October has turned out to be fantastic on The Hill. The weather is unbelievable, the Hogs’ young basketball seems to be intriguing, and even the baseball playoffs have been lights out. Now all we need is a football team that can fight and win games.
A.D. Hunter Yurachek and the administration should be thanking the football gods the weather didn’t give the Razorback faithful one more reason to turn in their tickets. If we have too many more starts to the season like this, we may need the AMP to give free tickets to Kenny Chesney, Bruno Mars, Phish, and Taylor Swift, all booked over home game weekends, to keep fans in Northwest Arkansas.
The week started off with other excitement to keep my mind off whether Coach Chad Morris could right this ship. My wife and I have endeavored to foster and eventually adopt. Having two older children, we thought we were ready to add one, maybe two more to the family. Four children later, totaling six altogether, we have told the Department of Human Services to burn our number. That reminds me to change our number and put our house up for sale before they just happen to find us again.
Our youngest Chip was finally adopted this past Wednesday, and his first birthday party was Saturday night. It may be the only time I’ll thank the Hogs for their mediocrity giving us the early game.
My oldest daughter, a senior in high school, managed to sneak away from helping Mom to hang out with her old man. Narrowing her college choices down, she seems to be leaning toward her parent’s alma matter, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Coach Morris could earn this dad a lot of points by building a great football team to share memories with his daughter, and maybe even the next five kids.
The early game gave us a few other benefits. Mark Wagner needed to come up Friday, and was able to attend our weekly Tusk To Tail board meeting over lunch. One of these days we might get the rest of the Little Rock crew to attend. One of our newest members, Chad Harmon, contributed to the important business at hand. Monumentally important topics were covered and decided, most notably how many bottles of champagne were needed for a one-win team playing at 11 a.m.
The perfect fall weather Saturday led for a perfect day all around. The vibe felt fun but subdued. Even the win felt the same. A shutout would usually provoke someone in Victory Village to boast about dominance, but even the more inebriated fans just pleasantly smiled. Hog fans know Chad Morris could be that special coach, but staying healthy and pushing the envelope are two very different and difficult things this year.
Quarterbacks Connor Noland and Cole Kelley did their part. But while the 40-something thousand in attendance were watching the field, all had one eye on Kelly Bryant. The ex-Clemson quarterback watched his potential new team play four quarters of football, which hadn’t seemed attainable the last few years. The Hogs’ final score looked dominant, but seeing Rakeem Boyd leave the game felt anything but. Keeping quarterbacks, running backs, and other skill positions healthy has been no small task.
Morris has been recruiting as if Red Bull has concocted a way to intravenously give this man the drive and energy of a 20-year-old. This Kool-aid drinker feels like one or two more key recruits will catapult the Razorbacks back to the tradition of being a Top 25 program year in and year out.
For now, I’ll pray for healthy players and four quarters of competitive football. If Saturday was any indication, Arkansas is on the right track.
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 and Instagram, all @TuskToTail.