The summer of 2018 has not wanted to loosen its grip on the Southeast this year. As Sam Atkinson and I did some prepacking of the tailgate trailer last Friday, we were drenched in sweat in no time at all. The humidity was August level.
By Saturday morning, it was only slightly better as the clouds kept the temperatures from spiking. Sam and I hit campus at 7 a.m. with plenty of help waiting on us to get everything set up. By 8 we were mixing a drink and watching the SEC Network.
Everything was in full swing by 9 a.m. with a tent full of 50 guests and a slight air of excitement in the crowd. No one had anticipation for an upset of Alabama. Instead it was more like, “Let’s see what the team and coaching staff can do this week. Can they continue to improve?”
For the most part they did. The offense moved the ball, and scored enough to win most games. Of course, the problem was that the Tide could not be stopped. I feel like the deficiencies this team has can only be remedied through recruiting. Arkansas needs more team speed on both sides of the ball, more depth on the offensive line, and a quarterback with a bit more arm strength. Storey has solidified himself as the starter, but a better passing threat would add another depth for opposing defenses to worry about. These things could immediately place this team right where we expect it to be.
However, Ole Miss looms on the horizon or this week as the Hogs travel down the mountain to Little Rock. This will be this staff’s first true visit for a game in Little Rock, and the TV gods really gave the Hogs a break with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff. It’s the first Saturday night game in Little Rock in more than five years. I think the last was the loss to LA Monroe in the year of John L. Smith, so do we really have to count that one?
Team Little Rock met today (Tuesday, Oct. 9) for lunch to discuss plans for Saturday. They will be a man down on Saturday, but I’m guessing Sam and I can help pick up the slack. I’ll be arriving on Friday after lunch with all of the gear that is needed from NWA so we can load it up and be ready for first light on Saturday morning. Time permitting, I may try to take in the Razorbacks vs UALR Exhibition Baseball Game that evening. I hear that all of the tickets have been sold, but I’m hoping some standing room only tickets could be had.
Jamey Johnson will smoke up some pork butts for us, and I’m sure plenty of Lost Forty Beer will be iced down as well. Speaking of Lost Forty, if you have not been to the brewery and the excellent restaurant on site there, you need to work that into your Friday plans. Or perhaps try lunch on Saturday for those of you not already on the golf course by then. A few other places of note would be Heights Taco and Tamale Co., Gus’s Fried Chicken in the River Market, and one of my favorites, The Oyster Bar in Hillcrest.
If you are new to the tailgating at War Memorial here are a few important notes.
• There is a clear bag policy for the ladies.
• Gates open at 4 p.m. to allow for extra security measures after the Salt Bowl debacle.
• Tickets can still be had for $40.
• General Parking opens at 7 a.m. It is first-come, first-serve, so you have to be there early to park closer to the stadium. The same goes for reserved parking, which is why we are usually in line by 6:15.
Lastly, the tailgating tends to stay more family friendly the closer you are to the stadium. On some walk-abouts in the past, the deeper you get into the golf course, the crazier the tailgating can get. We are talking hot tubs on trailers, full blown DJ set ups and the like. Generally speaking, these people just come to party and never enter the stadium. However, I will say they add to the overall atmosphere of the crowd for a Little Rock game. By 6:30 p.m. the crowd in War Memorial should be in a lather and ready to help pull this Hog team to its second win of the season.
Go Hogs, Beat Rebels, Bears or Land Sharks! Oh my!
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.