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
Every SEC team opens tomorrow at home, or at least what will be a home.
Georgia takes a bus ride to Atlanta and LSU to New Orleans, otherwise everyone is at home and this could be a perfect weekend for the SEC as the majority of the games are rent-a-wins.
There are no conference games this weekend.
Before getting into the picks, Southland Casino’s dog racing schedule runs through the end of this year before turning its full attention to being a convention center and casino.
Here’s the picks:
Cincinnati at Arkansas
One of the best games of the opening weekend as far as marquee programs. Both teams are ready to hit someone else. Both will be well-coached. Size and speed are to the Razorbacks’ advantage. The Bearcats don’t often see teams as athletic as the Razorbacks. Arkansas 35-24
Grambling State at Arkansas State
A tuneup for the Red Wolves before taking on Ohio State. The biggest news is the team will honor former head coach and athletic director Larry Lacewell with a special helmet sticker. Arkansas State 31-7
Utah State at Alabama
Crimson Tide quarterback and last season’s Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young might not play in the second half. Alabama 49-6
Mercer at Auburn
This won’t satisfy Tiger fans as they sit through a blowout. Auburn 55-0
Utah at Florida
The Gators get a chance to make an early statement for new Coach Billy Napier against the No. 7-ranked Utes. Gators drive for winning touchdown in the final minute. Florida 24-21
Oregon vs. Georgia (Atlanta)
Who would win a fight between a duck and a bulldog? Georgia 42-28
Miami (Ohio) at Kentucky
It seems odd the Wildcats are expected to win, but Kentucky is no longer just a basketball school. Kentucky 45-10
Florida State vs. LSU (New Orleans, Sunday)
A couple of storied programs with more question marks than an ACT test. Too bad there aren’t ties. This one gets national attention because its on Sunday. LSU 17-14
Troy at Ole Miss
Lane Kiffin may say he’s worried about this game but he’s got four gimmes until the Rebels host Kentucky. Expect to see at least two quarterbacks. Ole Miss 49-17
Memphis at Mississippi State
There isn’t a down that Mike Leach doesn’t like to throw on and the Tigers will be all out trying to stop the Air Raid offense. Mississippi State 42-24.
Georgia State at South Carolina
Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks picked up some steam last season and there’s no reason to believe there will be much dropoff, especially in the season opener. South Carolina 38-14
Sam Houston State at Texas A&M
This is a game only an Aggie could be truly interested in. Don’t expect Jimbo Fisher to show much of his hand in this game. The expectations for the Aggies are almost unrealistic. Texas A&M 56-3
Elon at Vanderbilt
Thanks to a 63-10 win at Hawaii last week, the Commodores are in unfamiliar territory, the only undefeated team in the SEC. The Phoenix may be known for a lot of good things, but football isn’t one of them. Vanderbilt 45-17
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