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Weekend Predictions: Let's talk blocking, tackling, for now at least

By: Wally Hall
Published: Friday, October 13, 2017
Coach Bret Bielema before Arkansas vs South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C.
Photo by Ben Goff
Coach Bret Bielema before Arkansas vs South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C.

It is time to think football again after a crazy week when a large portion of Razorback Nation expressed its disappointment after a surprising loss to South Carolina last Saturday.

Before getting into this week's picks, a couple of points about University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Coach Bret Bielema.

Bielema getting bought out is an if, and it's a big IF.

There are seven games remaining, and in the past four years Bielema's teams have improved in the second half of the season.

Lastly, Bielema's relationship with Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez was personal; Alvarez was his mentor, but their discussions occurred when they met three or four times a week during the season.

That's what Alvarez said when he spoke to the Little Rock Touchdown Club last week, and the talks weren't necessarily about preparation for games.

There are several good games this week, but Arkansas at Alabama doesn't look like one of them on paper, especially if Austin Allen doesn't play, and there doesn't appear to be any reason to expect him to play.

He's hurt, let him heal and get ready for the critical last half of the season.

Last week's record was 4-2 (Hogs and Florida were the misses), bringing the season total to 49-11.

This week's picks:

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA

The odds are long, but the Hogs have a chance: If Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts loses two fumbles and suffers two interceptions and all four are turned into Razorbacks points -- and Hurts gets pulled -- the game could be closer than expected. Cole Kelley gets an SEC baptism. Alabama 35-14.

COASTAL CAROLINA AT ASU

The Red Wolves are rested and ready for the stretch run. ASU 31-21.

AUBURN AT LSU

This game could get the wolves off the front porches of Ed Orgeron and Athletic Director Joe Alleva, but the Tigers of Auburn have a very good defense, and while their running back has been hobbled, quarterback Jarrett Stidham has been playing better. The Tigers of LSU are balanced on offense, but haven't been very productive in SEC play, scoring a total of 24 points and giving up 53. Auburn 31-17.

TEXAS A&M AT FLORIDA

Fully expect the Aggies to have a Crimson Tide hangover. They scored a solid moral victory in a loss to Alabama, and while the Gators aren't very good, they are lucky and this game is played the day after Friday the 13th. Florida 24-21.

MISSOURI AT GEORGIA

Actually expecting a competitive first half, then the Bulldogs make halftime adjustments (is that legal?), shut the Tigers down the last two quarters and coast home. Georgia 31-17.

VANDERBILT AT OLE MISS

This is the Rebels' chance to get out of a last-place tie with the Hogs in the West. All they need is their defense to get the Commodores off the field on third down. Vanderbilt 24-21.

BYU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE

BYU got spanked by LSU, which got spanked by the Bulldogs. This one looks like an old-fashioned beatdown. Mississippi State 42-7.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT TENNESSEE

The Gamecocks turned up the heat on Bret Bielema's seat last week and are hoping to do the same for Butch Jones, the embattled Tennessee coach. Tennessee won't fire Jones until after the season is over, which is the right thing to do if it wants to hire a decent coach in December. Not many winning coaches will go to a program where the coach was fired during the season. The hottest name in Knoxville is Bobby Petrino. It won't help, but Jones and the Vols will get their first SEC victory. Tennessee 28-24.

Sports on 10/13/2017

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