Tusk to Tail: The ‘homers’ pick Arkansas in a narrow win over Colorado State
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As Arkansas struggles to rebuild its football program, teams like LSU, Auburn, and Texas A&M are beginning to challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy. Will Arkansas ever be among the conference elite?
Forrest Acuff: Besides a blip or two under Houston Nutt and the famed Sugar Bowl season under Bobby Petrino, Arkansas really has never been among the “elite” in the conference in football. One major thing Arkansas lacks to compete with the top dogs in the conference is a fertile recruiting ground that can consistently provide blue chip athletes. The way I view Arkansas is that it should perennially be an 8-win program with the occasional 10 win season and beyond. I believe Chad Morris can get us near the top, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Morris and Co. are recruiting more fervently than coaching staffs in the past, so the future looks bright on The Hill. Will Chad be given the time to see his dream come to fruition? Only time will tell.
Sam Atkinson: As the saying goes, to get better players you have to recruit, recruit, recruit. Once you’ve had 2-3 years of top 25 recruiting classes, those players have to play consistently above average every game. Having players three deep that can go in and play error free football with first or second teamers means you should be able to compete with the best teams in the SEC. Consistently winning all non-conference and home games will start pushing Arkansas to the top of the conference. So with all that said, CAN Arkansas be among the conference elite? Yes. WILL Arkansas be among the elite If all the above is achieved? I see no reason why they can’t so I will say yes again.
Todd Rudisill: Not anytime soon. LSU is now back with an actual offense, and will challenge Alabama. A&M has a much better chance to challenge than we do and the recruiting base to do it quicker. More importantly, they have good coaching to challenge. We might get up there in the next 10 years when Saban retires. Might. Baby steps. Let’s just shoot for the middle of the conference and a return to bowl games.
• Colorado State @ Arkansas
Sean Casey: It’s difficult to be optimistic about Razorback football at this point. The Hogs are only a 10-point favorite at home against Colorado State. The offense is awful, certainly not what was expected when the Chad Morris hire was announced. I know the team is very young, but we had players not knowing assignments and not even looking for the ball when running a route last weekend. It is not certain Starkel will make a difference if the Hogs can’t run the ball or protect Justin Bieber’s #1 Fan in the pocket. Colorado State isn’t a premier program but they have scored a lot more points than Arkansas. Their QB has 738 passing yards to Arkansas’s total offensive production of 878 yards. It may be time for Morris to take over play calling. Our defense has had moments of success, but we are down to only one defensive end with experience. I expect this will be an ugly game, but because I’m a homer, Arkansas wins 24-21.
Jeb Joyce: Picking the Hogs these days is like buying a Powerball ticket. You are making a decision based on what you want to happen, not on what is likely to happen. That said, I hope Starkel can generate points early to survive the Rams’ late push. 35-31 Hogs
Todd Rudisill: The only positive so far this week has been getting a night game next week and Alabama getting the 11 a.m. kickoff. Feels good to finally beat them. Oh, and Morris finally figured out his SMU boy can’t throw. Nick Starkel is our guy. Finally. The kid wasn’t perfect, but he can get the ball to the receivers and went 17 for 24 for 200+. We will take it. More importantly, he has the vibe you want in your QB and will show some leadership which this team desperately needs. Colorado State comes in after bringing TTT down off our Rocky mountain high in the 25 unanswered points in a row comeback win last season. The bad news is they are still salty, probably the best team we have played so far this season, and they scored 31 points against a good Colorado team. The Rams will be in this game until the 4th quarter and the Hogs offense will do just enough when they need to and pull this out. And the defense will get some turnovers in this game to help. Razorbacks avoid losing two in a row to a mediocre team. Hogs 27-21.
• Florida State @ #25 Virginia
Sean Casey: It seems odd writing that Florida State is currently a 7.5-point underdog to Virginia. FSU hasn’t been able to cheat their way to a good game in 2019. They lost to Boise State by 5 in the season opener, and squeaked by LA-Monroe in OT in week 2. FSU gave up 17- and 18-point leads in each of their first two games, and won the ULM game on a missed extra point. Virginia appears to be a decent team and the FSU defense is awful. I’d write a little about the Cavaliers team, but the truth is, no one really cares about Virginia football. Virginia wins 42 to 31.
• #24 USC @ BYU
Forrest Acuff: A young USC team goes on the road to face a BYU team riding high off the emotions of their thrilling upset win over Tennessee. I like the Trojans to squeak by the Cougars in this one. Both teams are starting true freshman quarterbacks, but I like how USC was able to move up and down the field and put up big numbers against a stout Stanford defense in last weekend’s game. Give me the Trojans -4.
• Stanford @ #17 UCF
Jeb Joyce: Stanford traveling across three time zones, with their QB coming off an injury and one of their starting offensive linemen out? The Cardinal won’t be able to keep pace in Orlando. 42-35 Knights
• #9 Florida @ Kentucky
Todd Rudisill: Kentucky comes into this one after losing their QB last week to a knee injury. The Gators have their guy in Feleipe Franks, who will forever be known as the quarterback who
lost to the Wildcats for the first time in 30 years. UK will try to run it and play keep away and win time of possession. The Gators do have some cornerbacks beat up, but ultimately it will come down to the Florida pass rush getting to the backup that will pull this one out for the Gators. Chomp chomp 30-20.
• #2 Alabama @ South Carolina
Sam Atkinson: With the line somewhere favoring Bama by 25 points, and Gamecock QB Jake Bentley out for the season, backup Ryan Hilinski will have to start against #2 Alabama. This is not an easy task with your #1 QB much less #2 QB. Carolina will have some scripted plays, and their defenses will start out strong, but by the middle of the second quarter, Bama will have a 2 touchdown lead and it will grow nearly every possession. Alabama’s defense will begin to pick apart the SC offense and frustration will get to the Gamecocks. Alabama rolls 38-10 over South Carolina.
Todd Rudisill: The last time these two teams met was in 2010 and Carolina beat Saban’s Tide. This isn’t 2010. The Gamecocks couldn’t even beat Mack Brown’s mediocre Tar Heel team. Will Muschamp is already on the hot seat, and we are only three weeks into the season. Crank up the heat another notch. Roll Tide 41-14.