Archive for September, 2018

College football: Week 5

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

I read the comments late Saturday night and Sunday on social media as Razorback fans looked for silver linings in the wake of Arkansas’ 34-3 loss at Auburn. I couldn’t help but think about how far the Arkansas program has fallen.

Look, I’m all about optimism and viewing the glass as half full. But comments I read, as people desperately searched for something positive, are what you write when you’re a fan of Tulane or Rice. When I first began paying attention to football, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas were the three winningest programs in the country in the decade of the 1960s.

Yes, how the mighty have fallen in Fayetteville.

At least most of the Razorback games will be easy to pick this year. We were 8-1 on the picks last week. That gives us a 26-9 record for the season.

Here are the picks for Week 5:

Texas A&M 37, Arkansas 20 — Special team problems were common in the Arkansas loss to Auburn. There was a 96-yard kickoff return, long punt returns and more. Arkansas outgained Auburn 290-225, but the Tigers didn’t have to go far for scores. Auburn has won the last three games in this series by a combined 116 points. It was the eighth consecutive year for Arkansas to lose its Southeastern Conference opener. The last win in an SEC opener was against Georgia in 2010. Arkansas falls to 11-16-1 in the series with Auburn. Guz Malzahn is 5-1 against the Hogs as the Auburn head coach. This week’s opponent isn’t a vintage Aggie squad, but it’s not bad. Texas A&M gave Jimbo Fisher a 10-year, $75 million contract to win SEC and national titles, not to go to minor bowls. The Aggies are off to a 2-2 start this year with victories of 59-7 over Northwestern State of Louisiana and 48-10 over Louisiana-Monroe. They looked pretty good in a 28-26 loss to Clemson and not so good in a 45-23 loss last Saturday to Alabama. The Tide’s starting quarterback passed for 387 yards against a fragile Aggie secondary. Unfortunately, Arkansas doesn’t have a good quarterback to take advantage of that secondary.

Arkansas State 31, Georgia Southern 27 — The Red Wolves open Sun Belt Conference play against a Georgia Southern team that fell 43-25 a year ago to ASU. Arkansas State is 3-1 for the first time since 2008. Last week’s 27-20 victory over UNLV in Jonesboro was the first time for an Arkansas State team to defeat nonconference FBS opponents back to back since moving to the FBS 26 years ago. Justice Hansen was 19 of 27 passing for 199 yards in the win over UNLV. Georgia Southern is 2-1 with victories of 37-6 over South Carolina State and 34-13 over Massachusetts. The loss was to Clemson by a score of 38-7.

UCA 29, Sam Houston State 24 — The Bears have had two weeks to prepare for this road game. Sam Houston State started the season with a 41-32 victory over Prairie View A&M and has since lost 24-23 to North Dakota and 27-7 to Nicholls State. If UCA hopes to compete for a Southland Conference title, this isn’t a game it can afford to lose.

Florida International 60, UAPB 10 — This isn’t going to be an enjoyable year for fans of the Golden Lions. They fell to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the SWAC last week with a 62-13 loss to Prairie View A&M. UAPB has now given up 152 points in its past two games. Prairie View had 588 yards of offense in the first half alone. It was the 10th loss in the past 11 games for UAPB and the sixth consecutive year for Prairie View to defeat UAPB. The Golden Lions go to Miami on Saturday to collect the check and take a beating from a Florida International squad coached by Butch Davis, the former head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and the North Carolina Tar Heels. He’s a University of Arkansas graduate whose first coaching job was as an assistant at Fayetteville High School in 1973. Davis’ team is 2-2 with wins of 28-20 over Old Dominion and 63-24 over Massachusetts along with losses of 38-28 to Indiana and 31-17 to Miami.

Ouachita 30, Arkansas Tech 21 — Ouachita moved to No. 7 nationally in the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll following a 42-0 victory in the rain last Saturday night over East Central Oklahoma. All six of Ouachita’s touchdowns came on the ground. Brockton Brown of Sheridan had three of those touchdowns. Ouachita, which is 4-0, led 28-0 at the half and never looked back. The home team limited East Central to just 82 yards rushing and eight first downs. Tech lost its first two games but has bounced back with two consecutive victories. Bryan Allen rushed for 175 yards on 33 carries last week in the Wonder Boys’ 24-10 victory over Southern Nazarene in Russellville. It’s homecoming this Saturday at Ouachita with a special noon kickoff.

Harding 57, UAM 28 — The 3-1 Bisons are No. 20 nationally following a 56-7 victory over 2-2 Oklahoma Baptist. Harding had three players rush for 100 yards or more. The Bisons finished with 508 yards of offense with 457 of that coming on the ground. Harding led 35-7 at halftime. UAM fell to 1-3 with a 21-7 loss to 2-2 Southeastern Oklahoma. The Boll Weevils were held scoreless until the fourth quarter and had just 195 yards of offense. They were three of 17 on third down. Expect Harding to be able to run the ball to its heart’s content on Saturday afternoon in Monticello.

Henderson 34, Southern Nazarene 33 — Reddie fans aren’t used to this kind of season. Henderson fell to 1-3 with a 35-31 loss to 2-2 Southwestern Oklahoma in Arkadelphia last Saturday night. The Reddies led 24-14 at halftime, but Southwestern scored with 28 seconds remaining to win it. Henderson had just 84 yards on the ground. Southern Nazarene is 1-3 but has shown it can be tough from time to time. The Crimson Storm led Arkansas Tech 10-0 at the half last week before falling 24-10. The Wonder Boys were held to 141 yards of offense in the first half but finished with a 377-116 advantage.

Southern Arkansas 40, Oklahoma Baptist 25 — The 4-0 Muleriders are No. 19 nationally following a 27-14 win over 1-3 Northwestern Oklahoma. The Muleriders outgained Northwestern 342-254 but didn’t put the visitors away until the fourth quarter. The task should be a bit easier this week against an Oklahoma Baptist squad that gave up 56 points in its loss to Harding.

 

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Rex’s Rankings: After five weeks

Monday, September 24th, 2018

Weather was a huge factor last Friday night, forcing some games to be called early and others to be moved to Saturday.

No. 1 North Little Rock defeated Little Rock Central by a final score of 38-8 in a game that was called after three quarters.

Bryant moves up following a 16-7 victory over Fort Smith Northside.

Conway moves up following a 45-19 victory over Fort Smith Southside.

Northside drops from No. 2 to No. 9 after its loss.

Fayetteville drops from No. 3 to No. 10 after a 31-28 loss to a Bentonville West team that had come in with an 0-3 record.

Here are the updated rankings after five weeks of the season:

OVERALL

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Bryant
  3. Conway
  4. Greenwood
  5. West Memphis
  6. Benton
  7. Warren
  8. Little Rock Christian
  9. Fort Smith Northside
  10. Fayetteville

CLASS 7A

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Bryant
  3. Conway
  4. Fort Smith Northside
  5. Fayetteville

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. West Memphis
  3. Benton
  4. El Dorado
  5. Searcy

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Little Rock McClellan
  4. Nettleton
  5. Harrison

CLASS 4A

  1. Warren
  2. Nashville
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Rivercrest
  5. Bauxite

CLASS 3A

  1. Booneville
  2. Prescott
  3. Clinton
  4. Smackover
  5. Mayflower

CLASS 2A

  1. Mount Ida
  2. Hazen
  3. Foreman
  4. McCrory
  5. Junction City

 

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College football: Week 4

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Silly me.

I picked Arkansas to win a close one last week in Fayetteville against North Texas. After all, Arkansas is in the Southeastern Conference and North Texas is, well, North Texas.

My thoughts in the aftermath of North Texas 44, Arkansas 17 are this: This has the makings of the worst Razorback team in my lifetime. And I’m 59.

Three Razorback quarterbacks played, and six interceptions were thrown. North Texas moved to 3-0 for the first time since 1989 and defeated an SEC opponent for the first time since 1975.

Arkansas had come into the game 9-0 against North Texas through the decades. The previous win had been by a score of 66-7 in 2007.

We were 7-3 on the picks last week as Henderson and UAM both let us down with road losses in Oklahoma.

The record thus far this year is 18-8.

Here are the picks for Week 4:

Auburn 51, Arkansas 21 — This could get ugly in a hurry. Auburn is smarting from a 22-21 loss to LSU. The visitors won on a 42-yard Cole Tracy field goal as time expired. That snapped a 13-game home winning streak dating back to the LSU game two years ago. LSU had trailed 21-10 at one point in that game. Auburn was impressive the first two weeks of the season with wins of 21-16 over Washington and 63-9 over Alabama State. Gus Malzahn’s team likely will return to form against Arkansas.

Arkansas State 29, UNLV 28 — This will be a good nonconference test for a Red Wolf team that is 2-1 following a 29-20 win last Saturday night at Tulsa. ASU normally plays money games against Power 5 teams on the road so it was the first nonconference road win since 2008. Quarterback Justice Hansen was 20 of 33 passing for 191 yards and also rushed for 80 yards on 14 carries. The Red Wolves finished with 214 yards on the ground. UNLV is also 2-1 with wins of 52-24 over UTEP and 46-17 over Prairie View A&M following a 43-21 loss to USC in the season opener.

Prairie View A&M 49, UAPB 30 — That score you read following last week’s UAPB game wasn’t a typo. The Golden Lions lost 90-6 at South Dakota State in a game that had the Jackrabbit coach apologizing afterward. It was 28-6 after one quarter, 49-6 at halftime and 70-6 after three quarters. Prairie View is 1-3 with a 40-24 victory over North Carolina Central to go along with losses of 31-28 to Rice, 41-32 to Sam Houston State and 46-17 to UNLV. UAPB is at home, but it’s hard to see this team winning more than one SWAC game this fall.

Ouachita 36, East Central Oklahoma 22 — Ouachita is 3-0 and moved up to No. 9 in this week’s American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll. Despite first-half injuries to two key performers (Kris Oliver and Drew Harris), the Tigers escaped Durant, Okla., with a 32-16 victory over a Southeastern Oklahoma team that was picked in the preseason to finish fourth in the Great American Conference. Southeastern had defeated Ouachita in each of the previous two seasons and led 16-14 at the end of the third quarter of this one. The Tigers outscored the Savage Storm 18-0 down the stretch. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brayden Brazeal out of England looks better with each passing week. He rushed for 136 yards and passed for another 108 yards. Ouachita gets 1-2 East Central Oklahoma at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia on Saturday night.

Southern Arkansas 39, Northwestern Oklahoma 27 — SAU is tied with Ouachita for the conference lead and ranked No. 21 nationally this week. The Muleriders went on the road a week ago and came home with a 36-12 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma. SAU outscored the Bulldogs 29-0 during the final 25 minutes of play to move to 3-0. This week’s opponent, 1-2 Northwestern Oklahoma, has some talent, but it won’t be enough to slow Barrett Renner, the conference’s best quarterback. Renner passed for 362 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Southwestern Oklahoma.

Harding 47, Oklahoma Baptist 19 — The Bisons bounced back from their loss to Southern Arkansas with a 42-0 pounding of Southern Nazarene last Saturday afternoon. Harding outgained the home team 367-51 with 356 of those yards coming on the ground. The 2-1 Bisons should have no problem this Saturday night in Searcy against a 2-1 Oklahoma Baptist team that fell by 24 points to Arkansas Tech a week ago. Harding is tied for 19th nationally in this week’s AFCA Division II poll.

Southeastern Oklahoma 32, UAM 25 — Southeastern Oklahoma is off to a 1-2 start but gave defending GAC champion Ouachita all it wanted for three quarters last week in Durant. UAM, meanwhile, fell to 1-2 with a 29-27 loss to East Central Oklahoma. To pull off a victory in Monticello on Saturday, the Boll Weevils must have a great day from veteran quarterback Cole Sears. He was 18 of 35 passing for 343 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to East Central.

Arkansas Tech 34, Southern Nazarene 18 — The Wonder Boys dropped their first two games to Southern Arkansas and Henderson but looked much better last Saturday in that 31-7 victory over previously undefeated Oklahoma Baptist. Tech built a 24-0 halftime lead. Redshirt freshman quarterback Carter Burcham passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. Southern Nazarene is 1-2 and was shut out by Harding a week ago. The Wonder Boys should roll on Saturday night in Russellville.

Henderson 31, Southwestern Oklahoma 26 — The Reddies, who won three of the first five GAC titles from 2011-15, are going to struggle throughout 2018. They’re 1-2 with the only win coming in overtime against Arkansas Tech. Henderson lost 30-24 at Northwestern Oklahoma last Saturday. Northwestern scored two touchdowns in the final nine minutes to win. It was the first time for a Henderson team to lose in the state of Oklahoma since the conference was created in 2011.

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Rex’s Rankings: After four weeks

Monday, September 17th, 2018

No. 1 North Little Rock is making high school football in Arkansas look good with wins over top programs from Oklahoma, Louisiana and Tennessee in its first three games.

The Charging Wildcats’ victim last week was Memphis Whitehaven by a final score of 46-35.

Meanwhile, the game of the week was Fayetteville’s 36-35 victory at Bryant. Both of those teams belong in the Top 5.

Welcome to two new members of the Top 10.

Benton moves in at No. 9 following a 56-41 victory over Cabot.

Little Rock Christian moves in at No. 10 following a 56-13 victory over Greenbrier.

It’s unusual to see a team other than Pulaski Academy at No 1 in Class 5A, but Little Rock Christian gets the nod for now.

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

OVERALL

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Fort Smith Northside
  3. Fayetteville
  4. Conway
  5. Bryant
  6. Warren
  7. Greenwood
  8. West Memphis
  9. Benton
  10. Little Rock Christian

CLASS 7A

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Fort Smith Northside
  3. Fayetteville
  4. Conway
  5. Bryant

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. West Memphis
  3. Benton
  4. El Dorado
  5. Searcy

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Little Rock McClellan
  4. Nettleton
  5. Harrison

CLASS 4A

  1. Warren
  2. Nashville
  3. Pulaski Robinson
  4. Rivercrest
  5. Southside Batesville

CLASS 3A

  1. Booneville
  2. Prescott
  3. Clinton
  4. Smackover
  5. Charleston

CLASS 2A

  1. Mount Ida
  2. Hazen
  3. Mineral Springs
  4. Foreman
  5. McCrory

 

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College football: Week 3

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

There just isn’t much good to say about the state of Razorback football these days.

Want a silver lining in the 34-27 loss to a Colorado State team that had come into last week’s game with an 0-2 record?

Well, Arkansas did gain 299 yards on the ground.

But the Razorbacks never found consistency at quarterback. The team had just 16 yards of offense in the fourth quarter. And Colorado State outgained Arkansas through the air 389-138.

It was the first time in 125 seasons of Razorback football for an Arkansas team to play in the state of Colorado. It was supposed to be a win.

Oh well.

We were only 5-3 on the picks last week. Not only did the Hogs let us down, Southern Arkansas upset Harding in Searcy, and we still can’t figure out the University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll Weevils.

That makes the record 11-5 for the young season.

Here are the picks for Week 3:

Arkansas 34, North Texas 32 — The game is in Fayetteville, and Arkansas could very well lose based on what we saw last week. Let’s suppose that these Arkansas players show some pride; that they’re embarrassed by what happened at Fort Collins. Let’s suppose that a big home crowd shows up and is loud. Let’s suppose that the new coaching staff learned important lessons last week. Let’s — at the risk of being called homers — go with Arkansas to win a close game. North Texas was 9-5 overall and 7-1 in Conference USA in 2017 when quarterback Mason Fine was the conference’s offensive player of the year with 4,052 yards passing. North Texas has come out of the starting gate strong with victories of 46-23 over SMU and 58-16 over Incarnate Word.

Arkansas State 35, Tulsa 33 — The Red Wolves completed their mission in Tuscaloosa last Saturday: They picked up that large check and got home safely. We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, and it wasn’t as Alabama rolled to a 57-7 victory. It was ASU’s biggest loss since a 63-7 defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech in 2002. The Tide outgained the Red Wolves 599-391 and led 19-0 after just 12 minutes of play. ASU head coach Blake Anderson put it best when he said: “We could have played our best game and still not won.” At least Arkansas State scored a third-quarter touchdown so it can say it has not been shut out in 119 games. The Red Wolves go to Tulsa on Saturday, and you have to wonder which Tulsa team will show up — the one that struggled to beat the University of Central Arkansas by a score of 38-27 in the first game or the one that gave Texas all it wanted in Austin last week before falling by a final score of 28-21. We’re going with Anderson’s Red Wolves in a tight one.

UCA 28, Southeastern Louisiana 20 — After coming close at Tulsa, the Bears played their home opener in the rain and posted a 26-13 victory over Murray State. It marked the first victory for Nathan Brown as the UCA head coach. Sophomore quarterback Breylin Smith was 24 of 31 passing for 301 yards and one touchdown. The Bears head to the New Orleans area on Saturday to face an 0-2 Southeastern Louisiana team that fell 34-31 to Louisiana-Monroe in the opener and 31-0 to LSU the following week at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

South Dakota State 41, UAPB 21 — After an embarrassing loss to an NCAA Division II school in Week 1 (Morehouse), the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff bounced back to pick on an NAIA opponent. The 55-0 victory over Cumberland from Tennessee was worth the 145-minute lightning delay at Simmons Bank Field. Shannon Patrick completed 10 of 11 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns for the Golden Lions. Now comes a long trip to Brookings, S.D., to take on South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits had their opener against Iowa State called off due to weather and then bounced back for a 45-14 victory over Montana State.

Harding 37, Southern Nazarene 14 — The Bisons were No. 7 in the country in Division II following their easy victory at Henderson in Week 1. Week 2 was a different story. Two fumbles were returned for touchdowns by Southern Arkansas against Harding on Sunday afternoon (the game was postponed Saturday night when the lightning wouldn’t let up), and the Bisons fell by a final score of 28-23. The 1-1 Bisons are now No. 21 in the country. Don’t forget that Harding teams tend to get better as the season goes on. Witness last year when the Bisons started 0-3 and then won 11 consecutive games while making it to the semifinals of the Division II playoffs. Expect Harding to take its frustration out on a 1-1 Southern Nazarene team on Saturday.

Southern Arkansas 40, Southwestern Oklahoma 29 — The 2-0 Muleriders moved into the Top 25 at No. 25 following the win over Harding. Coach Bill Keopple has his most talented team yet at Magnolia. Barrett Renner is the Great American Conference’s best quarterback, and the defense showed what it’s made of at Searcy on Sunday. SAU travels to Weatherford, Okla., this weekend to take on a Southwestern Oklahoma team that scored 49 points in a Week 1 win over UAM but just eight points in a Week 2 loss at Ouachita. We’re not sure which Bulldog team will show up in Week 3.

Ouachita 42, Southeastern Oklahoma 31 — Ouachita looked the part of the defending conference champion at Cliff Harris Stadium last Saturday night in a 41-8 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma. The 2-0 Tigers led 31-0 at halftime. Ouachita had 323 yards rushing with senior Kris Oliver from Arkadelphia getting 127 of those. Ouachita must travel to Durant, Okla., on Saturday to take on Southeastern Oklahoma, a program that always gives Tiger teams fits. In fact, Ouachita has lost to Southeastern in each of the past two seasons. The Savage Storm enters the game with a 1-1 record. Ouachita has moved up to No. 14 in the national rankings.

Henderson 30, Northwestern Oklahoma 27 — The Reddies looked bad in losing the first game to Harding but appeared to improve as they went on the road last Saturday and escaped Russellville with a 38-31 victory over Arkansas Tech in one overtime. Henderson forced overtime with a 21-yard touchdown pass with just 46 seconds remaining in regulation. Northwestern Oklahoma is 0-2 but gave Ouachita a challenge two weeks ago in Alva.

UAM 26, East Central Oklahoma 24 — The Boll Weevil defense gave up seven touchdown passes in a Week 1 loss to Southwestern Oklahoma but bounced back at home a week later for a 44-36 victory over a decent Northwestern Oklahoma team. Cole Sears was 14 of 27 passing for 243 yards and one touchdown for the Boll Weevils. East Central is 0-2 and hasn’t looked good in its first two games. The Boll Weevils, though, aren’t talented enough to overlook anyone.

Arkansas Tech 25, Oklahoma Baptist 22 — A year ago, this wouldn’t have been considered an upset pick. After all, Tech finished the regular season 8-3 and just missed out on a piece of the GAC title. Oklahoma Baptist, meanwhile, joined East Central in the cellar at 2-9. This year, however, Tech is off to an 0-2 start with losses to Southern Arkansas and Henderson. And Oklahoma Baptist is off to a surprising 2-0 start.

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Rex Ranking’s: After three weeks

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

What did we learn last week in high school football?

We learned that North Little Rock is as good as advertised. The Charging Wildcats went to Shreveport and downed traditional powerhouse Evangel Christian in a game that didn’t end until after midnight.

We learned that Cabot might be for real in Mike Malham’s final year as head coach.

We learned not to count Greenwood out just yet.

And we learned (or maybe we already knew) that Pulaski Academy makes Arkansas high school football look good anytime it leaves the state.

Here are the updated rankings after three weeks of the season:

OVERALL

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Fort Smith Northside
  3. Bryant
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Cabot
  6. Conway
  7. Pulaski Academy
  8. Warren
  9. Greenwood
  10. West Memphis

CLASS 7A

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Fort Smith Northside
  3. Bryant
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Cabot

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. West Memphis
  3. Benton
  4. Pine Bluff
  5. El Dorado

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock McClellan
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Nettleton
  5. Harrison

CLASS 4A

  1. Warren
  2. Nashville
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Rivercrest
  5. Southside Batesville

CLASS 3A

  1. Booneville
  2. Prescott
  3. Clinton
  4. Smackover
  5. Charleston

CLASS 2A

  1. Mount Ida
  2. Hazen
  3. Mineral Springs
  4. Junction City
  5. Foreman

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College football: Week 2

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The big story was Storey.

Ty Storey came off the bench in Arkansas’ 55-20 victory over Eastern Illinois to pass for 261 yards and three touchdowns. That probably set him up to be the Arkansas quarterback going forward in this first season of the Chad Morris era.

Other highlights on a warm afternoon in Fayetteville when fewer than 50,000 people showed up included:

— The Razorback defense recovering five fumbles, including four in the first half. Those turnovers were converted into 24 points. It was the most takeaways for a Razorback defense since a 2014 game against Ole Miss.

— Only four penalties for 40 yards on Arkansas.

The 55 points were the second most ever scored by an Arkansas team in its first game under a new coach. Arkansas squads are now 6-0 against schools from the Ohio Valley Conference. The last time Arkansas lost a home opener was against USC in 2006.

It’s strange for a Southeastern Conference team to travel to a place such as Colorado State, but that’s what’s on tap for Saturday. This is an Arkansas team that will struggle once SEC play begins, but expect the Hogs to come home from Colorado with a 2-0 record.

We were 6-2 on the picks for the first week of the season.

Even though UAPB is an FCS program, we should know better than to pick the Golden Lions even when they’re playing a Division II school. UAPB has let us down time after time in recent years, and last Saturday night in Pine Bluff was no different as the Golden Lions lost to Division II Morehouse, 34-30.

We also missed on one of the four Great American Conference games involving Arkansas teams when the University of Arkansas at Monticello came up short at Southwestern Oklahoma.

Here are the picks for Week 2:

Arkansas 48, Colorado State 21 — Let’s get right to the point: This isn’t a good Colorado State team. It lost 43-34 to Hawaii two weeks ago and then came back six days later with a 45-13 loss to Colorado. This will be the third consecutive week for Colorado State to play at home and the third consecutive week for the game to be on the CBS Sports Network. The CBS crew will no doubt be ready for a change of scenery after Saturday’s contest at Canvas Stadium. Colorado State has the nation’s 112th-ranked run defense. The Rams have allowed an average of 228.5 rushing yards per game in the losses to Hawaii and Colorado.

Alabama 57, Arkansas State 20 — The Red Wolves opened the season in Jonesboro with a 48-21 victory over Southeast Missouri State. ASU quarterback Justice Hansen threw a school-record six touchdown passes. That’s the most TD passes for a Sun Belt Conference player since 2011. Seven ASU receivers caught touchdown passes, the most in school history. The 685 yards of offense were the third most in school history. ASU will score some points Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The problem is that No. 1 Alabama will score a lot more. The Tide was impressive last Saturday night in a 51-14 win over Bobby Petrino’s Louisville team. The only real question this Saturday afternoon is whether Nick Saban will bite the heads off reporters after the game. The goals for Arkansas State: Don’t get anyone injured, pick up the check and have a safe trip home.

UCA 37, Murray State 22 — The FCS Bears had a chance last Saturday night to defeat an FBS opponent. UCA led 27-24 at Tulsa with 11 minutes left after scoring on a fumble recovery. Tulsa came back to win by 11 points, 38-27. The first victory of the Nathan Brown coaching era will come this Saturday night on the stripes in Conway against a Murray State team that dropped its opener to Southern Illinois by a final score of 49-10. There might be a new head coach, but there’s also enough returning talent for UCA to win a second consecutive Southland Conference championship.

UAPB 19, Cumberland 18 — You’re right. FCS schools have no business losing at home to Division II schools. But UAPB has made a habit of it in recent years, and last Saturday night was no different. Against our best instincts (since we were burned last week), we’re going to go with the Golden Lions against an NAIA team. Tiny Cumberland is 2-1 following a 24-14 loss to Bluefield College and a 32-28 victory over Union College. In his second game as the UAPB head coach, Cedric Thomas should be a bit more comfortable.

Harding 35, Southern Arkansas 33 — It’s only the second week of the season, but this game in Searcy on Saturday night could go a long way toward determining the GAC champion in 2018. Harding, which advanced to the Division II semifinals a year ago, was impressive in a 41-17 win over Henderson in Arkadelphia. That’s especially noteworthy since Henderson is a solid program that won three of the first five GAC titles. Southern Arkansas, meanwhile, has the best quarterback in the conference Barrett Renner, who was 25 of 36 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-0 victory over Arkansas Tech. It was 38-0 at halftime, in fact, before the Muleriders began putting in the substitutes. We’ll give a slight edge to the Bisons since they’re at home.

Henderson 29, Arkansas Tech 27 — Henderson fell to 6-5 a year ago, and it appears the Reddies might struggle again this fall. Arkansas Tech was 8-3 in the regular season last year, but the Wonder Boys have not been able to find a reliable quarterback for 2018. The Reddies also are in search of a tested quarterback. The loser of this one is in for a long season.

Ouachita 49, Southwestern Oklahoma 40 — The defending GAC champion made the long trip to Northwestern Oklahoma and came home with a 29-21 victory. It marked the 12th consecutive season-opening victory for a Ouachita program that has 10 consecutive winning seasons and three conference titles in the past seven years. The Tigers led 20-0 before letting off the gas a little too early. The defense will get quite a test on Saturday night at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia against a Southwestern Oklahoma squad that scored 49 points in a season-opening victory over UAM.

Northwestern Oklahoma 30, UAM 26 — This is a Northwestern Oklahoma program that gets better with each passing year. The Boll Weevil defense is going to have to play far better than it did a week ago to capture the home victory at Cotton Boll Stadium in Monticello on Saturday night.

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Rex’s Rankings: After two weeks

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

There were plenty of interesting games on the second Friday night of the high school football season.

Fort Smith Northside had its way with Greenwood, 31-16. And few teams ever have their way with Greenwood. Thus Northside makes one of the biggest jumps in the history of our poll.

Fayetteville made high school football in Arkansas look good with a 45-31 victory over an Owasso team out of Oklahoma that was nationally ranked in some polls.

Cabot, beginning its final season with Mike Malham as head coach, shocked a talented Pine Bluff team, 35-14.

Conway proved it was for real with a 24-21 victory over Bentonville.

Let’s get right to the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Fort Smith Northside
  3. Bryant
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Cabot
  6. Conway
  7. Pulaski Academy
  8. Warren
  9. Greenwood
  10. West Memphis

CLASS 7A

  1. North Little Rock
  2. Fort Smith Northside
  3. Bryant
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Cabot

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. West Memphis
  3. Benton
  4. El Dorado
  5. Pine Bluff

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock McClellan
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Texarkana
  5. Nettleton

CLASS 4A

  1. Warren
  2. Nashville
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Hamburg
  5. Rivercrest

CLASS 3A

  1. Booneville
  2. Prescott
  3. Clinton
  4. McGehee
  5. Glen Rose

CLASS 2A

  1. Mount Ida
  2. Hazen
  3. Mineral Springs
  4. Junction City
  5. Des Arc

 

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