Rex Nelson: Week 8 College Football Picks


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 week 8 college football picks. Enjoy.

Rex Nelson Archive PageIt was a good third Saturday in October for the three largest football programs in the state.

Arkansas beat Ole Miss, 34-30.

Arkansas State downed South Alabama, 17-7.

And UCA destroyed McNeese State down in Lake Charles, 35-0.

So those who had fallen off the Razorback bandwagon following one-sided losses to Texas A&M and Alabama are back aboard. For now.

Auburn looms on The Plains late Saturday afternoon in yet another ESPN-televised contest for the Hogs.

One of the loudest crowds in school history seemed to will Arkansas to its victory over Ole Miss, the third consecutive year for the Razorbacks to beat the Rebels. Arkansas dominated in time of possession, 40:38 to 19:22, while outgaining the Rebels 429-403. A big factor in time of possession was Rawleigh Williams’ ability to run on the Rebs. He carried the ball 27 times for a career-high 180 yards against the school to which he initially had committed.

Arkansas has now topped 400 yards of offense in six consecutive games.

Hugh Freeze is 2-3 against the Hogs since leaving Arkansas State in Jonesboro for Ole Miss. Arkansas leads the overall series, 34-27-1.

What to make of Auburn?

It’s hard to tell.

People were falling off the Gus Bus right and left when the Tigers lost two of their first three games at home, losing 19-13 to Clemson and 29-16 to Texas A&M. Those two losses were sandwiched around a 51-14 victory over Arkansas State.

The 18-13 win against LSU that cost Les Miles his job has been followed by victories of 58-7 over Louisiana-Monroe and 38-14 over Mississippi State.

The pressure on Gus Malzahn has eased for now.

We were 5-3 on the picks last week, making the record 40-16 for the season.

Here are Week 8 college football picks:

Arkansas 30, Auburn 28 — This has the makings of an entertaining game. Auburn has had two weeks to prepare. The Tigers played their first five games at home, went to Starkville for the win over Mississippi State and now return home for the game against the Hogs. Three of the final four Southeastern Conference games on their schedule — against Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama — will be on the road. Thus the pressure is on Auburn to win this game. Last week, in picking Ole Miss by two points, we wrote: “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.” Indeed, Arkansas was better along both the offensive and defensive lines last week. The Razorbacks will have to be better up front again this week in their first true SEC road game.

UCA 29, Lamar 19 — The Bears were impressive at a place where it’s traditionally difficult to win. It was, in fact, the first time McNeese State had been shut out at home since 1987. It was the first time for McNeese to be shut out by another Southland Conference team since 1988. UCA is 5-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play, its best start since joining the Southland Conference in 2006. The Bears took full advantage of five Cowboy turnovers. The visitors from Conway led 14-0 at the half, scored on the first possession of the third quarter and led 28-0 at the end of the third quarter. Now, they return home to Conway to face a Lamar team that lost its first three games and has now won three consecutive contests. The losses were by scores of 38-14 to Coastal Carolina, 42-0 to Houston and 44-31 to Sam Houston State. The wins (all conference games, making Lamar 3-1 in the Southland) have been by scores of 38-14 over Southeastern Louisiana, 38-10 over Abilene Christian and 32-31 over Northwestern State of Louisiana.

Harding 49, East Central Oklahoma 25 — The Bisons appear to be on their way to their first Great American Conference championship and an 11-0 regular season. A week after destroying nationally ranked Henderson in Arkadelphia, the Bisons went to 7-0 with a 63-17 victory over a Southeastern Oklahoma team that had come into Searcy with a 4-2 record. The lead was only 17-14 at the end of the first quarter, but then the Bisons ran off 35 unanswered points in the second quarter. A Thursday night game will see Harding travel to Ada, Okla., to play a 1-6 East Central Oklahoma team. Harding is one of 10 remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division II, is ranked seventh nationally in Division II by the American Football Coaches Association and is the only team in Division II to rank in the top five in scoring offense and scoring defense. Harding rushed for 557 yards in last year’s 62-20 victory over East Central. This one should be a lot like that.

To see all of the week 8 college football picks, click here.

week 8 college football picks


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