Rex Nelson: Arkansas College Football Picks Week 3


Each week throughout football season Sporting Life Arkansas excerpts Rex Nelson’s Weekly Arkansas College Football Picks and links to Rex’s Southern Fried Blog for his full predictions. Rex makes his prediction for every NCAA Division I and Division II college football team in the state. Here are the college football picks Week 3. Enjoy.

Rex Nelson Archive PageI was thinking about Jack Crowe early Saturday afternoon.

I was keeping an eye on a television monitor during a late lunch in west Little Rock, and it appeared that Jacksonville State was about to upset Auburn on the Plains.

Jacksonville State, you see, was Crowe’s last stop as a head coach. He’s no longer there, but he was on my mind as Auburn was forced to score in the final minute of play just to get the game to overtime. The two schools, which are only 108 miles apart, were playing for the first time.

Crowe was still the coach back on Labor Day weekend of 2010 when Jacksonville State went to Oxford, Miss., and stunned Ole Miss with a two-point conversion in the second overtime for a 49-48 win over a Rebel team that had led 31-10 at the half.

And, of course, it was Labor Day weekend in 1992 when Crowe’s University of Arkansas team fell to the Citadel. Crowe was axed the next day by Frank Broyles, the UA athletic director. I remember getting into my father’s pickup following a successful dove hunt in a field across the Ouachita River from Arkadelphia and being stunned when we turned on the radio and learned that Arkansas was trailing late.

I was the political editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette at the time. The next day, I was in Hot Springs to cover the welcome-home rally the city was throwing for Gov. Bill Clinton. It already was becoming evident that Clinton was going to be elected the next president of the United States. I was certain my story from Hot Springs would be at the top of the front page the next morning. That was not to be the case. When I called the newspaper to ask how much room I had for the next day’s story, I was told: “Keep it tight. Frank Broyles just fired Jack Crowe.”

It was interesting that I was thinking about Crowe last Saturday afternoon since the Razorbacks would lose a game later in the day that was Citadelesque in nature.

I knew there were problems for the Hogs at about 6 p.m. when I glanced down at my phone while preparing for the broadcast of Ouachita’s home game against Southeastern Oklahoma. I noticed that numerous people were posting messages that began: “Holy Toledo!”

What was most depressing in the hours that followed was seeing the social media crowd blame the loss on a stadium rather than a lack of preparation and a lack of execution.

I hate excuses.

It was the stadium’s fault?

Arkansas fans have always been good at whining about officiating, but blaming a stadium for a loss was a new one for me.

Here are a few of the lowlights:

— Toledo limited Arkansas to three points on three second-half drives that went inside the 10.

— Toledo broke Arkansas’ streak of having held seven consecutive opponents scoreless in the first quarter.

— It was Toledo’s first victory ever over a ranked team on the road and its first victory against a Southeastern Conference team.

— The Razorbacks are 1-5 in Little Rock since 2012.

— It was Bret Bielmea’s first nonconference home loss in 10 seasons as a head coach.

Obviously, I missed my pick for that game. But the record was still 8-2 in Week 2, making the Southern Fried blog 18-2 for the season.

Let’s get to the Arkansas college football picks Week 3:

Arkansas 40, Texas Tech 35 — The Red Raiders can score a lot of points quickly, and you can expect them to put points on the board again in Fayetteville on Saturday. Last Saturday, Patrick Mahomes threw for four touchdowns and rushed for a couple of more as Tech cruised past UTEP, 69-20. Mahomes, just a sophomore, was 18 of 33 passing for 361 yards. Last year, Tech was forced to come from behind to beat the Miners, 30-26, in El Paso. This appears to be a much better Tech team than the 2014 edition. The Red Raiders struggled on defense in a 59-45 victory over Sam Houston State but improved between the first and second weeks of the season. Tech gave up 637 yards against Sam Houston and 414 yards against UTEP. Look for a high-scoring game in which both teams gain plenty of yardage. Arkansas wins by doing something it was unable to do last week — scoring touchdowns at the end of drives.

Arkansas State 37, Missouri State 24 — After a thrashing to start the season at the hands of USC, Arkansas State came home last Saturday and gave Missouri all it could handle before losing, 27-20, in front of almost 30,000 people at Jonesboro. The Red Wolves actually led at the half of that game, 17-10. ASU was held to 37 yards in the second half and just 217 yards for the game. This is the first time since 2010 that an ASU team has started the season 0-2. The Red Wolves should right the ship this week against a Missouri State team that lost 63-7 to Memphis to start the season (this might be the best football team at Memphis in a long time) before edging Chadron State by a score of 21-13 last Saturday in Springfield.

Southern Arkansas 28, Harding 27 — As we’ve been saying each week, this might be Bill Keopple’s best team yet at Southern Arkansas. The Muleriders followed up the win against Southwestern Oklahoma with a 49-14 victory at Northwestern Oklahoma. Seven players scored for the Muleriders. Southern Arkansas outgained Northwestern by more than 300 yards (595-210). Harding struggled in its season opener, beating Oklahoma Baptist in overtime, and then got on track last week with a 42-0 victory over a woeful Southern Nazarene team that has now lost 24 consecutive games. Harding is nationally ranked, but we’ll go with the home team in an upset.

For Rex’s complete Arkansas College Football Picks this week, click here.

Arkansas college football picks


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