The 2020 college football season has been anything but normal so far, and that includes in the SEC, which is just starting play this Saturday in Week 4 of the season. The Big 12 and ACC started a few weeks ago, while the BIg Ten and Pac-12 are still a month away from competing. And that's only mentioning the Power Five conferences, though there have already been some big upsets early in the season.
Though there is not a signature SEC game set for Saturday, there is a top 25 showdown early and a SEC West heavyweight battle midday in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. Elsewhere on the schedule, we will see if No. 12 Miami can continue riding its newfound momentum against in-state rival Florida State with two weeks to go into a big-time showdown with No. 1 Clemson. No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 8 Texas are both in action out of the Big 12, though they are heavy favorites expected to win their games handily.
Let's take a look at the biggest games on the schedule Saturday along with our picks and predictions for what will transpire in those contests. Our CBS Sports college football experts have picked every game both straight up and against the spread, giving you ample opportunity to decide how to make your picks ahead of kickoff.
Odds via William Hill Sportsbook | All times Eastern
No. 23 Kentucky at No. 8 Auburn (-7.5) -- Noon on SEC Network: I'll take Kentucky and grab those points. No, it's not because I think that the Wildcats will spring the upset. This just feels like an old-school, defense-driven slug fest in which neither team will find much of a flow offensively. Bo Nix should be more of an impact player in the running game, and Chad Morris is supposedly adding more over-the-middle passing elements to an Auburn offense that has been lacking in that department. The element of the unknown will jump up and bite Kentucky enough to give Auburn the win ... but not the cover. Pick: Kentucky (+7.5) -- Barrett Sallee
Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma (-28.5) -- Noon on FOX: The Wildcats are up for a big challenge. Both teams could have players missing, but it would seem as though K-State is the one closer to not being able to field the minimum players needed. That's not a great start, and after getting beat by an undermanned Arkansas State in Week 2, the forecast for this game isn't much rosier. A blood-thirsty Oklahoma wins big. Pick: Oklahoma (-28.5) -- Ben Kercheval
No. 5 Florida (-14.5) at Ole Miss -- Noon on ESPN: I can't help but lean toward the side of this equation with more knowns. It's Dan Mullen's third season in Florida, and he has a returning starter at QB. Having that kind of continuity will be critical for a lot of teams early in a season like this one, and the fact Kyle Trask is one of the best QBs in the conference doesn't hurt. Then there's an Ole Miss team using a new playbook for the first time under a new coach. Lane Kiffin has always been able to put together good gameplans, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Rebels jump out to an early lead, but the Gators will pull away over 60 minutes and cover. Pick: Florida (-14.5) -- Tom Fornelli
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Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU (-16.5) -- 3:30 p.m. on CBS: This one won't be close. Mike Leach's offensive system simply won't work in the SEC. The size and speed in the middle of LSU's defense -- even though most of the players are unproven -- will exploit a Mississippi State offensive line that put too much emphasis on spacing and speed rather than size and power. What's more, the passing game won't have a chance against Derek Stingley, JaCoby Stevens and the rest of that talented secondary. Take the Tigers and lay those points. Pick: LSU (-16.5) -- Barrett Sallee
No. 2 Alabama (-27) at Missouri -- 7 p.m. on ESPN: The Crimson Tide must use every possession in this game to prepare for what's ahead as they enter the teeth of their 10-game SEC gauntlet next week against Texas A&M. For that reason, you can expect Alabama to throw the ball more than it typically would in the second half of a blowout victory and to score at least one touchdown in the fourth quarter. Under normal circumstances, Missouri could cover this spread. But the Crimson Tide will be trying to rev this unique season up to full speed in a hurry and should cover easily. Pick: Alabama (-27) -- David Cobb
Florida State at No. 12 Miami (-11) -- 7:30 p.m. on ABC: My favorite play here is the under, both for the "rivalry game unders" principle and the fact that the game breakdown highlights Florida State as one of the better teams to slow down Miami's high-powered offense. The Seminoles' best chance to win this game is to try and keep it low-scoring and close, but I don't think there's enough points on the spread to take the underdog. Look for Miami struggle early but ultimately wear Florida State down with its tempo, scoring late to put the game away and cover the spread. Pick: Miami (-11) -- Chip Patterson