Predicting the entire 'SEC on CBS' schedule for the 2020 season
There’s no better college football in the nation than the brand that’s played in the Southeastern Conference, and there’s no more anticipated timeslot in the South than the “SEC on CBS” 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT each and every Saturday in the fall.
It’s a combination of the best football and the best presentation college football has to offer during the regular season — just listening to CBS’s theme song for the “SEC on CBS” game of the week is enough to get any SEC fan fired up for some football.
With the coming SEC season on the horizon, we thought now would be the best time to look ahead to the fall schedule in the SEC and project which games will be featured by the “SEC on CBS” series for the 2020 season.
Keep in mind, the first 2 weeks of the season typically do not feature “SEC on CBS” coverage, so we’ll jump forward to Week 3 of the season.
Week 3 — Saturday, Sept. 19
The pick: Georgia at Alabama
There’s not a more obvious selection to make when it comes to a game CBS has the option to select. No chance the network passes on Georgia at Alabama. The only question is: Will the network move this game to primetime as it did Notre Dame at Georgia during Week 4 of the 2019 season?
Week 4 — Saturday, Sept. 26
The pick: Florida at Tennessee
This series hasn’t been very competitive since Dan Mullen and Jeremy Pruitt took over their respective programs, but this game could be different if Tennessee proves to live up to the offseason hype. The Vols might have to win Week 2 at Oklahoma to guarantee CBS picks this matchup, but given the other options (Arkansas vs. Texas A&M, South Carolina at Kentucky and Ole Miss at LSU), this game looks the most attractive even if Tennessee already has a loss.
Week 5 — Saturday, Oct. 3
The pick: Alabama at Ole Miss
It’s possible there’s a more attractive matchup for CBS to select, but it’s hard to imagine the network passing on the first matchup featuring Nick Saban’s Alabama program taking on Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss program. Gary Danielson is likely going to remind us at a dozen times Kiffin previously coached for “Nick” as he likes to call Saban and that the Rebels managed to beat the Tide twice while Lane called the offensive plays in Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss could be 0-4 heading into this matchup (it won’t be, I’m just making a point) and CBS would still pick this game given the history between Saban and Kiffin.
Week 6 — Saturday, Oct. 10
The pick: LSU at Florida
Auburn at Georgia could be a tough game for CBS to pass on, but there’s no better cross-division annual rivalry than Florida-LSU at the moment. These programs have alternated wins during the previous 5 matchups, with LSU winning last season’s matchup 42-28 in Baton Rouge. This matchup looks to be a tone-setter for each program as the trip to The Swamp will be LSU’s first true road test of the season while the Gators have only 1 SEC home game the rest of the season following this game. If either team has hopes of advancing to Atlanta, they have to win this matchup.
Week 7 — Saturday, Oct. 17
The pick: Texas A&M at Auburn
Mississippi State travels to Alabama, and Georgia to Missouri (the Tigers seem to give the Bulldogs as much trouble as any SEC East opponent in recent seasons), but I’m going with the matchup of what could be an undefeated Texas A&M team facing its first major challenge with a trip to The Plains. Jimbo Fisher is 0-2 against Auburn and this trip may be the only roadblock between Texas A&M and a 10-0 start to the season.
Week 8 — Saturday, Oct. 24
The pick: Alabama at Tennessee
The “Third Saturday in October” is actually the 4th this season. Technicalities aside, the annual battle is beginning to feel a bit more like a rivalry now that Jeremy Pruitt is running the program on Rocky Top. If not for several questionable calls and Jarrett Guarantano playing YOLO ball at the goal line last season in Tuscaloosa, Tennessee might have entered this season looking to beat the Tide in consecutive seasons. Instead, the Vols will attempt to break Alabama’s 13-game game winning streak in the series in Neyland Stadium this fall. This matchup will also feature Saban facing a former assistant for the 3rd time in 6 weeks.
Week 9 — Saturday, Oct. 31
The pick: Florida vs Georgia
One of the few guaranteed picks on this list, CBS annually selects this game during the preseason and will likely do so again once the TV schedule is cleared for 2020. There’s simply no way the network passes on the game of the year in the SEC East.
Week 10 — Saturday, Nov. 7
The pick: Alabama at LSU
LSU finally found a way to defeat Alabama and now the Tigers will enter a season looking to repeat that achievement for the first time since 2011. This matchup could very well decide the SEC West. Even if this game doesn’t hold that significance come early November, it’s still going to be the game CBS selects.
Week 11 — Saturday, Nov. 14
The pick: Tennessee at Georgia
This season is the first featuring this annual series so late on the calendar (the SEC bumped up the Auburn-Georgia matchup to Oct. 10) and it will be interesting to see if that shift affects the rivalry. The Bulldogs still have a major talent advantage, but Pruitt’s teams have been relatively competitive against Georgia. Kirby Smart’s teams have owned Tennessee in recent seasons, the all-time history (UGA leads Tennessee 24-23-2) suggests that might not continue much longer.
Week 12 — Saturday, Nov. 21
The picks: Texas A&M at Alabama & Georgia at Kentucky
CBS is allowed to select 2 SEC games late in the season, so I’ll be making 2 selections for this week as well as Week 13.
If Texas A&M finds a way to beat Auburn on the road, there’s a good chance the Aggies will be undefeated entering Week 12. If that happens, no chance will CBS pass up a Texas A&M-Alabama matchup that could decide the SEC West. This matchup looks to be the most competitive between the programs since Jimbo Fisher arrived in College Station.
In the SEC’s other division, don’t be stunned if Georgia travels to Lexington eyeing another East division title with, perhaps, the Dawgs’ competition being on the other side of the field. I was mocked in 2018 for picking Kentucky to finish in front of Florida. I’m not saying that’s going to happen in 2020, but I believe this team has a chance to be better than Mark Stoops’ best Kentucky squad from 2 years ago. The Wildcats making another run at an East title shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who has been paying attention to what Stoops has built in Lexington.
Week 13 — Friday, Nov. 27
The pick: Arkansas vs Mizzou
For several years, the SEC has moved this matchup to Friday and allowed CBS to broadcast the game. It has not been officially announced that the move will occur again, but with this game slated to be held in Arrowhead Stadium, it should be the best atmosphere this matchup has seen in several years.
Week 13 — Saturday, Nov. 28
The pick: LSU at Texas A&M
This is the boldest prediction on this list, but I’m skipping the Iron Bowl in favor of the rivalry matchup between LSU and Texas A&M. If the SEC West hasn’t been decided by now, this is the game that’s going to decide it, not the Iron Bowl. Many are predicting the Tigers to take a massive step back, but I don’t anticipate that happening in Baton Rouge. If LSU and Texas A&M are as good as I think, this is the best game of the weekend in the SEC and CBS would be making a wise decision to overlook the Iron Bowl for this matchup.