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.