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 to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Wally Hall's weekend predictions
From 11 a.m. until after 10 p.m., some solid SEC football games will be held Saturday — with the except of Ole Miss at Vanderbilt.
That game has been permanent since SEC expansion, but that might change in 2024 when Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC.
Ole Miss leads the series 52-40-2 and have won four of past seven and would have won 7 of past 10 but had to vacate wins in 2013-2014. The Rebels should run through Nashville unscathed.
Last week, I was 6-1 in picks and was denied a sweep when Kentucky couldn’t hold on to the ball. Season record is now 48-9.
Arkansas at Mississippi State
Oddsmakers don’t like the Razorbacks this week. When it was learned KJ Jefferson might not play, the spread jumped from 21/2 to 71/2. Apparently it is a game-time decision as to whether Jefferson will play, although he will make the trip. Sam Pittman and staff will not take a chance if he isn’t 100% cleared of a concussion he suffered against Alabama and had to leave the game. In the preseason, this game was picked as a Razorback win. Have to think Barry Odom will have s special scheme to slow down State’s pass-crazy Air Raid. Arkansas 28-27
James Madison at Arkansas State
James Madison was the fourth President of the United States and known as the “Father of the Constitution,” and apparently now he is an undefeated football team who has outscored his four opponents 179-55, including a 32-28 win over App State, which beat Texas A&M. The Red Wolves are coming off a solid 45-28 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Home field makes the difference. Arkansas State 35-31
Texas A&M at Alabama
Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban have, according to Fisher, kissed and made up after their public spat last summer. Not that it matters. Saban’s first loss to a former assistant was to Fisher last season and it may be payback time. If current Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young doesn’t play, look for the Crimson Tide to line up and play smash-mouth football for 60 minutes, controlling the clock and the scoreboard. Alabama 45-21
Auburn at Georgia
The Bulldogs got a scare at Missouri which will serve as a wake-up call. No way the defending national champs are supposed to squeak out a win at Missouri, but that’s what happened, 26-22. Trailing 22-12 early in the fourth quarter the Dawgs drove 75 and 68 yards for touchdowns in five minutes to take the lead. The Tigers aren’t toothless, but they seem to be in disarray. Georgia 49-17
Missouri at Florida
Both teams are looking for their first SEC win. Both defenses are trying to find an identity. Gators have the better offense and the home-field advantage. Florida 28-14
South Carolina at Kentucky
The Wildcats fumbled away a win at Ole Miss and the Gamecocks may pay for it. South Carolina hasn’t won an SEC game but are riding a two-game win streak — against North Carolina-Charlotte and South Carolina State. Still, you have to start somewhere. It just won’t be in Lexington. Kentucky 35-21
Tennessee at LSU
Both teams appear to be pretty good and are playing for second place in their division. The Vols are undefeated and the Tigers’ only loss was to Florida State, which looked reborn until last week’s loss to Wake Forest. Both teams can score and it is hard to win at Baton Rouge, but the game is at 11 a.m. Tennessee 35-31
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
Might be over at the half. The undefeated Rebels have become a ground attack team with a good defense. The Commodores are a smart team. Ole Miss 35-17
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