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College football: Week 7

Alabama is no doubt No. 1.


Admit it.

The outcome was never really in doubt last Saturday night at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Nick Saban is now 10-0 as the Alabama head coach in games against Arkansas. The Tide has won 18 consecutive games, dating back to last year’s loss at home to Ole Miss early in the season.

Yes, Austin Allen passed for 400 yards (the most ever for a Razorback quarterback against an Alabama team), but it wasn’t enough to overcome the three interceptions by Minkah Fitzgerald and his 114 yards in return yardage. Five Razorback turnovers led to 28 Alabama points in the 49-30 loss.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s offensive and defensive lines dominated the line of scrimmage as the Tide outrushed the Hogs 264-73.

Alabama’s defense and special teams are (as Houston Nutt might have said) special. The Crimson Tide leads the country with nine non-offensive touchdowns. Alabama has scored non-offensive touchdowns in eight consecutive games.

Arkansas is going to have to get a lot better on both lines of scrimmage to make it three consecutive victories over Ole Miss.

We were 3-3 on the picks last week, making the season record 35-13.

Here are the picks for Week 7:

Ole Miss 39, Arkansas 37 — It’s safe to call Ole Miss the best 3-2 team in the country. The Rebels’ losses were by scores of 45-34 to Florida State in the opening game of the season and 48-43 to Alabama on Sept. 17. The Rebels were far more competitive against the Crimson Tide than the Hogs were. The Ole Miss wins have come by scores of 38-13 against Wofford, 45-14 against Georgia and 48-28 against Memphis. The game is in Fayetteville (yet again Arkansas has an evening slot on ESPN). Don’t be surprised if Arkansas wins. But, as noted, there’s going to have to be better blocking and better defensive line play for that to happen. One difference could be that Ole Miss has had two weeks to get ready for this game.

South Alabama 29, Arkansas State 25 — These two teams are difficult to figure out. South Alabama has the Sun Belt Conference’s two best nonconference victories — 21-20 over Mississippi State in Starkville to start the season and 42-24 against a San Diego State team that was ranked at the time. Yet the Jaguars are 0-2 in conference play with losses of 24-9 to Georgia Southern and 28-23 to Louisiana-Lafayette. The other game was a 41-40 nonconference victory over Nicholls State. Arkansas State started the year 0-4 with nonconference losses of 31-10 to Toledo, 51-14 to Auburn, 34-20 to Utah State and 28-23 to UCA. Then on Wednesday of last week, the Red Wolves scored in the final seconds to upset Georgia Southern, 27-26. Expect Saturday night’s game in Jonesboro to be close.

UCA 27, McNeese State 24 — The Bears travel Lake Charles, La., a place where it’s always tough for a visiting team to win. This doesn’t appear to be a vintage McNeese State squad, however. The Cowboys are 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the Southland Conference. The victories were by scores of 33-3 against Tarleton State, 42-35 against Incarnate Word and 38-13 against Nicholls State. The losses came by scores of 30-22 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 31-28 to Stephen F. Austin and 31-24 to Southeastern Louisiana. UCA, which is 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the Southland Conference, has had two weeks to prepare for the game. The lone loss was 35-29 to Samford back on Sept. 10. The wins have come by scores of 56-13 over Houston Baptist, 24-10 over Northwestern State of Louisiana, 28-23 over Arkansas State and 58-27 over Abilene Christian.

Alabama A&M 15, UAPB 13 — It’s 1-5 Alabama A&M going to Pine Bluff to take on 1-4 UAPB on Saturday. You tell me who’s going to win because I don’t have a clue. A&M’s lone victory came by a score of 35-16 against Mississippi Valley State in the second game of the season. The losses have been by scores of 55-0 to Middle Tennessee, 41-20 to Prairie View A&M, 59-31 to Southern University, 34-31 to Texas Southern and 42-19 to Alcorn State.

Harding 38, Southeastern Oklahoma 21 — The 6-0 Bisons, ranked eighth nationally by the American Football Coaches Association in NCAA Division II, have an excellent chance now to finish the regular season undefeated. Southeastern Oklahoma comes to Searcy on Saturday night with a 4-2 record. None of the Bisons’ final four opponents have a winning record at this point. Last Saturday, Harding headed to Arkadelphia to take on a Henderson team that was 5-0, the defending Great American Conference champion and No. 5 in the country. The Bisons led 35-0 at the half and didn’t even use star quarterback Park Parish in the second half. Harding had two defensive touchdowns in the first half and scored two times in the last five seconds of the half. The final score was 35-3. Southeastern has victories over Ouachita, Oklahoma Baptist, Southern Nazarene and Northwestern Oklahoma and losses to Henderson and Southwestern Oklahoma. The Savage Storm is good enough this year to keep this one close for three quarters or so.

Henderson 57, UAM 22 — The 5-1 Reddies, who dropped from No. 5 to No. 15 in the AFCA poll, will take out their frustration in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon against the 2-4 Boll Weevils from UAM. The Weevils are coming off a 31-17 defeat at the hands of a Southern Nazarene team that had entered the game with an 0-5 record. The other UAM losses have been to Northwestern Oklahoma, Arkansas Tech and Harding. The two Weevil victories were over 2-4 Southwestern Oklahoma and 2-4 Oklahoma Baptist.

Southern Arkansas 40, Ouachita 23 — The 5-1 Muleriders are on a roll. Southern Arkansas went to Oklahoma Baptist last week and returned home with a 52-7 victory. The Muleriders had 289 yards passing compared to just 34 for Oklahoma Baptist. The Ouachita Tigers started the season 3-1 and were receiving votes for the Top 25, but they’ve been decimated by injuries. In its homecoming game at Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon, Ouachita will be missing its quarterback, two running backs, a tight end, its best wide receiver and its best offensive lineman. And that’s just on the offensive side of the ball. At least three people will be missing from the secondary for the 3-3 Tigers, meaning Mulerider quarterback Barrett Renner should have a field day. SAU’s only loss has been at Harding. In addition to Oklahoma Baptist, there have been Mulerider victories over Southwestern Oklahoma, Northwestern Oklahoma, Arkansas Tech and Southern Nazarene.

Arkansas Tech 30, East Central Oklahoma 26 — The Wonder Boys evened their record at 3-3 with an impressive 49-17 victory at Ouachita last Saturday. It was the worst home loss for Ouachita in nine years. The Wonder Boys have found a quality quarterback in Jabyes Cross, who started the season at wide receiver. Cross was 12 of 15 passing against Ouachita for 265 yards and added 60 yards rushing. East Central has won nine of the past 11 games in the series. Look for an improving Tech team to get it done at home in Russellville against 1-5 East Central, whose only victory has come against Southern Nazarene.

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