College football: Week 2

It will be quite a Saturday of college football in our state since Arkansans can attend college games at any of six locations.

Games are scheduled for Little Rock, Jonesboro, Arkadelphia, Searcy, Pine Bluff and Monticello.

In other words, there will be college games in almost every part of the state. You have no excuse not to get out and see a college game Saturday.

We went 4-2 with our predictions in Week 1.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was a huge disappointment, losing to an NAIA school in the Delta Classic at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium last Saturday.

There’s simply no excuse for an NCAA Division I-AA school (again, we refuse to use that FBS and FCS stuff) to EVER lose to an NAIA school.

It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season for the Golden Lions.

Even with that upset, we appeared to be well on the way to a 5-1 week as Arkansas Tech led UAM, 31-10, at the end of the third quarter on a windy Saturday night in Monticello.

I was in the stands for that game and was considering leaving early. After all, the Wonder Boys were dominating the contest. Then, one of the most amazing turnarounds I’ve ever witnessed occurred.

UAM outscored Tech 28-0 in the fourth quarter to go to 1-0 in the Hud Jackson era. Jackson is a quality coach and brought three assistants with him from UCA. If they all stay, this will be a program to watch in a couple of years. I still believe the Weevils will struggle at times this season, but the program is without a doubt headed in the right direction.

Our family will be split Saturday.

I’ll head to Arkadelphia to see Ouachita open its season against East Central Oklahoma.

My wife and youngest son will be at War Memorial Stadium to watch Arkansas slaughter New Mexico.

On to the picks for Week 2:

Arkansas 51, New Mexico 17 — Well, we got half of the equation exactly right last week. We called it Arkansas 51-17 over Missouri State, and the Hogs won 51-7. What the heck. We’ll go with 51-17 again this week. Colorado State beat the Lobos, 14-10, last weekend. Trailing by four, New Mexico had the ball at the Colorado State 15 with 23 seconds left. But quarterback Tarean Austin fumbled when he was sacked, and Colorado State recovered that fumble. It would be nice to see the Razorbacks better establish their running game this week.

Arkansas State 37, Memphis 31 — The Hugh Freeze era at Arkansas State opened with a 33-15 loss to Illinois (we had predicted 36-22). Meanwhile, Memphis fell last week to Mississippi State, 59-14. A longtime observer of the Memphis sports scene tells me this just might be the worst Tiger team he has ever seen. A big crowd should be on hand in Jonesboro on Saturday night to pull the Red Wolves through. ASU has played Memphis more than any other opponent in school history. This will be the 56th meeting in a series that Memphis leads by seven games. An Arkansas State victory would extend its winning streak in home openers to seven games. However, note that ASU has lost eight consecutive nonconference games.

Alcorn State 40, UAPB 30 — It’s a bit hard to get excited about the Golden Lions after the egg laid against Langston. The SWAC, however, is perhaps the most difficult conference to predict in America. Alcorn State began the year with a 21-14 loss to Grambling in a game played at Shreveport. Monte Coleman, now 13-21 as the head coach at UAPB, needs his team to win its home opener.

Louisiana Tech 32, UCA 23 — Clint Conque takes his Bears to Ruston, where he was once an assistant at Louisana Tech. UCA looked good at times in its 38-14 win over Henderson before a record crowd at Conway’s Estes Stadium. If quarterback Nathan Dick has a good night passing, the Bears could hang with Louisiana Tech for at least three quarters. Louisiana Tech is 0-1. Danny Hrapmann’s 49-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining lifted Southern Mississippi to a 19-17 victory over the Bulldogs in the rain at Hattiesburg.

Arkansas Tech 34, Southwest Baptist 30 — Coach Steve Mullins runs a first-class program at Tech. Even with a freshman quarterback, I have a hard time believing the Wonder Boys won’t bounce back from that epic collapse against UAM. Southwest Baptist will be playing for a second consecutive week at home in Bolivar, Mo. The Bearcats began the season with a 28-19 win over Bacone College, a tiny NAIA school from Muskogee, Okla. Southwest Baptist trailed 19-7 at the half of that game.

Harding 21, Henderson 19 — It’s the biggest game to date in the young life of the Great American Conference. Both of these teams are capable of winning a conference championship. The Reddies earned a share of the Gulf South Conference championship a year ago, but it was evident in Conway that they miss quarterback Nick Hardesty. Still, the Reddies are loaded with talent with 16 starters returning off the championship team. Harding was impressive in its season opener as the Bisons rolled over hapless Southern Arkansas in Magnolia, 63-14. Harding set school records for rushing yards in a game (515) and rushing touchdowns (seven). The Bisons were the only team in NCAA Division II to rush for seven touchdowns. Henderson leads the all-time series, 28-17-1, but Harding has won the past six meetings in Searcy. The game is in Searcy so we’ll give a slight edge to the Bisons. It should be a heck of a game.

Ouachita 27, East Central Oklahoma 24 — Ouachita starts the season a week later than anyone else. Did you know that Ouachita has the best winning percentage during the past three seasons combined of any college program in the state? UCA is second, and the University of Arkansas is third. Ouachita is also the only college program in Arkansas that has had three consecutive winning seasons. The key question is how much the graduation of quarterback Eli Cranor will affect the Tigers. A Conway product, Casey Cooper, will get the start at quarterback Saturday night in Arkadelphia. East Central is 1-0 after a 31-21 win at Incarnate Word in San Antonio last week. East Central won its first and only Lone Star Conference North Division title last year. Ouachita has a 10-4 advantage in the overall series.

Southwestern Oklahoma 39, Southern Arkansas 24 — The Muleriders’ loss at home last week to Harding was the school’s worst loss in 53 years (dating back to a 52-0 defeat at the hands of Louisiana College in Pineville, La., in 1958). It was the worst Mulerider loss in Magnolia since a 51-0 loss to Northwestern State of Louisiana in 1917. Southern Arkansas is 4-17 since the start of the 2009 season. Southwestern Oklahoma began its season with a 31-28 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma.

UAM 50, Texas College 10 — Let’s get right to the point: Texas College is awful. Ouachita began its season against Texas College the past two years. The Tigers won 52-6 in 2009 and 70-0 in 2010. Texas College began its season a week ago with a 58-0 loss to Lamar. The Weevils will be 2-0 in the Hud Jackson era.

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