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.
Wally Hall's weekend predictions
If Missouri holds on and has enough players to play South Carolina, it will be SEC 6, covid-19 1.
Just a week after having to postpone four games, only Ole Miss vs. Texas A&M won’t play Saturday because of a number of Aggies who remain in quarantine. Missouri, though, is said to be just five or six above the 53 minimum.
The Arkansas Razorbacks apparently will be missing a few players, too, but names and numbers are not being revealed.
There was a mistake in tallying up the predictions two weeks ago. Went 5-1 instead of 4-2 (thank you reader for pointing that out) and went 3-0 last week to bring the total to 31-16.
Here are this week’s predictions:
LSU at Arkansas
The Tigers weren’t expected to be close to what they were last year when they won the national championship, and they aren’t.
LSU hasn’t played since Halloween because of an open date and then an outbreak of the virus which cost the Tigers some practice time.
If that wasn’t enough, it got worst this week when USA Today reported the football program is under investigation for numerous unreported sexual assault claims since Ed Orgeron became the head coach.
As mentioned, the Razorbacks are missing some players because of the virus and various injuries — and probably why the betting line swung from the Hogs being favored to being slight underdogs — but this is a team that has improved every week, and there is a chemistry with this team of overachievers that just can’t be denied. Arkansas 31-21
Arkansas State at Texas State
The Red Wolves are riding a rare three-game losing streak but staying with the two-quarterback rotation. At 3-5, they are also edging closer to being left out of the bowl season after making postseason play the last nine years. Currently, five Sun Belt teams have a better record than ASU. If the Red Wolves win out, they should be in good shape. Arkansas State 28-17
Tennessee at Auburn
The Vols have lost four in a row. The Tigers have won two consecutive and appear to be improving. Auburn 35-21
Florida at Vanderbilt
The Gators have won three in a row, and their offense looks good enough to be a threat, maybe a mild one, to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. The Commodores are 0-6 and have been outscored 215-99. Florida 45-17
Kentucky at Alabama
It would take a perfect game by the Wildcats to be close in the second half. There’s a better chance the Tide get an 11 a.m. kickoff than them losing this game. They are favored by 30 points, and while they probably won’t cover, they will dominate the Kroger Mildcats. Alabama 42-20
Mississippi State at Georgia
This season started great for the Bulldogs with a record setting win over LSU, but since then they managed a 24-17 win over Vandy and are currently the SEC West cellar dwellers. Georgia is not as good as expected in preseason, but they could shut out the Bulldogs and Kirby Smart is finally going to be smart and give USC transfer JT Daniels the start at quarterback. Quarterback play has been the Bulldogs’ biggest inconsistency. Georgia 28-14
Missouri at South Carolina
Interim coaches don’t have a great winning percentage, but then neither did South Carolina under Will Muschamp who was fired this week. The Gamecocks are 2-5 this season. Missouri, which reportedly does have a manpower problem, should be able to score on a defense that is allowing an average of more than 464 yards per game. If SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey will allow it, look for SC to go after Hugh Freeze who has coached Liberty to an 8-0 mark. Missouri 24-17
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Texas A&M's scheduled opponent this week. It has been corrected.
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