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
In this crazy world of perspiring arts in 2020, one thing seems to be completely normal.
Alabama is going to go undefeated and win the SEC Western Division.
It will then beat Georgia (or perhaps Florida) in the SEC Championship Game and advance to the College Football Playoff and play Clemson for the national championship.
At least that’s the way it looks for now.
The picture of the CFP should become more clear in the next few weeks.
The Big Ten, which postponed its football season and then quickly reinstated it, starts play this week, and like the SEC, it will take about four weeks to figure out if Ohio State is as good as expected. Michigan is a question mark, too, and it opens its season at Minnesota.
The Big 12 and Pac-12 don’t appear to be contenders for the playoffs.
The chances of the SEC getting two teams in the playoffs was hurt when Alabama beat Georgia 41-24 on Saturday.
A two-loss Georgia team probably won’t get the consideration from the selection committee, if for no other reason than everyone outside of the SEC is sick of the SEC.
Clemson may soon find itself nationally unpopular, too. Winning all the time does that.
Clemson and Notre Dame appear to be the favorites from the ACC (yes, that’s temporary for the Fighting Irish to be part of the ACC in football).
Actually, for football fans across the nation it is a good time for the Big Ten to resume play because the SEC doesn’t really offer a premier game.
Of course, Alabama playing at Tennessee got the prime time slot of 2:30 p.m., but that’s more because of the Crimson Tide than the Vols who are coming off a loss to Kentucky.
Went 2-3 in picks last week to bring the season record up to 16-11.
Here are this week’s picks.
Alabama at Tennessee
Nick Saban, who apparently doesn’t have covid-19, will arrive with his team rather than by private jet and will run his record to 23-0 vs. former assistant coaches in SEC play.
The only time Saban has lost to the Vols he was the head coach at LSU, making him 15-1 against Tennessee.
Vols Coach Jeremy Pruitt fired defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh after the loss to Kentucky despite the fact the Vols have scored just seven points in their last six quarters.
Pruitt who coached the D-line at Alabama will assume those responsibilities along with head coach. Alabama 35-17
Auburn at Ole Miss
No doubt Gus Malzahn is under pressure. He has been since his second season in 2014. He played for, but lost the national championship (to Florida State) his first year, creating unrealistic expectations from the Tiger faithful, although beating South Carolina is not an unrealistic expectation after doing it every season since 1933. Ole Miss 35-27
Kentucky at Missouri
The Wildcats’ defense is better than expected, and their offense has been good enough to start 2-2. Because Vanderbilt had too many players with the virus, Missouri was off last week and had an extra week to prepare for what appears will be a high scoring game. Kentucky 42-31
South Carolina at LSU
Generally one would go with LSU because the game is in Death Valley, and the Tigers are also the defending national champions, but after losing to Missouri 45-41, there’s a red flag. The Tigers are probably without starting quarterback Myles Brennan, too. Last Saturday, the Gamecocks beat Auburn, but Bo Nix had three interceptions. Most likely if they allowed ties in college football that would be the pick here. They don’t, so, LSU 31-28 (double overtime)
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.