Archive for September, 2014

Rex’s Rankings: After four weeks

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Four weeks are in the books, and Fort Smith Northside continues to surprise us in high school football.

Going into last Friday, we had Fayetteville ranked No. 1 and Northside at No. 3.

The Grizzlies upset the Bulldogs, 27-24, in a game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds of play.

That vaulted 4-0 Conway into the top spot in the overall rankings. The Wampus Cats posted an impressive 45-10 victory over Siloam Springs last week.

Despite having one loss, I still think Greenwood is the class of Class 6A

And in Class 5A, Wynne and Pulaski Academy look to be on a collision course for the playoffs.

Here are the rankings as we head into Week 5:

Overall

1. Conway

2. Fort Smith Northside

3. Wynne

4. Fayetteville

5. North Little Rock

6. Pulaski Academy

7. Greenwood

8. Jonesboro

9. Fort Smith Southside

10. Camden Fairview

Class 7A

1. Conway

2. Fort Smith Northside

3. Fayetteville

4. North Little Rock

5. Fort Smith Southside

Class 6A

1. Greenwood

2. Jonesboro

3. Benton

4. El Dorado

5. Lake Hamilton

Class 5A

1. Wynne

2. Pulaski Academy

3. Camden Fairview

4. Sylvan Hills

5. Batesville

Class 4A

1. Nashville

2. Star City

3. Malvern

4. Dollarway

5. Warren

Class 3A

1. Charleston

2. Lamar

3. Prescott

4. Smackover

5. Booneville

Class 2A

1. Junction City

2. Bearden

3. East Poinsett County

4. Hazen

5. Rison

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College football: Week 5

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Razorback fans are feeling good again.

At least the program matters, something you couldn’t say the past two years.

In fact, it matters enough that the main CBS broadcast — Verne, Gary and the 2:30 p.m. kickoff — is slated for Arkansas vs. Texas A&M at Arlington, Texas, on Saturday.

Yes, the Razorbacks have a fighting chance as they show continued improvement in Year 2 of the Bret Bielema era.

Last week in Fayetteville, you could tell that Northern Illinois’ 17-game road winning streak was over just as soon as Korliss Marshall returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. Arkansas has now won three games in a row by 21 or more points for the first time since 2010. The Huskies are 1-10 through the years against Southeastern Conference foes, but this was a fairly talented Northern Illinois team that Arkansas dismantled by a final score of 52-14.

Unlike the win over Nicholls State, this was a quality victory.

Arkansas’ offense showed that it could pass the football in addition to running it. Brandon Allen had 199 passing yards. Keon Hatcher, with 107 receiving yards, became the first Razorback receiver this year to top 100 yards in a game. Arkansas actually passed for more yards than it ran for, 215 to 212.

As for the Aggies, they’re 4-0 for the first time since 2006. Texas A&M toyed with 0-3 SMU in Dallas last Saturday, winning by a final score of 58-6. It could have been worse. Quarterback Kenny Hill played for only a half at quarterback but still accounted for 322 yards of offense. He was 16 of 22 passing for 265 yards and two touchdowns.

I went 8-1 on the picks for a second consecutive week, missing only on UAM’s 34-28 loss at Northwestern Oklahoma. The 0-3 Boll Weevils have now lost three consecutive games in the final minutes.

The season record is 29-2.

On to the picks for Week 5:

Texas A&M 49, Arkansas 36 — The Aggies have been impressive in victories of 52-28 over South Carolina, 73-3 over Lamar, 38-10 over Rice and 58-6 over SMU. This is a far superior Arkansas team to the one that took the field last year, losing nine consecutive games to end the season. Texas Tech did not look as bad as advertised in its 45-35 loss Thursday night to No. 24 Oklahoma State. So the Arkansas wins over Texas Tech and Northern Illinois both could be described as quality wins. Now comes the death march known as the SEC West. Texas A&M should win. Arkansas might.

UCA 50, Nicholls State 22 — Poor ol’ Nicholls. The Colonels have now lost by scores of 44-16 to Air Force, 73-7 to Arkansas, 27-10 to Henderson and 77-3 to North Texas. Nicholls will have the distinction of having lost to an FBS, an FCS and a Division II school from Arkansas, all in the month of September. The Bears are off to a 1-3 start in the first year under head coach Steve Campbell. It was a heartbreaker in Conway last Saturday night as Missouri State hit a 53-yard field goal as time expired to win, 33-31. Willie Matthews scored for UCA with 59 seconds left. The extra point gave the home team a 31-30 lead. That drive included a fourth-and-11 completion by Ryan Howard, but it wasn’t enough. The task will be much easier this Saturday in Conway.

Jackson State 20, UAPB 14 — This doesn’t appear to be a good UAPB football team. In a nationally televised game on Thursday night of last week, UAPB fell to 1-2 with a 42-7 loss at Alabama State. The Golden Lions have now lost eight of their past 10 SWAC games. UAPB is 1-2, having lost its two road games by a combined score of 107-7. The only win was 31-0 at home over Concordia College of Alabama, which has only 565 students and fields the equivalent of an intramural team. Jackson State is 2-2, having started the season with wins of 22-17 over Florida A&M and 59-0 over Virginia University of Lynchburg (which is about like Concordia when it comes to football). That was followed by losses of 35-7 to Tennessee State in the Southern Heritage Classic at Memphis and 40-35 to Grambling State.

McNeese State 47, Arkansas Tech 27 — For a second consecutive year, the Wonder Boys step up in classification to play an FCS opponent. And it’s a traditional FCS power, McNeese State. Tech will take its check in Lake Charles and come home with a loss. The Cowboys are ranked No. 4 nationally in the FCS coaches’ poll. McNeese has played just two games, giving Nebraska all it could handle before losing 31-24 in Lincoln and then defeating Prairie View A&M, 48-16. Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles is never an easy place for an opponent to visit on a Saturday night. Arkansas Tech is 2-1, having posted a 34-14 win over 0-3 Southern Nazarene in Russellville last week. Southern Nazarene earlier had lost 72-7 to Henderson and 28-7 to Ouachita.

Ouachita 31, Southeastern Oklahoma 21 — Ouachita went to 2-0 last Saturday with a 41-20 win at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia over an East Central Oklahoma squad that had rolled in with a 2-0 record. Senior running back Steven Kehner out of Glen Rose gained 160 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns for the Tigers. Senior quarterback Kiehl Frazier out of Shiloh Christian gained another 105 yards on the ground and passed for 165 yards. Meanwhile, the Ouachita defense came up with five interceptions. Southeastern is 1-2 with losses to Southern Arkansas and Henderson sandwiched around a 52-49 victory over UAM.

Henderson 45, East Central Oklahoma 25 — The Reddies were on national television (CBS Sports Network) on Thursday night of last week and rolled past Southeastern Oklahoma, 60-17. Henderson scored 28 points in the final 9:28 of that game to move to 3-0 on the season. Henderson has now won 26 consecutive regular-season games, and that streak shouldn’t come to an end Saturday in Ada against the 2-1 Tigers. Reddie senior quarterback Kevin Rodgers passed for 382 yards last week to become the state’s all-time leading passer with 11,035 yards, breaking Ryan Aplin’s record of 10,758 yards set from 2009-12 at Arkansas State. Look for Rodgers to have another big day tomorrow.

Harding 51, Southern Nazarene 18 — Southern Nazarene is bad. Harding is good. Really good. And the Bisons have had two weeks to prepare for this game due to an open date. Harding boasts one of the top rushing attacks in NCAA Division II. In two prior meetings, Harding has outscored Southern Nazarene, 105-34, and outrushed the Crimson Storm, 946-161. Harding rushed for 505 yards last year against Southern Nazarene, the eighth-highest total in all of Division II in 2013. Harding now ranks No. 8 in Division II with an average of 317.5 rushing yards per game. The Bisons opened the season with wins of 42-6 over Southwestern Oklahoma and 45-7 over Northwestern Oklahoma.

Southwestern Oklahoma 32, UAM 26 — The Boll Weevils have lost three games by a total of 13 points — 38-34 to East Central Oklahoma, 52-49 to Southeastern Oklahoma and 34-28 to Northwestern Oklahoma. Since that season-opening loss to Harding, Southwestern has bounced back with victories of 27-23 over Arkansas Tech and 27-24 over Southern Arkansas. The Bulldogs rallied from double-digit deficits to win those two games. Expect this one to be decided in the fourth quarter. The Bolls Weevils went ahead of Northwestern last week, 28-27, following a touchdown with 1:56 left. But Northwestern came back to score with only 32 seconds on the clock.

Southern Arkansas 37, Northwestern Oklahoma 28 — The Muleriders, who won their season opener with a touchdown on the final play of the game, have since dropped two consecutive games. SAU fell to 1-2 with a 27-24 loss at Southwestern Oklahoma. The Muleriders led 24-13 early in the fourth quarter. They lost despite having a 392-252 advantage in total offense. Playing back home in Magnolia, SAU should have the upper hand in this one.

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Rex’s Rankings: After three weeks

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The most pleasant surprise of the high school football season thus far has been Fort Smith Northside, which is off to its first 3-0 start since 2006.

It’s not often that you see a Greenwood team whipped.

But Northside did just that on Friday night with a 42-17 victory over the Bulldogs at Mayo-Thompson Stadium. Northside, which had last defeated Greenwood in 2001, ended the Bulldogs’ streak of 38 consecutive regular-season victories.

We move Northside up to No. 3 overall, just in time for this week’s game at No. 1 Fayetteville.

The Purple Dogs will be favored, but this will be a test to see just how far Mike Falleur’s Grizzlies have come.

I do know this: It’s good to see a traditional powerhouse like Northside relevant once again.

Let’s get to the rankings after three weeks of the high school football season:

Overall

1. Fayetteville

2. Conway

3. Fort Smith Northside

4. Wynne

5. Cabot

6. North Little Rock

7. Pulaski Academy

8. Greenwood

9. Jonesboro

10. Alma

Class 7A

1. Fayetteville

2. Conway

3. Fort Smith Northside

4. Cabot

5. North Little Rock

Class 6A

1. Greenwood

2. Jonesboro

3. Alma

4. Texarkana

5. Benton

Class 5A

1. Wynne

2. Pulaski Academy

3. Camden Fairview

4. Sylvan Hills

5. Batesville

Class 4A

1. Nashville

2. Star City

3. Malvern

4. Arkadelphia

5. Dollarway

Class 3A

1. Charleston

2. Lamar

3. Prescott

4. Smackover

5. Booneville

Class 2A

1. Junction City

2. Bearden

3. East Poinsett County

4. Hazen

5. England

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College football: Week 4

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

We were almost there.

Having gone 13-0 during the first two weeks of the college football season, we were on the verge of keeping a perfect record intact after three weeks of predictions.

Arkansas Tech held a 23-7 lead at Southwestern Oklahoma in the fourth quarter, and we appeared on our way to being 9-0 for the week. Then, the Wonder Boys melted down. The winning points for Southwestern came on a 63-yard interception return.

So it goes.

Meanwhile, Arkansas was the most pleasant surprise of the week. We had picked the Hogs to win but certainly not by a margin of 21 points.

It was just like the old Southwest Conference days when Arkansas would dominate the Red Raiders. Arkansas is now 16-2 in games played at Lubbock, losing only in 1966 and 1991. The Razorbacks are 29-7 overall against Tech.

The highlights of Arkansas 49, Texas Tech 28 were many. Some of those highlights were:

— Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins combining for 357 yards and six touchdowns rushing. Collins had 212 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Williams had 145 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries.

— Bret Bielema getting his first road victory as the head coach at Arkansas.

— Arkansas getting its first nonconference road victory since the 38-28 win at Texas in 2003.

— Arkansas dominating in time of possession, 40:39 to 19:21. That’s amazing.

— Williams becoming the first Hog to rush for four touchdowns in a game since Darren McFadden in 2007.

— Collins becoming the first Razorback to rush for more than 200 yards in a game since McFadden in 2007.

— The most rushing first downs (24) in a game for an Arkansas team since 1969.

Texas Tech had come into the contest with a 26-game home winning streak against nonconference foes, dating back to September 2002 when current head coach Kliff Kingsbury was the Red Raider quarterback.

Next up for the Hogs is Northern Illinois in Fayetteville on Saturday night.

So we were 8-1 on the week, making the record 21-1 for the season.

On to the picks for Week 4:

Arkansas 45, Northern Illinois 30 — This is a good Northern Illinois team. It will force the Razorbacks to work hard for a home victory. Northern Illinois has the winningest program in Illinois and in the Mid-American Conference during the past decade. The Huskies have won four consecutive MAC West titles and in 2013 made a sixth consecutive bowl appearance, which is a MAC record. NIU leads the country with 17 consecutive road victories in games played at an opponent’s home stadium. That includes wins at Northwestern, Iowa and Purdue. The Huskies’ 49 wins during the past four years ranks second among FBS teams, trailing only Oregon and leading Boise State and LSU (47 each). Northern Illinois is 3-0 with wins of 55-3 over Presbyterian, 23-15 over Northwestern and 48-34 over UNLV. All of that said, no SEC team should lose at home to a MAC team. The Huskies are 1-9 against SEC foes. Still, let’s not forget that Saturday will mark the 11th anniversary of the day Northern Illinois went to Tuscaloosa and defeated Alabama, 19-16.

Arkansas State 35, Utah State 33 — The Red Wolves fell 41-20 at Miami last Saturday and are 1-2 under new head coach Blake Anderson. Fredi Knighten was 22 of 40 passing for ASU for 217 yards. He ran for one touchdown and caught a 19-yard pass off a double reverse for a second touchdown. Utah State rolls into Jonesboro on Saturday with a 2-1 record. The Aggies lost to Tennessee in Knoxville by a score of 38-7 to open the season (Arkansas State fell 34-19 in Knoxville a week later) and have since posted victories of 40-20 over Idaho State and 36-24 over Wake Forest. These two teams appear evenly matched. It should be a close game. We’ll give the slight advantage to the Red Wolves since the game is in Jonesboro.

Missouri State 29, UCA 24 — The Bears fell to 1-2 with a 43-33 loss at Montana State, the team Arkansas State had defeated in its season opener. Bear quarterback Taylor Reed out of El Dorado started the game for UCA but left in the second quarter with a concussion. Ryan Howard finished the contest at quarterback. He was 39 of 48 passing for 333 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Missouri State opened the season with a 34-27 victory over Northwestern State of Louisiana, lost 40-23 at Oklahoma State and them blitzed North Dakota by a score of 38-0. Missouri State is making its first trip to Conway since 2006. The Bears from Missouri are ranked 26th in this week’s FCS coaches’ poll.

Alabama State 23, UAPB 17 — The Golden Lions will receive national television exposure tonight (Thursday) on ESPU as they travel to Alabama State, which comes into the contest with a 2-1 record. Alabama State opened the season with a 51-20 loss to Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas, on the same day UAPB was in San Marcos losing by a score of 65-0 to Texas State. The quality of football in the SWAC seems to decline with each passing year. The Golden Lions returned home a week later to defeat tiny Concordia College of Selma, Ala., and have had two weeks to prepare for this game. Alabama State has come back with victories of 27-21 over Tennessee State and 47-22 over Mississippi Valley State. This will mark the third consecutive home game for Alabama State at its new stadium in Montgomery.

Henderson 50, Southeastern Oklahoma 22 — Like UAPB, Henderson will receive national television exposure tonight. The Reddies are on the CBS Sports Network for a Great American Conference game against Southeastern Oklahoma at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium in Arkadelphia. Last Saturday, Henderson won its 25th consecutive regular-season game by going to south Louisiana and defeating the Nicholls State team that the Razorbacks had played a week earlier in Fayetteville. The Reddies’ 27-10 victory was the third time in school history that Henderson has beaten an FCS foe. The Reddies are still No. 7 nationally in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll. Senior quarterback Kevin Rodgers was 23 of 35 passing for 169 yards against Nicholls. He needs just 106 yards passing tonight to break the state’s career passing yardage mark of 10,758 yards set by Arkansas State’s Ryan Aplin from 2009-12.

Ouachita 32, East Central Oklahoma 21 — Ouachita plays for a second consecutive Saturday in its sleek new Cliff Harris Stadium in what looks to be the best GAC game of the week. The Tigers opened the stadium and their season with a 28-7 win over Southern Nazarene. Auburn transfer Kiehl Frazier was 19 of 30 passing for 209 yards and two touchdowns as Ouachita won its season opener for an eighth consecutive season. East Central is 2-0 with wins of 38-34 over UAM and 47-40 over Southern Arkansas. East Central’s Will Bond is a talented quarterback. Ouachita won by seven points last year at Ada.

UAM 40, Northwestern Oklahoma 38 — Two 0-2 teams face off Saturday night in Alva, Okla. The Boll Weevils had a 12-point lead against East Central in the opener before falling apart in the fourth quarter. Last Saturday, Southeastern Oklahoma got a field goal as time expired to beat UAM, 52-49. The two Northwestern losses have come by scores of 33-14 to Arkansas Tech and 47-7 to Harding.

Arkansas Tech 27, Southern Nazarene 10 — Tech opened the season with that win over Northwestern Oklahoma and appeared to be on the way to 2-0 last Saturday with a 23-7 lead in the fourth quarter at Southwestern Oklahoma. Southwestern came back to win, 27-23. Southern Nazarene has been outscored 100-14 by the Arkadelphia schools to open the season, losing 72-7 to Henderson and 28-7 to Ouachita.

Southwestern Oklahoma 31, Southern Arkansas 25 — The Muleriders’ first two games came down to the final minute of play. Southern Arkansas scored a touchdown on the final play of the game to beat Southeastern in the opener. Last week, East Central got a touchdown with 47 seconds left to beat the Muleriders, 47-40. Give Southwestern a slight advantage since it’s playing at home in Weatherford.

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Rex’s Rankings: After two weeks

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

It was No. 1 against No. 2 last Friday night, and No. 1 prevailed as Fayetteville posted a 43-33 victory over North Little Rock.

We’ll leave Fayetteville in the No. 1 spot in this week’s rankings while dropping the Charging Wildcats to No. 7.

Teams on the rise include Conway following a 49-28 victory over Jonesboro and Fort Smith Northside (the Bear has come out of hibernation along Rogers Avenue) following a 32-8 win over Little Rock Central.

Greenwood remains the class of Class 6A with strong challenges expected from Lake Hamilton and Pine Bluff. And keep an eye on Texarkana, which finds itself 2-0 against Texas competition (wins over Texas High and Liberty-Eylau).

Class 5A is crowded at the top. Wynne, Batesville, Greenbrier and Pulaski Academy are capable of winning the  state title. Pulaski Academy was particularly impressive with a 52-20 win on the road in Florida over New Smyrna Beach.

The boys in orange — Nashville and Warren — find themselves in the top two positions in Class 4A.

Charleston stays atop Class 3A following a 42-6 victory over Gentry, but Booneville takes a tumble after a surprising 28-0 loss at the hands of the Dardanelle Sand Lizards.

In Class 2A, it’s all Junction City. The game with Rison is usually a good one. Not this time. The Dragons beat Rison, 48-8, last Friday.

Here are the rankings after two weeks of the high school football season:

Overall

1. Fayetteville

2. Conway

3. Greenwood

4. Wynne

5. Fort Smith Northside

6. Cabot

7. North Little Rock

8. Lake Hamilton

9. Batesville

10. Greenbrier

Class 7A

1. Fayetteville

2. Conway

3. Fort Smith Northside

4. Cabot

5. North Little Rock

Class 6A

1. Greenwood

2. Lake Hamilton

3. Pine Bluff

4. Texarkana

5. Jonesboro

Class 5A

1. Wynne

2. Batesville

3. Greenbrier

4. Pulaski Academy

5. Camden Fairview

Class 4A

1. Nashville

2. Warren

3. Dollarway

4. Star City

5. Malvern

Class 3A

1. Charleston

2. Lamar

3. Prescott

4. Smackover

5. Booneville

Class 2A

1. Junction City

2. Bearden

3. East Poinsett County

4. Hazen

5. England

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Little Rock: Crime city?

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Back in May, someone sent me an Internet link. When I opened it, this headline was splashed across my screen: “Little Rock Voted #1 Most Dangerous Mid-Sized City in America.”

The list, compiled by Movoto Real Estate, was based on an analysis of FBI crime data from 2012. Cities were compared using crime rates per 100,000 residents.

Flint, Mich., was No. 2.

Jackson, Miss., was No. 3.

Here’s what was written about Little Rock: “While the capital of Arkansas has received its share of accolades in recent years, including a nod from Forbes in 2011 as the second cleanest city in the country, Little Rock’s crime rate was all we looked at for this ranking. Overall, it was bad enough to warrant the city’s naming as our most dangerous mid-sized city we studied. Little Rock ranked second overall in terms of total crime with 9,378 crimes per 100,000 in 2012. The chance of being a victim of one of those crimes stood at 1 in 21. The city’s rank for property crime was only slightly better at third with 8,062 per 100,000 (1 in 24 odds) during the same period.

“It was also ranked third for murder with 23 per 100,000 and odds of 1 in 8,524. For violent crime, Little Rock placed fifth overall. There were 1,316 violent crimes per 100,000 people there in 2012, which translated to a 1 in 149 chance of being the victim of one.”

Earlier this week, crime struck home.

My mother-in-law — who retired in Little Rock several years ago following a career with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. — left her home on a sunny Monday to have lunch with a friend who was visiting from the nation’s capital. She lives at the end of a cul-de-sac in far west Little Rock.

When she returned, she found the front door kicked in. The house had been ransacked and thousands of dollars worth of items had been stolen.

I realize how easy it is for someone to say: “Oh, there goes another white guy from west Little Rock who doesn’t care about crime until it affects him.”

For several years, though, I’ve thought a lot about how crime — and the perception thereof — affects economic development in our state’s largest city.

Our mayor likes to talk about Little Rock being the “next great city.”

Greatness depends on who’s defining the word, but no one can doubt that Little Rock is at a crossroads. Future crime rates largely will determine whether the city is more Nashville or more Memphis, more Austin or more Jackson.

In September 2011, I did what many people in my age and income groups did in Little Rock — I went to the polls and voted for both a three-eighths of a cent sales tax increase for capital improvements in the city and a five-eighths of a cent sales tax increase for operations. There are a number of things in Little Rock that are being funded by that additional penny, but most of those in the majority voted for the increases primarily because they knew the dire straits that otherwise would be faced by the city’s policemen and firefighters. There were unfilled positions, worn-out vehicles, an antiquated communications system and a mold-filled police headquarters. We also looked forward to the hiring of additional code enforcement officers and hoped for some of the most rigid code enforcement in the country.

About 54 percent of those who turned out in the 2011 special election voted for the increases, which at the time were expected to raise $31.6 million a year for operations and an additional $196 million during the next decade for capital improvements. It was the city’s sixth attempt since 1981 to get a sales tax increase approved. Only two of the previous attempts had been successful, the most recent being in 1994.

You might remember 1994.

The gang situation had reached its zenith. I remember thinking that Little Rock had hit its low point on the Friday night when Chef Andre was shot in front of a full house at his crowded restaurant in the converted Hillcrest home that now houses Ciao Baci.

The year 1994 was when the HBO documentary “Gang War: Bangin’ in Little Rock” ran over and over. HBO viewers around the world perceived of Little Rock as a sort of Detroit of the South.

Worried Little Rock citizens went to the polls in 1994 and increased the sales tax by half a penny, knowing that much of the money would be used to beef up the police force.

By September 2011, Little Rock seemingly had reached yet another turning point, and taxpayers approved another sales tax increase.

Three years have passed since that vote, yet the perception of Little Rock as a highly dangerous place lingers.

During the years I worked in politics, the commonly used phrase was “perception is reality.”

Little Rock city officials will tell you that some of these rankings are based on faulty criteria. But the national perception of Little Rock is that of a city with a crime problem. It’s a huge issue, of course, for the unfortunate people who live in the low-income neighborhoods with the highest crime rates. Yet it also becomes an economic development issue, and that’s a problem for everyone.

You don’t think perception is important?

Consider the Jonesboro economic miracle. Jonesboro had had explosive growth in recent years. The city’s leaders have done things right. Let’s not take anything away from them, but let’s also realize that there’s a perception issue that has helped Jonesboro tremendously. For decades, folks in northeast Arkansas gravitated toward Memphis. They read The Commercial Appeal each morning. They watched Memphis television stations. They went to Memphis to eat out, visit the doctor and shop.

In recent decades, the perception has grown that Memphis is a dangerous place. People in towns like Blytheville and Wynne, who once went to Memphis to visit the doctor or for a night out on the town, now go to Jonesboro. The perception of Memphis has fueled the Jonesboro miracle as that city has become the regional hub of northeast Arkansas.

Little Rock has plenty of positives its leaders can point to.

In July 2013, Little Rock was ranked No. 1 among mid-sized cities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Metro areas of 1 million or fewer residents (725,000 people live in the Little Rock MSA) were considered.

A month later, Forbes ranked central Arkansas No. 32 on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers.

Outside magazine ranked Little Rock among its best towns in 2013, saying that the city had become “a runner’s paradise.” The article talked about the Arkansas River Trail and the numerous parks in central Arkansas.

Which lists do you think people pay the most attention to?

I suspect the answer is those dangerous city rankings.

The city fathers can build all of the tech parks they want. They can add more trails. They can help revitalize downtown. But until they can find a way to further reduce crime — and end the perception of Arkansas’ capital city as a dangerous place to live or visit — nothing else they do is really going to matter.

That makes Kenton Buckner, the new Little Rock police chief, about the most important man in the city right now.

Buckner took over the Little Rock Police Department at the end of June, succeeding Stuart Thomas, who had been chief since March 2005. Buckner joined the Louisville Police Department in 1993 and became the assistant chief there in 2011.

In an interview with the Arkansas Times, he said of his approach to crime control: “I subscribe to intelligence-led policing, which basically means we have some sort of mechanism that allows us to gather, analyze and disseminate information. From that information, I think you look at hot spots and focused deterrence. Look at locations where crime is occurring or is likely to occur and focus deterrence — focus in on the key individuals who are causing problems in those areas. The reason that is important is so we do not alienate the public that we’re trying to protect, and who we are asking to work with us, with the kind of ‘net fishing’ that you’ve seen some agencies do with the stop-and-frisk and the zero tolerance. Those things are very short-sighted, in my opinion. They offer short-term success and, in many instances, it scars the community and the trust and relationship that you have with them.”

While not asking Buckner to go against his philosophy, I do wish city employees (including code enforcement officers) would subscribe more to the so-called broken windows theory.

In a landmark 1982 article for The Atlantic, two college professors advanced the theory that maintaining public order also helps prevent crime.

“If a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken,” James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling wrote.

Wilson, who taught at Harvard and UCLA, died in 2012.

Kelling is retired from Rutgers but still going strong at age 78 as a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

The theory was applied by two New York City police commissioners, William Bratton and Raymond Kelly. Crime rates fell, real estate values soared and New York thrived.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent American Housing Survey, the number of broken windows in the New York metropolitan area plunged during the past decade.

Kelling told The New York Times: “Taking care of broken windows reduces crime. Taking care of crime reduces broken windows. I’ve never been long on arrests as an outcome.”

He said zero-tolerance policies represent “zealotry and no discretion — the opposite of what I tried to preach. In an urbanized society, in a world of strangers, civility and orderliness is an end in itself.”

Here’s part of what Kelling and Wilson wrote in the original article: “Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

“Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.”

In other words, fix problems when they’re still small.

While they’re at it, Buckner, City Manager Bruce Moore and Mayor Mark Stodola might even look at the Safe Streets Program that was instituted by Albuquerque, N.M., in the late 1990s. The theory was that people in other parts of the country use roadways much like New Yorkers use subways. Lawlessness on the roadways therefore has the same effect as it does in the subways of New York.

I make the drive from far west Little Rock to downtown each morning on Cantrell Road. Each day I watch self-indulgent idiots run red lights and speed through school zones. I’ve never seen one of them pulled over. There’s indeed a sense of lawlessness on the streets of Little Rock, and the problem seems to be getting worse. I can’t help thinking that this is a city that, in certain ways, feels broken.

“I understand that there are a lot of historical scars in this community and this police department as there are in most communities that have an urban environment,” Buckner told the Arkansas Times. “Police and African-American communities and Hispanic communities historically don’t have a very strong relationship. I can’t subscribe to that. I can’t surrender to that. My job is to build those relationship bridges where we can to get them to come to the table. All of that starts with trust. Trust is built with deposits of good will, and I think we’re doing a lot of things in the police department to get some of those conversations started.”

I agree with the new chief that trust is important.

So are results.

It’s important for all Arkansans that the state’s capital city do well economically. You look at the downtown revitalization of Little Rock and feel hopeful on the one hand. On the other hand, recent job creation statistics in Arkansas have been abysmal. We’re near the bottom nationally.

Little Rock is at a turning point.

More like Memphis or more like Nashville?

More like Jackson or more like Austin?

A hip urban environment or a new round of white flight to Cabot, Conway, Benton and Bryant?

More than anything else, the crime statistics the next five years will tell the story.

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College football: Week 3

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Way to go, Muleriders.

I had returned to my home in Little Rock late Saturday night after having watched the University of Central Arkansas’ come-from-behind victory over Tennessee-Martin.

I had just checked the college football scores and knew that I was 8-0 on my picks for the week for games already completed.

One game had yet to conclude.

Southern Arkansas University was hosting Southeastern Oklahoma in Magnolia in a game that had been delayed two hours at the start due to lightning. I went to the website www.d2football.com (an excellent source for NCAA Division II scores) and clicked on the radio link for the Southern Arkansas broadcast.

I tuned in just in time to hear longtime Mulerider play-by-play man Dan Gregory describe the last play.

Trailing 29-23, the Muleriders had one chance. And guess what? Si Blackshire found Aaron Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game as time expired. Dylan Nowak then kicked the winning extra point. SAU had put together a 10-play, 61-yard drive in the final 1:31 to make me 9-0 for the week.

So thank you.

At the FBS level, the day’s big story was Black Saturday for the Big Ten.

Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech.

Michigan lost to Notre Dame, getting shut out for the first time since 1984. That shutout ended an NCAA record string of 376 games in which the Wolverines had scored.

Michigan State lost to Oregon.

Purdue even lost to Central Michigan.

In the Southeastern Conference, it was a day of really bad football games. The only conference game was a rout as Ole Miss downed Vanderbilt, 41-3, in Nashville. It was the largest margin of victory for Ole Miss against a conference team in six years. Bo Wallace threw for 320 yards and a touchdown. The Rebels scored on seven of their first eight possessions. Vanderbilt has now been outscored 78-10 since James Franklin left for Penn State.

At the start of the weekend, Arkansas and Virginia were tied for the second-longest FBS losing streaks at 10 games each.

Miami of Ohio was first, and its losing streak grew to 18 games with a 17-10 loss to Eastern Kentucky.

Virginia and Arkansas both won.

UVA downed the Richmond Spiders.

Arkansas won a glorified scrimmage against Nicholls State. That Nicholls team hosts Henderson this week. How many of you are picking the Reddies after what you saw in Fayetteville on Saturday?

What can you say about Arkansas 73, Nicholls State 7? How about these highlights:

— It was the most points scored by a Razorback team since 1928.

– It was the fifth-largest margin of victory in school history.

— Arkansas set a single-game school record for yards per play with a 12.7 average.

— The Razorbacks’ 684 yards of offense were the third most in school history. The record was set when the Hogs gained 859 yards in a 53-0 win over the Pittsburg State Gorillas in 1936.

— Arkansas scored eight touchdowns in its first 20 plays from scrimmage.

— In the event you were counting, it was 356 days between Razorback victories.

Last week’s 9-0 record makes us 13-0 for the season. That perfect record is going to be hard to keep intact this weekend with some interesting matchups.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 3:

Arkansas 28, Texas Tech 27 — This is a game Arkansas can win. At this point in the program’s evolution, any win over a Big 12 team would have to be considered a quality win. Tech has been less than impressive in its first two games. In the season opener, UCA took a 16-7 lead at Lubbock in the first half. After trailing by two scores in the second half, the Bears cut the Red Raider lead to seven points with 2:57 left and attempted an onside kick. Tech recovered the kick and ran out the clock, but the Red Raiders certainly had been tested by an FCS team. On the second Saturday of the season, Tech went to El Paso and hung on for a 30-26 victory over UTEP. The Red Raiders just aren’t getting it done for second-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury. This is a golden opportunity for Arkansas to show the ABC audience that there is indeed improvement in the second year of the Bielema era.

Miami 34, Arkansas State 24 — Too bad this is not Miami of Ohio, which has that 18-game losing streak dating back to October 2012. Instead, it’s the U down in south Florida, though this is not to be confused with the U of old. Bobby Petrino got his return to Louisville off to a rousing start on Labor Day with a 31-13 win over Miami. The Hurricanes rebounded for a 41-7 victory over outmanned Florida A&M, which is better known for band scandals that football. To give you an idea of where the Miami program stands, the Hurricanes went 9-4 in 2013, 7-5 in 2012, 6-6 in 2011, 7-7 in 2010 and 9-4 in 2009. Decent but not dominant. Tennessee had to work hard for its 34-19 win over Arkansas State in Knoxville on Saturday. The Red Wolves had come into that game as a 17-point underdog. ASU quarterback Fredi Knighten out of Pulaski Academy passed for 166 yards and ran for 65 yards. ASU is bothered by injuries right now, but look for the Red Wolves to put up another fight. I like what I’ve seen of the new coaching staff in Jonesboro.

Montana State 30, UCA 29 — The Bears evened their record at 1-1 with that exciting win over Tennessee-Martin in Conway last Saturday night. UCA drove 80 yards in 13 plays at the end of the game for the 26-24 victory. Senior quarterback Ryan Howard replaced Taylor Reed out of El Dorado as the Bears’ quarterback on the final drive. UCA had no timeouts and had to convert a fourth-and-15 play. I saw the Montana State opener as the Bobcats gave ASU all it could handle for a half in Jonesboro before falling 37-10. In the second game, Montana State posted a 57-10 victory over tiny Black Hills State. Sophomore quarterback Dakota Prukop is the real deal. His 176 yards rushing against Black Hills State were the most ever for a Bobcat quarterback. Montana State is a traditional FCS power and is ranked 18th in the current FCS coaches’ poll. UCA would be No. 28 if the poll extended out that far. Expect this to be a good game between two talented FCS teams.

Henderson 42, Nicholls State 33 — There. I did it. I picked Division II Henderson to beat an FCS team on the road. After all, the Reddies have won 24 consecutive regular-season games. I can guarantee you that they won’t be intimidated by anything they find in the swamps of south Louisiana. Reddie senior quarterback Kevin Rodgers could start for a lot of FBS schools. Henderson beat Southern Nazarene by a score of 72-7 in its season opener. It could have been a lot worse since the Reddies led 59-0 at the half. Playing only the first half, Rodgers was 27 for 36 passing for 408 yards and seven touchdowns. Darius Davis set a Great American Conference record with five touchdown receptions. Nicholls could well lose this game and then lose again when the Colonels travel to Conway to play UCA later this month. Nicholls will then have the distinction of having lost to an FBS, FCS and Division II school from Arkansas all in the same season.

Ouachita 49, Southern Nazarene 21 — Ouachita has the only college football program in the state with six consecutive winning seasons and opens its new Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia on Saturday night. The Tigers won’t score as many points as Henderson did against Southern Nazarene, but the home team should do just fine in its season opener with Auburn transfer Kiehl Frazier at quarterback. You’ll remember that Frazier was the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year nationally following his senior season in 2010 at Shiloh Christian. He joins a senior-laden Ouachita team that took Henderson to three overtimes in last year’s Battle of the Ravine and hopes to fight it out this season with Henderson and Harding for the GAC title.

Harding 48, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — Harding opened the season in Searcy with a 42-6 win over Southwestern Oklahoma, outgaining the Bulldogs 485 to 196. The Bisons have one of the top rushing attacks in the country. They had no turnovers against Southwestern as Romo Westbrook became the fifth player in school history to top 2,000 yards rushing. A Northwestern Oklahoma team that won only two games last year and fell by a score of 33-14 to Arkansas Tech in the 2014 season opener won’t come close to slowing down the Bisons this week.

Arkansas Tech 32, Southwestern Oklahoma 31 — The Wonder Boys began their season on a Thursday night with a school-record 98-yard touchdown pass and a 33-14 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma. Tech scored 24 consecutive points in the first half of that game after the Rangers had taken a 7-0 lead. Wonder Boy quarterback Dennis Robertson was 12 of 29 passing for 226 yards. Tech makes the long trip to Weatherford, Okla., this week to take on a Southwestern Oklahoma team that’s a bit better than it looked against Harding.

East Central Oklahoma 19, Southern Arkansas 16 — The Arkansas schools in the GAC went 4-1 against the Oklahoma schools during the first week of play. The only winner from Oklahoma was East Central with its win over UAM by a final score of 38-34. Southern Arkansas, which lost its quarterback and leading rusher from a year ago, will come in on a high after the last-second victory in Magnolia. But East Central always plays tough in Ada. Look for the Tigers to move to 2-0 against Arkansas competition.

Southeastern Oklahoma 38, UAM 36 — Both teams are coming off disappointing losses in their openers. UAM fell to East Central despite two kickoff returns for touchdowns. East Central had trailed by 12 points heading into the fourth quarter of that game. And, of course, Southeastern lost on the final play in Magnolia. This appears to be an evenly matched contest. The game is in Durant, and we’ll give a slight edge to the home team.

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Rex’s Rankings: After one week

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Bentonville goes for two at the end of the game against Kansas City Rockhurst. The Tigers come up short and fall by a score of 17-16 on the first Friday night of the high school football season in Arkansas.

The Tigers drop from No. 1 to No. 3 overall.

Meanwhile, Fayetteville outlasts Lawton, Okla., by a score of 45-38 and moves into the No. 1 slot.

At War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, North Little Rock beats an improved Little Rock Catholic squad, 17-7.

So it went in Week 1.

We’re set for No. 1 vs. No. 2 in just the second week of the high school football season.

North Little Rock at Fayetteville this Friday night.

It should be fun.

Greenwood is back in its accustomed spot at No. 1 in Class 6A after Pine Bluff went to Fort Smith Northside and laid an egg, turning the ball over six times and losing 26-15. Greenwood manhandled Springdale by 30 points, 56-26.

In Class 5A, No. 1 Wynne was impressive in a 64-7 victory over Marion, while Batesville moved up to No. 2 with its 34-6 win over Watson Chapel.

In Class 4A, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, Malvern and Nashville, are from the same conference. And the top three teams (Warren is No. 3) all wear orange.

In Class 3A, it’s Charleston at No. 1 after beating Shiloh Christian, 42-14, and Booneville at No. 2 after defeating Ozark, 27-3.

And it’s status quo in Class 2A with powerhouse Junction City in the No. 1 position following a 33-19 victory over Smackover, which is now ranked No. 5 in Class 3A.

Let’s get to the rankings:

Overall:

1. Fayetteville

2. North Little Rock

3. Bentonville

4. Greenwood

5. Conway

6. El Dorado

7. Wynne

8. Fort Smith Northside

9. Jonesboro

10. Batesville

Class 7A

1. Fayetteville

2. North Little Rock

3. Bentonville

4. Conway

5. Fort Smith Northside

Class 6A

1. Greenwood

2. El Dorado

3. Jonesboro

4. Lake Hamilton

5. Pine Bluff

Class 5A

1. Wynne

2. Batesville

3. Greenbrier

4. Pulaski Academy

5. Camden Fairview

Class 4A

1. Malvern

2. Nashville

3. Warren

4. Dollarway

5. Star City

Class 3A

1. Charleston

2. Booneville

3. Lamar

4. Prescott

5. Smackover

Class 2A

1. Junction City

2. Bearden

3. Rison

4. East Poinsett County

5. Hazen

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College football: Week 2

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Well, we started 2014 just where we left off in 2013. Another Razorback loss.

Arkansas’ losing streak is now 10 games, the longest in school history. Prior to this streak, the longest losing streak was seven games in 1990 (the Jack Crowe era) and seven games in 1952-53 (the end of the Otis Douglas era and the start of the Bowden Wyatt era). The 45-21 loss to Auburn marked the 13th consecutive conference loss, that obviously another school record.

Arkansas is 0-9 against ranked teams since the start of the 2012 season (curses, Bobby Petrino; you almost killed a program with your affair). For the first time in nine seasons as a head coach, Bret Bielema lost an opener.

Native Arkansan Gus Malzahn, by the way, is 30-3 at Jordan-Hare Stadium as either the offensive coordinator or head coach at Auburn. And to think that they called him “high school” during his one season at Arkansas.

At least there will finally be a victory this Saturday afternoon in front of a lot of hot fans and quite a few empty seats at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Arkansas State, which looked solid in the second half of its season-opening victory over Montana State, travels to Tennessee this week.

All in all, though, it’s a sorry week for SEC football.

The only conference game is Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, not exactly must-see TV. There will, however, be a lot of starched pink shirts and BMWs in the parking lot as the frat boys turn out from both schools.

The rest of the schedule consists of:

Florida Atlantic at Alabama

San Jose State at Auburn

Ohio at Kentucky

Sam Houston State at LSU

UAB at Mississippi State

Missouri at Toledo

East Carolina at South Carolina

Lamar at Texas A&M

Are you kidding?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to go to Conway and watch the UCA Bears, who played well in a 42-35 loss at Texas Tech last Saturday.

Last week’s record was 4-0.

On to the picks for Week 2:

Arkansas 49, Nicholls State 15 — Yes, this is an improved Arkansas team. But you could be improved and still go 4-8. Auburn outgained an Arkansas squad that still can’t tackle 267-61 in the second half last Saturday. The Hogs had just two rushing yards in that second half. Auburn had both a 150-yard rusher and a 150-yard receiver for the first time in 13 years. This Razorback defense helps other schools set offensive records. It was the 11th consecutive game in which Auburn scored 30 or more points. Meanwhile, Nicholls State lost last week to Air Force, 44-16. I’ll likely pick the Henderson Reddies against Nicholls State next week. I wonder when was the last time Arkansas and Henderson played the same opponent on consecutive weekends.

Tennessee 37, Arkansas State 24 — The Red Wolves struggled for a half to start the Blake Anderson era in front of 26,143 spectators in Jonesboro before rolling to a 37-10 victory. It was the eighth consecutive ASU win over an FCS opponent. In his first career start at quarterback, Fredi Knighten out of Pulaski Academy had 368 total yards — 219 passing, 104 rushing and 45 receiving. Montana State, which trailed only 13-10 in the third quarter, came in ranked No. 18 in the FCS and has been ranked for more than 60 consecutive weeks. After cutting the Red Wolf lead to three points, the Bobcats punted five times and turned it over twice as the ASU defense took charge. Tennessee, coming off four consecutive losing seasons, had its first sellout in seven years and beat Utah State, 38-7, in a rare Sunday night came. Expect ASU to make it competitive for three quarters or so in Knoxville on Saturday.

UCA 29, Tennessee-Martin 20 — The Bears played well in Steve Campbell’s first game as the UCA head coach. In fact, the Bears had a 16-7 lead at one point and trailed just 21-16 at the half. UCA cut the Red Raider lead to seven points with 2:57 left in the game and tried an onside kick, but Tech recovered the kick and ran out the clock. Tennessee-Martin did not play quite as well against its FBS opponent. Kentucky scored on almost every possession in a 59-14 rout and outgained Tennessee-Martin, 656-398.

UAPB 38, Concordia College 27 — Poor ol’ UAPB. Last year, the Golden Lions started the season with a 62-11 drubbing at Arkansas State. This year’s opener was even worse. UAPB opened the season with a 65-0 loss to Dennis Franchione’s Texas State Bobcats down in San Marcos. UAPB is 1-6 in season openers under head coach Monte Coleman. Texas State (FYI, former Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson is now on Franchione’s staff) had a school record 697 yards of offense. UAPB had just 215 yards. The good news is that tiny Concordia College out of Selma, Ala., comes to Pine Bluff on Saturday if the bus doesn’t burn up. Concordia is little more than a club program. Its only victory during a 1-9 campaign in 2013 was a one-point win over Little Rock’s Arkansas Baptist College, which plays at the junior college level. Corcordia did receive national attention last year when all of its equipment was destroyed in a bus fire as the Hornets were traveling to a game. Assistance streamed in from across the country, including the Green Bay Packers. Put this down as a Golden Lion victory. There may not be many more of them in 2014.

Arkansas Tech 35, Northwestern Oklahoma 21 — The Great American Conference season begins tonight (Thursday) in Russellville. Last season, Tech had 445 yards of offense in a 38-10 victory over Northwestern. The Wonder Boy defense gave up just 214 yards, its best outing of the season. The Wonder Boys have won nine of their past 10 season openers and will win again tonight. Tech was 5-6 last season. Northwestern was 2-9.

Harding 40, Southwestern Oklahoma 28 — This Harding program is the real deal. The Bisons went 9-2 a year ago (including a bowl game victory) with one of the top rushing attacks in NCAA Division II. Southwestern Oklahoma was 6-5. A Bison offense that averaged 359.7 yards per game on the ground in 2013 has four of the top five running backs from 2013 returning. That group of returners includes All-American fullback Romo Westbrook, who gained 1,123 yards. A key will be the play of Harding’s new starting quarterback, Ryley Claborn.

Henderson 57, Southern Nazarene 17 — The Reddies went undefeated in the regular season in 2012 and 2013, losing in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs each time. Henderson beat Southern Nazarene by scores of 63-21 in 2012 and 82-10 in 2013. Saturday’s game should be similar. Senior Reddie quarterback Kevin Rodgers could start for a number of FCS schools. In his previous two games against Southern Nazarene, he was 39 of 55 passing for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns. Southern Nazarene was 0-11 in 2013. Blowout alert.

East Central Oklahoma 39, UAM 36 — An East Central team that was 5-5 a year ago and a UAM team that was 5-6 square off in one of the most evenly matched games of the weekend. East Central took a 33-8 lead over the Boll Weevils in the first half last year and ended up winning by a score of 46-22. UAM had just 23 yards rushing in that game. East Central returns quarterback Spencer Bond, who threw for 2,811 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2013.

Southern Arkansas 26, Southeastern Oklahoma 25 — The Muleriders were 6-4 in 2013, while Southeastern finished with a 2-9 record. The Muleriders have put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2002-03, but Southern Arkansas looks to be a bit down this year after losing quarterback Tyler Sykora and leading rusher Mark Johnson.

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Rex’s Rankings: The season begins

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

I attended my first high school football game of the season Monday night. My alma mater, Arkadelphia, took on Stuttgart at War Memorial Stadium, and the Badgers rolled to a 42-13 victory.

The game between these two tradition-rich programs brought back a lot of memories.

I was in the stands at War Memorial Stadium in 1970 when Max Graham’s Ricebirds upset Frank Spainhour’s Badgers in the state championship game.

A few years later, I played against Stuttgart as the Badger center.

In 1982, I covered a Stuttgart victory over one of John Outlaw’s good Badger teams in the state semifinals for the Arkansas Democrat.

If all goes according to plan, I will be back out at War Memorial Stadium tonight, Thursday night and Friday night for more high school football.

It’s a good week for football junkies.

Each week, we’ll reveal the Rex’s Rankings on Friday nights on the high school scoreboard show that I co-host on more than 50 stations across the state. In central Arkansas, you can hear us on KARN-FM 102.9 and KARN-AM 920. We’ll be on each Friday from 10 p.m. until midnight.

We’ll also post the rankings each Monday beginning next week here on the Southern Fried blog.

Here’s the first edition of Rex’s Rankings for 2014 as the season begins:

Overall

1. Bentonville

2. Fayetteville

3. North Little Rock

4. Pine Bluff

5. Greenwood

6. Conway

7. El Dorado

8. Wynne

9. Pulaski Academy

10. Cabot

Class 7A

1. Bentonville

2. Fayetteville

3. North Little Rock

4. Conway

5. Cabot

Class 6A

1. Pine Bluff

2. Greenwood

3. El Dorado

4. Lake Hamilton

5. Jonesboro

Class 5A

1. Wynne

2. Pulaski Academy

3. Camden Fairview

4. Batesville

5. Greenbrier

Class 4A

1. Malvern

2. Warren

3. Nashville

4. Dollarway

5. Star City

Class 3A

1. Charleston

2. Booneville

3. Harding Academy

4. Smackover

5. Lamar

Class 2A

1. Junction City

2. Bearden

3. Rison

4. East Poinsett County

5. Carlisle

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