I needed a week like last week.
I went 9-0 on the college football picks, the first time to run the table this season.
There was no Razorback game to fret over.
Meanwhile, Coach Blake Anderson of Arkansas State had publicly chastised me at the Little Rock Touchdown Club for picking his Red Wolves to lose their first two Sun Belt Conference games. So I went with ASU against Louisiana-Monroe, and the Red Wolves came through in a big way. ASU has now won 12 consecutive conference games.
UCA continues to roll. Wouldn’t it be something if the Bears could come into their Nov. 19 game at Sam Houston State (the No. 1 team nationally in the FCS) undefeated in Southland Conference play?
About the only sure thing has been picking UAPB to lose, but this week’s game is more challenging to select since the Golden Lions take on a Mississippi Valley State team that’s 0-8.
We also picked all six Arkansas teams from the Great American Conference to post victories over the GAC teams from Oklahoma, and the Arkansas teams (all of whom were playing at home) did just that.
This week, the six Arkansas teams in the GAC travel to Oklahoma. Don’t expect another Natural State sweep.
We’re now 52-20 for the season.
Let’s get to the picks for Week 10:
Florida 34, Arkansas 28 — Florida improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference with a 24-10 victory over Georgia in the game at Jacksonville, Fla., that’s billed as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Georgia continues to struggle in its first year under Kirby Smart, falling to 4-4 overall and 2-4 in the SEC. Smart is now just 1-6 as a player and coach in this series. Florida has won four of the past five games in the series against Georgia and 21 of the past 27. Arkansas now must contend with a Florida defense that held Georgia to only 164 yards of offense. The Hogs find themselves 1-3 in SEC play with none of the three losses having been close. The game is in Fayetteville, though, a factor that hopefully will let Arkansas hang around until late in the game with a chance to win. Florida’s only loss came on Sept. 24 at Tennessee, 38-28. The wins have been by scores of 24-7 over Massachusetts, 45-7 over Kentucky, 32-0 over North Texas, 13-6 over Vanderbilt, 40-14 over Missouri and, as noted, 24-10 over Georgia.
Arkansas State 36, Georgia State 26 — The Red Wolves head east to Atlanta for a Thursday night game against Georgia State. In the 51-10 thrashing of Louisiana-Monroe at Jonesboro last Saturday night, ASU had 434 yards of offense and no turnovers. Red Wolf teams have defeated Louisiana-Monroe squads five consecutive times by two touchdowns or more. The ASU offense scored six touchdowns on eight first-half possessions and now seems to be hitting its stride as it comes into the game at the Georgia Dome against 2-6 Georgia State. It has been quite a turnaround for a team that went 0-4 in nonconference play (including a loss in Jonesboro to UCA) and is now 3-0 in Sun Belt action. Georgia State’s two wins have been by scores of 41-21 over Texas State and 31-6 over Tennessee-Martin. The losses have been by scores of 31-21 to Ball State, 48-14 to Air Force, 23-17 to Wisconsin, 17-3 to Appalachian State, 31-21 to Troy and 13-10 to South Alabama.
UCA 31, Stephen F. Austin 27 — The Bears travel to the piney woods of east Texas to take on a Stephen F. Austin team coached by former UCA head man Clint Conque and quarterbacked by Conque’s son, Zach, who played his high school football at Little Rock Catholic. UCA was hitting on all cylinders at Hammond, La., last Saturday in its 45-10 victory over Southeastern Louisiana. The game was scoreless after one quarter, but the Bears outscored Southeastern 24-3 in the second quarter and never looked back. The UCA defense allowed just 78 yards rushing. Stephen F. Austin is 4-4 with wins of 30-24 over West Alabama (an NCAA Division II team), 31-28 over McNeese State, 41-30 over Abilene Christian and 42-19 over Incarnate Word. The losses have come by scores of 69-17 to Texas Tech, 63-28 to Sam Houston State, 35-28 to Nicholls State and 58-34 to Southeastern Louisiana.
Mississippi Valley State 10, UAPB 9 — I want to pick the Golden Lions this week. I really do. But I’m gun-shy in the wake of UAPB’s 70-0 loss to Grambling State last Saturday that dropped the Golden Lions to 1-7 overall and 1-5 in the SWAC. This team appears to have lost its desire to play. It was 42-0 at the half. Grambling had a yardage advantage of 743-177. The Golden Lions were outscored 200-45 in the month of October. If UAPB is going to win another game this year, it needs to be on Saturday afternoon in Pine Bluff. Mississippi Valley State comes to town following losses of 61-14 to Eastern Michigan, 35-16 to Alabama A&M, 31-0 to Texas Southern, 56-21 to Prairie View A&M, 16-14 to Jackson State, 67-7 to Montana, 56-24 to Alabama State and 59-10 to Grambling.
Henderson 67, Southern Nazarene 21 — The Reddies defeated 2-7 Oklahoma Baptist by a score of 67-21 on Saturday afternoon in Arkadelphia. What the heck. Let’s pick that same score as a 7-2 Henderson team heads to the Oklahoma City area to play 1-8 Southern Nazarene. A final record of 9-2 likely won’t get the Reddies into the NCAA Division II playoffs, but it could earn them the host role at the Live United Bowl at Texarkana. Henderson passed for 594 yards against Oklahoma Baptist, one yard short of a Great American Conference record. The Reddies finished the game with 785 yards of offense.
Ouachita 40, Oklahoma Baptist 30 — A Ouachita team missing its quarterback, top running back and top receiver needed a lesser opponent. And the 5-4 Tigers got just that on Thursday night of last week when Southern Nazarene came to Arkadelphia. Ouachita jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead and then put it on cruise control in the second half. True freshman Shuncee Thomas out of Bossier City, La. (playing in place of injured sophomore tailback Kris Oliver from Arkadelphia) finished with 149 yards even though he saw only limited action in the second half. The Ouachita coaches hope the many young players who have been pressed into service due to the injuries continue to grow up in Shawnee, Okla., on Saturday afternoon. But the Tigers are not good on the road. They’re 4-1 at home and 1-3 on the road.
Southeastern Oklahoma 37, UAM 35 — The Boll Weevils won a second consecutive game at home to improve to 4-5, topping their combined victory total for the previous two seasons. UAM beat 1-8 East Central Oklahoma by a final score of 42-21 as sophomore quarterback Cole Sears threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns. Sears gets better each week. The Weevils go to Durant, Okla., to take on a 5-4 Southeastern Oklahoma team with something that UAM hasn’t had in a long time — confidence. Like Ouachita, though, UAM is not good on the road. The Weevils are 4-1 in Monticello and 0-4 in road games. Still, expect this to be an exciting game in Durant on Saturday afternoon.
Southwestern Oklahoma 25, Arkansas Tech 22 — The Wonder Boys are 5-4 following a 41-35 victory over 4-5 Northwestern Oklahoma on homecoming afternoon in Russellville last Saturday. Kristian Thompson rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Tech makes the long trip to Weatherford, Okla., this Saturday to take on a 4-5 Southwestern Oklahoma squad that lost its first four games, won its next four games and then played league leader Harding close in Searcy for three quarters on Saturday afternoon before finally falling 42-27. Tech vs. Southwestern has all the makings of a close game.
Harding 49, Northwestern Oklahoma 24 — The Bisons moved to 9-0 with that win over Southwestern Oklahoma. Harding had a season-high 506 rushing yards, the fifth-highest total in school history, and earned a share of the school’s first conference championship since 1989. Harding led 40:55 to 19:05 in time of possession. The Bisons can earn the outright GAC title with a win at Alva, Okla., over a decent Northwestern team. This will be the first time the GAC football title has been out of Arkadelphia. Of the first five championships awarded by the conference, three went to Henderson and two went to Ouachita.
Southern Arkansas 43, East Central Oklahoma 20 — The Muleriders improved to 7-2 with a 38-24 win in Magnolia last Saturday over 5-4 Southeastern Oklahoma. Sophomore quarterback Barrett Renner threw five touchdown passes for Southern Arkansas. The Muleriders jumped out to a 24-7 halftime lead and never looked back. With a convincing win over Henderson already in the books, SAU has a slight chance of making the playoffs if it finishes 9-2.