Razorback fans are asking themselves when the Arkansas football program will hit rock bottom and start the slow climb back up.
It has to happen at some point, doesn’t it?
Saturday’s 31-17 loss at Oxford was the 12th consecutive Southeastern Conference defeat for the Hogs. The most recent SEC win came in Oxford two years ago by a final score of 38-37.
The Razorbacks are 1-19 in their past 20 games against teams from Power 5 conferences. For those of us who grew up in this state in the 1960s and 1970s (the three top programs in college football in the decade of the ’60s were Alabama, Texas and Arkansas), the depths to which this program has fallen defy logic.
Arkansas had just 137 yards of offense and three points in the first half at Ole Miss. At the end of the game in Oxford, the Razorbacks had been outgained 483-361.
Arkansas’ 61 rushing yards were the fewest allowed by an Ole Miss team in four years.
Arkansas saw Nick Starkel go 17 of 24 through the air for 201 yards passing in the second half after Ben Hicks had gone seven of 16 for just 98 yards in the first half. Get that slow vehicle out of the left lane! The hammer is definitely not down.
Starkel will get the start this Saturday in Fayetteville against Colorado State.
We were 7-1 on the picks last week (missing only the UAPB game) to make the record 9-3 on the year.
Here are the selections for this Saturday’s games:
Arkansas 30, Colorado State 27 — Style points don’t matter at this point. Just get a W. That should be the mantra in Fayetteville, even if it’s by a single point. Colorado State trailed Arkansas 27-9 last year before rallying for a 34-27 victory. The Rams opened this season with a 52-31 loss to a Colorado team that upset Nebraska the following week. A 38-13 victory over outclassed Western Illinois last weekend allowed Colorado State to break a six-game losing streak. With Starkel now getting the start at quarterback, we’re going to give a slight advantage to the Hogs.
Georgia 42, Arkansas State 26 — My favorite highlight of the college football season so far isn’t something that occurred on the field. It’s instead the footage of Arkansas State University head coach Blake Anderson entering a meeting room in Las Vegas with these words: “Y’all got room for one more?” Anderson had been on a leave of absence since shortly before his wife Wendy’s death on Aug. 19. The Red Wolves, who lost their opener to SMU in Jonesboro, played inspired football in a 43-17 victory over UNLV. It was the biggest margin of victory against a nonconference FBS opponent since 2011. ASU had 498 yards of offense, and the Red Wolf defense held UNLV’s starting quarterback to just 42 yards passing. This week will see the Red Wolves go between the hedges in Athens, Ga., against a Georgia team that beat Murray State 63-17 last Saturday. Jake Fromm threw for 166 yards and a score. Georgia scored 35 of its points in the second quarter before clearing the benches. ASU won’t win, but the Red Wolves should play Georgia a lot closer than Murray State did. The keys for ASU are to play decent football, avoid injuries and pick up the big check.
UCA 29, Abilene Christian 22 — The Bears improved to 2-0 on the 2019 season with a 24-16 win at Austin Peay. UCA had trailed 16-10 in the fourth quarter but rallied with two touchdowns down the stretch. UCA quarterback Breylin Smith completed 19 of 30 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He’s the real deal. The Bears finally get a home game at Conway as Abilene Christian rolls into town for the Southland Conference opener. The two schools played each other in the final game of the season a year ago with the Bears winning by 10 points, 16-6. This year’s Abilene Christian team comes to Conway following a 51-31 loss to North Texas and a 66-14 victory over Arizona Christian. Go with the home team.
UAPB 19, Langston 15 — One of the most pleasant surprises of the weekend was UAPB’s 52-34 victory over Alabama A&M in the SWAC opener at Huntsville, Ala. The Golden Lions, who had lost at TCU the previous week, are now 2-0. UAPB had 632 yards of offense. Keshawn Williams rushed for 206 yards for the Golden Lions. Langston comes to Pine Bluff for the home opener. Granted, UAPB is an FCS program and Langston is an NAIA program. But in recent years, victories over NAIA squads haven’t been guaranteed for the struggling UAPB program. Langston was 9-2 last year with a trip to the NAIA playoffs. The season ended with a 15-9 loss to Kansas Wesleyan in the first round. Langston won its opener last Saturday, 21-20, over McPherson. This is an improved UAPB squad. It won’t be easy, but we’re calling for a Golden Lion victory in Pine Bluff.
Ouachita 31, Arkansas Tech 25 — The Tigers are ranked No. 6 nationally in NCAA Division II by the American Football Coaches Association but might suffer somewhat of a letdown following an emotional 16-14 win at home last week over nationally ranked Harding. It was the national Division II game of the week on ESPN3. Gabe Goodman, a true freshman from Arkadelphia, hit three of his four field goal attempts for the Tigers. That included a 38-yard field goal with 1:05 left that proved the difference. Ouachita and Harding both made the Division II playoffs a year ago and could be back this season. Tech, which has had two head coaches since the end of last season, fell in overtime at UAM.
Harding 24, UAM 13 — Expect Harding to bounce back from its heartbreaking loss at Arkadelphia. The Harding program has more victories (33) the past three seasons than any college program in the state. UAM will hang around for at least three quarters, though. The Boll Weevils won their opener, 26-23, in overtime over Arkansas Tech when Josh Marini hit a 23-yard field goal. UAM went 6-5 in the regular season last year. Coach Hud Jackson should be able to lead his team to another winning record in 2019.
Henderson 40, Southern Nazarene 23 — Coach Scott Maxfield picked up his 100th victory as the Henderson head man as the Reddies opened the season with a 35-28 road win at Oklahoma Baptist. Reddie quarterback Richard Stammetti threw four touchdown passes. Look for Henderson to significantly improve upon last season’s 5-6 record. This game is at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium in Arkadelphia, and the Reddie program (which has won three GAC titles since 2012) will be anxious to show that last year’s losing record was a fluke.
Southern Arkansas 32, Oklahoma Baptist 28 — The Muleriders opened the season with a 34-14 road victory at Southern Nazarene. They’re at home in Magnolia this Saturday night against Oklahoma Baptist, which failed to defeat any of the six Arkansas GAC schools last season. The Muleriders piled up 323 yards on the ground against Southern Nazarene.