With the disappointment surrounding the University of Arkansas’ football season thus far, what has been ignored somewhat is what a great year of college football this has been overall for Arkansas teams.
For three consecutive weeks, no Arkansas team has lost to an out-of-state opponent. Teams from Arkansas are 15-0 against out-of-state foes during that period.
Of the 10 college programs in the state, eight have winning records as we move into late October. Only the Razorbacks and the University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll Weevils have losing records.
Four of the eight teams with winning records have a combined mark of 26-3 with the losses coming to each other.
Henderson is 8-0 for the first time since 1975 and ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division II.
Harding is 6-1 and ranked No. 19 in NCAA Division II.
Ouachita is 6-1 and ranked No. 20 in NCAA Division II.
Southern Arkansas is 6-1 and receiving votes in the NCAA Division II poll.
UCA is 6-2.
UAPB is 5-2.
Yes, it’s a very good year. Too many Arkansans don’t know or appreciate that fact due to a media (print and broadcast) that’s now obsessed with every ingrown toenail at Fayetteville.
Believe me, I understand the place of the Razorbacks in the Arkansas culture and have written about it extensively. But the coverage of these minute details (for the television stations that brand their sportscasts Razorback Nation, do you not think we’re sophisticated enough here in Arkansas to follow multiple teams?) and the talk radio listeners who drone on and on about the Hogs are tiresome.
Whenever I head east, I prefer talk radio shows out of Memphis. At least you will get callers discussing multiple SEC teams and subjects such as Cardinal baseball.
I miss the days when Jim Bailey covered the old AIC for the Arkansas Gazette and his stories were run on the front of the sports section.
I’m a relic for keeping up with all 10 of this state’s college football programs. I suppose I should instead be trolling the message boards and reading every detail about that 17-year-old kid from Texas who might or might not sign a letter of intent with the Hogs.
We were 4-2 on the picks last week, making the record 52-12 for the season.
Let’s get to the picks for Week 9:
Louisiana-Lafayette 28, Arkansas State 25 — I hate the idea of a college football game on a Tuesday night. I just hate it, almost as much as I hate those new Razorback uniforms. Like I said, I’m a relic. I realize that the Sun Belt schools need the national television exposure. And this should be a pretty decent game tonight on ESPN2 (Joe Tessitore and Desmond Howard have the call). ASU is 4-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Louisiana-Lafayette is 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Sun Belt. The Cajun wins have come by scores of 40-0 over Lamar, 37-24 over Troy, 48-20 over Florida International and 41-13 over Tulane. The losses have been by scores of 65-24 to Oklahoma State and 30-23 to North Texas. It’s Gus Malzahn’s biggest game to date in his first year as a college head coach. We’ll give the advantage to the home team in what should be a close game.
Arkansas 34, Ole Miss 31 — They’ll be having brunch on the War Memorial golf course Saturday morning with that early start. Arkansas has played much better the past two games, but Hugh Freeze also has the Rebels playing well. It should be a close, fun game between two mediocre college football teams. Ole Miss opened the season with wins of 49-27 over UCA and 28-10 over UTEP. Since then, the Rebels have lost 66-31 to Texas, won 39-0 against Tulane, lost 33-14 to Alabama, lost 30-27 to Texas A&M and routed Auburn by a score of 41-20.
UCA 30, Southeastern Louisiana 21 — The Bears are 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Southland Conference after a somewhat lethargic performance in Conway that resulted in a 24-14 win over Lamar. Expect a better effort this week as the Bears play at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, La. Southeastern Louisiana is 3-4 overall but has a 3-0 conference rercord with wins of 25-24 over McNeese State, 31-21 over Lamar and 27-22 over Northwestern State. The nonconference losses have been by scores of 62-10 to Missouri, 31-14 to South Dakota State, 23-6 to Tennessee-Martin and 52-3 to UAB.
UAPB 15, Mississippi Valley State 12 — The Golden Lions have a two-game lead in the Western Division of the SWAC following an impressive 50-21 victory over Southern University in Baton Rouge. UAPB scored 41 points in the first half, a school record for points scored in a half of football. Monte Coleman has his team playing well with records of 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the SWAC. Sophomore quarterback Ben Anderson was 15 of 20 passing against Southern for 296 yards while also rushing for 75 yards. UAPB had a season-high 510 yards of offense. Mississippi Valley State brings a 2-5 record to Pine Bluff on Saturday. The wins have been by scores of 6-0 over Southern University and 45-21 over Grambling. The losses have been by scores of 20-19 to Concordia, 29-7 to Alabama State, 45-14 to Northwestern State of Louisiana, 35-0 to Alabama A&M and 14-7 in two overtimes to Jackson State.
Henderson 44, Southern Arkansas 30 — It’s another huge game in the GAC after big games the previous two weekends between Henderson and Harding (won by Henderson) and Harding and Ouachita (won by Harding). Following Ouachita’s loss last Saturday, Henderson is the only undefeated team left in the state. The Reddies beat East Central Oklahoma by a score of 49-14 Saturday afternoon in Arkadelphia. Sophomore sensation Kevin Rodgers was 29 of 41 passing for 378 yards. He already has set a school record for career touchdown passes as a sophomore with 44. Henderson outgained East Central, 464 yards to 257 yards. Southern Arkansas’ only loss has been to Harding on a last-second field goal in the Boomtown Classic at El Dorado. The Muleriders improved to 6-1 last Saturday with a 47-14 win over Southern Nazarene. SAU also has a quality quarterback in Tyler Sykora. He was 25 of 44 passing for 337 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s game. The Muleriders will score some points at home but won’t be able to slow the Henderson offensive juggernaut, which I’m beginning to think has enough talent to win a national championship.
Ouachita 20, East Central Oklahoma 17 — Ouachita was 6-0 and ranked No. 10 nationally coming into its game against Harding but did not play well. Harding went 70 yards in 13 running plays to score on its first drive and never looked back. Nothing will come easy this Saturday for Ouachita. East Central is 3-5 but usually plays well at home in Ada.
Harding 35, Arkansas Tech 29 — Looking at the schedule, I think the Bisons will finish 9-1 and earn a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs. They were most impressive in the win at Ouachita and get the Wonder Boys this week in Searcy. Tech started the season slowly but is now 5-3 after four consecutive victories.
Southeastern Oklahoma 28, UAM 21 — The Bolls Weevils are 1-7 and can’t catch a break this season. Quarterback Damon Wicker was going in for what would have been the winning touchdown last Saturday at Arkansas Tech with 15 seconds left in the game but fumbled the football just before reaching the end zone. Tech held on, 24-21. Southeastern Oklahoma brings a 3-4 record to Monticello.