It took until October, but we finally had a weekend when the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University and the University of Central Arkansas all won.
Our record for the year is 34-9, which is not bad. But the percentage would be so much better if we could figure out the Hogs.
We picked them to beat both Toledo and Texas Tech. They lost, of course.
We picked them to lose to Tennessee. You know what happened in Knoxville.
And as far as undefeated college football teams in Arkansas, “then there were none.”
Arkansas Tech and Harding went to Arkadelphia last Saturday with 4-0 records.
Ouachita dealt Harding a 26-21 defeat at Cliff Harris Stadium. Harding is now 16-2 in its previous 18 Great American Conference games with the only two losses having come at the hands of the team it wants to beat most, the Baptists from Ouachita.
A few hours later on the other side of U.S. Highway 67, Henderson beat Tech, 17-7.
Of course, I picked both Harding and Tech last week, leading to a 5-3 record overall.
So we now have five teams from the 12-team GAC tied for the conference lead with 4-1 records — Ouachita, Henderson, Harding, Arkansas Tech and East Central Oklahoma.
At the end of the day Saturday, there will be three teams at most at the top.
There are two huge games: Ouachita at Tech and Henderson at Harding. I expect both games to be close.
With that said, let’s get to the picks for Week 6:
Alabama 35, Arkansas 24 — Something tells me that Arkansas will hang around for at least three quarters in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night now that the SEC road game monkey is off the Razorbacks’ back. The 24-20 victory at Tennessee was the first SEC road win in the Bielema era. It was also the first time Arkansas had won a game decided by seven points or less in the Bielema era. Arkansas is now 1-9 in such games under its head coach. Alex Collins and Drew Morgan were impressive. Collins rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He has topped 150 yards rushing in three consecutive games. Morgan had five catches for 110 yards, his second consecutive 100-yard game. Brandon Allen was 11 of 24 passing for 219 yards. The Arkansas defense held Tennessee to 133 rushing yards (115 less than the season average coming into the game), and Arkansas led in second-half time of possession 21:57 to 8:03. That said, Bama looked like the Bama championship teams of old between the hedges in Athens on Saturday afternoon en route to a 38-10 spanking of previously undefeated Georgia. The Bulldog coaches even yanked starting quarterback Greyson Lambert late in the first half. The Tide led 24-3 at halftime and then returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown to start the second half. Alabama looked like a team that belongs in college football’s final four.
UCA 39, Houston Baptist 20 — The Bears finally got to play at home and responded with a 42-14 victory over Abilene Christian to even their season record at 2-2. The most important thing, though, is that they’re now 2-0 in the Southland Conference. UCA led 32-0 in the second quarter and never looked back. Houston Baptist opened the season with a 51-7 victory over tiny Bethany College from Kansas and then lost 34-10 to Northern Colorado, 49-21 to Abilene Christian and 63-14 to Sam Houston State. Those three losses were followed last Saturday by a 65-0 victory over College of Faith, which (best as I can determine) is a correspondence school in West Memphis that happens to field a football team. It’s at best a club team. I’m not sure why the NCAA allows games against the school to count. At any rate, Houston Baptist must face a real team in Houston this Saturday afternoon.
Ouachita 28, Arkansas Tech 21 — Ouachita trailed Harding 14-3 early but scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:40 left in the game on a pass from Malvern’s Austin Warford to Searcy’s Johnathan Powell. The Tigers then added a safety for the 26-21 victory. Last year after an overtime victory over Harding, the Tigers struggled to beat Tech at home. The Wonder Boys started the season 4-0 under the leadership of a transfer quarterback named Arsenio Favor, who came to Tech from the University of Alabama at Birmingham when UAB dropped football. Favor is 6-3, 240 pounds. He struggled last week against a Henderson defense that has only allowed seven points in the previous eight quarters. This is a tough one to pick. It will probably come down to which team has the fewest turnovers.
Harding 30, Henderson 27 — Another GAC showdown, and another tough pick. We’ll give the slight edge to Harding since the Bisons are home. Harding gave Henderson its first of two losses last year (the other was to Ouachita), and its double-slot offense remains dangerous. Henderson, which was a passing team when Kevin Rodgers was quarterback from 2012-14, is now more of a running team. Jaquan Cole rushed for 245 yards on 27 carries for the Reddies in the win over Tech. Henderson had 390 yards of offense, and 305 yards of it came on the ground. Henderson’s defense is vastly improved from last year. Tech had 323 yards of offense, far below its average of 482.5 yards in the first four games.
UAM 41, Southern Nazarene 38 — The Boll Weevils are 0-5 following a 56-28 loss to 1-4 Oklahoma Baptist, the conference’s newest member. Southern Nazarene, meanwhile, has lost 27 consecutive games. Somebody has to win. We’ll give the Weevils the edge since it’s their homecoming game.
Southern Arkansas 34, Oklahoma Baptist 25 — The Muleriders are 3-2 following their 55-20 win at Southern Nazarene. Oklahoma Baptist will provide a bit more of a challenge for SAU, which began the season with victories over Southwestern Oklahoma and Northwestern Oklahoma before falling to Harding (giving up 70 points in that one) and Arkansas Tech.