As usual, the Southwest Classic was close.
Also as usual, Texas A&M won
So now the Hogs (2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference) have an extra week to get ready for Kentucky. And that just might be a winnable game.
What happened in Arlington last Saturday felt familiar, didn’t it?
It was the eighth consecutive win in the series for the Aggies. Five of the past six games in this series have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Arkansas did manage to outgain Texas A&M. The Razorbacks finished with 395 yards of offense, and the Aggies had 340. Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel combined for 297 passing yards. Meanwhile, Rakeem Boyd had 89 of the Hogs’ 98 rushing yards.
Arkansas will go to Kentucky on Oct. 12 with a 13-game SEC losing streak. The Wildcats lost 24-7 last Saturday to a mediocre South Carolina team. Kentucky is 2-3 overall and 0-3 in SEC play.
In addition to the Hogs taking the week off, Arkansas State and UCA play out of state. That means that this is a golden opportunity to see one of the other college games in the state.
This is the week that all six of Arkansas’ Great American Conference teams host GAC teams from Oklahoma.
UAPB is at home in Pine Bluff against Lane College for its homecoming game.
The state’s only NCAA Division III program is at Hendrix, and the 3-0 Warriors will host Rhodes College in Conway on Saturday.
The state’s only NAIA program is at Lyon, and the 3-1 Scots will host Langston in Batesville on Saturday.
You thus have nine games in eight Arkansas cities from which to choose. There are two games in Arkadelphia to go along with games in Pine Bluff, Searcy, Magnolia, Russellville, Monticello, Conway and Batesville.
There’s really no excuse not to get out and see a college football game this Saturday.
I was 5-2 on the picks last week, making the record 27-8 for the season.
Here are the picks for this week’s games:
Georgia State 39, Arkansas State 37 — How about Little Rock’s Layne Hatcher? In his first start as a college quarterback, the transfer from Alabama led ASU to a 50-43 win over Troy in a game with 1,068 yards of total offense. The Red Wolves (3-2,1-0) outgained Troy (2-2, 0-1) 558-510. Hatcher completed 25 of 35 passes for 440 yards. The Red Wolves go to Atlanta this Saturday to take on a Georgia State team that’s hard to figure out. Georgia State opened the season on Aug. 31 with a stunning 38-30 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville and followed that with a 48-42 win over Furman. The Panthers have since fallen on the road by scores of 57-10 to Western Michigan and 37-34 to Texas State in three overtimes. In a game that could easily go the other way, we’ll give a slight edge to Georgia State for two reasons — the Panthers have had two weeks to prepare for this contest, and they’re the home team.
UCA 29, Nicholls State 25 — The Bears won their first three games of the season by scores of 35-28 over Western Kentucky, 24-16 over Austin Peay and 31-30 over Abilene Christian before going to Hawaii and falling 35-16 to the Rainbow Warriors. UCA had a needed open date last Saturday to prepare for this week’s trip to Cajun country to play Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La. Nicholls is 2-2 with wins of 43-25 over Prairie View A&M and 48-30 over Stephen F. Austin to go along with losses of 49-14 to Kansas State and 24-3 to Texas State.
UAPB 27, Lane College 17 — The usual large homecoming crowd will be on hand in hopes of seeing the FCS Golden Lions pick on Lane College from NCAA Division II. UAPB’s three-game winning streak came to an end last Saturday with a 31-7 loss to Southern University. Former Pine Bluff High School Zebra quarterback Ladarius Skelton came home to Pine Bluff as Southern’s starting quarterback. He ran for three touchdowns and was 17 of 25 passing for 157 yards. UAPB is now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the SWAC. Lane is 2-2. The Lane losses have been by scores of 34-0 to South Carolina State and 52-28 to Miles College. The Dragon wins have come by scores of 29-0 over Texas College and 44-14 over Edward Waters.
Ouachita 30, Southeastern Oklahoma 15 — Ouachita, ranked No. 6 in the country in NCAA Division II, found itself trailing 21-20 at Southwestern Oklahoma last Saturday afternoon with just 11 minutes left in the game. That’s when the Tigers finally woke up. Ouachita controlled the football for almost 10 of those final 11 minutes. The Tigers marched down the field and scored, forced a quick Southwestern punt and then held the ball the final five minutes for a 26-21 victory. It was the 20th consecutive GAC win for the 4-0 Tigers. Expect them to wake up a little more quickly this week against 1-3 Southeastern Oklahoma in the homecoming game at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia.
Henderson 24, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — Henderson will be playing just across U.S. Highway 67 from that Ouachita game on Saturday afternoon. The 3-1 Reddies take on a 2-2 Northwestern Oklahoma team that shut out UAM a week ago by a final score of 28-0. Northwestern has the talent to give the Reddies a tough fight. Henderson took on nationally ranked Harding in Searcy last Saturday night and fell 14-13. It was a game that could have gone the other way.
Harding 22, Southern Nazarene 0 — The 3-1 Bisons already have two shutouts to their credit this season and could get another one Saturday against outmatched Southern Nazarene in Searcy. While the defense is doing its thing, the Harding offense will keep doing what it does so well, which is run the football. Cole Chancey carried 38 times against Henderson for 166 yards. Southern Nazarene improved to 1-3 last Saturday as it squeezed out its first victory of the season with a 22-21 decision over Southeastern Oklahoma.
Southwestern Oklahoma 32, Southern Arkansas 31 — Southern Arkansas has struggled early this season despite its 3-1 record. The Muleriders won on a last-second field goal against Oklahoma Baptist, got shut out by Harding and found themselves tied with a winless Arkansas Tech team in the fourth quarter. Southwestern, which is now 2-2, gave Ouachita all it wanted. We’re going to go out on a limb and predict that the Bulldogs will pull an upset in Magnolia this Saturday.
Oklahoma Baptist 33, Arkansas Tech 21 — It’s 2-2 Oklahoma Baptist (which just might have the best quarterback in the GAC) against 0-4 Arkansas Tech in Russellville on Saturday. Oklahoma Baptist posted a 50-41 win over East Central Oklahoma last weekend. As mentioned, Tech hung around with Southern Arkansas for the longest before its defense wore down. The game was tied 14-14 with 11:33 remaining. Then, SAU scored the final 21 points.
UAM 41, East Central Oklahoma 34 — This 2-2 Boll Weevil team is hard to figure out. It beat Southwestern Oklahoma two weeks ago when the Bulldogs were 2-0 but then laid an egg at Northwestern Oklahoma in a 28-0 loss. Northwestern intercepted three Boll Weevil passes and limited UAM to just 56 passing yards. This week’s opponent is 1-3 East Central Oklahoma. Which team will show up Saturday in Monticello? The good Weevils or the bad Weevils? We’ll go with the good Weevils in a game in which very little defense is played.