story by David Rice
Editor’s note: Welcome to Tusk to Tail, a special “web reality” presentation of the tailgating experience as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together for more than a decade. Members of the Tusk to Tail Team are Sean Casey, Jack Clark, Dale Cullins, Greg Houser, Craig May, David Rice and Mark Wagner. Link here for the explainer story and the photos and “stats” of the core Tusk to Tail crew. Tusk to Tail is managed by The City Wire and sponsored by Preferred Office Products.
Follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail
“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” - Golda Meir
“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” - Groucho Marx
As daylight savings time ends and we prepare to “fall back” an hour, it seems abundantly clear that time has not been on the Razorbacks’ side this season.
Take Bobby Petrino’s scandal with Jessica Dorrell. There may never be a good time to wreck a motorcycle or be caught with your mistress, but this was ridiculous.
Had it happened before Dorrell was hired, Petrino is still our coach, though possibly a little worse for the wear. Back it up a month or two before that, and the University may have hired a full-time replacement. But since it was during the final week of Spring practice, John L. Smith was brought back for an interim tour of duty. We will never know if somebody else could have done the job better, but I couldn’t imagine anybody doing worse.
Injuries also rarely happen at an opportune moment, especially when they are as gruesome and severe as the ones that ravaged the Razorbacks against Louisiana-Monroe. When you are playing a team like the Warhawks that is spunky, gritty, and probably even some other words that only your grandfather uses, you need your best players.
Yet one by one, the likes of Tyler Wilson, Tevin Mitchel, and Kody Walker were carted off the field, just a few days after Kiero Small required surgery following a foot injury in practice. Of course the Hogs lost the game, not to mention confidence. Each of the injured players missed games, and Small and Walker are unlikely to return this season.
So what came next?
A matchup with the undisputed heavyweight champions of college football, of course. Alabama eked out a win, 52-0 in the rain. The loss set two major precedents for the rest of the season.
First, there must be significant rainfall for nearly every game weekend, regardless of the weather immediately before or after game day. Secondly, Arkansas will no longer be broadcast nationwide in a prime time slot.
Next week’s game at South Carolina will be the Razorbacks’ fifth game out of six that falls before noon Central time. This is what happens when your team has a losing record. I have said it time and time again: This kickoff time makes little sense for a league that has so few teams in the Eastern time zone, especially considering it is warm enough throughout the fall for most to play comfortably into the night. The networks need to reserve that game time for when the Chippewas of Central Michigan face the State of Balls or the like.
Since the scheduling appears unlikely to change, it is time for the Hogs to return to their winning ways. But first it is time for our predictions.
• Predict the final score, Tulsa @ Arkansas
Sean Casey: Tulsa 81, Arkansas 19
Jack Clark: Arkansas 28, Tulsa 21
Dale Cullins: Hogs 42, Tulsa 24
Greg Houser: Arkansas 31, Tulsa 24
Craig May: Arkansas 35, Tulsa 21. I know Tulsa is 7-1 but they’ve only beaten one team with a winning record. IF we play good run defense we should win this game.
David Rice: I’m afraid we come out flat. Surely we are still good enough to beat Tulsa, right? 21-20, Arkansas.
Mark Wagner: After last week, I feel like throwing myself off the bandwagon. But being the Hog fan that I am, I can't bring myself to do it. Arkansas wins 27-24.
• Who is the Razorbacks impact player, and why?
SC: DJ (Dennis Johnson) continues to punish the opposing team's defense.
JC: Williams has another big game running the ball.
DC: Craig jinxed us last week. I'll go with DJ. I just enjoy watching him run.
GH: Dennis Johnson finally gets the rock for most of the game! Every team needs a player with a little bit of thug in him.
CM: Dennis Johnson has 14 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown.
DR: Tevin Mitchel is the best player in our secondary. Now that he’s healthy, he should make some plays.
MW: Dennis Johnson continues to play the way he did last week and all season. We are going to miss him next year.
• Who will be the next head coach of the Razorbacks?
SC: Not sure who it will be, but I am certain it will NOT be Gruden.
JC: I haven't the slightest idea who will be the next coach.
DC: I think Paul Rhoads is moving up my list. He can recruit and coach, it appears.
GH: Still would love to see Charlie Strong. Great defense, great discipline, good recruiter, needs a great OC. On a side note, if Tubby (Tommy Tuberville) gets back into the SEC, does he coach like "a woman scorned?" Hell hath no fury ...
CM: No idea who the next coach will be. Anything is better than what we have today.
DR: Of the coaches that seem attainable, I would still like Gary Patterson or Charlie Strong.
MW: Whoever Jeff Long wants it to be, and he's not saying.
• Who will win this year's Heisman trophy?
SC: Knile Davis?
JC: AJ McCarron wins the Heisman.
DC: Looks to be Optimus Klein so far.
GH: I would love to see a defensive guy, like the dude from Notre Dame. Realistically, I see the QB from K-State. Remember, the guy we beat last year! Arrrrghhhh!
CM: Collin Klein is the front runner and will win it going away.
DR: A.J. McCarron wins the Heisman to go with his mother’s Golden Globes.
MW: I'm not sure if I understand the question. Isn't it supposed to be a toss-up between Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis?
• Pick the winners of these two games: Texas A&M @ Mississippi State and Alabama @ LSU
SC: Gimme more cowbell (MSU). Bama dines on corndog.
JC: Let's go with Mississippi St. over aTm. However, if the Aggies win, I think Sumlin wins SEC coach of the year. Alabama will beat LSU. Alabama goes on to win the BCS and the Super Bowl.
DC: I'm going with State, I think they have a better D than the Aggies. Until proven otherwise, I will go with Saban, even in Death Valley at night.
GH: Bulldogs over Aggies by 10. Alabama further knocks LSU down to a team and state that have all the talent, but not the "right stuff.”
CM: MSU 28, A&M 21. Alabama 21, LSU 10
DR: Miss Stake squeaks by the Aggies, and Bama crushes LSU.
MW: Miss. State still haven't recovered from the Alabama meeting, so I pick Texas A&M 35 – 24. For the Bama-LSU game, I take Bama. 27-17
• Bonus predictions and commentary
SC: Greg finally gets around to canceling his reservation in South Beach for the BCS National Championship Game.
JC: I predict that Dale will have an extra cocktail at dinner on Friday night knowing that he will have some help loading the truck on Saturday morning.
GH: I predict Mizzou will start to entertain the idea of being the Vandy of the far west. Get comfy boys, at least you have journalism. Rarrrr Tigers.
DR: Tusk to Tail will spend more time talking about football than politics, but not as much time as we spend talking about Gilligan’s Island.
MW: I predict we will have more of the NWA contingent show up for the game this week (meaning either Todd, Sean, or Greg will decide to show up). I predict there will be about 20,000+ empty seats in the stadium. I predict Tusk to Tail will not have a blow up Razorback at the tailgate. I also predict that the Hogs will not be in the 11 a.m time slot for at least one of the remaining games.