After having gone 13-0 on the picks the previous two weeks, our winning percentage took a bit of a hit last week with a 4-3 record.
UCA continues to be a disappointment. The Bears let us down with a loss to Northwestern State of Louisiana, which had come into the game with just a 3-5 record.
In the Great American Conference, we knew that the Ouachita-Southern Arkansas game would be close. We had picked Ouachita to win by a single point. Playing inspired football in the second half before a large homecoming crowd in Magnolia (while Ouachita was without its star senior running back, Chris Rycraw), the Muleriders won by eight points.
Arkansas Tech upset East Central Oklahoma on the road, something we didn’t see coming. Tech gets a little better with each passing week under its first-year head coach.
As for the Razorbacks, we called for a 40-30 Auburn victory. It was a 35-17 Auburn win that went about as expected.
Unfortunately, these Razorback games are becoming all too easy to pick.
Here’s the good news for Hog fans who are going on the road this weekend: The kickoff is early, and Oxford is a great place to spend a pretty fall afternoon. You can get the game out of the way with lots of time to spare. Eat downtown. Visit Square Books. Go to Rowan Oak. At least make your trip worthwhile even if the game is not.
Arkansas’ current six-game losing streak is its longest in 23 years. If you’re keeping count, that was the start of the glorious Jack Crowe era in Fayetteville.
Auburn continues to be the surprise of the Southeastern Conference. You must give Fort Smith native Gus Malzahn his due for getting the Tigers to 8-1. I’m sure last Saturday’s game was more important to Malzahn than he was letting on. He was 0-3 at Fayetteville as a visiting offensive coordinator. He lost 30-23 in 2008 when he was at Tulsa, he lost 44-23 in 2009 when he was at Auburn and he lost 38-14 in 2011 when he was at Auburn. That’s not to mention all of the Arkansans on the Auburn staff — Tim Horton, J.B. Grimes, Rhett Lashlee.
The other losing streaks of six or more games in Razorback history were in 1950, 1952, 1958 and 1990.
As noted, the record last week was 4-3, making the record 61-13 for the season.
Let’s move on to the picks for Week 11:
Ole Miss 27, Arkansas 17 — Hugh Freeze has done a great job in less than two seasons at Ole Miss. The Rebels had their fans excited with a 3-0 start that included victories over Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri and Texas. Losses on the road to Alabama and Auburn followed. In one of the year’s most exciting games, Texas A&M dropped Ole Miss to 3-3 with a 41-38 victory at Oxford. Since then, the Rebels have upset LSU, 27-24, and cruised past Paul Petrino’s Idaho squad by a score of 59-14. This will mark the Rebels’ fourth consecutive game in Oxford. Some of their fans have probably never left The Grove during the past month. Ole Miss had an open date last Saturday, meaning the Rebels have had two weeks to heal and prepare for the Razorbacks.
Louisiana-Monroe 38, Arkansas State 34 — Razorback fans know all about UL-M quarterback Kolton Browning. Many thought Browning’s career was over earlier this season when he suffered a quadriceps tear in a loss to Tulane. But Browning, a tough competitor, returned. He completed 21 of his 31 passes last week against Troy for 354 yards and five touchdowns. Browning is the school’s all-time leading passer. Louisiana-Monroe is 5-4. Its victories have come by scores of 48-10 over Grambling, 21-19 over Wake Forest, 21-14 over Texas State, 38-10 over Georgia State and 49-37 over Troy. The losses have been by scores of 34-0 to Oklahoma, 70-7 to Baylor, 31-14 to Tulane and 31-10 to Western Kentucky. ASU heads to Monroe with a 4-4 record, having righted the ship in Mobile last Saturday with a 17-16 victory over South Alabama. The Red Wolves couldn’t score on seven first-half possessions and trailed 6-0 at the half of that game. They went ahead with 6:29 left in the game. Poor South Alabama has now lost five games by a total of 12 points.
Southeastern Louisiana 32, UCA 29 — UCA has yet to live up to expectations. The Bears are 5-4 overall and 2-2 in the Southland Conference following that 31-28 loss to Northwestern State. The Bears outgained the Demons 438 yards to 333 yards. UCA quarterback Ryan Howard finished 26 of 43 passing for 276 yards. The Bears will need to win their final three games to have a shot at a conference title and a third consecutive playoff berth. Southeastern Louisiana comes in red hot following a 41-7 thrashing of McNeese State in Lake Charles last weekend. Southeastern is 7-2 overall and 4-0 in conference play. A six-game winning streak includes victories of 34-31 over Samford, 35-3 over Incarnate Word, 56-14 over Stephen F. Austin, 37-22 over Northwestern State, 56-14 over Lamar and that big win over McNeese State. The game is in Conway. The Bears will have to have their best effort to have a chance.
UAPB 21, Grambling 19 — UAPB has had two weeks to prepare for a Grambling squad that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this season. The Golden Lions started the season with seven consecutive losses and then got a victory at Mississippi Valley State. Grambling also started with seven consecutive losses, failed to show up for a game at Jackson State in an incident that received national media attention, lost 23-17 to Texas Southern after the players decided to end their boycott and then posted a 47-40 victory over Mississippi Valley State. We’ll give the Golden Lions a slight edge since they’re at home.
Henderson 47, Southern Arkansas 30 — The Reddies are 9-0 overall, 8-0 in the GAC, ranked No. 4 nationally in NCAA Division II and just two games away from going undefeated in the regular season for a second consecutive year. And the game against the Muleriders is in Arkadelphia. Henderson had five interceptions in the first half last week at Monticello en route to a 30-0 lead. The Reddies then let off the gas and ended up beating the Boll Weevils by a score of 37-21. Southern Arkansas was picked in the preseason to finish second in the conference behind Henderson. SAU went 8-2 in the regular season last year. Southern Arkansas failed to live up to expectations in the first part of the season but looked like its old self in the second half last week, coming from behind to defeat Ouachita, 31-23. Chris Terry caught three touchdown passes from Tyler Sykora in that game as the Muleriders improved to 5-3.
Ouachita 40, UAM 31 — Ouachita started the season 5-0 but has dropped two of its past three games. Granted, those losses were by narrow margins to two talented teams, Harding and Southern Arkansas. Granted, Ouachita was without its best receiver against Harding and without its best running back against SAU. But Ouachita had best not take a win over UAM for granted. The Tigers will have to come to play Saturday afternoon in Arkadelphia against a Boll Weevil team that is much improved over the group that finished 1-10 a year ago. These Weevils are 5-4 overall and 4-4 in conference play. A win in one of the final two games will secure a winning season.
Harding 36, East Central Oklahoma 22 — The Bisons are 6-2 following a 42-10 victory last Saturday at Southeastern Oklahoma. The Bisons rushed for 267 yards in that game while limiting Southeastern to just 24 yards rushing. If Harding can take care of business this week against East Central and next week against Arkansas Tech, it likely will find itself playing in that new bowl game at Texarkana on the first Saturday in December. East Central comes into Saturday afternoon’s game at Searcy with a 4-4 record.
Arkansas Tech 29, Southeastern Oklahoma 15 — As stated earlier, this is a Tech team that’s getting better. The Wonder Boys improved their record to 4-5 with that 26-17 victory at East Central Oklahoma. The Tech defense came up with five interceptions and a fumble recovery in the game. Southeastern Oklahoma comes to Russellville with a 2-7 record. Tech should be able to even its record at 5-5 and could finish with a winning record with an upset of Harding on Nov. 16.