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
There are only four all-SEC games Saturday, but a couple of teams are looking to get bowl eligible.
Already eight league teams have at least six wins, and six of those are in the SEC West, but it doesn’t appear the final team from that division, LSU, will be doing anything in postseason but paying off Ed Orgeron, who this week called himself a lame duck.
Last week was not as good a week for picking games as anticipated and went just 6-3, but who could have guessed Auburn would fall apart at the seams and give up 40 unanswered points to Mississippi State.
Stand 73-26 with the picks on the season and will be watching the Auburn-South Carolina game closely.
Here are this week’s picks:
ARKANSAS at ALABAMA
The odds line changed a tick, moving the Crimson Tide to a 20 1/2-point favorite. It might be close early because this Tide team was playing pee-wee football the last time Arkansas beat Alabama. Nick Saban, like all the SEC coaches, has great respect for Sam Pittman and won’t run the score up. Both teams have big games left, Bama has two. Both coaches won’t hesitate to pull a player if he’s dinged up. Alabama 42-21
ARKANSAS STATE at GEORGIA STATE
Layne Hatcher passed for 444 yards and two touchdowns and Samy Johnson got an interception to seal the win and snap an eight-game losing streak. This week will be even tougher, as Georgia State needs this win to become bowl eligible. The Panthers are a little better on defense, although neither has a lot to brag about. Georgia State 31-28
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN at GEORGIA
The Buccaneers are 4-5 on the season, Georgia Tech is 3-7, and that’s who the No. 1 team in the country finishes its season with. Georgia 49-7
NEW MEXICO STATE at KENTUCKY
The Aggies have one win on the season and don’t look to improve on that this week. Kentucky 49-10
TENNESSEE STATE at MISSISSIPPI STATE
The Tigers are decent, but there no official betting line on this game, which generally means one team is far superior and that would be the Bulldogs, who are bowl eligible and looking to improve their standing. The Bulldogs are a fun team to watch and just humiliated the Auburn Tigers with a 40-0 run to win on the road. Mississippi State 49-10
PRAIRIE VIEW A&M at TEXAS A&M
The Panthers have won seven games, but they haven’t beaten anyone Texas A&M. The Aggies should be outraged at themselves for last week’s loss to Ole Miss, which has a great offense but generally gives up more than 19 to SEC teams. Texas A&M 35-7
FLORIDA at MISSOURI
One of these teams gets bowl eligible, the other has to hope it can beat Arkansas to get there. The Gators are coming off a loss to South Carolina and things are a little wacky in Gainesville with a ton of pressure on Dan Mullen. The Tigers have given up 359 points, the most in the SEC. Florida 31-24
AUBURN at SOUTH CAROLINA
The Gamecocks could get bowl eligible if the same Tiger team shows up which was beaten by Mississippi State. The Tigers are bowl eligible, favored by a touchdown but are riding a two-game losing streak and lost their quarterback Bo Nix. South Carolina 24-21
VANDERBILT at OLE MISS
The Rebels roll to their ninth win and start eyeing a prime-time bowl game. Ole Miss 56-10
SOUTH ALABAMA at TENNESSEE
The Vols still need a win to get bowl eligible and as a 28-point favorite at home, the mountains will be resounding with Rocky Top. Tennessee 35-24
LOUISIANA-MONROE at LSU
Anything can happen in Baton Rouge right now. LSU 12-9
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