuesday’s 76-75 loss to the Chicago Sky. “At that point in my career, being in Seattle for four years, I had to think to myself that I want to be a backup or did I want to come in and I want to better myself and show everybody what I’m capable of.”

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1895 — The first pro football game is played at Latrobe, Pa., between Latrobe and Jeannette, Pa. Latrobe pays $10 to quarterback John Brallier for expenses.

1950 — Brooklyn’s Gil Hodges ties a major league record by hitting Boston Brave pitching for four homers in the Dodgers’ 19-3 rout.

1955 — Nashua, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, goes wire-to-wire to defeat Swaps, ridden by Bill Shoemaker in a match race at Washington Park. Nashua’s victory avenges his second-place finish, behind Swaps, in the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

1972 — American super swimmer Mark Spitz wraps up the Olympic butterfly double with a world record 54.27 in the 100m in Munich, having already won the 200m in world record time 2:00.70.

1977 — John McEnroe plays his first U.S. Open match and receives his first Open code of conduct penalty in a 6-1, 6-3 first-round win over fellow 18-year-old Eliot Teltscher.

1979 — Sixteen-year-old Tracy Austin defeats 14-year-old Andrea Jaeger, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round of the U.S. Open Earlier in the day, John Lloyd defeats Paul McNamee, 5-7, 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, in the longest match by games at the Open since the introduction of the tie-break. The two play 63 of a maximum 65 games in three hours and 56 minutes.

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1990 — Baseball outfielders Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. become the 1st father and son to play on same team (Seattle Mariners), the pair hit back-to-back singles in the first inning and both scored.

1996 — Oklahoma State becomes the first Division I-A team to win a regular-season overtime game, avoiding an embarrassing loss to Division I-AA Southwest Missouri State, when David Thompson’s 13-yard touchdown run gives the Cowboys a 23-20 win.

2001 — Pitcher Danny Almonte who dominated the Little League World Series with his 70 mph fastballs is ruled ineligible after government records experts determine he actually is 14, and that birth certificates showing he was two years younger are false. The finding nullifies all the victories by his Bronx, N.Y., team, the Rolando Paulino Little League All-Stars.

2007 — Exactly 28 years to the day, No. 3 Novak Djokovic and Radek Stepanek tie the U.S. Open record for most games played (63 of a maximum 65) in a match. Djokovic outlasts Stepanek 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2), in the four-hour, 44-minute match.

2018 — Aaron Donald of the Rams becomes the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. The All-Pro defensive tackle agrees to a six-year, $135 million deal, which surpasses Von Miller’s contract in Denver as the new benchmark for defenders.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

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Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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