Tusk to Tail has been discussing this trip for over a year now. We’ve all been to Colorado before, but not to Fort Collins, and especially not for a football game. We thought those guys out west might need a few pointers in tailgating and we were right. They do.
Right out of the gate we hit a snag. The best lot for tailgating on campus opens only four hours before kickoff. For comparison, Arkansas shuts down traffic around the stadium that early. If you show up early, we are told you will be asked to pack up and return at the designated time.
TTT is having none of that.
To haul all of our gear 12 hours to only tailgate for four hours is unacceptable. We have found a private lot we can start at 8:30 a.m. or so and get our full day’s worth. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. (Central Time, 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time). We have three cars making the trip and another 20 or so flying out. We are expecting 25-30 people for food and drink before the game. Not being big fans of lamb burgers, we decided to call in to a taco shop there in town for a taco bar setup and maybe some chicken tenders as well. All finger friendly and easy to keep warm.
The biggest thing to remember on road trips is to get room reservations as soon as you can. In our case, I made them a year ago as soon as we had the date of the game. Sometimes that even helps as the local hotels are not aware of the date and may not have yet jacked up their rates for football season.
The weather looks good, sunny, and warm at 85 degrees. We are all hoping 85 with no humidity is comfortable compared to our southern fried version of 85, and besides, no complaining is tolerated on road trips. Fayetteville is going to be getting dumped on by Hurricane Gordon this weekend, so sunny and 85 sounds perfect.
Travel out to Fort Collins is looking pretty uneventful, with no good stops for food like we have when we head east for SEC games. However, once we arrive in Fort Collins there is plenty to look forward to. The local craft beer scene is plentiful and some nice bars and restaurants have made the list to check out on Friday night.
Take a look at these and safe travels! Go Hogs, Beat the Rams!
Craft Beer: New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing, Horse & Dragon Brewing, Equinox Brewing, Funkwerks Brewing, Snowbank Brewing, Big Horn Brewing, and Fort Collins Brewing
Eats: Tap & Handle, Mayor of Old Town, Forge for bars. Sonny Lubick’s Steak House, Social for Cocktails, Road 34 for your local college bar and William Oliver Whiskey bar.
And now for this week’s predictions.
• Arkansas @ Colorado State
Mark Wagner: CSU has had trouble with up-tempo teams. The up-tempo offenses of Hawaii and Colorado averaged 44 points and a little over 600 yards per game against the Rams D. However, their offense was able to stage a huge comeback against Hawaii, and almost pulled it out at the end. That tells me there will be a weak defense and a strong offense going against the Hogs. Hmmm. Assuming the O-line can do a better job of blocking (which is the unanswered question), the Razorback offense could be in for a big, big day. I see this as shootout. I think our secondary isn’t going to do to well, but the D-line, and offense will make up for it. Hogs win by a score of 44-37.
Todd Rudisill: We were supposed to be in Ann Arbor this weekend. We were supposed to be enjoying a crisp September tailgate morning in Michigan. Damn you Harbaugh for dropping our game. Are you second guessing yourself about dropping the Hogs and scheduling the Irish now, Harbaugh? The positive to us traveling to Fort Collins is we will get some football weather at night, and we will be able to watch football starting at 10 a.m. being an hour behind CST. The Rams defense has been lit up the past two weeks giving up 47 and 43 points. So, the Hogs passing game should be full tilt boogie against this secondary. But the same goes for the Rams offense because they do have the offensive fire power to light up the Hogs defense. Expect a shootout for a while before the Hogs pull away. Rocky Mountain High Hogs win 42-30.
Craig May: Well the Hogs were supposed to play Michigan, but instead we get a beautiful trip to Colorado to take on 0-2 Colorado State. I think we got the better end of the deal, considering the circumstances. I’ve watched the Rams play both games this season. Each time they went down big only to come back late in the game. I think this game is going to be a shootout. Neither team has much of a secondary, but look for the Hogs D-line to come up big down the stretch. Hogs 42, Rams 30.
• #18 Mississippi State @ Kansas State
Mark Wagner: This is without a doubt K-State’s biggest nonconference game of the season. I suspect Manhattan will be rocking – because what else is there to do in Manhattan Kansas on a Saturday? The “More Cowbell” Dawgs destroyed their FCS opponent by a score of 63-3 and did it without starting QB Nick Fitzgerald, who was suspended for the game. K-State had a close call in their opener, beating South Dakota 27-24, and the QB shuffle of Delton & Thompson were only 13 of 28 with one TD and 2 INTs. I just don’t think that will cut it against the Bulldogs. The Wildcats will try to grind out the yards and run the clock, but I think the Miss State Offense will be too much for the Wildcat defense. The Dawgs win with a closer-than-they-would-like score of 27-21.
• #3 Georgia @ #24 South Carolina
Joe Porter: Frankly, Muschamp and the Gamecocks surprised me last year and South Carolina’s fans are fun and loud. Nothing could be gathered from last week’s games, but Georgia is just deeper at almost every position. I expect an entertaining game with a Georgia win.
Dale Cullins: I’ll go with UGA. There is always the chance that USC East can have a great game and upset the Bulldogs, but there is no big game for Georgia to be looking forward to. There are just too many stars on the UGA side of the ball. UGA 33, USC 21.
Todd Rudisill: Here we have a top 25 matchup that brings the first of many traditional SEC dogfight games. Carolina will need to play almost perfectly and get stellar QB play from Jake Bentley. It won’t happen. Bulldogs 30-23.
• #2 Clemson @ Texas A&M
Joe Porter: Expect a huge raucous crowd at Kyle Field. The excitement level with the new coach and playing against top competition will have the fans in a frenzy. However, Clemson has a lot of players back, including an impressive defensive line. While I am interested in watching the Aggies over the next few years, Clemson is a dominant team that can take care of business on the road. I’ll take the Tigers.
Craig May: This is an interesting game. It’s an opportunity for the Aggies to show the college football world why they were willing to spend $75 million to bring Jimbo Fisher to College Station. Kyle Field will be rocking on Saturday night, but unfortunately for the Aggies so will the defensive line for Clemson. Clemson 35, Texas A&M 24.
Todd Rudisill: Just because you pay a coach $10 million doesn’t mean you are instantly ready for prime time. Clemson 34-20.
Editor’s note: Welcome to the seventh season of Tusk to Tail – the sport of tailgating as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together sober and otherwise for more than a decade. Tusk to Tail is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the River Valley Smile Center … because it’s another dang rebuilding year and you’re gonna need a good smile to get through the season. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail