Rex’s Arkansas College Football Picks of the Week – Hotty Toddy?


Editor’s Note: 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 four-year college football team in the state. After an impressive win over LSU is Rex Nelson thinking Hotty Toddy in Arkansas Saturday?

Rex Nelson Archive PageIt is safe for us to now officially declare that LSU is not a cold-weather team.

And how about that Arkansas defense on a frigid Saturday night in Fayetteville?

LSU finished the game with just 123 yards of offense, 250 less than its season average. The Tigers had only 36 rushing yards.

So long 17-game SEC losing streak.

So long 14-game losing streak to ranked teams, a streak that dated back to the Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State almost three years ago.

Arkansas was the first team this season to hold LSU scoreless in the first half. The last time Arkansas had recorded a shutout victory over LSU was in 1929 in a game played at Shreveport. Huey P. Long was governor of Louisiana at the time and likely at the contest since he was a huge Tiger fan. Only the most serious Arkansas political buff would know that the Arkansas governor at the time was Harvey Parnell.

Arkansas and LSU did play to a 0-0 tie in the Cotton Bowl in 1947.

LSU had not been shut out prior to last Saturday since losing 21-0 to Alabama in the 2011 national title game. The most recent regular-season shutout loss for the Bayou Bengals had been against Alabama in November 2002.

Meanwhile, it was the first shutout victory for Arkansas since a 20-0 win over Utah State in 2006. It was the first SEC shutout for the Hogs since a 23-0 victory over South Carolina in 2002.

LSU is 25-2 under Les Miles after a loss, and Arkansas delivered that defeat both times.

So Razorback fans are feeling good again and ready to start talking bowl games.

But first things first as a Top 10 team rolls into Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon with the CBS audience watching to see if the Razorbacks are for real.

We’re 77-11 on picks for the year. Let’s get to the predictions for Week 13 of the college football season:

Ole Miss 30, Arkansas 28 — I’m tempted to crawl onto that Razorback bandwagon with you. Very tempted. Then I consider the fact that Ole Miss is coming off an open date and has had two weeks to prepare for the game. Effectively, the Rebels have had three weeks to prepare since they played Presbyterian on Nov. 8, winning 48-0 and resting their starters in the second half. This is still the Rebel team that captured the nation’s attention by winning their first seven games by scores of 35-13 over Boise State, 41-3 over Vanderbilt, 56-15 over Louisiana-Lafayette, 24-3 over Memphis, 23-17 over Alabama, 35-20 over Texas A&M and 34-3 over Tennessee. The bloom came off the Rebel rose with losses of 10-7 to LSU and 35-31 to Auburn (both of which are fading late), but this is a team that could be 10-0 with nine more points. It should be a fun game to watch. And the high probability it will be raining will make things even more interesting.

Arkansas State 21, Texas State 19 — The Red Wolves laid a giant egg last Saturday in Jonesboro, losing 37-32 to a mediocre Appalachian State team. Marcus Cox gashed ASU for 229 yards rushing, and Appalachian State scored 31 consecutive points in the game. The loss dropped ASU to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Sun Belt Conference. This week the Red Wolves travel to San Marcos, Texas, for a Thursday night game against Texas State. The Bobcats are 5-5 overall and 3-3 in conference. They’ve defeated UAPB, Tulsa, Idaho, Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State. They’ve lost to Navy, Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia Southern and South Alabama. We’ll give a slight edge to the Red Wolves because . . . Well, just because.

Harding 40, Pittsburg State 37 — OK, call me a Great American Conference homer. After all, the GAC is 0-3 in the NCAA Division II playoffs in its short history. Harding lost in 2012. Henderson lost in both 2012 and 2013. This is as good a Harding team as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been seeing Harding teams play since the 1960s. The Bisons are 9-1 and one play away from being undefeated, having lost to 10-0 Ouachita in a game in which Ouachita had to score on the final play of regulation and then convert a two-point conversion just to get to overtime. With its double-slot formation, Harding is among the top rushing teams in the country and also has a senior-laden defense. Pittsburg State will be the favorite Saturday afternoon. The Gorillas are a traditional Division II powerhouse and are playing at home. They’re 10-1, losing only 7-6 to Fort Hays State. Most of their victories (just like Harding) have been by lopsided margins — 37-0, 38-7, 42-0, 23-13, 45-17, 35-17, 36-21, 41-10, 38-31 and 41-14. Harding ended the regular season with a 41-7 victory over 3-8 Arkansas Tech. I just have a feeling that it’s time for the GAC to break through.

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

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