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.
Like It Is:
Wally Hall's weekend predictions
One thing is certain this weekend: By Saturday night, there no longer will be a three-way tie for last place in the SEC West.
Currently Arkansas, Auburn and Texas A&M are 1-3 in SEC play, and with the Razorbacks and Tigers playing each other, someone is moving up and someone isn’t. There could be a two-way tie if the Aggies lose to Ole Miss tomorrow night in College Station, Texas.
There are four SEC teams off this weekend, but only one next week — Ole Miss as it gets ready to host Alabama, which goes to LSU while the Rebels are off. During the last two weeks of the regular season, there are no byes.
Maybe full slates will help yours truly with predictions after going going 3-3 last Saturday, bringing the season total to 61-17.
Arkansas at Auburn
It was more of the same for the Tigers this week when yet another player entered the transfer portal, bringing the total to 10 from the 2021 class. After so many have gone looking for greener pastures, it should not be a disruption to Auburn on Saturday when it takes on the Arkansas Razorbacks. The biggest concern the Tigers should have is how to stop Raheim Sanders, or at least slow him down. He’s the SEC’s leading rusher, and Auburn is dead last against the run. As a team, the Razorbacks are second in the conference in rushing, averaging 240 yards per game. The Tigers will likely sell out to stop the run, and if they do, KJ Jefferson will make them pay with his arm. Arkansas, 35-24
South Alabama at Arkansas State
The Jaguars have lost only two games — to UCLA 32-31 and Troy last Saturday 10-6. Troy’s only losses were to Ole Miss and Appalachian State, which beat Texas A&M. The Jags go into this game looking to get bowl eligible, and the Red Wolves go in looking for a way out of the cellar. A good step would be to stop giving up big plays or get teams off the field. The Red Wolves’ offense has scored 230 points, usually enough to have more than two wins. But the defense has given up 249 points. South Alabama, 31-24
Kentucky at Tennessee
It isn’t that the undefeated Vols defense is bad, but the offense has been incredible, averaging 50 points a game and they can beat you on the ground or through the air. They have scored 46 touchdowns — 23 rushing and 23 passing. Their only apparent weakness is pass defense and they are last in the SEC, but they rank No. 2 in the conference in stopping the run game. The Wildcats’ strength is stretching the field by giving Will Levis enough time to find his receivers. Tennessee, 49-28
Florida vs. Georgia
School officials frown on this game in Jacksonville, Fla., being referred to as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” which Georgia head coach Kirby Smart wants to move back to the campuses. The Bulldogs have the SEC’s No. 1 defense. Georgia, 45-24
Missouri at South Carolina
The Gamecocks were not impressive in their loss to Arkansas in the SEC season opener when they managed only 40 yards on the ground, mostly because the Razorbacks had eight tackles for loss, including six sacks. They followed that game with a loss to Georgia but have now won four in a row. The Tigers are just thankful for Vanderbilt, their only conference win. South Carolina, 38-21
Ole Miss at Texas A&M
The Aggies are hard to figure. Lose to App State and play Alabama off its feet. The Rebels’ defense didn’t show up for the second half of last week’s loss to LSU, which outscored Ole Miss 28-0 in the second half. If this was in Oxford, it would be an easy pick. Still. Lane Kiffin should have his team ready for four quarters. Ole Miss, 30-27
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