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College football: Week 9

I was glued to the radio Saturday night, hoping that UCA could score late, come from behind and defeat Lamar down in Beaumont, Texas.

I always root for Arkansas teams against out-of-state foes.

But there was another motive. I was 6-0 on the picks to that point on the day and wanted to go 7-0.

I had picked the Bears to win by a score of 28-24.

They actually won 26-24 with a late touchdown.

I guess I was overly optimistic, though, in picking Alabama to defeat Arkansas by a score of 45-10. Those 10 points for the Hogs were nowhere to be found.

It marked the second season in a row for Arkansas to fail to score against Alabama. Nick Saban preaches perfection, and his team came close with no turnovers and no penalties. This is what a college football team should be.

As for the Razorbacks:

— They have been held scoreless for seven consecutive quarters.

— Since scoring on the opening drive against South Carolina, they have been outscored 104-0.

— They have their first five-game losing streak since 1997, which was Danny Ford’s final season as head coach.

— They’re 4-16 all time against No. 1 teams. This is the fifth consecutive season to lose to a No. 1 — three times to Alabama, once to Florida and once to LSU.

— Their defense has not had a single takeaway in three of the four Southeastern Conference games thus far this season.

At least it’s a bye week.

And none of those jokes please about Las Vegas having established Bye as a five-point favorite against the Hogs.

We’re sending out the predictions early this week since Arkansas State has a Tuesday night game.

College football isn’t meant to be played on Tuesday nights, by the way. Just the thought of Tuesday night college football makes me a little ill. I’m a traditionalist.

Oh well.

As noted, we were 7-0 last week, making the record 51-10 for the season.

On to the picks for Week 9 of the college football season:

Louisiana-Lafayette 35, Arkansas State 31 — The Red Wolves have won eight consecutive Sun Belt Conference games since losing the conference opener to Western Kentucky last season. ASU, in fact, has won 16 of its past 17 Sun Belt contests and captured back-to-back conference championships. But these 3-3 Red Wolves have yet to put together a complete game. After losses to Arkansas and Kansas State to start the season, Louisiana-Lafayette has run off four consecutive victories — 70-7 over Nicholls State, 35-30 over Akron, 48-24 over Texas State and 37-20 over Bobby Petrino’s Western Kentucky squad. The Ragin’ Cajuns lead the Sun Belt in scoring offense and rushing offense. Mark Hudspeth has gone 14-4 in conference games since becoming Louisiana-Lafayette’s head coach, and many think he will be the next head coach at Mississippi State. Expect a high-scoring affair tonight in Jonesboro.

UCA 27, Stephen F. Austin 24 — Both UCA and Stephen F. Austin have been up and down thus far in the 2013 season. Playing its first game of the season without quarterback Wynrick Smothers, the Bears moved to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play with the victory at Lamar. New quarterback Ryan Howard threw the winning touchdown pass with 3:41 remaining in the game. Howard was 26 of 40 passing for 281 yards and three touchdowns. Stephen F. Austin is 3-4. The wins have come by scores of 50-13 over McMurry, 52-38 over Montana State and 55-41 over Nicholls State. The losses have been by scores of 50-40 to Weber State, 61-13 to Texas Tech, 56-48 to Prairie View A&M and 56-14 to Southeastern Louisiana. Give the Bears a slight edge since they’re playing at home Saturday afternoon.

UAPB 21, Mississippi Valley State 18 — We picked UAPB to win a couple of weeks ago and came to regret it. The defending SWAC champions now stand at 0-7. The most recent loss came last Saturday afternoon by a score of 29-21 to Southern University in the homecoming game at Pine Bluff. The Golden Lions are still missing five key contributors due to eligibility issues. But the margins have been closer in recent weeks, and this might just be the week to secure that first victory against a Mississippi Valley State team that’s 1-6. The lone victory was against an Alabama A&M team that’s now 2-5. The losses have been to Florida A&M, Delta State (an NCAA Division II program), Alcorn State, Southern University, Jackson State and Prairie View A&M.

Henderson 39, Harding 30 — It’s the biggest game to this point in the season in the Great American Conference. Henderson is 7-0 and ranked No. 5 nationally in Division II. The Reddies’ latest victory was a 45-14 decision over Arkansas Tech in the Boomtown Classic at El Dorado. Reddie quarterback Kevin Rodgers was 19 of 31 passing for 358 yards and three touchdowns. Harding, which is 5-1 and has won five consecutive games, might just be able to keep this one close in Searcy. The Bisons knocked Ouachita from the ranks of the unbeaten last Saturday afternoon in Arkadelphia in perhaps the most exciting college game played in the state so far this year. The lead changed hands twice in the final two minutes. Ouachita had gone ahead 33-30 with 1:56 left, but Keenan Kellett of Harding passed 74 yards to Donatella Luckett for the win. It was one of only three pass completions all day for a Harding team that leads Division II in rushing. The Bisons will keep the ball on the ground again Saturday and try to limit Henderson’s possessions.

Ouachita 35, Arkansas Tech 25 — Ouachita tries to bounce back from its first loss of the season as the Tigers go on the road to face Arkansas Tech in the Wonder Boys’ homecoming game at Russellville. Tech is 3-4 in its first season under head coach Raymond Monica. Ouachita must win to keep its postseason hopes alive.

UAM 47, Southern Nazarene 26 — The Boll Weevils play a weak foe at home for a second consecutive week. UAM improved its record to 4-3 with a 41-27 victory over an NAIA school from Illinois, Lindenwood-Belleville. Cody Trimble passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns for the Weevils. This week’s opponent, Southern Nazarene, is now a GAC member but has yet to win a game. Southern is finding the transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II most difficult.

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