Rex Nelson: Arkansas College Football Picks Week 7


Each week throughout football season Sporting Life Arkansas excerpts Rex Nelson’s Weekly Arkansas College Football Picks and link to Rex’s Southern Fried Blog for his full predictions. Rex makes his prediction for every four-year college football team in the state. Enjoy.

Rex Nelson Archive PageIt was ugly, wasn’t it?

Arkansas lost for a ninth consecutive time to Florida. As much as Razorback fans would like for the situation to be otherwise, the Arkansas program has just never been close to the level of Florida since joining the Southeastern Conference more than two decades ago.

The Hogs are 0-4 in games played at Gainesville and never had much of a chance last Saturday as Brandon Allen was a paltry 17 of 42 passing for 165 yards. Meanwhile, the Arkansas defense has yet to come up with a turnover in two SEC games.

When did Arkansas last beat Florida?

Try the 1982 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. That’s so long ago that a guy named David Bazzel (hint, hint, he turns 50 Sunday) was playing for the Razorbacks.

Bright spots?

Well, Zach Hocker is eight for eight on field goal attempts this fall.

Big Dan Skipper, who’s just a freshman, blocked his second field goal of the season.

Those are at least a couple of positive aspects of the game.

Is it time for Razorback fans to panic?

Not really. The new coaching staff has to play with the hand it was dealt, and only the most delusional of fans thought this team would win seven or more games.

For a second consecutive week, we go to the words of Kane Webb, the Arkansas native and former sports journalist who now toils up in Kentucky as the editor of Louisville magazine. Kane has watched the first six games and thinks The Program will be OK, given time.

“The big fella knows how to coach the offensive line,” he says of Bret Bielema. “Let him recruit some SEC-caliber linemen, and we’ll see what Bielema can really do at Arkansas.

“When Jeff Long made his hire, I yawned. Bielema? The guy from Wisconsin? Boring. Sounds like a Northerner hiring a Northerner. I didn’t see anything to get excited about. But the more we see and hear of Bielema, especially in his press conferences immediately following games, the more there is to like. When Bobby Petrino lost, he did a slow boil, pointing out execution mistakes like a professor burning at the idiocy of his pupils. You expected him to lash out: ‘If they would only do what I tell them we would win every game. The morons!’ Petrino was way too smart for his own good when it came to offense — and PR.

Houston Nutt? Once the salesman shtick wore thin — about midway through year two — he just seemed flat-out defensive and insecure.

“Bielema, on the other hand, is … fine. As if he were prepared for this. As if he knew this would be a tough year. As if he understands that all these games are teaching moments for his players, who he and the staff are still getting to know, after all.

“This season won’t be easy, and Razorback fans won’t be happy. But it will be fine. This might be the first time in a long time in which fans can look down the road — and recognize the driver.”

We were 5-2 on the picks last week, making the record 38-8 for the season.

On to the picks for Week 7:

South Carolina 34, Arkansas 24 — This South Carolina team, which is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC, has had some of its own problems. It barely held off a woeful Kentucky team last week, 35-28. South Carolina has 14 consecutive home wins, the third longest streak of its kind in the country behind Michigan and Georgia. But this game isn’t in the Palmetto State. It’s in Fayetteville. And that means Arkansas has a chance.

Arkansas State 42, Idaho 33 — Paul Petrino brings his 1-5 Idaho squad to Jonesboro on Saturday to face an Arkansas State team that’s 2-3 in its first year under Bryan Harsin. The Red Wolves had an open date last week and needed it following losses of 31-7 to Memphis and 41-19 to Missouri. It’s the first time in three seasons that ASU has lost back-to-back games. ASU should run up some points Saturday against a team that gave up 731 yards in a 61-14 loss to Fresno State. The Vandals’ only victory has come against Temple.

To see the rest of Rex’s picks of all Arkansas college football team for week 7, click here.

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