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Parrish’s 2023 College Football Picks...

Parrish’s 2023 College Football Picks and Predictions: Week 6

By: Parrish Alford - October 6, 2023

(Photos from OleMissFB, HailStateFB, and SouthernMissFB on X/Twitter)

Veteran sports writer Parrish Alford takes a look at the Week 6 matchups for Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Last week’s pick record was 2-1, making 12-3 overall for the 2023 season. 

Let’s take a look at the Week 6 matchups for Mississippi’s Big Three.


Arkansas at No. 16 Ole Miss

Time: 6:30 p.m. TV: SEC Network

The series is known for bizarre games.

These two can’t even agree on the series record. Ole Miss says it trails the Hogs 37-29-1. The Hogs say the Rebels have shorted them a game.

There was little bizarre last year. Arkansas took control early and never let up in a 42-27 win that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Ole Miss had 703 yards, three turnovers and 15 fewer points than Arkansas.

For Ole Miss, the bizarre was before the game. News had leaked during the week that Lane Kiffin was in talks with Auburn with some Auburn media reporting that Kiffin and Auburn had a verbal agreement for him to become the Tigers’ next coach.

The Kiffin uncertainty was a factor in the Rebels’ toothless finish last season.

Part of the Arkansas loss, no doubt, was the emotion left in the field in a 30-26 loss to Alabama the week before. The Rebels had a chance to win on their final possession, their best chance for Kiffin to get his coveted Alabama win.

He’s still waiting.

Kiffin is 1-2 as the Rebels’ coach against the Razorbacks. Both losses have been in Fayetteville where the Rebels are 2-13 and rarely play well regardless of who is coaching.

Arkansas seems to have less trouble at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium where it’s 9-6.

This time Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1 SEC) will be dealing with a different set of emotions after last week’s storm-the-field comeback win against LSU.

Arkansas (2-3, 0-2 SEC) also played well offensively against the Tigers but lost 34-31.

The Razorbacks are coming off a 34-22 loss to Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas last week.

In fans’ race to assess blame for a sub-standard five-game start the offensive line has been in the spotlight.

“There are certainly problems there,” coach Sam Pittman agreed this week, but Pittman says there’s plenty of blame to share.

He wants to see greater consistency from quarterback KJ Jefferson and receivers to do a better job of getting open downfield.

The last time former North Panola star KJ Jefferson (6-3, 247) played in his native land he was throwing for the end zone on a 2-point conversion that would have won it for Arkansas on the game’s final play. But Jefferson was rushed by Sam Williams, and the throw was off the mark.

There’s a bit of irony in the fact that a game won by Ole Miss 52-51 was decided with a defensive play.

That’s kind of the way it was last week when the Ole Miss defense, after getting precious few stops during the game, got a couple of big ones in the fourth quarter to let the offense rally from a two-possession deficit.

That’s the way the Rebels won games in 2020, Kiffin’s first season. They were solid on offense, and a bad defense could play good enough at certain times in the game to make the difference.

The Rebels need that timely defense this week, especially in the red zone where Jefferson is harder to handle. Arkansas is second in the SEC and 14th nationally in red zone offense.

Look for the Ole Miss offense – with the improved health of running back Quinshon Judkins and WR Tre Harris – to play well again and for the Rebels to build from last week’s emotional win.

Prediction: Ole Miss 34, Arkansas 29


Western Michigan at Mississippi State

Time: 11 a.m. TV: SEC Network

In Week 6, two first-year coaches meet with six losses between them.

You can’t compare the SEC and the MAC in a lot of ways, but a slow start is the common denominator for State’s Zach Arnett and Western Michigan’s Lance Taylor.

The Bulldogs clearly lost a difference-maker from last year’s secondary in Emmanuel Forbes, a first-round draft pick, but that alone doesn’t explain why a defense with experience at most other positions is giving up almost 40 points a game in three SEC games.

Conference membership aside, a rush-heavy team that doesn’t throw downfield much could be a better matchup for the Bulldogs (2-3).

The Broncos haven’t fared well in their other Power Five road games having been outscored 89-17 in trips to Syracuse and Iowa.

Redshirt freshman Treyson Bourguet (6-2, 215) took over as the starting quarterback in Week 3. He gives the Broncos (2-3) a better chance at a big play, but from snap-to-snap has been less accurate than Jack Salopek, the previous No. 1.

The Bulldogs have held their non-conference opponents below 100 yards rushing per game, but opponents overall are completing passes with 75 percent accuracy, a figure that jumps to 84 percent against the SEC brethren.

The Bulldogs aren’t in a position to take anyone for granted right now.

Three weeks in the SEC have been humbling. Two of those, against top contenders in the SEC West, have exposed a wide gap between the Bulldogs and the top level of the conference.

Nothing soothes an SEC losing streak like your first SEC win, and that won’t come this week.

Arnett says he wants the Bulldogs to play with some anger. Maybe State answers that challenge and comes out with high levels of energy and focus and takes quick control against the Broncos the way Syracuse and Iowa did.

State needs to limit mistakes and execute its offense.

For Will Rogers, a strong game at South Carolina in a 37-30 loss has been sandwiched between sub-standard performances against LSU and Alabama.

State’s ability to control things on the ground may depend on the availability of running back Woody Marks, who was banged up against Alabama.

What State can’t do in this game is get so caught up in its SEC troubles that it overlooks Western Michigan.

If there’s frustration among Bulldogs fans right now it will only get worse if this team muddles through a sloppy win or worse muddles through and fails to win.

Prediction: Mississippi State 32, Western Michigan 22


Old Dominion at Southern Miss

Time: 6 p.m. TV: ESPN-Plus Streaming

Golden Eagles coach Will Hall is making multiple changes trying to spark his team which hasn’t defeated an FBS team this year.

Southern Miss won 40-14 against Alcorn State in the opener but has lost four-straight since.

The Golden Eagles (1-4) have gained some footing on offense with 35-plus points in the last two weeks, but they’ve allowed a combined 94 points in losses to Arkansas State and Texas State.

Under first-year coordinator Dan O’Brien, who coached Southern Miss safeties the last two years, the Eagles, with experience at key positions, are last in the Sun Belt in pass efficiency defense, rushing defense and scoring defense.

Hall changed practice routines this week, getting to high intensity work earlier in the day, with hopes that his team will execute better on offense earlier in games.

There’s been better news on offense where Southern Miss has rushed for more than 200 yards the last two weeks, but turnovers and mistakes inopportune times have held things back.

Hall said an errant snap off the shoulder of an upback likely cost the Eagles win last week against Texas State.

The Golden Eagles will have to contend with a motivated Mississippi boy coming home.

Running back Kadarious Calloway of Philadelphia got more carries last week and produced in a big way with 236 yards and three touchdowns on 11 attempts in a 41-35 loss to Marshall.

Calloway (6-0, 217) signed with Alabama as a defensive back before transferring to East Mississippi Community College.

He’s in his first year with Old Dominion and missed spring practice with an injury.

If Calloway gets the nod Saturday he’ll be the Monarchs’ third running back starter this season.

There will be new starters for Southern Miss, Hall said, though he did not tip his hand earlier this week.

Prediction: Old Dominion 39, Southern Miss 35


Recipe of the Week

Some days you just need a warm cookie… a big one.

The Contents

  • Six tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

The Process

In a large bowl combine butter and sugars. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chips.Transfer to 10-inch cast-iron skillet and smooth it out. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, usually 18-20 minutes.

The recipe says let it cool for 5 minutes, but I always struggle with that.

About the Author(s)
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Parrish Alford

Parrish Alford brings the cumulative wisdom that comes from three decades of covering Mississippi sports to Magnolia Tribune. His outstanding contributions to sports reporting in the state have twice been recognized with Sports Writer of the Year awards. Alford currently serves as the associate editor of American Family News.