Buckle your seatbelts because the SEC season is finally here out West.

Saturday night’s throwdown in the Bayou featuring Mississippi State and LSU is one of college football’s best games this week along with Florida’s trip to Tuscaloosa, matchups Christopher Smith and I will try and tackle as part of our weekly predictions. Heading into the fourth weekend, we’re knotted up against the spread and straight up after both missing South Carolina’s win over Georgia last week.

Week 3 Results

  • Brad Crawford — 4-7 (against the spread); 9-2 (straight up)
  • Christopher Smith — 5-6 (ATS); 9-2 (straight up)

Season totals

  • Brad (@BCrawfordSDS) — 11-12 (against the spread); 21-2 (straight up)
  • Christopher (@csmithSDS) — 11-12 (ATS); 21-2 (straight up)

Readers can make their Week 4 picks here.

RELATED: The SEC West is the nastiest division in college football history

We’ll start with the last remaining SEC Thursday game this season …

Auburn (-9) at Kansas State

Christopher: Gus Malzahn and Auburn have covered the spread in 13 consecutive games. SEC teams are 17-10 against the spread against non-conference teams this season. The Tigers offense is one of the most consistent, unstoppable groups in the country. According to CBS, 58 of Kansas State’s players are current or former walk-ons. I made this line Auburn -8.5 before Sunday, so I don’t see any value in it as a gambler. But since I have to pick every game, I’ll take Auburn 37, Kansas State 27.

Brad: I don’t know what to make of the Tigers other than the common belief they’re a favorite in the West based on last season’s results and the return of a high-powered offense led by Nick Marshall at quarterback, a veteran-heavy run game and weapons on the outside. They’ve looked good early, but so has the rest of the division. We’ll know more, specifically on defense, after this one’s over. Will Auburn feel the effects of a two-week layoff during its toughest game to date? I doubt it. Auburn 44, Kansas State 20.

Mississippi State at LSU (-10)

Brad: Is Dak Prescott ready for the big stage? We’ll find out Saturday night in Death Valley, perhaps the toughest environment for a visiting team in college football. I can see the Bulldogs snapping a 14-game losing skid to the Tigers under one condition — Mississippi State shuts down LSU’s running game. That’s not going to happen, but the Tigers will sweat a bit. LSU 24, Mississippi St. 20.

Christopher: Mississippi State has performed like a Top 15 team other than a handful of missed coverages. The Bulldogs can’t do that against LSU receiver Travin Dural, but MSU has a definite advantage at quarterback with Dak Prescott. LSU’s interior defensive line is unsettled and young, and I expect Mississippi State to be able to run a little bit. Plus, MSU’s front seven matches up pretty well against the Tigers. I’m not ready to call an upset, but this game should be close. LSU 24, Mississippi State 20.

Florida at Alabama (-14.5)

Christopher: The days of Alabama needing 17 to 21 points to win every game are over. Luckily for Tide fans, this may be the most talented group of offensive players assembled in Tuscaloosa under coach Nick Saban. Though Bama won’t shut out Florida, the Gators don’t present the same threat as Auburn or Texas A&M. But can quarterback Blake Sims avoid sabotaging the talent around him against what still should be one of the country’s better defenses? Alabama 28, Florida 14.

Brad: My preseason SEC East champion pick didn’t look too hot last time out but managed to hold on for a triple-overtime win over Kentucky. The biggest issue to me was Florida’s secondary, a unit we all assumed would be one of the league’s best anchored by All-American corner Vernon Hargreaves. The Gators picked off three passes against the Wildcats but gave up two lengthy touchdowns on broken coverages, an element that needs to be fixed prior to facing Amari Cooper and Co. If Jeff Driskel can test Alabama’s back four and Florida flexes a consistent run game, there’s a chance the SEC East could regain temporary bragging rights. But I’m not picking the upset. Alabama 27, Florida 14.

Troy at Georgia (-40.5)

Brad: Are we finished asking Mike Bobo about his first-and-goal playcall at South Carolina? Let the man live. The Bulldogs simply didn’t execute inside the red zone and missed a nearly automatic 28-yarder to tie the football game. Luckily for Georgia fans, there won’t be any edge-of-your-seat moments on Saturday and Todd Gurley should be seated firmly on the bench by the start of the third quarter. Keith Marshall will have his best game of the season, just a hunch. Georgia 44, Troy 7.

Christopher: My, Larry Blakeney, how far you’ve fallen. Troy won at least eight games from 2006-10, playing in four bowl games. Now Troy is in contention as the worst team in college football in 2014. After losing to Abilene Christian last weekend, it’s tough to guarantee any wins for the Trojans (0-3) this season. Georgia, though, has gone over the total in both its games. The Bulldogs have an efficient offense, but questions remain about the defense. I’d never back a team with my real money for 40.5 points, and I won’t here either. Georgia 49, Troy 17.

Texas A&M (-33) at SMU

Brad: Texas A&M’s defense gets a temporary break against literally one of — if not — the nation’s worst offenses. Kenny Hill has another interception-less performance as the Aggies roll to 4-0 in prep for Arkansas. Texas A&M 52, SMU 7.

Christopher: The Mustangs offense ranks last in the FBS, and it’s not even close. And that was before offensive guru June Jones resigned. A&M’s defense will be ornery after giving up 481 yards to Rice last week, and Myles Garrett could conceivably tie Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC freshman sack record in just four games. Expect the nation’s No. 2 offense in terms of scoring efficiency to get more opportunities than it did a week ago, when it possessed the ball for just 16:47. Kyle Allen will get a more extended look in garbage time of this one. Texas A&M 49, Southern Methodist 7.

Indiana at Missouri (-13.5)

Christopher: Missouri’s defense has leveraged the best pair of defensive ends in college football and a knack for creating turnovers. Is that smoke-and-mirrors, or is that enough to overcome a relatively weak back seven? We won’t have answers until later in the season when the Tigers face Texas A&M, South Carolina and Georgia. But Indiana is a poor man’s Missouri, with a prolific offense and a horrendous defense. The Hoosiers scored 28 points against Gary Pinkel’s team in 2013 and could approach that total again. Missouri will win, but by how much? Missouri 38, Indiana 24.

Brad: The Tigers’ non-conference slate ends with another Maty Mauk-led convincing victory. No need to break down the Xs and Os in this one because Mizzou is flat out the better team — in my opinion — in all three phases. The key is to keep everyone healthy before next weekend’s showdown at South Carolina, a game that could decide the Eastern Division. Mizzou 44, Indiana 24.

Northern Illinois at Arkansas (-14)

Brad: Does Jordan Lynch still play for the Huskies? Coming off the biggest win in the Bret Bielema era at Texas Tech, some have called this a ‘trap game’ for the Razorbacks before next week’s battle with Texas A&M. I disagree. Arkansas could give a sub-par defensive effort and still thrash an unbeaten Northern Illinois team with its torrential run game. The Huskies have an impressive win at Northwestern, but heading into the SEC West presents a much more challenging scenario. Arkansas 38, Northern Illinois 17.

Christopher: Quick, name one player for Northern Illinois. You can’t do it, can you? I’ll give you two. Drew Hare is the replacement for Jordan Lynch, and averages 5.2 yards per carry at quarterback. And Da’Ron Brown is a senior receiver with 19 catches and four touchdowns in three games. NIU is ranked higher than Texas Tech in FEI, a Football Outsiders metric, and the Sagarin Ratings. Remember, this is an Arkansas team that didn’t win an SEC game last season and an NIU team that was sniffing BCS bowls the last two years. Arkansas 31, Northern Illinois 21.

South Carolina (-21.5) at Vanderbilt

Christopher: Vandy is 0-3 against the spread, losing by an average of 23.5 points per game. I made this line 21.5 before it came out Sunday, and I don’t think there’s much value here, but if I have to choose, I’m going with South Carolina. It sounds like Derek Mason finally has settled on a quarterback in Patton Robinette. Vandy’s best offensive player, running back Jerron Seymour, missed the first two games of the season and carried five times against UMass. So the Commodores offense may get some stability. But Derek Mason is in over his head. South Carolina 34, Vanderbilt 10.

Brad: South Carolina’s defense needs a ‘sleepwalk’ game defensively and this is one of the last shots it’ll get against a struggling Vanderbilt offense. Derek Mason has labeled Patton Robinette as the starter, but the Gamecocks will see a steady dose of Ralph Webb if the Commodores intend on keeping this one competitive. Most years, this matchup’s appeared one-sided but Vanderbilt’s kept it close (and even won twice). Not so much this fall. South Carolina 31, Vanderbilt 13.