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:
Wally Hall's weekend predictions
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn watches players warm up for an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Mississippi State won 23-9. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
It may have just been a moral victory, but it was lot better to go into an off week with some positives for the University of Arkansas than to still be thinking about the way to San Jose.
A note of interest: Alabama travels to Texas A&M next Saturday and both teams are off this week. The Tide and LSU Tigers are also off the weekend before they play each other. Just not Ole Miss or Florida, who play eight consecutive games before a week off.
Last week went well in the picking department, 7-0, bringing the season total to 43-11.
Here’s this week’s picks:
Arkansas State at Georgia State
The Panthers were the team of the week back on opening weekend, when they went into Knoxville and beat Tennessee 38-30. They followed that with a victory over Furman 48-42, and then reality hit in a 52-10 loss to Western Michigan and a 37-34 defeat in three overtimes to Texas State. Meanwhile, a new dynamic duo was forming for the Red Wolves. With Logan Bonner out, Layne Hatcher of Pulaski Academy completed 25 of 35 passes for 440 yards and 4 touchdowns last week. Omar Bayless had 10 of those catches for 213 yards. If the Panthers return to their earliest form. they will be hard to guard at home. Arkansas State 49-42
Auburn at Florida
This looks like the game of the week in the SEC, partly because six teams have open dates, but mainly because the Tigers and Gators are both 5-0 in this East vs. West clash. The Tigers won at Texas A&M so hostile environments don’t seem to bother them. The Tigers are also have one of the best defenses in the country, allowing only 320 yards per game to rank 33rd nationally. However, the Gators are 17th, allowing 281 yards per game and have surrendered 44 points, while the Tigers have allowed 86 — half of those in two conference victories. Could be a defensive struggle. Auburn 24-21
Georgia at Tennessee
The Bulldogs are favored by more than 24, which seems a little low for the No. 3 team in the country against a 1-3 team that couldn’t beat Georgia State at home. However, Kirby Smart may not run the score up on his former coaching buddy at Alabama. The Bulldogs have the firepower, the Vols have Jeremy Pruitt who has not had an impressive debut as a head coach yet. Of course, he was about 10th guy interviewed. Georgia 49-24
Utah State at LSU
The Aggies are riding a three-game winning streak, including a 34-24 victory over Colorado State. Coach Gary Andersen is in the first year of his second tour with the Aggies, having also been the head coach 2009-2012. He bolted to Wisconsin but left after two years to take on Oregon State for three seasons before landing back as an associate head coach for one season However much they are being paid might be enough as the Tigers are showing signs of being a championship team. The Aggies caught a break with it being an 11 a.m. game. LSU 49-17
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss
What makes this game really interesting is nothing. Vandy is 1-3 and has given up 156 points in four games. The Rebels are 2-3 with a signature victory over the Razorbacks. They are currently giving up more points (148) than they are scoring (132), but that could all change Saturday night in Oxford. The Rebels are going to win more than the party. Ole Miss 35-27
Troy at Missouri
This looks like the perfect game for the Tigers as they start a streak of four games against pretenders instead of contenders. After this week, the Tigers get victories over Ole Miss, Vandy and Kentucky. Missouri 49-14
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