Archive for the ‘College football’ Category

College football: Week 13

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

The question as the University of Arkansas football team heads to Baton Rouge to take on the No. 1 team in the nation this week is this: Just how bad will it be?

The expectation of Arkansas fans in this first game of the post-Chad Morris era is that the team will play harder for Barry Lunney Jr. than it did for Morris. That’s really all they can hope for at this point.

My real hope is that people will show up at War Memorial Stadium on the day after Thanksgiving to support Lunney, an Arkansan through and through. On a day when many Americans take off work and watch college football, we don’t want a CBS national telecast to show thousands of empty seats. It’s time to show some Arkansas pride.

A large crowd for what I believe is a winnable game against Missouri would not only show support for the interim head coach but would also be a nice tribute to the legacy of his father, Barry Lunney Sr., who was a high school coaching legend. If the weather is decent, I believe there will be an additional 10,000 to 15,000 people at War Memorial Stadium who wouldn’t have attended had Morris still been the coach.

Lunney Sr. went 248-90-1 during 28 seasons as a high school head coach. He led Fort Smith Southside to state titles in 1991, 1992, 1997 and 2002 and then won state championships at Bentonville in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014. He retired from coaching following the 2014 season.

Lunney Jr. has fond memories of attending Razorback games with a grandfather who lettered at the school from 1946-49. Lunney Jr. lettered as a Razorback from 1992-95, starting 40 games at quarterback. He was a captain on the 1995 squad that played in the SEC championship game for the first time in school history.

Lunney Jr. also played baseball at Arkansas. He spent one season playing minor league baseball in the Minnesota Twins’ organization. He then decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, coaching for two seasons as a graduate assistant at Arkansas and then going to Tulsa. That was followed by two seasons at San Jose State before a return home to serve as offensive coordinator for his father at Bentonville from 2005-13. He became a Razorback assistant coach in 2014.

Playing off the fact that the day of the game against Missouri is the traditional first day of the Christmas shopping season known as Black Friday, central Arkansas civic leaders have proclaimed it Red Friday. They say the tailgating scene will be better than ever with food trucks, games and live music. Complimentary shuttles will operate between the River Market District and the stadium. They’re also promoting events that evening in the River Market District, where those ages 21 and over can now carry alcoholic beverages on the street from 5 p.m. until midnight.

In an attempt to convince fans from across the state to spend a couple of nights in Little Rock, there’s also a coordinated effort to promote Christmas shopping on Saturday, dining options throughout the city that night and brunch on Sunday.

We were a perfect 5-0 on the picks last week, making the record 71-21 for the season.

Here are the picks for Week 13 of the college football season:

LSU 49, Arkansas 19 — Let’s be honest. The Tigers can pretty much name the score in this one. It’s probably a matter of how long LSU head coach Ed Orgeron chooses to play his starting quarterback, Joe Burrow. The Heisman Trophy favorite is averaging 368.7 passing yards per game for LSU (10-0, 6-0). In last Saturday’s 58-37 win at Ole Miss (4-7, 2-5), Burrow threw for 489 yards and five touchdowns.

Arkansas State 30, Georgia Southern 28 — The Red Wolves played a sloppy game for most of the afternoon last Saturday in Jonesboro and then came alive on a late drive led by redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher to beat Coastal Carolina by a point, 28-27. With a record of 6-4 overall (4-2 in Sun Belt Conference play), the Red Wolves are bowl eligible for a ninth consecutive season. Hatcher passed 21 yards to Kirk Merritt with 32 seconds left for the winning touchdown. Hatcher was 24 of 35 passing for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Expect another close game in Jonesboro this Saturday afternoon. Georgia Southern is 6-4 with wins of 26-18 over Maine, 20-17 in two overtimes over South Alabama, 30-27 in three overtimes over Coastal Carolina, 41-7 over New Mexico State, 24-21 over a ranked Appalachian State team and 51-29 over Louisiana-Monroe. The losses have been by scores of 55-3 to LSU, 35-32 to what has turned out to be a very good Minnesota team, 37-24 to Louisiana-Lafayette and 49-28 to Troy.

UCA 34, Incarnate Word 26 — The Bears remained in a tie for the Southland Conference lead with a 30-7 victory over Stephen F. Austin last Saturday afternoon in Conway. UCA is 8-3 overall and 6-2 in conference play. The Bears are tied with Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State for the conference lead. In the win over Stephen F. Austin, UCA rushed for a season-high 263 yards. The Bears can earn at least a share of the conference crown with a win Friday night (that’s right, it’s a rare Friday night college game) in San Antonio against an Incarnate Word team that’s 5-6 overall and 4-4 in conference following four consecutive losses. The Incarnate Word victories have come by scores of 66-44 over Texas Southern, 31-24 over Abilene Christian, 38-36 over Houston Baptist, 27-21 over Southeastern Louisiana and 35-17 over Lamar. The losses have been by scores of 35-7 to Texas-San Antonio, 45-6 to Sam Houston State, 44-41 to Northwestern State of Louisiana, 27-23 to Nicholls State, 31-24 to Stephen F. Austin and 41-28 to New Mexico State.

UAPB 25, Texas Southern 10 — The Golden Lions have several things in their favor going into the final game of the season. They’re home, they’ve had two weeks to prepare for this game and their opponent is 0-10. A victory in Pine Bluff on Saturday afternoon would give the Golden Lions a final record of 6-5, a vast improvement over last year’s 2-9 campaign. UAPB hasn’t had a winning season since 2012 when the school finished 10-2 and beat Jackson State in overtime in the SWAC championship game. The Golden Lions went 13-53 during the next six seasons. The Texas Southern losses have been by scores of 44-23 to Prairie View A&M, 63-44 to Incarnate Word, 77-6 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 68-31 to Houston Baptist, 35-28 to Alabama A&M, 23-20 to Missouri S&T, 28-21 to Southern University, 35-14 to Mississippi Valley State, 55-20 to Grambling and 27-21 to Alabama State.

Ouachita 31, Lindenwood 23 — It was a Battle of the Ravine for the ages. Henderson came in 9-1 and ranked No. 20 in the country in NCAA Division II. Ouachita came in 10-0 and ranked No. 5. Henderson jumped out to a 14-0 lead before an overflow crowd at Cliff Harris Stadium and was driving to make it 21-0 when Ouachita senior Keandre Evans from Junction City came up with an interception that turned the tide. Ouachita was trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter when Henderson recovered a fumble at the Ouachita 41. The Reddies covered that distance in eight plays to take a 21-17 lead with just 1:44 remaining in the game. Ouachita then drove 74 yards with the clock running out. The winning score came on a one-yard run by senior Brockton Brown from Sheridan with 33 seconds remaining and no time outs left. With the 24-21 victory, Ouachita won its third consecutive undisputed Great American Conference title. It’s the second consecutive undefeated regular season for Ouachita, which extended its conference winning streak to 27 games. The Tigers are back home at Cliff Harris Stadium on Saturday afternoon against a Lindenwood team from the St. Louis area that’s 8-3. The Lions started 1-3 before running off seven consecutive victories over McKendree, Truman State, Saginaw Valley State, Quincy, the University of Indianapolis, Missouri S&T and Southwest Baptist.

Northwest Missouri State 35, Harding 32 — The headline on the GAC preview story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Aug. 25 was “GAC opener might decide who stands tall in end.” That was the case as Ouachita beat Harding by a final score of 16-14 on Sept. 5 with a late field goal by a true freshman. Ouachita finished the regular season 11-0, and Harding finished 10-1. Harding won its 10th consecutive game last Saturday by a final score of 49-14 over 3-8 Arkansas Tech. The Bisons led 21-0 at halftime and finished with 406 yards rushing. That’s the sixth consecutive game in which the Bisons have rushed for more than 400 yards. Harding will hit the road to take on traditional powerhouse Northwest Missouri State, which has won six Division II national championships. It’s the school’s 16th consecutive playoff appearance and its 24th overall. Northwest Missouri beat Harding 35-0 in the playoffs in 2012 and 2016. Expect it to be a lot closer this time around.  This is a talented Harding team. Northwest Missouri is also 10-1 with its lone loss having come by a final score of 24-17 to Nebraska-Kearney. Nine of its 10 victories have been by double-digit margins.

College football: Battle of the Ravine

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Tired of what’s going on in Fayetteville?

The perfect antidote to that long-running soap opera can be found in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon when one of the great traditions in American sports takes place.

The Battle of the Ravine should be on every Arkansan’s bucket list. It’s the only game in college football where the visitors walk to a road game. State troopers will halt traffic Saturday morning on U.S. Highway 67, and Henderson State University players will walk across to play at Ouachita Baptist University’s Cliff Harris Stadium.

The game will kick off at 1:05 p.m. At about 4 p.m., the troopers will stop traffic again, and the Reddies will walk back home.

It looks as if the weather will be perfect for college football with sunshine and temperatures in the high 50s.

Ouachita is 10-0 and ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II.

Henderson is 9-1 and ranked No. 20 in the country.

What’s always a big game is even bigger than usual. Sports Illustrated, in fact, already has a writer and photographer in Arkadelphia.

Those who have played in these games, coached in them, covered them as journalists or watched from the stands know that there are few things quite like this game between four-year schools that are within walking distance of each other.

After all these decades, the series is tied 43-43-6.

We were a mediocre 4-3 on the picks last week (having foolishly picked the Hogs against Western Kentucky) to make the record 66-21 for the season.

Let’s get to the picks for this 12th week of the college football season:

Ouachita 29, Henderson 23 — Ouachita has already secured a share of its third consecutive Great American Conference championship. The Tigers have won 26 consecutive GAC games, a streak that dates back more than two years. Henderson would like to end that streak and, in the process, earn a share of the conference title and a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs. With a loss, a 9-2 Reddie team is most likely headed to a minor bowl game with Ouachita and Harding being the only playoff representatives. Ouachita has won the past three games in this rivalry, but Henderson has found new weapons after having fallen to an overall record of 12-12 the previous two seasons. Ouachita will attempt to get its rushing attack going early and limit the number of Henderson possessions with long, time-consuming drives. This game will rest on Henderson’s ability to stop the Ouachita ground game.

Arkansas State 31, Coastal Carolina 22 — The 5-4 Red Wolves have had two weeks to prepare for this game and are at home in Jonesboro on Saturday afternoon. ASU has won two consecutive games, 38-14 over Texas State on Oct. 26 and 48-41 over Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 2. Coastal Carolina is 4-5 with an upset 12-7 victory over Kansas, a 46-7 win over Norfolk State, a 62-28 victory over Massachusetts and a 36-35 win over Troy. The losses have been by scores of 30-23 to Eastern Michigan, 56-37 to Appalachian State, 31-21 to Georgia State, 30-27 in three overtimes to Georgia Southern and 48-7 to Louisiana-Lafayette.

UCA 35, Stephen F. Austin 20 — The 7-3 Bears laid a huge egg in Conway last Saturday, falling 34-0 to Southeastern Louisiana. Quarterback Cole Kelley (remember him?) accounted for 312 yards and five touchdowns against a hapless Bear defense. It was the first time a Bear team had been shut out since 1995. No UCA team had been shut out in Conway since 1986. Still, though, the Bears are tied atop the Southland Conference standings with Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State and Sam Houston State. The good news is that a bad Stephen F. Austin team comes to Conway this Saturday afternoon. The Lumberjacks are 2-8 overall and 2-5 in conference play. The two wins were by scores of 24-17 over Lamar and 31-24 over Incarnate Word. The losses have been by scores of 56-16 to Baylor, 37-26 to Tarleton State (a Division II school), 45-38 to Southern Utah, 48-30 to Nicholls State, 31-20 to Sam Houston State, 31-24 to Abilene Christian, 33-10 to McNeese State and 47-30 to Southeastern Louisiana.

Harding 40, Arkansas Tech 25 — The Bisons lost their season opener 16-14 to Ouachita and have since run off nine consecutive victories. Still, they have to hope for a Henderson win over Ouachita to gain a share of the conference title. Since the conference was formed in 2011, Ouachita has won five titles, Henderson has won three and Harding has won one. The Bisons posted a 35-14 victory over 1-9 Southeastern Oklahoma last week as Harding rushed for 462 yards on 57 running plays. Tech fell to 3-7 with a 31-30 loss to 2-8 East Central Oklahoma. With a victory, Harding will ensure itself a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

Southern Arkansas 39, UAM 24 — Both of these teams came to Arkadelphia and lost last Saturday. UAM fell 35-7 to Ouachita. Henderson scored in the final minute to beat Southern Arkansas by a score of 38-31. The Muleriders come in as the favorite with a 7-3 record, but the 5-5 Boll Weevils have been competitive in most games this season and are looking to secure their second consecutive winning season.


College football: Week 11

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Arkansas’ opponent in Fayetteville this Saturday is Western Kentucky.

Is this the week that the Razorbacks finally get another victory?

If Arkansas loses, does that force the administration to fire Chad Morris before the weekend is over?

So many questions, so little interest.

The crowds keep getting smaller and smaller as Arkansans focus on other fall activities.

I’m far more focused, for example, on the other teams in the state. There’s a lot of good football being played out there. UCA is up to No. 6 in the FCS poll, and three of the state’s six Division II teams (Ouachita, Harding and Henderson) are nationally ranked.

A number of Arkansans actually went so far as to predict a Razorback victory last week over a struggling Mississippi State squad. Silly optimists.

I picked the Bulldogs, but even I didn’t believe it would be a 30-point margin. Each time you think the Arkansas program has hit rock bottom, the hole gets deeper.

At 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the Southeastern Conference, Arkansas has now lost 17 consecutive SEC games. Morris is 0-14 against SEC opponents. Morris-coached teams have lost by 30 or more points seven times since the start of the 2018 season.

Last Saturday, the Bulldogs had 640 yards of offense, including 460 rushing yards. Both were school records against SEC opponents.

Joe Moorhead is on the hot seat at Starkville. Too bad he can’t play Arkansas every week. He’s 2-0 against the Razorbacks, having won by a combined score of 106-30.

In the past three games, Arkansas has been outscored 153-41.

We were 6-2 on the picks last week, making the season record 62-18.

Here are the selections for Week 11 of the college football season:

Arkansas 41, Western Kentucky 39 — Yes, Western Kentucky lost to Central Arkansas by a final score of 35-28 in the season opener. But when you consider the depths to which the Arkansas program has fallen, you realize that this is indeed a game the Hogs could lose. Western Kentucky has a 5-4 record. The five wins have been by scores of 20-14 over Florida International, 20-13 over Alabama-Birmingham, 20-3 over Old Dominion, 17-8 over Army and 30-14 over Charlotte. In addition to the UCA loss, WKU has fallen 38-21 to Louisville, 26-23 to Marshall and 35-24 to Florida Atlantic.

UCA 30, Southeastern Louisiana 27 — The Bears remain alone atop the Southland Conference standings. They’re 7-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play following a 45-17 victory at Lamar (4-5, 2-4). UCA jumped to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, led 31-10 at the half and never looked back. Breylin Smith was 30 of 37 passing for 434 yards and four touchdowns. Tyler Hudson had six receptions for 120 yards and three touchdowns. The Bears host a decent Southeastern Louisiana squad in Conway this Saturday afternoon. The Lions are 5-3 overall and 4-2 in conference play. They’ve won two consecutive games and will give the Bears all they can handle. The five victories have been by scores of 35-14 over Jacksonville State, 45-34 over Lamar, 44-27 over Northwestern State of Louisiana, 52-13 over Houston Baptist and 47-30 over Stephen F. Austin. The three losses have been by scores of 40-29 to Ole Miss, 38-34 to McNeese and 27-21 to Incarnate Word. As you can see, Southeastern is just two scores away from being undefeated in the conference.

Prairie View A&M 24, UAPB 21 — The Golden Lions lost their second consecutive game to fall to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in SWAC play. Jackson State won 21-12 in Jackson to improve to 4-5 and 3-1. The Golden Lions just never could get their offense going. They had only 69 yards of offense in the first half and 299 yards for the game. UAPB goes on the road this week for an afternoon game against a Prairie View A&M team that’s 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the SWAC. The wins have been by scores of 44-23 over Texas Southern, 42-36 over Grambling and 51-0 over Virginia-Lynchburg. The losses have been by scores of 37-17 to Houston, 42-35 to Nicholls State, 45-41 to Alcorn State, 34-28 to Southern University and 38-35 to Jackson State. In a game that easily could go either way, we’ll give a slight advantage to the home team.

Ouachita 31, UAM 19 — Ouachita remains the only undefeated college team in the state at 9-0. The Tigers, ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II, have won 25 consecutive Great American Conference games and can earn at least a share of their third consecutive GAC title with a victory Saturday in Arkadelphia. Ouachita jumped out to a 21-0 lead and wound up beating a talented Southern Arkansas squad by a final score of 38-21 in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado last Saturday afternoon. SAU is 7-2. Ouachita had 314 rushing yards on 49 carries. Senior Brockton Brown from Sheridan led the way with 149 yards and three touchdowns. He leads the GAC with 17 rushing touchdowns. UAM is 5-4, has talent and will give the Tigers a battle at Cliff Harris Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Henderson 32, Southern Arkansas 26 — The Reddies improved to 8-1 last Saturday with a 27-20 victory at UAM. It was the fifth win in a row for Henderson following a one-point loss to Harding. The Boll Weevils gave the Reddies all they wanted, outgaining Henderson 438-375. The Reddies are home in Arkadelphia this week, but they can’t afford to be looking ahead to the following week’s Battle of the Ravine against Ouachita. If they do, the Muleriders will make them pay.

Harding 59, Southeastern Oklahoma 18 — The Bisons have won eight consecutive games since a 16-14 loss to Ouachita in the season opener at Arkadelphia. Harding beat 1-8 East Central Oklahoma by a final score of 56-20 last Saturday. Harding had 558 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground with 341 of those yards coming in the first half. Expect a similar rout this week as the Bisons go on the road to play 1-8 Southeastern Oklahoma.

Arkansas Tech 25, East Central Oklahoma 22 — After starting the season 0-6, the Wonder Boys have won three consecutive games. Tech defeated Southeastern Oklahoma by a final score of 38-20 in Russellville last Saturday as junior quarterback Carter Burcham threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns. The Wonder Boys should have enough momentum now to take care of East Central Oklahoma on the road in Ada this Saturday afternoon.

College football: Week 10

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

It’s a winnable game this week for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Will the Hogs actually win?

That’s a whole different deal.

Those Razorback fans who still bother to watch looked on in sadness last week as Alabama raced to a 41-0 halftime lead and then called off the dogs.

The 48-7 loss was the 16th consecutive Southeastern Conference defeat for Arkansas and the 13th consecutive loss by a Razorback team to Alabama. Alabama got 24 of its first-half points off turnovers.

Arkansas is now 4-21 all time against teams ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, a perch from which the Tide fell despite the margin of victory over Arkansas. That’s what playing the Razorbacks will do to your strength of schedule these days.

As we’ve been saying all season, there’s still a lot of good college football being played in the state of Arkansas. Take away the Razorbacks and you’ll notice that the other 11 programs went 9-2 last week against out-of-state foes.

Of the 12 football programs, the only three losers were the three football-playing institutions that are part of the University of Arkansas System: The Hogs, the UAPB Golden Lions and the UAM Boll Weevils.

We went 7-3 on the picks last week, making the record 56-16 for the season.

Here are the picks for Week 10 of the college football season:

Mississippi State 34, Arkansas 31 — The Bulldogs are struggling almost as much as Arkansas. Mississippi State got off to a 3-1 start with victories of 38-28 over Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-15 over Southern Mississippi and 28-13 over Kentucky along with a 31-24 loss to Kansas State. Since that victory over Kentucky, the Bulldogs have lost four consecutive SEC games — 56-23 to Auburn, 20-10 to Tennessee, 36-13 to LSU and 49-30 to Texas A&M.

Arkansas State 39, Louisiana-Monroe 37 — It has been a struggle for Arkansas State this year, but the Red Wolves were able to even their record at 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Sun Belt Conference with a 38-14 victory in Jonesboro last Saturday night over Texas State. Redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher was 18 of 28 passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Omar Bayless had seven receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. ASU outscored Texas State 21-0 in the second half of that game. If Hatcher and Bayless can have a big game in Monroe on Saturday, the Red Wolves should be able to escape with a victory over a Warhawk team that’s 3-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The three Louisiana-Monroe victories have been by scores of 31-9 over Grambling, 30-17 over South Alabama and 24-14 over Texas State. The losses have been by scores of 45-44 to Florida State in overtime, 72-20 to Iowa State, 52-33 to Memphis and 52-7 to Appalachian State.

UCA 28, Lamar 25 — The Bears stand alone atop the Southland Conference standings. UCA improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play with a 39-25 victory over Sam Houston State last Saturday night in Conway. Sam Houston (now 5-4, 4-2) led 16-0 at halftime. UCA tied the score at 22-22 with 8:36 left in the game on a 28-yard pass from Breylin Smith to Carlos Blackman that was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Smith to Blackman. Sam Houston went back on top with a 43-yard field goal with 5:13 remaining. The Bears took the lead for good on a 15-yard pass from Smith to Tyler Hudson with 3:57 left to play. Sam Houston then fumbled at the UCA 18 with 21 seconds left. The Bears go to southeast Texas this week to face a Lamar squad that’s 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Southland Conference. The four wins have been by scores of 65-16 over Bethel, 23-20 over Mississippi Valley State, 27-24 over Abilene Christian and 20-17 in three overtimes over Sam Houston. The losses have been by scores of 63-3 to Texas A&M, 45-34 to Southeastern Louisiana, 24-17 to Stephen F. Austin and 35-17 to Incarnate Word.

UAPB 24, Jackson State 21 — This is a much improved UAPB team over the one that went 2-9 a year ago in Cedric Thomas’ first year as head coach. UAPB, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2012, fell to 5-3 last Saturday when Grambling escaped Pine Bluff with a 39-33 victory. The Golden Lions had a chance to win it at the end when an interception was returned 19 yards to the Tiger 11 with 3:11 left in the game. But on fourth-and-five, UAPB threw an interception. The Golden Lions are on the road Saturday to take on a Jackson State team that’s 3-5 overall. The victories have been by scores of 49-44 over Tennessee State, 31-28 over Mississippi Valley State and 38-35 over Prairie View A&M. The losses have been by scores of 36-15 to Bethune-Cookman, 37-14 to South Alabama, 33-25 to Kentucky State, 44-21 to Grambling and 31-16 to Alabama State.

Ouachita 32, Southern Arkansas 27 — One of the biggest games of the year so far in NCAA Division II is set for this Saturday afternoon in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado. Ouachita is 8-0, ranked No. 5 in the country in Division II and has won the past two Great American Conference championships. The Tigers have won 24 consecutive conference games. Southern Arkansas is 7-1, having lost only to Harding. Both teams struggled a bit on the road last week in Oklahoma. Ouachita fell behind Southern Nazarene 13-0 on a cold, rainy Thursday night before scoring 27 unanswered points to win 27-13. On Saturday, SAU escaped with a 24-23 victory at 1-7 East Central Oklahoma. The Muleriders trailed 20-7 with 7:50 left in the third quarter and finally went ahead for good on a 35-yard field goal with 5:24 left in the game. Ouachita and SAU met two years ago in the Murphy USA Classic with Ouachita winning a game in which the lead changed hands four times in the final two minutes. This one could be similar to that.

Harding 51, East Central Oklahoma 20 — The Bisons lost their opener 16-14 to Ouachita and have since won seven consecutive games. Their three remaining opponents all have losing records. In other words, Harding won’t lose again until the NCAA Division II playoffs. Harding must hope that someone beats Ouachita at least once in order to gain a share of the GAC title. Since the GAC was formed in 2011, Ouachita has won four championships, Henderson has won three and Harding has won one. The Bisons won 47-13 last week at 2-6 Northwestern Oklahoma. Harding outrushed the Rangers 413-101. Cole Chancey had 206 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Henderson 35, UAM 26 — The Reddies improved to 7-1 with a 41-27 win at 1-7 Southeastern Oklahoma last Saturday. It was the ninth consecutive Reddie win over the Savage Storm. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 24 of 34 passing for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Henderson finishes the season with showdowns against Southern Arkansas and Ouachita but can’t afford to be looking ahead since this week’s opponent is a decent UAM team that’s 5-3. The Boll Weevils lost last week by a final score of 33-31 at Oklahoma Baptist, which is the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the GAC. Nationally ranked Henderson teams have been tripped up before in Monticello. It’s where the late Coach Ralph “Sporty” Carpenter uttered his famous quote: “Lightning struck the outhouse, and we were in it.”

Southeastern Oklahoma 18, Arkansas Tech 17 — Arkansas Tech lost its first two games of the season and has since won two consecutive contests. It’s another winnable game on Saturday against Southeastern Oklahoma. Tech won 36-35 last week at 2-6 Southwestern Oklahoma. The Wonder Boys had trailed 35-26 going into the fourth quarter of that contest.

College football: Week 9

Monday, October 21st, 2019

We’re talking history at this point.

If the football program at the University of Arkansas ever returns to respectability, you’ll be able to tell the grandchildren: “I lived through the worst period in modern Razorback history.”

Here are some of the sobering numbers in the wake of Arkansas’ 51-10 loss to Auburn in Fayetteville last Saturday:

— Though there weren’t nearly that many people actually in their seats, the announced attendance Saturday was 54,619 in a stadium that holds almost 75,000 people. That’s the smallest Fayetteville crowd since 2003 and the smallest crowd to witness a Southeastern Conference game in Fayetteville since before the stadium was expanded in 2001. Let’s put it in perspective: Almost twice as many people attended the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock on Saturday as attended the Razorback game in Fayetteville. If there’s one factor more than any other that will force the Arkansas athletic director’s hand on a quick coaching change, it’s apathy. And apathy has firmly set in across Arkansas when it comes to Razorback football.

— Arkansas, which fell to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in SEC play, lost its 15th consecutive SEC game.

— Saturday’s 41-point margin was the largest so far during that losing streak.

— Chad Morris is now 0-12 against SEC opponents.

As we’ve stated before, there’s good college football being played in Arkansas this season. It’s just not in Fayetteville. The other Arkansas teams that played on Saturday went 7-1 against out-of-state foes.

We were 8-1 on our picks for the week, making the season record 49-13.

Here are the selections for this week’s games:

Alabama 49, Arkansas 19 — As you know by now, Tua Tagovailoa won’t be playing for Alabama on Saturday following an ankle injury in the Crimson Tide’s 35-13 win against Tennessee. Will it matter much? We doubt it. The No. 1 Tide is 7-0 with victories of 42-3 over Duke, 62-10 over New Mexico State, 47-23 over South Carolina, 49-7 over Southern Mississippi, 59-31 over Ole Miss, 47-28 over Texas A&M and 35-13 over Tennessee. The closest margin of victory has been 19 points. And Nick Saban will see to it that his team isn’t looking ahead to LSU.

Texas State 35, Arkansas State 33 — This is a winnable game for ASU, which fell to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in Sun Belt Conference play last Thursday night with a 37-20 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves, though, have lost four starters to injury on defense in addition to losing their quarterback on offense. To put it simply, they can’t stop anyone. ASU’s best chance is for redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher to have a great night in a high-scoring shootout. Hatcher was 23 of 34 passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. Texas State is 2-4 overall. The wins have come by scores of 37-34 over Georgia State and 24-3 over Nicholls State. The losses have been by scores of 41-7 to Texas A&M, 23-14 to Wyoming, 47-17 to SMU and 24-14 to Louisiana-Monroe.

Sam Houston State 28, UCA 25 — The Bears moved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Southland Conference play after escaping Northwestern State in Louisiana with a 31-30 victory. The Demons remain winless at 0-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play. Northwestern scored with 1:30 left in the game and then went for two. A pass was knocked away on the two-point conversion attempt, and the Bears hit the road back to Conway. This week’s opponent is a Sam Houston State team that’s 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Southland Conference. The three losses have been by scores of 39-31 to New Mexico, 27-23 to North Dakota and 20-17 to Lamar. The five victories have been by scores of 77-0 over Oklahoma Panhandle, 45-6 over Incarnate Word, 28-17 over McNeese, 31-20 over Stephen F. Austin and 17-0 over Nicholls.

Grambling 18, UAPB 15 — The Golden Lions are a surprising 5-2 and have had two weeks to prepare for this game. Grambling comes to Pine Bluff with a record of 2-4. The Tigers began the season 0-2 with losses of 31-9 to Louisiana-Monroe, 20-14 to Louisiana Tech, 23-20 to Alabama State and 42-36 to Prairie View A&M. They have, however, turned it around with two consecutive SWAC wins by scores of 44-21 over Jackson State and 23-10 over Alabama A&M.

Ouachita 34, Southern Nazarene 17 — Ouachita has a short week with a Thursday night game in Oklahoma. The Tigers are 7-0, they’re ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II and they have won 23 consecutive conference games. But Nazarene, which is 2-5, has a way of giving Ouachita teams a tough time. In fact, the home team led in the fourth quarter two years ago before Ouachita came from behind to win. Ouachita posted a 41-14 victory over Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday as three Tiger running backs scored two touchdowns each. Ouachita led 28-0 at the half of that game.

Henderson 40, Southeastern Oklahoma 22 — The 6-1 Reddies celebrated homecoming in style last Saturday with a 48-17 victory over East Central Oklahoma. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 18 of 27 passing for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Henderson heads to Durant this week to do battle with a Southeastern Oklahoma team that has struggled to a 1-6 record. Southeastern fell by 42 points to Southern Arkansas last Saturday. The Reddies just have to be sure they aren’t looking ahead to a final three-game stretch that will see them play UAM, Southern Arkansas and Ouachita.

Southern Arkansas 47, East Central Oklahoma 23 — The Muleriders improved to 6-1 with that 49-7 victory in Magnolia over Southeastern Oklahoma. SAU led 28-0 at the half of that game. With his 63rd victory at the school, Bill Keopple became the all-time winningest coach in SAU history. The Muleriders held the Savage Storm to a negative three yards rushing and shouldn’t have any problem in Ada this Saturday afternoon against East Central Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Baptist 30, UAM 27 — Oklahoma Baptist is the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the GAC and has one of the conference’s top quarterbacks. That could spell trouble for the 5-2 Boll Weevils, who posted a 31-28 victory over Southern Nazarene last Saturday in Monticello. Southern Nazarene led 20-7 at the half of that game. Oklahoma Baptist is 3-4 but could easily be 5-2 following close losses to Henderson and Southern Arkansas. The Bison even scored 33 points on the vaunted Harding defense.

Harding 44, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — The Bisons have won six consecutive games since losing the season opener to Ouachita. Last Saturday saw a 45-14 win over Southwestern Oklahoma. The Bisons had 504 rushing yards on 68 carries and led 31-0 at halftime. It’s a long trip to Alva, but don’t expect 2-5 Northwestern Oklahoma to present much of a challenge. The Bisons don’t play another team with a winning record this year.

Southwestern Oklahoma 26, Arkansas Tech 16 — Tech finally got its first win of the season last Saturday in Russellville. The final score was 21-14 over Northwestern Oklahoma in a game that was tied 7-7 after three quarters of play. The Wonder Boys had a 55-yard fumble recovery to take the lead. Southwestern is 2-5 but usually plays well (the Bulldogs led Ouachita in the fourth quarter before losing) at home in Weatherford.

College football: Week 8

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

I’m just not sure what else there is to say about Arkansas’ 24-20 loss to Kentucky in Lexington last Saturday night.

A Kentucky player moved from receiver to quarterback and then ran for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He threw for another score.

How do you explain that? You don’t.

Kentucky finished the game with 330 rushing yards on 54 carries and outgained the Hogs 418-305 overall to move to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference.

Arkansas, which must accept its fate as the SEC’s worst football program in recent years, falls to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in SEC play. The Razorbacks have now lost 14 consecutive SEC games.

There is, mind you, a lot of good college football being played in the state. You just have to look to places other than Fayetteville.

In fact, Arkansas teams other than the Razorbacks were 9-2 against out-of-state competition last Saturday.

Arkansas State opens this week’s action with a Thursday night game in Jonesboro against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Auburn visits Fayetteville for an 11 a.m. game against the Razorbacks on Saturday.

All six of the state’s Great American Conference schools are home against the six GAC teams from Oklahoma.

And Hendrix, the state’s only NCAA Division III program, is home against Centre.

So college football fans have games in Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Arkadelphia (two games there), Searcy, Magnolia, Russellville, Monticello and Conway to choose from.

There’s really no excuse not to get out and see a college football game this week.

We were 7-2 on the picks last week (we likely won’t make the mistake of picking either Arkansas or Arkansas Tech again) to make the record 41-12 so far in 2019.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Louisiana-Lafayette 47, Arkansas State 42 — The Red Wolves are home this week. Here’s the problem: A series of injuries has resulted in an ASU defense that can stop no one. In their last game on Oct. 5, the Red Wolf defense gave up 722 yards in a 52-38 loss to Georgia State in Atlanta. ASU ranks ninth in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense. The Red Wolves give up an average of 38.7 points per game. ASU is last in the 10-team conference in total defense, giving up 535.8 yards per game. ASU now finds itself 3-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Louisiana-Lafayette comes to town with records of 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Sun Belt play. The losses have been by scores of 38-28 to Mississippi State and 17-7 to Appalachian State (which is the best team in the Sun Belt at 5-0, 2-0). The wins have been by scores of 35-14 over Liberty, 77-6 over Texas Southern, 45-25 over Ohio and 37-24 over Georgia Southern.

Auburn 41, Arkansas 24 — The Tigers won their first five games before losing 24-13 to Florida on Oct. 5. Auburn has had two weeks to get ready for this contest, and Gus Malzahn will be trying to put as many points as possible on the scoreboard to get his team back on the national radar. Those five victories came by scores of 27-21 over Oregon, 24-6 over Tulane, 55-16 over Kent State, 28-20 over Texas A&M and 56-23 over Mississippi State. Look for Arkansas’ SEC losing streak to go to 15 games.

UCA 31, Northwestern State 20 — The Bears improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Southland Conference play last Saturday with a 40-31 victory over McNeese State (3-4, 1-3) in Conway. Bear quarterback Breylin Smith was 28 of 41 passing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Hudson had four catches for 113 yards. UCA must go on the road this week to Louisiana, but don’t expect too much of a problem against an 0-6 Northwestern State team. The Demon losses have been by scores of 42-20 to Tennessee-Martin, 33-7 to Midwestern State, 65-14 to LSU, 48-21 to Houston Baptist, 44-27 to Southeastern Louisiana and 45-35 to Nicholls.

Ouachita 32, Oklahoma Baptist 30 — Ouachita is ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II. The 6-0 Tigers won their 22nd consecutive GAC game at Ada, Okla., last Saturday. In the 31-3 victory over East Central Oklahoma, Ouachita outgained its opponent 407-173. Senior Brockton Brown out of Sheridan scored three touchdowns on the ground. Ouachita will have all it can handle this week against a 3-3 Oklahoma Baptist team that might have the best quarterback in the conference. Oklahoma Baptist lost 50-33 last Saturday to Harding, but to score 33 points against the vaunted Harding defense makes quite a statement.

Henderson 49, East Central Oklahoma 14 — The Reddies are rolling. Henderson has only lost by a point to Harding. Last Saturday, the 5-1 Reddies posted a 35-7 win at Southwestern Oklahoma. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 14 of 29 passing for 151 yards. After a couple of mediocre seasons, Reddie head coach Scott Maxfield has this program back to where it used to be. Don’t forget that Henderson has won three of the eight titles in the history of the GAC (Ouachita has won four, and Harding won the other one). A 1-5 East Central Oklahoma team shouldn’t present much of a challenge in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

Southern Arkansas 26, Southeastern Oklahoma 10 — The Muleriders also moved to 5-1 last Saturday with a 40-7 victory at Northwestern Oklahoma. Redshirt freshman Kordavion Washington had 123 yards rushing. SAU finished with 333 yards on the ground. Expect SAU (which still has showdowns against Ouachita on Nov. 2 and Henderson on Nov. 9) to keep it rolling against 1-5 Southeastern Oklahoma this week.

Harding 35, Southwestern Oklahoma 18 — The Bisons also improved to 5-1 with that 50-33 victory at Oklahoma Baptist. Harding rushed for 492 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Cole Chancey carried 19 times for 233 yards. Look for Chancey to have another big game in Searcy on Saturday afternoon against 2-4 Southwestern Oklahoma.

UAM 27, Southern Nazarene 25 — The resurgent Boll Weevils are 4-2 after a 9-7 victory at Southeastern Oklahoma. UAM won on a safety when the Southeastern quarterback was sacked in the end zone. The Boll Weevils won despite having only 202 yards of offense. Of that total, 159 yards came on the ground. The defense helped out, though, with four fumble recoveries. This week’s opponent is a 2-4 Southern Nazarene team that has enough talent to hang with the Weevils. I expect a close game.

Northwestern Oklahoma 17, Arkansas Tech 15 — We’re beginning to wonder if the 0-6 Wonder Boys will get a victory this year. They have a chance this week with a 2-4 Northwestern Oklahoma team coming to Russellville. Tech lost 41-24 last Saturday at Southern Nazarene. The Wonder Boys found themselves down 28-0 midway through the second quarter in that one.


College football: Week 7

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

The Razorbacks were off (which at least means we don’t have to talk about a loss) while Arkansas State and UCA both went on the road and lost last Saturday.

There was still some positive news on the college football front in Arkansas last weekend.

UAPB won its homecoming contest and has already doubled its win total of a year ago with four victories in six games.

Five of the six Great American Conference teams from Arkansas won against GAC teams from Oklahoma.

And Hendrix, which has the state’s only NCAA Division III program, remained undefeated with a victory over Rhodes College.

ASU has a much-needed open date this week. Hopefully the defensive starters for the Red Wolves can heal. Four defensive starters have been lost to injuries since the start of the season.

ASU fell to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Sun Belt Conference with a 52-38 loss at Georgia State. The Red Wolves gave up 722 yards of offense. ASU’s offense scored to cut the Georgia State lead to three points at 38-35 with 10:30 remaining in the game, but the Red Wolf defense couldn’t slow the Panthers down the stretch. Georgia State’s 722 yards and six rushing touchdowns were school records. The Panthers scored on six of their first eight drives and led 39:19 to 20:41 in time of possession. The 52 points were the most ever scored by Georgia State against an FBS team.

If ASU can’t find a defense, it’s going to be a long season.

We went 7-2 on the picks last week, making the record 34-10 for the season.

Here are our selections for this Saturday’s games:

Arkansas 29, Kentucky 27 — Call us crazy. We’re going with the Hogs to win on the road. This Kentucky team, which is 2-3 overall and 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play, seems to get weaker by the week. The Wildcats started the season with victories of 38-24 over Toledo and 38-17 over Eastern Michigan. That has been followed by conference losses by scores of 29-21 to Florida, 28-13 to Mississippi State and 24-7 to South Carolina. Kentucky won 10 games in 2018 for the first time since 1977. The Wildcats beat Penn State 27-24 in the Citrus Bowl. But Kentucky lost 13 starters off that team, including star running back Benny Snell. Both teams have had two weeks to prepare for Saturday night’s game in Lexington.

UCA 26, McNeese State 24 — UCA and McNeese are a bit down from where they usually are. The Bears fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in Southland Conference play with a 34-14 loss at Nicholls State (3-2, 2-0). Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade was 24 of 29 passing for 327 yards and a touchdown. UCA trailed 20-0 at halftime and had only 98 yards of offense in the first half. Bear quarterback Breylin Smith finished the game 20 of 27 passing for 182 yards. McNeese comes to Conway with a record of 3-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play. The victories have been by scores of 34-28 over Southern University, 17-14 over Alcorn State and 38-34 over Southeastern Louisiana. The losses have been by scores of 56-14 to Oklahoma State, 17-10 to Abilene Christian and 28-17 to Sam Houston State. It should be an evenly matched game. We’ll give a slight advantage to the home team.

UAPB 19, Mississippi Valley State 18 — The Golden Lions are 4-2 following a 45-38 win over Lane College from NCAA Division II. The game was played before a big homecoming crowd in Pine Bluff last Saturday afternoon. Taeyler Porter had 21 carries for 182 yards rushing and three touchdowns for UAPB. The Golden Lions return to SWAC play this Saturday with a home game against Mississippi Valley State. MVSU is 1-4. Its lone victory came by a score of 31-23 over Virginia University of Lynchburg last Saturday. The losses have been by scores of 26-20 to Tennessee State, 23-20 to Lamar, 22-6 to Bethune-Cookman and 45-19 to Alcorn State.

Ouachita 36, East Central Oklahoma 25 — All six of the GAC teams from Arkansas play conference games in Oklahoma this Saturday. Ouachita is 5-0 and has moved up to No. 5 in the country in NCAA Division II. The Tigers travel to Ada to take on a 1-4 East Central team that lost 49-46 at UAM last Saturday. Ouachita posted a 27-14 homecoming victory over Southeastern Oklahoma. Senior Allie Freeman out of Episcopal Collegiate in Little Rock had 11 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.  The Tigers have now won 21 consecutive GAC games.

Henderson 31, Southwestern Oklahoma 30 — The Reddies moved to 4-1 following a 47-7 win over Northwestern Oklahoma in Arkadelphia last Saturday. The Reddie defense had four interceptions in that game. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 17 of 31 passing for 198 yards. Southwestern Oklahoma is 2-3 but has enough talent to keep this game close at home in Weatherford.

Harding 28, Oklahoma Baptist 20 — Harding improved its record to 4-1 with a 31-3 win over Southern Nazarene. The Bisons led 28-0 at halftime. The Harding defense allowed only 150 yards of total offense for Southern Nazarene. Things won’t be as easy this week against a 3-2 Oklahoma Baptist team that might have the best quarterback in the GAC.

Southern Arkansas 35, Northwestern Oklahoma 33 — The Muleriders are also 4-1 following a 42-20 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma last Saturday in Magnolia. Hayden Mallory was 14 of 17 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns for SAU. The Muleriders make the long trip to Alva this week to take on a 2-3 Northwestern Oklahoma team that has enough skill players to keep this one close at home.

UAM 22, Southeastern Oklahoma 17 — The Boll Weevils are 3-2 following a 49-46 victory over East Central Oklahoma in Monticello. The Weevils led 21-17 at halftime and never trailed in the second half. UAM outgained East Central 600 to 524. This weekend’s opponent is a Southeastern Oklahoma team that’s better than its 1-4 record indicates. We don’t have a lot of confidence in this pick. The game in Durant could easily go the other way.

Arkansas Tech 39, Southern Nazarene 37 — The Wonder Boys remained winless with a 43-31 loss to Oklahoma Baptist last Saturday in Russellville. Tech led 24-7 at one point and then gave up 36 unanswered points. This should be the week that the 0-5 Wonder Boys get their first victory as they travel to Oklahoma City to take on 1-4 Southern Nazarene.

College football: Week 6

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

As usual, the Southwest Classic was close.

Also as usual, Texas A&M won

So now the Hogs (2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference) have an extra week to get ready for Kentucky. And that just might be a winnable game.

What happened in Arlington last Saturday felt familiar, didn’t it?

It was the eighth consecutive win in the series for the Aggies. Five of the past six games in this series have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Arkansas did manage to outgain Texas A&M. The Razorbacks finished with 395 yards of offense, and the Aggies had 340. Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel combined for 297 passing yards. Meanwhile, Rakeem Boyd had 89 of the Hogs’ 98 rushing yards.

Arkansas will go to Kentucky on Oct. 12 with a 13-game SEC losing streak. The Wildcats lost 24-7 last Saturday to a mediocre South Carolina team. Kentucky is 2-3 overall and 0-3 in SEC play.

In addition to the Hogs taking the week off, Arkansas State and UCA play out of state. That means that this is a golden opportunity to see one of the other college games in the state.

This is the week that all six of Arkansas’ Great American Conference teams host GAC teams from Oklahoma.

UAPB is at home in Pine Bluff against Lane College for its homecoming game.

The state’s only NCAA Division III program is at Hendrix, and the 3-0 Warriors will host Rhodes College in Conway on Saturday.

The state’s only NAIA program is at Lyon, and the 3-1 Scots will host Langston in Batesville on Saturday.

You thus have nine games in eight Arkansas cities from which to choose. There are two games in Arkadelphia to go along with games in Pine Bluff, Searcy, Magnolia, Russellville, Monticello, Conway and Batesville.

There’s really no excuse not to get out and see a college football game this Saturday.

I was 5-2 on the picks last week, making the record 27-8 for the season.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Georgia State 39, Arkansas State 37 — How about Little Rock’s Layne Hatcher? In his first start as a college quarterback, the transfer from Alabama led ASU to a 50-43 win over Troy in a game with 1,068 yards of total offense. The Red Wolves (3-2,1-0) outgained Troy (2-2, 0-1) 558-510. Hatcher completed 25 of 35 passes for 440 yards. The Red Wolves go to Atlanta this Saturday to take on a Georgia State team that’s hard to figure out. Georgia State opened the season on Aug. 31 with a stunning 38-30 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville and followed that with a 48-42 win over Furman. The Panthers have since fallen on the road by scores of 57-10 to Western Michigan and 37-34 to Texas State in three overtimes. In a game that could easily go the other way, we’ll give a slight edge to Georgia State for two reasons — the Panthers have had two weeks to prepare for this contest, and they’re the home team.

UCA 29, Nicholls State 25 — The Bears won their first three games of the season by scores of 35-28 over Western Kentucky, 24-16 over Austin Peay and 31-30 over Abilene Christian before going to Hawaii and falling 35-16 to the Rainbow Warriors. UCA had a needed open date last Saturday to prepare for this week’s trip to Cajun country to play Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La. Nicholls is 2-2 with wins of 43-25 over Prairie View A&M and 48-30 over Stephen F. Austin to go along with losses of 49-14 to Kansas State and 24-3 to Texas State.

UAPB 27, Lane College 17 — The usual large homecoming crowd will be on hand in hopes of seeing the FCS Golden Lions pick on Lane College from NCAA Division II. UAPB’s three-game winning streak came to an end last Saturday with a 31-7 loss to Southern University. Former Pine Bluff High School Zebra quarterback Ladarius Skelton came home to Pine Bluff as Southern’s starting quarterback. He ran for three touchdowns and was 17 of 25 passing for 157 yards. UAPB is now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the SWAC. Lane is 2-2. The Lane losses have been by scores of 34-0 to South Carolina State and 52-28 to Miles College. The Dragon wins have come by scores of 29-0 over Texas College and 44-14 over Edward Waters.

Ouachita 30, Southeastern Oklahoma 15 — Ouachita, ranked No. 6 in the country in NCAA Division II, found itself trailing 21-20 at Southwestern Oklahoma last Saturday afternoon with just 11 minutes left in the game. That’s when the Tigers finally woke up. Ouachita controlled the football for almost 10 of those final 11 minutes. The Tigers marched down the field and scored, forced a quick Southwestern punt and then held the ball the final five minutes for a 26-21 victory. It was the 20th consecutive GAC win for the 4-0 Tigers. Expect them to wake up a little more quickly this week against 1-3 Southeastern Oklahoma in the homecoming game at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia.

Henderson 24, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — Henderson will be playing just across U.S. Highway 67 from that Ouachita game on Saturday afternoon. The 3-1 Reddies take on a 2-2 Northwestern Oklahoma team that shut out UAM a week ago by a final score of 28-0. Northwestern has the talent to give the Reddies a tough fight. Henderson took on nationally ranked Harding in Searcy last Saturday night and fell 14-13. It was a game that could have gone the other way.

Harding 22, Southern Nazarene 0 — The 3-1 Bisons already have two shutouts to their credit this season and could get another one Saturday against outmatched Southern Nazarene in Searcy. While the defense is doing its thing, the Harding offense will keep doing what it does so well, which is run the football. Cole Chancey carried 38 times against Henderson for 166 yards. Southern Nazarene improved to 1-3 last Saturday as it squeezed out its first victory of the season with a 22-21 decision over Southeastern Oklahoma.

Southwestern Oklahoma 32, Southern Arkansas 31 — Southern Arkansas has struggled early this season despite its 3-1 record. The Muleriders won on a last-second field goal against Oklahoma Baptist, got shut out by Harding and found themselves tied with a winless Arkansas Tech team in the fourth quarter. Southwestern, which is now 2-2, gave Ouachita all it wanted. We’re going to go out on a limb and predict that the Bulldogs will pull an upset in Magnolia this Saturday.

Oklahoma Baptist 33, Arkansas Tech 21 — It’s 2-2 Oklahoma Baptist (which just might have the best quarterback in the GAC) against 0-4 Arkansas Tech in Russellville on Saturday. Oklahoma Baptist posted a 50-41 win over East Central Oklahoma last weekend. As mentioned, Tech hung around with Southern Arkansas for the longest before its defense wore down. The game was tied 14-14 with 11:33 remaining. Then, SAU scored the final 21 points.

UAM 41, East Central Oklahoma 34 — This 2-2 Boll Weevil team is hard to figure out. It beat Southwestern Oklahoma two weeks ago when the Bulldogs were 2-0 but then laid an egg at Northwestern Oklahoma in a 28-0 loss. Northwestern intercepted three Boll Weevil passes and limited UAM to just 56 passing yards. This week’s opponent is 1-3 East Central Oklahoma. Which team will show up Saturday in Monticello? The good Weevils or the bad Weevils? We’ll go with the good Weevils in a game in which very little defense is played.

College football: Week 5

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Forget what I said about seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

And, yes, you already know that I’m about to quote Lou Holtz here since that light was indeed an oncoming train.

Has the University of Arkansas football program finally hit rock bottom?

Like the deepest part of the Pacific, we no longer know exactly where the bottom is.

It it wasn’t “San Jose State 31, Arkansas 24,” I hate to think where it was.

That was ugly.

Nick Starkel throwing five interceptions was ugly.

The Spartans had gained 382 yards against Northern Colorado and 348 yards against Tulsa. Against Arkansas, they had 503 yards.

That also was ugly.

San Jose State passed for 402 yards.

That was ugly, too.

Now comes the trip to Arlington (Razorback fans lost enthusiasm for this “classic” years ago) to take on Texas A&M.

I was 5-3 on the picks last week with misses on Arkansas (who didn’t?), UAPB (which scored on the final play of the game) and UAM.

That makes the season record 22-6.

Here are the picks for this Saturday’s games:

Texas A&M 40, Arkansas 27 — The Aggies have the same record as the Razorbacks at 2-2. The difference is that the Texas A&M losses were to Top 10 teams (Clemson and Auburn) rather than Ole Miss and San Jose State. A&M started the season with a 41-7 victory over Texas State, lost 24-10 to Clemson, beat Lamar 62-3 and then lost 28-20 to Auburn. The Aggies were 9-4 a year ago in their first season under head coach Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M is 7-0 against Arkansas in SEC games, including three victories in overtime. It would be a miracle for this Arkansas team to get it to overtime.

Troy 29, Arkansas State 25 — ASU struggled in Jonesboro last Saturday night against an FCS opponent but still came away with a 41-28 victory over Southern Illinois. Head coach Blake Anderson was on the sidelines at home for the first time this season. Both the Red Wolves and the Salukis are now 2-2. ASU quarterback Logan Bonner was sacked five times in the first half of that game. Bonner, however, completed 17 of his 31 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns. ASU must now make the trip to Alabama for the Sun Belt Conference opener against Troy. The Trojans are 2-1 with a 43-14 victory over Campbell and a 35-7 victory over Akron sandwiching a 47-42 loss to Southern Mississippi. The slight advantage goes to the home team in this one, especially considering all of the injuries that are dogging the Red Wolves this week.

Southern University 21, UAPB 20 — I should know better than to pick against the Golden Lions. They seem to have some magic this year. UAPB scored on a 17-yard pass as time expired in Nashville last Saturday to shock Tennessee State by a final score of 37-31. How much progress has this program made? Consider the fact that UAPB had been outscored 84-13 and outgained 924-448 in its two previous games against Tennessee State. The Golden Lions, who finished the contest with 519 yards of offense, have now won three consecutive games to go to 3-1. That’s more games than UAPB won last year when the Golden Lions went 2-9 in their first season under head coach Cedric Thomas. The current UAPB head man was an assistant coach at Alcorn State for six years before returning to take over his alma mater. Southern has lost 34-28 to McNeese, 55-24 to Memphis and 27-21 to Florida A&M. The one victory was by a final score of 61-0 over Edward Waters. This is certainly a winnable game for UAPB, but the Golden Lions seem due for a letdown.

Harding 24, Henderson 14 — This is the game of the week in the Great American Conference. Henderson, which fell to 5-6 a year ago, seems to be getting back to form with victories over Oklahoma Baptist, Southern Nazarene and Arkansas Tech to start the season. After losing 16-14 to Ouachita to begin the 2019 campaign, Harding hasn’t allowed another point. The defense has been spectacular in shutout victories over UAM and Southern Arkansas. In last Saturday’s 31-0 thrashing of SAU in Magnolia, the Harding defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a span of 40 seconds. Since the GAC began play in 2011, Henderson has won three conference championships and Harding has won one. Ouachita has won the other four.

Ouachita 26, Southwestern Oklahoma 11 — Saturday night’s 31-11 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia marked the 19th consecutive conference victory for Ouachita. The Tigers led 21-0 at the half. Sophomore quarterback Brayden Brazeal out of England, who leads the nation in pass completion percentage, was 20 of 22 through the air for 179 yards. But you should expect the Tigers to focus on the running game Saturday afternoon in Weatherford, Okla., against a team that gave up 348 yards on the ground in a 41-9 loss to UAM. Southwestern won its first two games against Oklahoma schools, but reality always sets in once it begins playing the tougher Arkansas members of the GAC.

Southern Arkansas 19, Arkansas Tech 13 — The Muleriders started the season with victories over a weak Southern Nazarene team and a so-so Oklahoma Baptist squad (the win came on a long field goal on the final play) before crashing back to earth while being routed at home by Harding. Southern Arkansas finished the season 8-4 a year ago but lost the top players off that team. Still, the 2-1 Muleriders should have enough talent to down an 0-3 Arkansas Tech squad that has lost to UAM, Ouachita and Henderson in its first season under head coach Kyle Shipp.

UAM 35, Northwestern Oklahoma 33 — The Boll Weevils make the trip to Alva, Okla., to take on a 1-2 Northwestern Oklahoma squad. UAM has sandwiched victories over Arkansas Tech and Southwestern Oklahoma around a 24-0 loss to Harding. Head coach Hud Jackson is finally turning the UAM program around. The Boll Weevils were 6-6 last season, including a Division II bowl appearance. A win on the road Saturday and a 3-1 start would further enhance their credibility.

College football: Week 4

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

Razorback fans were able to see some light at the end of the tunnel last Saturday in Fayetteville.

After experiencing that “here we go again” feeling when Colorado State tied the score at 34-34, Arkansas scored 21 unanswered points down the stretch to move to 2-1 on the season.

If nothing else, it appears the Hogs have found a quarterback.

Nick Starkel was 20 of 35 passing in his first start for 305 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first 300-yard performance for an Arkansas quarterback in two years.

Meanwhile, Rakeem Boyd rushed for a career-high 122 yards as Arkansas had 520 yards of offense. The Razorbacks were six of 12 on first down.

We were 8-0 on the picks last week (thank you UCA for that late score) to make the record 17-3 for the season.

Here are the picks as we enter the fourth weekend of the college football season:

Arkansas 45, San Jose State 21 — The 55 points put on the board against Colorado State last week represented the most points scored by an Arkansas team against an FBS opponent since 2016. While we don’t think the Hogs will score that many points this week against San Jose State, the defense should be able to limit the Spartans to fewer than the 34 points Colorado State had against Arkansas. A win would give the Razorbacks a 3-1 record heading into the Sept. 28 game in Arlington against Texas A&M. San Jose State is 1-1 with a 35-18 victory over Northern Colorado and a 34-16 loss to Tulsa.

Arkansas State 37, Southern Illinois 27 — When the fans at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., wore pink in honor of the late Wendy Anderson, the gesture received nationwide attention that went beyond sports outlets. NBC’s Today Show, for instance, had the story on Monday morning. Unfortunately, Blake Anderson’s Red Wolves were never competitive in the actual game. Georgia won by a final score of 55-0. It was 34-0 at halftime as the Red Wolves had only 81 yards of offense (just seven yards rushing) in the first half. The score was 27-0 before ASU crossed midfield. The Red Wolves return to Jonesboro this Saturday to take on a 2-1 Southern Illinois squad. The Salukis have defeated Massachusetts and Tennessee-Martin since losing to Southeast Missouri in the season opener. The Red Wolves should have the edge against this FCS school, which was 2-9 a year ago.

Hawaii 41, UCA 25 — Bear players and coaches get a nice trip to Hawaii this week to take on the Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii started the season with victories of 45-38 over Arizona and 31-28 over Oregon State before falling 52-20 at Washington last Saturday. UCA improved to 3-0 with a 31-30 win over Abilene Christian in the Southland Conference opener at Conway. The Bears took the lead with 1:30 left in the game on a three-yard touchdown run by senior Carlos Blackman. Abilene Christian then missed a 46-yard field goal attempt with 30 seconds remaining.

Tennessee State 19, UAPB 18 — A UAPB team has won back-to-back games for the first time since 2014. The Golden Lions had a 53-15 victory last Saturday against Langston from the NAIA. UAPB goes to Nashville this week to do battle with a 1-2 Tennessee State squad that won its opener 26-20 over Mississippi Valley State before losses of 45-26 to Middle Tennessee and 49-44 to Jackson State. The slight edge goes to the home team in this one.

Ouachita 39, Northwestern Oklahoma 26 — The Tigers are ranked No. 6 nationally in NCAA Division II by the American Football Coaches Association following a 42-13 victory at Arkansas Tech last Saturday night. Brayden Brazeal, Ouachita’s sophomore quarterback from England, was 12 of 15 passing for 227 yards and three touchdowns.  The victory marked Ouachita’s 18th consecutive win in Great American Conference play. Northwestern Oklahoma brings a 1-1 record to Arkadelphia on Saturday night. We’re told that Cliff Harris will be in the house at Cliff Harris Stadium.

Henderson 40, Arkansas Tech 22 — The Reddies are off to a 2-0 start and appear to be much better than the squad that finished 5-6 a year ago. Henderson posted a 34-6 win at home over 0-2 Southern Nazarene last week. Richard Stammetti was 34 of 44 passing for the Reddies for 396 yards and three touchdowns. Arkansas Tech, which must make the road trip to Arkadelphia, is 0-2 with an overtime loss at UAM and the blowout loss against Ouachita in Russellville.

Harding 24, Southern Arkansas 23 — This is an interesting matchup in Magnolia. Harding is 1-1. The Bisons bounced back from their 16-14 loss to Ouachita in that highly touted season opener and then beat UAM 24-0 at home in Searcy last Saturday. All the points were scored in the first half. Southern Arkansas, which upset Harding in Searcy last year, is off to a 2-0 start. The Muleriders got a 48-yard field goal from sophomore Austin Wilkerson in Magnolia last Saturday on the final play of the game. That resulted in a 30-28 victory over 0-2 Oklahoma Baptist. Harding is trying to keep pace with Ouachita in the GAC race and simply can’t afford to start the season 1-2.

Southwestern Oklahoma 33, UAM 30 — Southwestern Oklahoma is off to a surprising 2-0 start following a 3-8 record in 2018. UAM, which finished 6-5 a year ago, is 1-1 following the win over Arkansas Tech and the loss to Harding. UAM is the home team, but we’ll go with the visitors in this one.