We were 5-0 with our picks last week to bring us to 56-28 for the season. That was not a good thing for the Arkansas schools, mind you, since we picked four of the five to lose.
The Hogs took care of business at War Memorial Stadium. You know your team’s offense is rolling when you score 42 points in an SEC game and everyone states that the offense was “out of sync.” How quickly have Ryan Mallett and Bobby Petrino spoiled us?
A bad season for Arkansas State got even worse Saturday as the Red Wolves were thrashed on the road at Middle Tennessee State. With a record of 2-8, Steve Roberts’ team badly needs victories over two of the weakest teams on its schedule, North Texas and Western Kentucky, in the final two games of the 2009 season.
UCA, meanwhile, continues to lose close games, falling to 5-6 with a four-point loss at McNeese State. The Bears’ six losses have been by margins of three, three, three, four, four and five points.
UAPB was thrashed on the road by a rejuvenated Prairie View A&M program. Prairie View is a school that once set an NCAA record for the most consecutive losses.
And Arkansas Tech ended its season with a loss in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs to Terry Bowden’s North Alabama club, which boasts more than 20 Division I transfers. The Wonder Boys, however, should be proud of their final 9-3 record. Two of those losses came to North Alabama, which likely will win the Division II national title. The other loss came to West Alabama, which made it to the second round of the playoffs. The Gulf South Conference continues to be the SEC of Division II. It was good to see an Arkansas school get one of the conference’s three playoff berths this year.
Here are this week’s picks:
Arkansas 38, LSU 35 — Les Miles is to clock management what Mark Mangino is to proper nutrition. It sure would be fun to be in south Louisiana listening to talk radio this week. At least they have the undefeated Saints. How often through the years have the Saints rather than the Tigers been that state’s football bright spot? This game could be billed as the “give me Liberty or give me Cotton” game. A loss likely puts Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl at Memphis. A win likely puts Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl at Arlington. Would it not be neat for the first Cotton Bowl to be played in Jerry Jones’ new stadium to pit Arkansas against Nebraska? It would come 45 years after an Arkansas team on which Jones played defeated Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl to win a national championship. Jerry could host a reunion of those two teams. The media coverage would be tremendous. His stadium would be packed on Jan. 2 with people wearing red. So can Arkansas win under the lights at Baton Rouge? Those Razorback fans who think it’s going to be easy are delusional. But this Razorback offense gets better by the week. We’ll stay on the bandwagon and predict that the Hogs win late in what will turn into a track meet.
Arkansas State 29, North Texas 21 — We keep thinking the Red Wolves will win again. This would be a good week to do so. In fact, I’m planning to be in Joneboro to see if they can down the Not So Mean Green. North Texas is 2-9. The wins have come over Ball State and Western Kentucky. The losses have been to Ohio, Alabama, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida Atlantic, Troy, Louisiana-Monroe, Florida International and Army.
UAPB 38, Texas Southern 35 — UAPB is 5-4. Texas Southern is 4-5. The two schools meet at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Saturday afternoon for the Lone Star Classic. We think Monte Coleman’s much improved Golden Lions can end their season on a high note.
UCA 24, North Dakota 17 — How on earth do you end your season at home with a nonconference game against North Dakota? We’re not sure. The Fighting Sioux are members of a crazy conference known as the Great West. It’s made up of 10 schools from New Jersey to Texas to California. What a travel nightmare. You’re in New Jersey and in the Great West? West of Ireland? At any rate, this is a 5-5 team that has wins over Northwestern State of Louisiana, South Dakota, Stony Brook (in the much anticipated Potato Bowl), Cal Poly and Southern Oregon. The losses have been to Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin, Sioux Falls, Southern Utah and UC-Davis. What the heck? Call us homers. We’ll pick all the Arkansas schools to win on this final full week of the regular season.