Finally, the University of Arkansas didn’t let us down in an SEC game. We had hopped aboard the bandwagon and picked the Hogs against both Georgia and Ole Miss. That was a mistake.
For some reason, we picked Arkansas again against South Carolina. This time, the Razorbacks came through. The Ol’ Ball Coach just ain’t what he used to be.
Arkansas State and UCA do, however, continue to let us down. We picked both to win last week. Both lost at home.
As has been their pattern all year, the Red Wolves dug a big hole early and tried to come back late. But the hole was too deep against Louisiana-Lafayette. ASU has been a real disappointment to this point in the season. Star quarterback Corey Leonard was even pulled from the game after drives that ended in an interception and a fumble.
UCA, at 5-4, has lost games by totals of five, four, three and three points. Last week’s heartbreaker came at home to Texas State with a regional television audience looking on.
At least we picked the Battle of the Ravine correctly last week. That was, after all, the most important of the seven football games played within the state of Arkansas last Saturday. We were 4-3 for the week, making us 49-26 for the year.
Let’s get to this week’s picks:
Arkansas 45, Troy 24 — Troy is good; just not SEC good. The Razorback offense is rolling now and will do so again as the Hogs play their third consecutive game in Fayetteville. The Trojans started the season with losses to Bowling Green and Florida (56-6). That has been followed by seven consecutive victories. But those victories have come over Alabama-Birmingham, Arkansas State (by three points), Middle Tennessee, Florida International, North Texas, Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky. The Hogs go to 6-4 and set the stage for an important game the following week against Mississippi State at War Memorial Stadium.
Arkansas State 31, Florida Atlantic 28 — We’re not sure why we’re sticking with the 2-6 Red Wolves at this point other than the fact that they have enough talent to win some more Sun Belt Conference games. Florida Atlantic is also 2-6. The Owls started the season with losses to Nebraska, South Carolina, Louisiana-Monroe and Wyoming. The Owls then won two straight over North Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette. Since then, they have lost to Middle Tennessee and Alabama-Birmingham. Maybe the beauty of Fort Lauderdale will revive the Red Wolves this week.
UCA 27, Sam Houston State 20 — We’re also going to stick with the Bears as they make the trip to Huntsville, Texas, home of the country’s busiest death chamber. Sam Houston is 4-5. The victories have come over North Dakota State, St. Joseph’s, Nicholls State and Northwestern State of Louisiana. The losses have come to Western Illinois, Tulsa, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State.
Arkansas Tech 49, North Carolina-Pembroke 40 — This should be an entertaining game in the first round of the NCAA Divsion II playoffs. Kickoff is set for noon in Russellville. That leaves you plenty of time to see the game in Russellville and then make it to Fayetteville for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff there. An interesting sidebar to this game is the fact that UCA’s new president, Van Buren native Allen Meadors, was the chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke for a decade before being hired in June to replace Lu Hardin. UCA and Tech, of course, were heated rivals when both were members of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. Wonder if Meadors will be in the visitors’ stands Saturday? UNC-Pembroke is 9-1, its only loss having come to perennial Division II power Carson-Newman out of Tennessee. Arkansas Tech is 8-2 and getting better every week under the leadership of quarterback Nick Graziano, the senior transfer from Nevada. UNC-Pembroke simply has not seen the type of competition that Tech has faced all season in the Gulf South Conference.