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 member and past president 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. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
SEC should fare well on opening weekend
A helmet sits on the podium as the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days begins, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
There’s not a lot to look at in the SEC on opening weekend of college football other than Auburn and Oregon.
There should be a lot of SEC wins that won’t mean much as the season plays out, but University of Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek is working really had to upgrade the Razorbacks schedule.
Obviously, the Hogs need every win they can get.
Started this season 1-0 with Florida’s win over Miami in a game that proved to be over-hyped and was consistently inconsistent, and mostly being boring.
Here are the first week picks:
Portland State at Arkansas
There is absolutely no way Chad Morris is revealing much in this game, not with Ole Miss next Saturday. Expect to see three quarterbacks, four running backs and a ton of offensive linemen getting playing time. The Vikings do have an experienced team and will be trying to shorten the field. Original guess was 63-3, but changing that. Arkansas 56-13
SMU at Arkansas State
Every coach and Red Wolf will be playing their hearts out for their coach, Blake Anderson, who is still on leave, and Wendy Anderson who lost a courageous fight to cancer. Should be a great crowd and good game. Arkansas State 35-28
Duke vs. Alabama (Atlanta)
The Crimson Tide keep the streak against ACC teams alive, making the SEC 2-0 this season. It will not be as close as the score. Alabama 42-24
Oregon vs. Auburn (Arlington, Texas)
The Tigers are supposed to be led by their defense, and it gets a big test in the opener. The Ducks are improved. Auburn will go with a freshman quarterback, and this by far will be the biggest stage he has performed. Oregon 38-35
Georgia at Vanderbilt
The Beast of the East takes on the Least of the East. It should be close for a half, but the last two quarters will be all Bulldogs. Georgia 49-21
Toledo at Kentucky
The Wildcats are trying to build off a 10-win season and will get off to a good start, but no one has been able to sustain long-term success at Kentucky in any sport but basketball. Still, SEC teams are not supposed to lose to Toledo — again. Kentucky 35-14
Georgia Southern at LSU
Records for number of beers sold at a college football game could be set here. The Tigers, with 16 starters back, will use this tune-up to prepare for next week’s big challenge, the Texas Longhorns in Austin. Ed Orgeron will play as many as it takes to keep his two-deep safe from injury. LSU 63-6
Ole Miss at Memphis
This will be a huge challenge for the Rebels. The Tigers would rather beat Ole Miss than any team in the country. Should be a standing-room-only crowd. The Tigers are getting national respect, and the Rebels are trying to regain some respect. Memphis 31-28
Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Mississippi State (New Orleans)
The Bulldogs are reloading, and there are a lot of questions but few will be answered in this game. Mississippi State will start fast and end conservatively as it looks at lot of new faces. Mississippi State 42-17
Missouri at Wyoming
Preseason hype about Missouri has been very positive, and there is no reason to believe that is going to change tomorrow. Kelly Bryant throws five touchdown passes. Missouri 42-24
North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Charlotte, N.C.)
The Gamecocks have the toughest schedule in the country, but not because of the Tar Heels who are trying to get the ship back on course. South Carolina 38-24
Georgia State at Tennessee
The Vols continue to try and get back in the hunt for the SEC East title but are still short on talent. Tennessee 42-13
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