Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

College football: Week 4

Monday, September 19th, 2022

At the end, most of the 74,133 in attendance at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium could finally exhale. Arkansas had overcome a 17-point deficit to subdue Bobby Petrino’s Missouri State Bears, 38-27.

No. 10 Arkansas lost two fumbles in the first half that the Bears turned into points. The Razorbacks led 597-409 in total offense, but Missouri State won the turnover battle 3-0. That allowed the Bears to keep the game close. Missouri State also dominated time of possession, 35:51 to 24:09.

So what are we to make of this?

Sam Pittman is now 7-0 in nonconference games, the first Razorback coach to do that since Lou Holtz. The mark of a good program is one that wins the games it’s supposed to win, even when having an off night.

Let’s also note that Petrino coached his 200th game as a college head coach and now has a record of 134-66. He’s pretty good at coaching this sport. Of course, we already knew that.

So don’t panic. Arkansas will be just fine.

We went 7-0 last week to bring the season record to 25-2.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Arkansas 31, Texas A&M 29 — Which Arkansas team will show up at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday night? Will it be the one that looked so organized and confident in wins over Cincinnati and South Carolina or will it be the bumblers who were on the field in Fayetteville last Saturday? The better question is probably which Texas A&M team will show up. Will it be the one that lost 17-14 to Appalachian State on Sept. 10 or the one that looked decent in a 17-9 win over Miami (which came in ranked 13th in the country). Max Johnson threw for 140 yards and a touchdown against Miami as he took over as Aggie quarterback.

Old Dominion 28, Arkansas State 24 — ASU fell to 1-2 with a 44-32 loss to the Memphis Tigers at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. It was the 61st meeting between the two schools. The Red Wolves took a 32-31 lead late in the game but couldn’t hold it. Memphis, which had 547 yards of offense and 25 first downs, led 21-17 at halftime in a game that was close throughout. ASU heads to Virginia this week to battle an Old Dominion squad that shocked Virginia Tech, 20-17, in the season opener. Old Dominion has since lost 39-21 to East Carolina and 16-14 to Virginia. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team.

Southeast Missouri State 23, UCA 21 — UCA is 1-2 following a 31-16 victory over Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho. Bear quarterback Will McElvain was 24 of 29 passing for 259 yards and one touchdown. UCA is back on the road this week to face a 2-1 Southeast Missouri team. SEMO started the season with a 42-10 loss to Iowa State but has bounced back for victories of 34-31 over Southern Illinois and 42-16 over Nicholls. Once more, we give a small advantage to the home team.

Alcorn State 20, UAPB 17 — The Golden Lions dropped to 2-1 following a 63-7 thrashing at the hands of Oklahoma State. Let’s just hope the big check cleared. UAPB had only 230 yards of offense in that game. The Lions travel to Mississippi this week to play Alcorn State. Alcorn began the season with losses of 31-27 to Stephen F. Austin and 52-0 to Tulane but bounced back Saturday for a 30-19 win at McNeese State. For a third consecutive game, let’s give the advantage to the home team.

Ouachita 35, Harding 30 — It’s rare when two Arkansas teams are in the Top 10. On Saturday night at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia, No. 7 Harding will visit No. 9 Ouachita. It’s safe to say that this is one of the biggest small college games ever played in Arkansas. Between them, Ouachita and Harding have won seven of the 10 Great American Conference titles. Ouachita has won five. Harding has won two, including last year. Ouachita roared to a 49-7 halftime lead Saturday in Russellville and wound up beating Arkansas Tech by a final score of 63-14. The Tigers had 629 yards of offense. Ouachita is now 46-4 in its past 50 regular-season games. Two of those four losses have come to Harding. The Bisons led Southern Arkansas only 17-10 at the half but pulled away for a 37-17 victory over the weekend as Will Fitzhugh rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Yet again, the advantage goes to the home team.

Henderson 41, Southern Arkansas 27 — We’ll finally pick a road team. The visiting Reddies will have too much firepower for 1-2 Southern Arkansas in Magnolia on Saturday night. Henderson is 3-0 following a 37-27 victory over UAM. Coach Scott Maxfield earned his 120th victory at Henderson to become the winningest coach in school history.

UAM 43, Arkansas Tech 33 — It’s the 2-1 Boll Weevils vs. the 1-2 Wonder Boys. Not only are the Weevils at home, UAM also appears to have the most talent.

Post to Twitter

Rex’s rankings: After four weeks

Monday, September 19th, 2022

There was a truncated schedule in high school football last week. A lot of teams had an open date. A number of others took on out-of-state competition.

The biggest upset saw North Little Rock finally come to life after a slow start and knock off Little Rock Parkview, which came into the game as our No. 1 team in Class 5A.

The big game of the week was at War Memorial Stadium, where Little Rock Catholic proved it is indeed for real with a 38-14 victory over Benton.

Things will get much busier this week as most teams have conference games.

Here are our updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Pulaski Academy
  4. Bentonville
  5. Fayetteville
  6. Lake Hamilton
  7. Greenwood
  8. Little Rock Catholic
  9. Joe T. Robinson
  10. Arkadelphia

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Bentonville
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Cabot

CLASS 6A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Lake Hamilton
  3. Greenwood
  4. Little Rock Catholic
  5. Little Rock Christian

CLASS 5A

  1. Joe T. Robinson
  2. Shiloh Christian
  3. Farmington
  4. Little Rock Mills
  5. Little Rock Parkview

CLASS 4A

  1. Arkadelphia
  2. Ashdown
  3. Warren
  4. Harding Academy
  5. Star City

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. Rison
  3. Gurdon
  4. Charleston
  5. Booneville

CLASS 2A

  1. Hazen
  2. Marked Tree
  3. Carlisle
  4. Bigelow
  5. Mount Ida

 

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 3

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Isn’t it nice, Razorback fans, to be able to speak these words: “The University of Arkansas is in the AP Top 10.”

It might not last, but it feels good for now. The Razorbacks’ 44-30 victory over South Carolina was another display of Sam Pittman football as Arkansas’ offensive line dominated. That led to 295 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns. Raheim Sanders had a career-high 156 yards with two touchdowns.

On defense, meanwhile, the Razorbacks had three takeaways, six sacks and nine tackles for loss.

For the first time since 2003-04, Arkansas has won back-to-back Southeastern Conference openers. Arkansas now leads the series with South Carolina 14-10.

Arkansas led in time of possession 34:37 to 25:23.

Now, Bobby Petrino returns to Fayetteville with his Missouri State Bears.

We were 8-2 on the picks last week, making the record 18-2 for the season. Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Arkansas 43, Missouri State 27 — In an appearance before the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, Paul Finebaum called Petrino a “reformed man” and warned Arkansas not to take this game for granted. Pittman won’t let that happen against an FCS foe. The Bears are off to a 2-0 start with victories of 27-14 over UCA and 35-30 over Tennessee-Martin. The Arkansas players are too young to remember much about the Petrino era in Fayetteville, but most of the fans aren’t. It will be louder than usual for a nonconference game in Fayetteville on Saturday night.

Memphis 31, Arkansas State 29 — ASU is 1-1 following the expected whipping at the hands of Ohio State. The Buckeyes rolled to a 45-12 victory as C.J. Stroud had 351 yards of offense. He completed 16 of his 24 passes and had four touchdowns. Memphis is 1-1. The Tigers fell 49-23 to Mississippi State in their opener and then came back Saturday with a 37-13 victory over Navy. We’ll give Memphis the slight edge in this one since the Tigers are home at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.

UCA 24, Idaho State 23 — The Bears must make the long trip to Pocatello, Idaho, to take on an 0-2 Idaho State team that has lost 52-21 to UNLV and 38-7 to San Diego State. UCA is also 0-2. Its loss to Missouri State was followed by a 59-3 whipping at Ole Miss. Both of the Rebel quarterbacks had success against the Bears in a game that the Rebels led 31-0 at halftime. This is a tough one to call as it’s looking like both UCA and Idaho State will have down years.

Oklahoma State 59, UAPB 7 — A Golden Lion football team is 2-0 in the fall for the first time since 2000. UAPB picked on a tiny NAIA independent from Texas called North American last Saturday night and won 76-3. It was the fifth most lopsided victory since the school began football in 1916. Now, as is the case with most FCS schools, UAPB must play a Power 5 team in order to collect the check. It will be ugly. Let’s just hope the Golden Lions don’t get any key players hurt before SWAC play begins.

Harding 30, Southern Arkansas 22 — The defending Great American Conference champions from Harding moved to 2-0 following a 38-13 victory over 1-1 Southeastern Oklahoma, which was the only school to down the Bisons last year in the regular season when Harding went 10-1. The 2-0 Bisons host Southern Arkansas, which fell to 1-1 with a 24-20 loss at 1-1 Southwestern Oklahoma. Southwestern outscored the Muleriders 10-0 in the fourth quarter of that game. Harding is now up to No. 7 in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll.

Ouachita 34, Arkansas Tech 25 — Ouachita moves up to No. 10 in the AFCA poll following its 45-0 shutout of 0-2 Southern Nazarene. The 2-0 Tigers, who have won five of the 10 GAC titles since the league was formed, are 45-4 in their past 49 regular-season games. Tech should be 2-0 and is much improved from last season. The Wonder Boys lost their opener in double overtime to Southeastern Oklahoma and then bounced back for a 35-13 victory over 0-2 East Central Oklahoma. Quarterback Taye Gatewood threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in that victory. Ouachita saw senior tailback T.J. Cole rush for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Southern Nazarene.

Henderson 33, UAM 28 — The Reddies and Boll Weevils are both 2-0 coming into Saturday night’s game at Arkadelphia. Henderson made its longest road trip of the season and came home with a 51-27 victory over 0-2 Northwestern Oklahoma. Henderson head coach Scott Maxfield is now tied with the legendary Ralph “Sporty” Carpenter with 119 victories at Henderson. Carpenter was the head coach there from 1971-89. UAM was at home Saturday and posted a 40-17 victory over 0-2 Oklahoma Baptist as Jonero Scott rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

Post to Twitter

Rex’s rankings: After three weeks

Monday, September 12th, 2022

The first three weeks of the high school football season are in the books, and Bryant finally was tested.

Our No. 1 overall team won again, but Little Rock Parkview gave the Hornets all they could handle before falling 20-10 Friday night at War Memorial Stadium. Parkview remains No. 1 in Class 5A.

In another big game, Lake Hamilton defeated Little Rock Christian, 34-19, to move up from No. 3 to No. 2 in Class 6A. Little Rock Christian falls from No. 2 to No. 5 in the classification.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Cabot
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Lake Hamilton
  6. Bentonville
  7. Fayetteville
  8. Little Rock Parkview
  9. Wynne
  10. Arkadelphia

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Cabot
  4. Bentonville
  5. Fayetteville

CLASS 6A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Lake Hamilton
  3. Greenwood
  4. Little Rock Catholic
  5. Little Rock Christian

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Parkview
  2. Wynne
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Shiloh Christian
  5. Farmington

CLASS 4A

  1. Arkadelphia
  2. Ashdown
  3. Malvern
  4. Warren
  5. Harding Academy

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. Booneville
  3. Charleston
  4. Rison
  5. Gurdon

CLASS 2A

  1. Hazen
  2. Mount Ida
  3. Bigelow
  4. Marked Tree
  5. Carlisle

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 2

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

That was vintage Sam Pittman football at the end.

After Cincinnati made it a one-possession game in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon, the Razorback offense kept the ball on the ground and ran the final 5:49 off the clock.

Run it down their throats. Out-physical them, as coaches like to say.

And thus for the first time since 1974, a ranked Arkansas team has defeated a ranked opponent in a season-opening game. In 1974, it was No. 5 USC that lost at War Memorial Stadium.

The final statistics were close. Arkansas outgained Cincinnati 447-436. Both teams had 23 first downs.

You had to know it was going to be a tough test. Cincinnati is 22-3 since 2020. The three losses have come against Southeastern Conference teams.

Bumper Poole led the Arkansas defense with 13 tackles. He’s now eighth in school history with 362 tackles, and that number should soar in the weeks ahead.

Now, the SEC season starts for Arkansas.

We were 10-0 on the picks opening week. We’ll try to be perfect again this week, though the schedule is more challenging.

Arkansas’ six Great American Conference teams went 5-1 against Oklahoma foes. Arkansas Tech was the lone loser, but it took double overtime for Southeastern Oklahoma to overcome the Wonder Boys.

Arkansas State and UAPB took care of business at home with the Red Wolves easily defeating Grambling (at least the visitors brought their world-class band to Jonesboro) and the Golden Lions overcoming Lane College.

As expected, Bobby Petrino’s nationally ranked Missouri State Bears were too much for the UCA Bears to handle in Conway.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 2:

Arkansas 28, South Carolina 20 — The SEC flexed its muscles opening week, going 13-1 against nonconference foes. If LSU knew how to block for field goals and extra points, it might have been 14-0. South Carolina didn’t have nearly the challenge that Arkansas overcame. The Gamecocks rolled 35-14 against an outmanned Georgia State squad. Arkansas should win this game at home, but in the SEC it’s foolish to take anyone for granted. Pittman doesn’t strike us as the kind of coach who will allow a team to take a win for granted. Expect South Carolina to stay close.

Ohio State 47, Arkansas State 19 — The Red Wolves had jumped out to a 30-0 lead by the second quarter against Grambling. Quarterback James Blackman finished 15 of 20 passing for 210 yards with two passing scores and two rushing scores. Blackman led touchdown drives on four of the first five series. Anyone who saw Ohio State’s victory over Notre Dame knows what to expect in Columbus this Saturday. The key for the Red Wolves is to avoid injuries and make sure to collect that big check. A close game isn’t in the cards.

Ole Miss 41, UCA 17 — The Bears must have the same goals as the Red Wolves: Avoid injuries and make sure to collect the check. After a scoreless first quarter last Thursday night in Conway, Missouri State outscored UCA 17-0 in the second quarter. The UCA secondary gave up 266 yards through the air. It might be 400 yards this week. Ole Miss had a decent first half in a 28-10 season-opening victory over Troy. Our advice to UCA fans: Get there early, crash a party or two in the Grove, take in the scene (which is truly like none other) and have fun.

UAPB 29, North American 22 — The Golden Lions opened the season against much smaller Lane and still struggled before escaping with a 48-41 victory. UAPB had defeated Lane 34-16 last year to start the season. Sophomore running back Kayvon Britten had 237 rushing yards and 297 total yards. He’s now second on the school’s all-time list for single-game yardage. North American is a tiny NAIA program from the Houston area that we’ve frankly never heard of. UAPB, unfortunately, has a way of keeping what should be blowout victories close, as evidenced by last week’s win.

Ouachita 49, Southern Nazarene 25 — The Tigers must find a way to rally following the unexpected death Sunday of senior defensive end Clark Yarbrough. Fortunately, they’re hosting one of the conference’s least talented teams. Southern Nazarene finished 1-10 in 2021. In the rain last Thursday at Shawnee, Ouachita overcame a slow first half to defeat Oklahoma Baptist, 42-32. The game really wasn’t that close as Ouachita had a 30-point lead before putting in the substitutes. The Tiger offense again this year will feature the one-two punch of tailbacks T.J. Cole and Kendel Givens. Cole rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Givens rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Ouachita had 406 rushing yards. Continue to pray for Yarbrough’s mother, other family members, teammates and friends.

Henderson 35, Northwestern Oklahoma 21 — The Reddies got off to a 1-0 start with a 30-13 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma. Sophomore quarterback Landon Ledbetter accounted for 319 yards — 179 passing and 140 rushing. It will be the longest road trip of the season for Henderson, but Northwestern is among the conference’s weakest squads. Southern Arkansas hung 62 points on the Rangers last week en route to a 62-31 victory. Look for Ledbetter to pile up even larger numbers this week. Northwestern finished 2-9 a year ago.

Harding 18, Southeastern Oklahoma 16 — Harding is the defending GAC champion, and the Bisons were picked by the conference’s coaches to repeat that feat. Last year, Southeastern was the only team to defeat both Harding and Ouachita. Harding finished the regular season 10-1. Ouachita finished 9-2. Southeastern again appears to be the best of the six Oklahoma schools in the GAC and could win this game in Searcy. Harding opened the season with a 29-12 victory over East Central Oklahoma as Cole Keylon completed three touchdown passes. We’ll go with Harding in a tight one, but don’t be surprised if Southeastern has Harding’s number for a second consecutive season.

Oklahoma Baptist 36, UAM 31 — Oklahoma Baptist has a freshman quarterback out of Moore, Okla., who piled up huge numbers as a prep athlete and looked good at times against Ouachita. Meanwhile, UAM won its opener by a final score of 49-26 against Southern Nazarene as quarterback Demilion Brown rushed for 149 yards and passed for 228 yards. Brown must have an even bigger night for UAM to defeat an Oklahoma Baptist squad that’s filled with young talent.

Arkansas Tech 27, East Central Oklahoma 24 — The Wonder Boys showed improvement in that 41-34 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma in two overtimes. It has been a long dry streak for the conference’s largest school based on enrollment. Tech was 4-7 in 2021. We think Tech is going to be much improved this year, and East Central may find that out the hard way Saturday night in Russellville.

Southern Arkansas 40, Southwestern Oklahoma 32 — The Muleriders have a new coach and seemingly new life after going 4-7 last season. The 62 points scored in that victory over Northwestern Oklahoma were the most points ever posted by a Mulerider team in a season opener. This week’s opponent went 0-11 a year ago. The Muleriders should be able to overcome the long trip to Weatherford and move to 2-0. A Sept. 17 showdown at Harding looms.

Post to Twitter

Rex’s rankings: After two weeks

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

The second week of the high school football season had a bit of everything.

No. 1 Bryant was scheduled to play a Texas powerhouse at Shreveport, but thunderstorms forced the game to be called off.

Meanwhile, Conway faced Bentonville. The teams were No. 2 and No. 3 respectively coming into the game. Conway won, 44-35. The Wampus Cats stay at No. 2 overall, and Bentonville falls to No. 6.

Two ranked teams won on touchdown passes on the final play of the game.

Greenwood, ranked No. 4 in Class 6A, beat Fort Smith Northside by a final score of 56-53.

Arkadelphia, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, beat Hot Springs by a final score of 29-28 after also having a successful two-point attempt following the touchdown.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Cabot
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Little Rock Christian
  6. Bentonville
  7. Lake Hamilton
  8. Little Rock Parkview
  9. Wynne
  10. Arkadelphia

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Cabot
  4. Bentonville
  5. Fayetteville

CLASS 6A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Greenwood
  5. Little Rock Catholic

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Parkview
  2. Wynne
  3. Farmington
  4. Harrison
  5. Joe T. Robinson

CLASS 4A

  1. Arkadelphia
  2. Ashdown
  3. Malvern
  4. Warren
  5. Harding Academy

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. Booneville
  3. Charleston
  4. Rison
  5. Gurdon

CLASS 2A

  1. Hazen
  2. Mount Ida
  3. Bigelow
  4. Marked Tree
  5. Carlisle

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 1

Monday, August 29th, 2022

Finally, college football season has arrived.

And it won’t be the usual boring nonconference opponent for the Razorbacks. No, ESPN will telecast a battle of two ranked teams in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon. It could prove to be quite a test for the Hogs.

On Thursday night, meanwhile, former Hog head man Bobby Petrino brings his Missouri State Bears to Conway to take on the University of Central Arkansas Bears.

Arkansas State and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff are both home on Saturday. ASU hosts Grambling in Jonesboro, and UAPB hosts tiny Lane College in Pine Bluff.

All of the Great American Conference schools start the season Thursday night. The six Arkansas schools play the six Oklahoma schools. Remember, all games are conference games, and there are no bye weeks, just a grueling 11 consecutive weeks of conference play.

Four of the six Arkansas GAC schools are on the road. The two schools that are home are Henderson State University and Southern Arkansas University.

Let’s get to the picks:

Arkansas 31, Cincinnati 27 — Hopes are high on the hill as Arkansas comes off a 9-4 season. The No. 19 Razorbacks will have their hands full against No. 23 Cincinnati. There’s a deeper receiving corps this year for quarterback KJ Jefferson. That could make the difference if the Razorbacks get in a shootout Saturday afternoon. At the start of the season last year, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles was still trying to figure out how to best use Jefferson’s talents. Now, he knows.

Arkansas State 40, Grambling 24 — The 2021 season was a nightmare in Jonesboro as the Red Wolves went 2-10. Coach Butch Jones has shown he can recruit, though, so there should be improvement in 2022. Just how much improvement is anyone’s guess. Last year was the worst record in Jones’ career as a head coach. He was 85-54 as head coach at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Tennessee. The only Red Wolf victories in 2021 were over UCA and Louisiana-Monroe. Remember, this is an ASU program that played in a bowl game every year from 2011-19.

Missouri State 30, UCA 22 — UCA teams qualified for the playoffs in three of the past six seasons. Last year wasn’t one of them as the Bears slumped to a 5-6 record. Four of the six losses were by 10 points or less. The roster has been revamped. There are a ton of question marks as UCA begins play in the ASUN Conference. Quarterback Breylin Smith is among those who are gone. Petrino obviously would love to start the season with a victory in the state he once called home.

UAPB 32, Lane College 14 — The Golden Lions began a less-than-stellar 2021 season with a 34-16 victory over Lane. You should expect a similar margin this year. The Lions finished the 2021 season with a 2-9 record as the team was beset by injuries. The only other victory came against Grambling. UAPB returns six offensive and five defensive starters.

Harding 29, East Central Oklahoma 15 — Last season saw Harding win its second GAC title with an 11-2 record. The Bisons reached the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs and are picked by the GAC coaches to repeat as champions. Harding’s flexbone offense averaged 390.1 rushing yards per game last year, the highest average in Division II since 2014. But Harding must replace the conference’s all-time leading rusher, Cole Chancey.

Ouachita 33, Oklahoma Baptist 23 — Ouachita came into last season having won three consecutive GAC titles and five of the previous nine conference crowns. The Tigers return 10 offensive starters and six defensive starters off a 9-2 team. Ouachita has a combined regular-season record of 40-4 the previous four seasons. The coaches picked the Tigers second and Oklahoma Baptist fifth in the preseason poll. Ouachita will have a new quarterback in Riley Harms, a transfer from Kearney State in Nebraska.

UAM 43, Southern Nazarene 39 — The Boll Weevils went 5-6 in 2021. They return seven offensive and four defensive starters for head coach Hud Jackson, who is 39-71 in 10 seasons at the school. The preseason poll has the Boll Weevils seventh and Southern Nazarene last. UAM defeated Southern Nazarene by a final score of 30-23 in the opener a year ago. The key to the first game and the season will be the play of UAM quarterback Demilon Brown.

Southeastern Oklahoma 36, Arkansas Tech 19 — Southeastern was the only GAC team to defeat Harding last year and one of the two teams (along with Harding) to defeat Ouachita. Southeastern is picked third in the preseason poll; Tech is ninth. The Wonder Boys finished 4-7 last year after starting 0-4. Tech has an experienced team, however, with seven offensive and eight defensive starters returning. After being picked 11th in the 2021 poll, the Savage Storm went 9-3 and won the Live United Bowl against Emporia State.

Henderson 37, Southwestern Oklahoma 28 — The Reddies finished 9-2 last year and would have shared the conference title with Harding had they defeated Ouachita in the Battle of the Ravine. Ouachita kicked a 53-yard field goal late for a 31-28 victory. Henderson returns six offensive and nine defensive starters. Quarterback Adam Morse and All-American wide receiver L’liot Curry are gone. Henderson is picked fourth and Southwestern is picked 11th in the preseason poll.

Southern Arkansas 25, Northwestern Oklahoma 16 — Brad Smiley will be SAU’s third head coach in three seasons. The Muleriders were 4-7 a year ago and lost starting quarterback Hayden Mallory. SAU still has Jariq Sales, the 2021 GAC Freshman of the Year, who rushed for 1,475 yards and nine touchdowns. SAU was eighth and Northwestern was 10th in the preseason poll.

 

Post to Twitter

Rex’s Rankings: After one week

Monday, August 29th, 2022

Week 1 of the high school football season is in the books.

What did we learn?

We learned that Bryant is going to be hard to beat yet again. The Salt Bowl victory of 38-17 over Benton really wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Let’s just call them the University of Bryant and watch the Buck James-coached machine roll on.

We learned that Pulaski Academy can likely still win state championships after moving up from Class 5A to Class 6A. PA took on Joe T. Robinson (winners of two of the past three Class 4A titles) and made it look easy in a 55-29 victory.

We learned that Little Rock Parkview is one of the most talented squads to come from the Little Rock School District in a long time. The Patriots beat Springdale Har-Ber 48-26 last Thursday at War Memorial Stadium.

We had Warren ranked first and Stuttgart ranked third in Class 4A going into the season. But Stuttgart escaped with a 31-28 victory over the Lumberjacks. That opened the door for Arkadelphia to move into the No. 1 spot. The Badgers posted a 41-21 road victory against Camden Fairview, a touted Class 5A squad.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Bentonville
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Little Rock Christian
  6. Cabot
  7. Little Rock Parkview
  8. Wynne
  9. Lake Hamilton
  10. Arkadelphia

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Bentonville
  4. Cabot
  5. Fayetteville

CLASS 6A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. El Dorado
  5. Greenwood

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Parkview
  2. Wynne
  3. Shiloh Christian
  4. Farmington
  5. Harrison

CLASS 4A

  1. Arkadelphia
  2. Stuttgart
  3. Ashdown
  4. Malvern
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. Glen Rose
  3. Booneville
  4. Charleston
  5. Rison

CLASS 2A

  1. Des Arc
  2. Hazen
  3. Mount Ida
  4. Bigelow
  5. Marked Tree

Post to Twitter

Rex’s rankings: The preseason

Monday, August 22nd, 2022

Another high school football season is upon us.

War Memorial Stadium hosts four games in five nights — Bismarck vs. Prescott on Tuesday, Springdale Har-Ber vs. Little Rock Parkview on Thursday, North Little Rock vs. Little Rock Catholic on Friday and Benton vs. Bryant on Saturday.

Classification changes add intrigue to the 2022 season.

Pulaski Academy moves up to Class 6A but should still contend for a state title.

Little Rock Parkview moves down to Class 5A, while Joe T. Robinson and Shiloh Christian move up. We have them all in our Top 5 in 5A.

Harding Academy moves up to Class 4A but should still be a factor.

Here are the preseason rankings. We’ll update them on a weekly basis.

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Bentonville
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Greenwood
  6. North Little Rock
  7. Fayetteville
  8. Little Rock Parkview
  9. Joe T. Robinson
  10. Warren

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Bentonville
  4. North Little Rock
  5. Fayetteville

CLASS 6A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Greenwood
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Lake Hamilton
  5. Benton

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Parkview
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Wynne
  4. Shiloh Christian
  5. Farmington

CLASS 4A

  1. Warren
  2. Arkadelphia
  3. Stuttgart
  4. Ashdown
  5. Malvern

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. Glen Rose
  3. Booneville
  4. Charleston
  5. Rison

CLASS 2A

  1. Des Arc
  2. Hazen
  3. Hector
  4. Mount Ida
  5. Bigelow

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 13

Monday, November 22nd, 2021

Isn’t it nice to be competitive again in the really big games?

Alabama’s 42-35 victory over Arkansas on Saturday had everything you could ask for in a college football game. The CBS crew seemed thrilled to finally be calling a game in Tuscaloosa that wasn’t a blowout.

How far has this Arkansas program come in a short time?

Consider this: In the previous four games between these two schools, Alabama won by a total of 156 points. It was 52-3 last year.

KJ Jefferson threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns.

Treylon Burks had 179 receiving yards and two scores. That puts Burks at No. 9 on the Arkansas single-game list.

Unfortunately for Arkansas, Alabama’s Bryce Young passed for a school record 559 yards and five touchdowns. The previous best by an Alabama quarterback had been Scott Hunter’s 484 yards against Auburn in 1969.

The most yards allowed by an Arkansas defense were 508 by Dak Prescott for Mississippi State in 2015.

Alabama has now won 15 consecutive games against Arkansas. The Tide reached 10 victories in a season for a 14th consecutive year.

Nick Saban is 18-2 against Arkansas. His last loss to a Razorback team was the 2002 Miracle on Markham when Saban was head coach at LSU.

How impressive was the fact that Arkansas stayed in this game until the very end?

Consider these facts:

— Alabama has a 70-17 record against nationally ranked teams since 2008.

— Saban is 266-66-1 in 26 seasons as a head coach. He’s 96-8 in home games at Alabama. Alabama is 61-2 in its past 63 games in Tuscaloosa.

Truly, it’s a new day in Fayetteville.

I was 4-1 on the picks last week to make the record 73-20 for the 2021 season.

Here are this week’s games:

Arkansas 31, Missouri 23 — Missouri beat Florida in overtime last Saturday, and just like that, Dan Mullen is gone. The Tigers elected to go for two after scoring in overtime and converted for the win, 24-23. Missouri comes into Friday’s game at Fayetteville 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference. This is a game the Razorbacks should win. Any realistic Arkansas fan would have taken an 8-4 record in a heartbeat coming into this 2021 season.

Arkansas State 22, Texas State 20 — A long season will come to an end in Jonesboro on Saturday afternoon. The Red Wolves fell to 2-9 overall and 1-6 in Sun Belt Conference play with a 28-20 loss in Atlanta last Saturday to Georgia State. ASU finished with 270 yards of total offense but had a negative three rushing yards. Georgia State rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns. This is a winnable game for the Red Wolves as Texas State limps in with a 3-8 record. The wins were by scores of 23-17 over Florida International, 33-31 over South Alabama and 27-19 over Louisiana-Monroe. The losses have been by scores of 29-20 to Baylor, 42-24 to Incarnate Word, 59-21 to Eastern Michigan, 31-28 to Troy, 28-16 to Georgia State, 45-0 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-30 to Georgia Southern and 35-21 to Coastal Carolina. In a battle of two struggling teams, let’s give a slight advantage to the home team.

Harding 24, Northwest Missouri 19 — It seems as if Northwest Missouri is the team that always knocks Harding out of the NCAA Division II playoffs. This might be the year that changes. Harding improved to 11-1 Saturday in Searcy with a first-round playoff victory over Washburn. It wasn’t as close as the 30-14 final score indicated. Harding dominated. The Bisons outgained Washburn 409-38 over the first three quarters. Harding kept the ball for 47:24 of the 60 minutes and had 29 first downs to just seven for Washburn. The Bisons had 419 rushing yards; Washburn had minus two. The Bisons led 20-7 at the half and 27-7 after three quarters. Cole Chancey carried the ball 41 times on the beautiful November afternoon for 176 yards. Northwest Missouri is 10-1 with its one loss coming to none other than Washburn, 17-16. Since then, the Bearcats haven’t had a close game. They’ve defeated Northeastern Oklahoma 59-7, Nebraska-Kearney 66-13, Missouri Southern 49-7, Emporia State 35-7 and Central Washington 50-21.

Post to Twitter