Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Alabama-LSU takes center stage - again
Alabama head coach Nick Saban roams the field before the start of an NCAA college football game between Missouri and Alabama Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
LITTLE ROCK There is one major game in the SEC this weekend; the best and then the rest.
Baton Rouge will be its rowdiest best when No. 1 Alabama comes to test No. 5 LSU. These two programs have separated themselves from the rest of the SEC.
Went 4-2 last week to bring the season record up to 57-18.
TULSA AT ARKANSAS The Golden Hurricane are riding a seven-game winning streak, so confidence should not be a problem. The Arkansas Razorbacks last had a three-victory season in 1990 under first-year Coach Jack Crowe, but if they can’t find a way to pull out a homecoming victory that may be what they are facing. Another early kickoff. Surely, a good crowd will be at homecoming. Arkansas 31, Tulsa 24.
ARKANSAS STATE AT NORTH TEXAS The Mean Green are better than their 3-5 record and Gus Malzahn knows that. He also knows his team can’t be looking ahead to Louisiana-Monroe, which is a huge game in so many ways. Arkansas State 31, North Texas 21.
ALABAMA AT LSU It appears most of the money is coming down on the side of the No. 1 team in the nation, Alabama. That has to be the “Mad Hatter” factor, but the Tigers are very dangerous at home and especially at night. If the fans ever could make a difference, it will be Saturday night.
CBS took a night game because of the fans. This game, though, will be played by two very good defensive teams, and while it is an old cliche, it’s true that the one that puts it on the ground is going to lose.
Nick Saban may be the best college football coach in America, but Les Miles has had great success, too, and no one gets his players to play harder than he does.
The Tigers should have payback on their minds after being embarrassed in the BCS Championship Game, when they took three weeks to get ready and added not one new wrinkle. They had two weeks to prepare for this game. If LSU wins, there is a good chance the SEC doesn’t have a team in the BCS Championship Game. Alabama kicks a field goal as time runs out to win this one.Alabama 38, LSU 35.
NEW MEXICO STATE AT AUBURN This game between 1-7 teams has about as much excitement as stale bread and cold soup. If the Tigers don’t win this one, Gene Chizik’s stale bread should be toast. The Aggies are awful, even more awful than the Tigers. Auburn 24, New Mexico State 9.
MISSOURI AT FLORIDA Either the Tigers catch the Gators at the best time or the absolute worst. If the Gators have a Georgia hangover, the Tigers have a shot. If Will “Maniac Man” Muschamp can get his team up, it won’t be close. Florida 35, Missouri 17.
OLE MISS AT GEORGIA This one has trap game written all over it. Georgia, coming off a huge victory at Florida, appears to be able to practically coast to the SEC Championship Game. But as we learned in the Rock, Ole Miss is scrappy and looking to lock up bowl eligibility. If Mark Richt doesn’t have his team ready, he deserves to be back on the hot seat. Georgia 21, Ole Miss 20.
TEXAS A&M AT MISSISSIPPI STATE This is about improving your position when the bowl bids go out. Of course, the Bulldogs could still get a share of the SEC West title with some help from LSU. Mississippi State has been really good about protecting its home field. Mississippi State 28, Texas A&M 7.
VANDERBILT AT KENTUCKY The Mildcats are winless in the SEC and the Sun Belt. James Franklin can get his team within one victory of bowl eligibility with road games at Ole Miss and Wake Forest and a home game with Tennessee remaining. Vanderbilt 35, Kentucky 10.
TROY AT TENNESSEE Troy is not a bad football team, but if Derek Dooley can’t find a way to win at home, all the rocky tops may be pointed at his head. They probably are anyway. The Vols may be in a bigger mess than the Hogs. Tennessee 24, Troy 17.
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/02/2012