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ANDY’S PICKS: Sam Pittman knows final chance before SEC today

Hogs running out of time to get things settled with personnel before games start counting for real in SEC play.



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Sam Pittman knows the stakes today at Razorback Stadium. He really doesn’t have another opportunity to keep fiddling around with position rotations and things of that sort before SEC play starts next week. Those REALLY count.

This is also the best team they’ve played this year and Razorback fans are confident being an SEC team with better players is why they should win this game. Oh, and mainly they beat BYU last year in Provo, Utah. The Hogs were the only team to improve in the off-season in a lot of folks’ minds.

Last year has nothing to do with this game. It was Lou Holtz that preached to us kids in the media last week has nothing to do with this week. It’s why handicapping college football games take about half the season to figure out who’s really going to do what. The problem with the Hogs is we’re not there yet.

With Raheim “Rocket” Sanders sidelined for another week, the entire running game seemed off-kilter most of the game against Kent State last week. That was probably due to everybody still getting comfortable with everybody else as much as anything. Especially in the offensive line.

Does he have it figured out this week? The Hogs haven’t exactly had a huge amount of success with Big 12 teams in recent years. Especially at home where the Hogs have won once in the last 10 years. A lot of folks don’t remember the Cougars are now members of the Big 12.

The Hogs are trying to figure out the running game and find a No. 1 receiver. They have a whole gaggle of guys that haven’t shown they are the one that can make that play in the fourth quarter of a close game. You can win by spreading the ball around but the Hogs are still looking for somebody that can make the plays consistently Treylon Burks made before going to the NFL

It still should be a win for the Hogs, but it probably won’t be easy and could be considerably closer than anything we’ve see so far. With LSU coming up next week, they’ll need a big game, but BYU knows how to score points.

Hogs 35, BYU 21

Looking across the SEC, the biggest game really is Tennessee going to Florida. Nobody has been particularly impressed with the Gators and the knee-jerk reaction is laugh at their problems and assume the Vols will win it in an easy game. Nothing is ever  easy there for anybody.

The rest of the games are rather ho-hum as teams are starting to get everything settled a little bit before playing conference games. It’s entertaining to watch Pete’s serious attempts to get back into the race after blowing off so many to start the season.

(14) LSU at Mississippi State – A lot of folks thought this was going to be a tight game, but I haven’t even suspected that as a possibility. LSU is a better team than the final score showed in the opener against Florida State. It was one of those games where it just got away from them as the Seminoles got the momentum and ran with it. Tigers by 21.

(15) Kansas State at Missouri – It’s Kansas that Mizzou wanted to get away from leaving the Big 12, not their little brothers down the road in Manhattan. The Tigers have problems of their own and I’m not even going to start doing coaching comparisons Hog fans would grasp immediately. Wildcats by 13.

South Carolina at (1) Georgia – Some people really think this is going to possibly be a close game. Not unless Georgia decides to try and sleepwalk their way through it like they tend to do a couple of times every year. Bulldogs by 24.

(10) Alabama at South Florida – There may finally be a quarterback change at Alabama after a loss to Texas at home where the Crimson Tide got shoved around. Poor South Florida is going to have to pay the price for that. Crimson Tide by 35.

Louisiana-Monroe at Texas A&M – The Aggies didn’t get rolled in Miami due to offensive struggles. The defense couldn’t stop the Hurricanes much at all. That’s a little surprising, but they’ll probably have a couple of big wins by the time they roll into Arlington against the Hogs. Aggies by 42.


(11) Tennessee at Florida – Too many goofy things happen in Gainesville to be picking anybody to go there and get a huge win. Peyton Manning wasn’t even able to get a close game in four seasons. The Gators were better then, too, but that still shouldn’t have happened a couple of times. When something unusual happens repeatedly over a long time, it might not be a fluke. Vols by 2.

Samford at Auburn – This one’s easy. Hugh Freeze will do some tweaking, but stay pretty basic and pretty much do whatever they want to do. Tigers by 51.

Vanderbilt at UNLV – CBS picked up this game because it meets their requirement to air each team. Barry Odom will be on one sideline but probably doesn’t have enough players to make much of a difference in this one. Vandy by 14.

Georgia Tech at (17) Ole Miss – Nobody in Arkansas wants to believe the Rebels have a good team, but Lane Kiffin did a heckuva job in the transfer portal. He doesn’t particularly care for it but that’s not going to stop him from rounding up a lot of really good players. Ole Miss by 21.

Akron at Kentucky – We’re about a week ago before wild projections about Kentucky’s season starts because it’s relatively soft on the front end. Watch it if you need something to help the sleeping pill really kick in. Wildcats by 35.