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story.lead_photo.caption University of Arkansas chancellor Joseph Steinmetz talks to the media about a $120 million gift for the art school on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. - Photo by J.T. Wampler

Before getting to this week's picks, the search for a new athletic director is on everyone's mind and it carries some good news and some not so good news.

The not so good is Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz hasn't been at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville two years, and it doesn't matter how educated anyone is, you can't fully comprehend the passion and pride that surrounds the Arkansas Razorbacks that quickly. He's on the point for the search for the athletic director. He confused many when he appointed Julie Cromer Peoples the interim AD simply because she has less experience than several of the other staff members.

Steinmetz may be about to make the biggest hire of his career and his background is arts and neural psychology. The clock is ticking.

The good news is that every single person on the UA board of trustees was raised in Arkansas, and everyone of them has a degree from a school in the UA system. Not saying they are all Hog calling fanatics, but they all know the importance of athletics at the UA. If they didn't, they wouldn't have made the bold move to terminate Jeff Long.

This story will be followed closely by the media, not just statewide, but across the nation.

As for this weekend, this is the one ESPN dreads with four nonconference, non-entertaining games. Alabama and Auburn get to prepare for their showdown next Saturday by playing cupcakes. A scrimmage would be more challenging.

Didn't fare well last week, going 6-3 to bring the season record to 82-21.

Here's this week's picks:

Mississippi State at Arkansas

The Razorbacks' coaching staff may be a little distracted after Long's firing, but the Bulldogs may have an Alabama hangover after losing on a late touchdown. A small, but loud, crowd is expected. Mississippi State 38-28.

Texas State at Arkansas State

The Red Wolves tripped last week and lost their first conference game and may need to win out to get a share. They will get bowl eligible at home. Arkansas State 42-17.

Mercer at Alabama

Mercer or Sisters of Mercy, same result. Alabama 52-7.

Alabama-Birmingham at Florida

Gators have lost five consecutive games under two coaches. Randy Shannon, the interim head coach, needs this one, but knows the Blazers (7-3) are looking for glory. Home-field advantage. Florida 24-21.

Kentucky at Georgia

The Bulldogs were sacked and racked by Auburn and need to get their swagger back. The Wildcats are bowl eligible but not very good -- especially between the hedges. Georgia 35-17.

LSU at Tennessee

The Tigers seem set to get a second consecutive easy win against a Vols team that gave up long ago but might be revitalized with Brady Hoke as the interim head coach. Stranger things have happened, but probably not tomorrow. LSU 31-24.

Texas A&M at Ole Miss

The Rebels are fired up about Shea Stewart coming on board as communication specialist for Ole Miss (his last day as associate features editor here is today) and should dedicate this game to him. It's November which has not been good for the Aggies and Kevin Sumlin. Party on in The Grove. Ole Miss 31-28.

Missouri at Vanderbilt

As outrageous as it seems, the Tigers could get bowl eligible. The Tigers have the most productive offense in the SEC, having scored 379 points and Vandy has allowed 307. Missouri 35-21.

Wofford at South Carolina

Wofford is an outstanding academic school that emphasizes study abroad. The Gamecocks are tuning up for their showdown with Clemson. South Carolina 45-0.

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Sports on 11/17/2017

Print Headline: Plenty of eyes watching what UA does next

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  • RBBrittain
    November 17, 2017 at 7:54 a.m.

    You didn't even try to predict the Auburn game? Not that it matters -- like Bama, their opponent might as well be the Sisters of Mercy -- unless it's your underhanded way of saying you DON'T want the Gus Bus returning to Fayetteville. (I'd rather forgive Bobby Petrino for putting his girlfriend on the payroll than Malzahn stabbing Houston Nutt in the back.)

  • KingCoyote
    November 17, 2017 at 8:07 a.m.

    Quit paying all these people such enormous sums and giving them huge buyouts and severance packages. Find some young, hungry, innovative AD and coach and pay them a lot less and raise their pay based upon their performance and success.

  • jmg1232
    November 17, 2017 at 9 a.m.

    So Wally's not happy that a woman is interim athletic director? So sad that the head sports editor of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette is a misogynist.

  • Jfish
    November 17, 2017 at 9:28 a.m.

    RB, I don't believe that Malzahn exactly stabbed Nutt in the back. The likely scenario was that Broyles promised Malzahn the OC position if he would come and bring his prized recruits, Mustain and Williams and I believe there might have been another one. Knowing Broyles and his ego, he probably did not ask Nutt's opinion before doing this. It worked okay for a few weeks, but then the wheels came off and either Nutt or Malzahn had to go. Nutt is probably a pretty good recruiter and an okay head coach, Malzahn knows offense and was one of the first to introduce the spread into college FB.

  • Whitpom
    November 17, 2017 at 10:13 a.m.

    Leaving the Auburn game out of predicitiions was an oversight, but I did mention them in the column. It was a very, very busy week. The comment about People's being named interim has nothing to do with gender, but with experience in football administrative. Two of the people on staff have been there 10 years. Please read KingCoyote again, he gets the real issue.

  • Delta2
    November 17, 2017 at 10:32 a.m.

    A rare but fair response from Wally...I'm certainly as critical of him as anyone else, but I think the discussion in the first half of the article raises some valid points.

  • wildblueyonder
    November 17, 2017 at 2:26 p.m.

    I'll take Gus any day. At least we've seen one thing, the guy can WIN.

  • GeneralMac
    November 17, 2017 at 2:39 p.m.

    Gus Malzahn ?...................YES

    Bobbie Petrino ?.................NO

  • GeneralMac
    November 17, 2017 at 2:41 p.m.

    When anyone criticizes/questions the interim AD, look for the sexist card to be played.

    same old.same old

  • Vickie55
    November 17, 2017 at 4:10 p.m.

    Malzahn stabbed Houston Nutt in the back??? More like Nutt was more concerned with his own ego than in winning ballgames. We should have kept Malzahn and kicked Nutt to the curb

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