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College football: Week 5

I read the comments late Saturday night and Sunday on social media as Razorback fans looked for silver linings in the wake of Arkansas’ 34-3 loss at Auburn. I couldn’t help but think about how far the Arkansas program has fallen.

Look, I’m all about optimism and viewing the glass as half full. But comments I read, as people desperately searched for something positive, are what you write when you’re a fan of Tulane or Rice. When I first began paying attention to football, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas were the three winningest programs in the country in the decade of the 1960s.

Yes, how the mighty have fallen in Fayetteville.

At least most of the Razorback games will be easy to pick this year. We were 8-1 on the picks last week. That gives us a 26-9 record for the season.

Here are the picks for Week 5:

Texas A&M 37, Arkansas 20 — Special team problems were common in the Arkansas loss to Auburn. There was a 96-yard kickoff return, long punt returns and more. Arkansas outgained Auburn 290-225, but the Tigers didn’t have to go far for scores. Auburn has won the last three games in this series by a combined 116 points. It was the eighth consecutive year for Arkansas to lose its Southeastern Conference opener. The last win in an SEC opener was against Georgia in 2010. Arkansas falls to 11-16-1 in the series with Auburn. Guz Malzahn is 5-1 against the Hogs as the Auburn head coach. This week’s opponent isn’t a vintage Aggie squad, but it’s not bad. Texas A&M gave Jimbo Fisher a 10-year, $75 million contract to win SEC and national titles, not to go to minor bowls. The Aggies are off to a 2-2 start this year with victories of 59-7 over Northwestern State of Louisiana and 48-10 over Louisiana-Monroe. They looked pretty good in a 28-26 loss to Clemson and not so good in a 45-23 loss last Saturday to Alabama. The Tide’s starting quarterback passed for 387 yards against a fragile Aggie secondary. Unfortunately, Arkansas doesn’t have a good quarterback to take advantage of that secondary.

Arkansas State 31, Georgia Southern 27 — The Red Wolves open Sun Belt Conference play against a Georgia Southern team that fell 43-25 a year ago to ASU. Arkansas State is 3-1 for the first time since 2008. Last week’s 27-20 victory over UNLV in Jonesboro was the first time for an Arkansas State team to defeat nonconference FBS opponents back to back since moving to the FBS 26 years ago. Justice Hansen was 19 of 27 passing for 199 yards in the win over UNLV. Georgia Southern is 2-1 with victories of 37-6 over South Carolina State and 34-13 over Massachusetts. The loss was to Clemson by a score of 38-7.

UCA 29, Sam Houston State 24 — The Bears have had two weeks to prepare for this road game. Sam Houston State started the season with a 41-32 victory over Prairie View A&M and has since lost 24-23 to North Dakota and 27-7 to Nicholls State. If UCA hopes to compete for a Southland Conference title, this isn’t a game it can afford to lose.

Florida International 60, UAPB 10 — This isn’t going to be an enjoyable year for fans of the Golden Lions. They fell to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the SWAC last week with a 62-13 loss to Prairie View A&M. UAPB has now given up 152 points in its past two games. Prairie View had 588 yards of offense in the first half alone. It was the 10th loss in the past 11 games for UAPB and the sixth consecutive year for Prairie View to defeat UAPB. The Golden Lions go to Miami on Saturday to collect the check and take a beating from a Florida International squad coached by Butch Davis, the former head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and the North Carolina Tar Heels. He’s a University of Arkansas graduate whose first coaching job was as an assistant at Fayetteville High School in 1973. Davis’ team is 2-2 with wins of 28-20 over Old Dominion and 63-24 over Massachusetts along with losses of 38-28 to Indiana and 31-17 to Miami.

Ouachita 30, Arkansas Tech 21 — Ouachita moved to No. 7 nationally in the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll following a 42-0 victory in the rain last Saturday night over East Central Oklahoma. All six of Ouachita’s touchdowns came on the ground. Brockton Brown of Sheridan had three of those touchdowns. Ouachita, which is 4-0, led 28-0 at the half and never looked back. The home team limited East Central to just 82 yards rushing and eight first downs. Tech lost its first two games but has bounced back with two consecutive victories. Bryan Allen rushed for 175 yards on 33 carries last week in the Wonder Boys’ 24-10 victory over Southern Nazarene in Russellville. It’s homecoming this Saturday at Ouachita with a special noon kickoff.

Harding 57, UAM 28 — The 3-1 Bisons are No. 20 nationally following a 56-7 victory over 2-2 Oklahoma Baptist. Harding had three players rush for 100 yards or more. The Bisons finished with 508 yards of offense with 457 of that coming on the ground. Harding led 35-7 at halftime. UAM fell to 1-3 with a 21-7 loss to 2-2 Southeastern Oklahoma. The Boll Weevils were held scoreless until the fourth quarter and had just 195 yards of offense. They were three of 17 on third down. Expect Harding to be able to run the ball to its heart’s content on Saturday afternoon in Monticello.

Henderson 34, Southern Nazarene 33 — Reddie fans aren’t used to this kind of season. Henderson fell to 1-3 with a 35-31 loss to 2-2 Southwestern Oklahoma in Arkadelphia last Saturday night. The Reddies led 24-14 at halftime, but Southwestern scored with 28 seconds remaining to win it. Henderson had just 84 yards on the ground. Southern Nazarene is 1-3 but has shown it can be tough from time to time. The Crimson Storm led Arkansas Tech 10-0 at the half last week before falling 24-10. The Wonder Boys were held to 141 yards of offense in the first half but finished with a 377-116 advantage.

Southern Arkansas 40, Oklahoma Baptist 25 — The 4-0 Muleriders are No. 19 nationally following a 27-14 win over 1-3 Northwestern Oklahoma. The Muleriders outgained Northwestern 342-254 but didn’t put the visitors away until the fourth quarter. The task should be a bit easier this week against an Oklahoma Baptist squad that gave up 56 points in its loss to Harding.

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