The 2020 college football season has been anything but normal so far, and that includes in the SEC, which was the defending national champions upset last week as it began play. Now entering Week 5 of the overall season, the SEC truly takes centerstage with the two biggest games of the day.
No. 2 Alabama hosts No. 13 Texas A&M in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week as Jimbo Fisher — in Year 3 with the Aggies — looks to become the first Nick Saban assistant ever to topple his boss. The Crimson Tide are heavily favored in the contest, but in this wild season it seems like anything can happen in a given game. There is also the first top-10 showdown of the season in the evening as No. 4 Georgia hosts No. 7 Auburn in one of the SEC’s biggest rivalry games. Will the Bulldogs have their quarterback situation worked out, or will the Tigers pull off the upset as a near-touchdown underdog?
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
South Carolina at No. 3 Florida (-17.5) — Noon on ESPN: The Gamecocks are just 1-3 against the Gators in Will Muschamp’s tenure, but their average margin of defeat in those three losses is just 9.3 points. South Carolina scored 27 against Florida last season and 31 in 2018. Given how vulnerable Florida’s defense looked against Ole Miss, it’s a safe bet that South Carolina will reach at least 20 points. And with some veterans in the secondary, South Carolina should be able to keep Florida from turning this into a complete blowout. Pick: South Carolina +17.5 — David Cobb
TCU at No. 9 Texas (-13) — Noon on FOX: Given Texas’ struggles against the pass, TCU could hold its own in this game. The Horned Frogs had nice ball distribution against Iowa State with nine guys catching at least two passes. However, I’m worried about their pass protection. Additionally, Sam Ehlinger has to be a playmaker and he showed he can lead a comeback if he’s called upon. I think he makes enough plays for Texas to get the home W, but I’m not loving the defense to make the necessary stops to win by two full touchdowns. Pick: TCU +13 — Ben Kercheval
No. 13 Texas A&M at No. 2 Alabama (-17) — 3:30 p.m. on CBS: I’ve always had a pretty solid rule of thumb when picking Alabama games in the SEC. Generally, when Alabama is at home, you want to bet against it. It does a much better job of covering the spread when on the road. But when we look closer at the results, the Crimson Tide performs better at home with larger spreads. In 26 SEC games under Nick Saban when they’ve been favored by 17 points or more — like they are here — they’ve gone 16-10 ATS. When I see that trend and combine it with how soundly Alabama has beaten the Aggies recently, it’s hard to go any other way here. Pick: Alabama (-17) — Tom Fornelli
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 5, and which SEC team will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past four-plus seasons — and find out.
No. 18 Oklahoma (-7) at Iowa State — 7:30 p.m. on ABC: Home-field advantage isn’t a thing like it used to be, in part because of COVID-19’s effects on stadium capacity. Still, the Cyclones shouldn’t have any problem bringing their own juice for this one. This is a rare opportunity to not only reinsert yourself back into the Big 12 Championship Game conversation but give the Sooners rare back-to-back losses while fully exposing them as a vulnerable team. Iowa State can punch plays up, and the offense sprinkles in some big plays, so give me the Cyclones to keep it at least within a touchdown. But we’ll find out if Iowa State’s passing game has enough to pull the outright upset. Pick: Iowa State +7.5 — Ben Kercheval
No. 7 Auburn at No. 4 Georgia (-6.5) — 7:30 p.m. on ESPN: Georgia’s quarterback situation is an absolute mess. JT Daniels got medically cleared this week, but just how healthy is he? Is he capable of playing at the level he was at before injuring his knee in the season-opener last season? These are valid questions — especially considering it took so long for him to get cleared by doctors. Whether it’s Daniels or Stetson Bennett, Auburn’s defense will bring the heat early and often, forcing multiple mistakes from the Georgia offense. Yes, Georgia’s defense is great. Maybe the best in the country. But all Auburn has to do is find a way to get to 20 points in this one to not only cover but get the win outright. Pick: Auburn +6.5 — Barrett Sallee
Virginia at No. 1 Clemson (-28) — 8 p.m. on ACC Network: To me, this pick — not the game, but the pick — comes down to Virginia’s offensive line. That group has come a long way since it was a glaring weakness at times for the Wahoos offense, where Bryce Perkins’ athleticism and escapability was not only a feature but a necessity for success. They are an experienced group in 2020, and the success they had against Duke suggests it’s improved in a way that makes running the offense a little bit easier for new starter Brennan Armstrong. But Duke’s defensive line is not Clemson’s defensive line, and if Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and the rest of that group dominate like they did against Wake Forest, it will be difficult to get any kind of rhythm going on offense or extend drives to keep the ball out of Trevor Lawrence’s hands. It might not be another 42-point win, but I feel pretty good about Clemson winning that position battle, Lawrence having 3-4 total touchdowns, and the Tigers winning by at least 30. Pick: Clemson (-28)