Editor’s note: Welcome to the third 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 sober and otherwise 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. Legal representation is iffy at best and professional psychological help is welcome but likely to be ignored. Link here for the Tusk to Tail introduction to the 2014 Razorback football tailgating season.
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The Tusk to Tail crew, who will leave early Friday morning bound for Auburn, were asked to predict the Razorbacks season record, including possible post-season play. They were also asked to pick the winner and provide a score for the Arkansas-Auburn matchup. Obviously, we won’t know until the season ends if some of these guys are wildly optimistic or or amazingly prescient.
It's not clear they are right in their minds. Someone should call the proper authorities. But here are their picks.
Hogs are improved but still disappointing by going 5-7.
I believe the Hogs will finish the season 4-8 and I predict another winless conference season. However, IF the Hogs were to pull out a win I think Ole Miss would be the game. Obviously, there will be no bowl game for the Hogs this year.
I'm really hoping for 6-6 in the regular season. I figure the defense can shave off a few points allowed per game and Brandon will be good for one more score. We still need to get more Jimmys and Joes but we will be better. I think this team may play better later in the season than early. So I would like our chances in a bowl game.
The Razorbacks are going to be average at best this season but I think they find a way to get to 7 wins. The wins will come from all 4 non-conference games, Texas A&M, LSU or Ole Miss and Missouri. Then a win in the Liberty Bowl sets us up for a nice run next season.
We will be improved, but our team just doesn’t have the quality depth to sustain a winning season in the SEC West. I think we can win a conference game or two, but still be at the bottom of the division around 5-7.
Overall record is 6-6 regular season and we win whatever bowl we go to. So total is 7-6.
Hogs will go 5-7 (2-6 in the SEC). We're going to be better, and begin to resemble a Big 10 team, but we'll miss qualifying for a bowl after dropping the last four games of the regular season. The offensive line will emerge as the foundation of the program and all three running backs will live up to the hype. The defense will struggle (again), and we'll need a quarterback to drop from the heavens for 2015. Tusk to Tail, meanwhile, will have a monster year. I predict at some point (perhaps tomorrow) a TTT regular will purchase an Apple TV allowing us to stream a loop of the Bielemas’ Ice Bucket Challenge to one of our plasma TVs.
7-6. The MAC doesn’t have a bowl eligible team and we get a bid to the inaugural Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl where we beat Petrino and Louisville 34-14. Jessica Dorell sings the national anthem and Tusk to Tail misses the game due to the week long tailgate that was thrown on the beach.
Season record is 4-8. Improvement.
ARKANSAS AT No. 6 AUBURN
Coming off two disastrous seasons, I pray the Hogs will be improved. The biggest matchup to watch in this game is Robb Smith's defense against Aubie's up-tempo offense. Are the Hogs physical and fast enough to slow Malzahn and his offense down? That's unlikely, but I don't think Auburn will cover the current 20.5pt spread. Hogs lose 38-28.
Arkansas will lose to Auburn by 3 TD's. I see the score being 40-17.
AU 27, Hogs 20. I'll have to pick AU but I do think the Hogs give them a great game. I think the Hogs will be much improved this year but opening on the road is always difficult. I hope the Hogs running game can eat up some clock and the Hogs D should be better. Brandon Allen is still the X-Factor. If he plays mistake free, I could even see the upset.
As everybody knows. I'm more of homer than anyone in the group ... except for Mark in this instance. Hogs lose, but make it pretty close. Brandon Allen stays within the 21 points experts suggest. O-line keeps the TOP long enough to keep Auburn from scoring too often. I'm fairly certain Auburn's O-line has a few question marks, so our D has a chance.
Arkansas has won 3 of the last 4 visits to Auburn and Saturday’s game will be close. The game provides the fan base some hope for the remainder of the 2014 season. The Hogs get the “moral victory” by competing well and showing clear improvement, but in the end the better team wins. Auburn 28, Arkansas 17.
Historically Arkansas has fared well against Auburn. I see us hanging around until some point in the second half, but then it escalates quickly. One of the Allen boys may be killed by a trident.
I know I'm a homer. I have to believe the Hogs will win 27-24. Our defense will surprise Auburn by actually tackling someone, and our DB's getting a couple of picks. Our offense grinds it out maintaining possession and keeping Auburn’s offense on the bench.
Arkansas 35, Auburn 31. Why the hell not? We ALWAYS play well at Jordan-Hare. Auburn's dream season last year could easily have ended 7-5 and in the Liberty Bowl. Their defense is a sieve. Nick Marshall is a glorified Quinn Grovey.
Let’s be honest. Auburn should have lost the two miracle games last year. They lost Tre Mason who was their offense last year. They are way overhyped. Hogs 31, Aubbie 27.
Auburn 41-17. Auburn won the SEC. Auburn played for the National Championship. Auburn returns essentially all their offensive fire power from last year. Plus, Gus Malzahn is one of the preeminent offensive geniuses in college football the past decade. Depending on the game temperature, humidity and the timing of the scoring momentum, we could see more dudes laying on the turf with tongues hanging out than after my friend Chris’s bachelor party back in the day. One thing that could keep the game more respectable will be the likelihood that Gus will let off the gas at some point. Who covers the spread may be determined by whether Johnson spots Marshall a couple TDs early or if Arkansas can keep AU’s motor idle the first few series. In any event, I wish I had more confidence we can go into hostile Jordan-Hare, but think the high their 88,000 fans will feel coming off last year’s season might only rival the high Marshall got off that South Alabama dank that ended up saddling him with a 2 series misdemeanor benching. I predict Bielema sweats through a half dozen windbreakers in that Auburn sauna and that it’s a close call who loses the most respect for me (my son, the Tusk to Tail team or myself) when I am carted out on a flat-board with an IV from heat exhaustion and Sweet Tea Vodka dehydration – in front of my son.
PREDICTIONS FROM AROUND THE SEC
#1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State
The Florida State Criminoles should roll over Okie Light. I'll take dem Criminoles any day and twice on Sunday. They are still hungry for wins. Florida State has spent way too much time in mediocrity and they like winning. Add the fact that Okie Light will be in the middle of the pack of the Big 12 (or whatever number of institutions they have). They will struggle come Saturday. Florida State by 16
West Virginia vs. # 2 Alabama
Easy pick. The Tide wins by 4 touchdowns. Last year West Virginia had a lot of key injuries and went downhill after a 5-0 start. This year they may be healthy, but their OL is a big concern. Defensively they were ranked 100th last year. WV may make it close for a half, but I see the Tide rolling after that.
#16 Clemson @ #12 Georgia
This is an interesting matchup with both teams starting the season with new QBs. Clemson should have a good defense, but a lot of questions on offense despite having Chad Morris call the plays. UGA brings in a new D-coordinator, and they always have talent and a solid stable of running backs. This will be a fun game to watch. Pay attention to the UGA Offensive line vs Clemson's defensive line and watch to see if Chad Morris’s offense can pick apart the UGA secondary. UGA wins a tough one between the hedges, 28-24.
#14 Wisconsin vs. #13 LSU
I'll never predict LSU winning anything so I'll take Wisconsin.
Miami (FL) @ Louisville
Louisville and Miami closed out the 2013 football season playing in the Russell Athletic Bowl, and Louisville put a hurt on the Canes 36-9. Look for Miami to play with a chip on their shoulder and beat the Cards 28-24. An appropriate welcome to the ACC for BMFP – enjoy the ride Louisville,