The biggest week of the 2020 college football season to date has arrived Saturday with four top 25 matchups set, including two each between SEC opponents and ACC opponents. Three of the top four teams in the nation will be in those ranked matchups, which means we could see some major rankings shifts by the end of the day.
No. 3 Georgia hosts No. 14 Tennessee in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week as two of Nick Saban’s former assistants go head-to-head looking for an advantage in the SEC East. In the nightcap, Saban will lead No. 2 Alabama against another former assistant as Ole Miss and coach Lane Kiffin come to town. (Saban is 20-0 against his ex-assistants all-time, so best of luck to Coach Kiffin.) The key SEC matchup to open the day features No. 3 Florida travelling to No. 21 Texas A&M with both teams looking for a key win early in the season.
Nearby in the ACC, we have the second-most anticipated regular-season game of its conference-only campaign as No. 1 Clemson hosts No. 7 Miami. It will likely be the Tigers’ toughest test until they face Notre Dame later in the season, while the Hurricanes will be looking to make a statement after dominating their first three opponents to open the season. No. 8 North Carolina and No. 19 Virginia Tech will also square off earlier in a game that will go a long way to proving whether UNC is a true league title contender.
There’s plenty of action to be had on this stacked Saturday. Our experts at CBS Sports are here to help you navigate what game to play with expert picks both straight up and against the spread. Let’s take a look at five key games this weekend.
Odds via William Hill Sportsbook | All times Eastern
No. 22 Texas vs. Oklahoma (-2) — noon on FOX: Both teams are in a corner ready to come out swinging, and I’d bet that’s reflected in a high-scoring game. I think Sooners coach Lincoln Riley sprinkles in some aggressiveness we haven’t seen from his team so far. As improbable as losing back-to-back Big 12 games seemed at the time, dropping three in a row would be almost unheard of for Oklahoma. Pick: Oklahoma (-2) — Ben Kercheval
No. 4 Florida (-6.5) at No. 21 Texas A&M — noon on ESPN: Don’t overcomplicate this matchup. Both defenses still have a lot to prove, and so does Texas A&M’s offense. The Florida offense looks like a juggernaut, though, and for that reason the Gators are the pick to win this one by a touchdown or more. Pick: Florida (-6.5) — David Cobb
No. 14 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia (-12.5) — 3:30 p.m. on CBS: Georgia has crushed Tennessee in recent years, but this Vols team is the best one Jeremy Pruitt has had during his three seasons. Now, that doesn’t mean I think it’s good enough to beat Georgia, but it should hang within this number. Stetson Bennett looked solid last week, but he’s not a game-changer at the QB position. Meanwhile, Georgia’s defense was able to decimate a bad Auburn offensive line. This Tennessee offensive line is much stronger than the one they faced last week and will provide more resistance. Georgia wins, but Tennessee does enough to stick around and cover. Pick: Tennessee (+12.5) — Tom Fornelli
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No. 7 Miami (FL) at No. 1 Clemson (-14) — 7:30 p.m. on ABC: Clemson’s defense might not be mature enough (yet) to fulfill the full “Big Game Dabo” playbook of letting the defense lead the way, but he’s got the best backfield duo in the country to anchor what should be a patient rushing attack. In fact, it’s experience in big games on big stages like this that will ultimately be the difference, as Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne can lean on handfuls of different games and situations for mental advantages against a Miami team that is still on its way back to the top of college football. I expect Clemson to establish the run and lean on it to avoid mistakes and keep D’Eriq King off the field. Pick: Clemson (-14) — Chip Patterson
No. 2 Alabama (-23) at Ole Miss — 7:30 p.m. on ESPN: It seems like the consensus around the country is that Nick Saban will try to run it up on his former offensive coordinator because, let’s be honest, their relationship didn’t end on a high note. I don’t see that happening, though. In fact, I see the opposite. Don’t get me wrong … this is a dial-a-score game for the Crimson Tide. But there are three reasons why Ole Miss will cover: the coach, the players and the weather. Saban knows that Lane Kiffin is a brilliant offensive mind and that he has explosive players. He also knows that Hurricane Delta will present some major problems and make this a sloppy game. Translation: He’s going to want to get out of there as quickly and safely as possible. Pick: Ole Miss (+23) — Barrett Sallee