story by Greg Houser
Editor’s note: Welcome to the second season of 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. Tusk to Tail is managed by The City Wire and is sponsored by Powerhouse Seafood and Grill Restaurant.
Link here to the Tusk to Tail introduction for the 2013 season.
Follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail
Razorback fans and fair-weather fans alike may be asking themselves, “Why make a road trip to a game with little to no chance of winning?”
To me, the answer has several parts.
Part 1: Are you a Bielemer?
While Tusk to Tail is split down the middle, even the non-Bielemers are willing to give Bret a couple of years. While I am a Bielemer, I think that the coach’s philosophy is a tougher track to plow. But if he is successful, the Razorbacks will bear much fruit.
We could scheme like Petrino and squeeze another win or two this year. Or we could methodically build our program and produce as many NFL players as Wisconsin did. Recruits take notice of this as well. I want to win as much as the next Razorback, but I’d also like to build a legacy where we can claim a couple of pro-bowlers and famous alums.
Part 2: Road trips!
Who doesn’t like a road trip? Every guy I know has some hobby. Some are setting up deer camp, some are squeezing in as much golf as the weather will let them before winter, and others are planning which restaurants and sites to visit on the way to a football game.
If you enjoy seeing sites like Gettysburg and eating at restaurants like the Rendez-vous in Memphis, then this is your hobby. Geno’s world famous cheese steaks was worth the trip to Philadelphia. An added bonus is that your wife gets to kick you out of the house for a weekend. Pray for mine. We have five young girls in my house. Honey – you are awesome.
Part 3: Razorback Evolution
Watching the Hogs struggle now will be so much sweeter when Coach B and his staff turn it around. Sugar Bowls, Cotton bowls, and all the like are on the horizon again.
Coach Bielema, some fans are frantic right now. Most, however, know that your brand of football takes time to develop. Just make sure you stay around for a while so we can all enjoy an even better Tusk to Tailgate. Arkansas is a small state, but we are all behind the Razorbacks!
Now onto the Tuscaloosa trip. Regardless of the season, Tusk to Tail is here to support the Razorbacks and have a good time while doing it. KFC and a truck bed will never do again. Our MacGyver (Dale Cullins) has prepared an extensive supply list for the weekend, including:
1 50" HDTV
1 Tailgater satellite dish
1 HD antenna for the CBS game
2 10' x 10' pop-up tents
2-3 large ice chests
Enough liquor and fried chicken to last all day
If Coach Bielema turns the Hogs around in the next couple of years, I promise we'll drag to an away game the trailer with the grill and all the supplies we use for a home game.
There are soccer fields relatively close to the stadium in Tuscaloosa that are great for tailgating. If you haven't been to T-town, you will like the sprawling campus, the flat lands for easier walking, and the Bear Bryant museum. Alabama is grateful that Arkansas lent them one of its native sons.
Tusk to Tail will set up base camp at the Econolodge in Tuscaloosa for a whopping $219 a night. If you travel like we do, you can split the rooms and make it somewhat affordable. It is worth staying in town to save travel time and get the whole gameday experience.
While en route to Tuscaloosa, Tusk to Tail will try to hit one of its favorite lunch spots. The Rendez-vous in Memphis has tremendous ribs, cole slaw and fixins. Memphis is a great break spot (especially for the NWA guys), and you'll have plenty of time to get to Tuscaloosa for dinner time.
There is one obstacle regarding Memphis. Make sure you hit town at the right time. Getting to Highway 78 on down through Mississippi can lend itself to road rage. The traffic can be horrible getting out of town. Our former Memphis resident, Scott Audrain, has a couple of back roads and magic routes to bypass that dreaded stretch of 78. If it works, we'll post it on the post-game article.
Good luck to all Hog travelers and WPS!