Craig May, the godfather of Tusk to Tail tailgating, points out that Arkansas or Tulsa will accomplish something on Saturday that neither has been able to do all year: get a win against an FBS team. That point contains equal parts optimism and devastating reality.
Basketball season tips off with Friday night’s Red-White game. How do you think the Hogs will do this year?
Marvin Del Marmar: The Razorback basketball team will be very very young this year. The squad is made up of seven true freshmen, a red-shirt freshman, three sophomores, and three juniors. So even though several of the freshman have played together in AAU basketball, they haven’t played on this level, and must replace Barford & Macon who combined for 42% of our points per game last season. Gafford is a great player, but is he good enough to carry the team until they jell and get used to playing at this level? I think they’ll be fun to watch and will get better as the season progresses, but being this young, I just can’t see them performing to last year’s level. I’m predicting 19-20 wins with an NIT bid, and winning a couple of games there.
Dale Cullins: Tickets arrived last week for the 2018-19 Basketball Season. I won’t lie, I was a bit excited. It hasn’t really been that way in a while. The Hogs have a lot of scoring to replace, but they have a lot of fresh faces to do it. The early season matchups will be key to them figuring out who that might be. Overall, I expect them to struggle some, and as the SEC continues to improve it will be difficult for them to make the NCAA tourney. However, I think Gafford puts this team on his back, and they win 20 regular-season games and just make it in as an 11-seed.
• Tulsa @ Arkansas
Craig May: One of these teams is going to accomplish something on Saturday that neither has been able to do all year: get a win against an FBS team. Both teams have come close, and each has gotten better as the year has gone on, but the time for moral victories is over. I like Arkansas in this game. They’re banged up on both sides of the ball, but Storey and Boyd should pull the Hogs away late. Arkansas 31, Tulsa 17.
Todd Rudisill: These are some banged-up Hogs coming into this one after blowing a 4th quarter lead in what has really has become a new UA tradition. Momentum swung when Cantrell picked up that personal foul penalty, and once again you could feel the loss coming. The Razorbacks have not beaten an FBS team this year, nor has Tulsa. he Hogs do have an 18-game winning streak against the Golden Hurricane, but that means nothing with this football team. Tulsa took #21 South Florida to the wire, losing on a last second field goal, 25-24. They also lost at top 10 Texas 28-21 on the road, so this team is very capable of beating the Hogs Saturday. Connor Noland got second team reps last week in practice, but after Ty Storey went down, Coach Morris got gun shy and went with Cole Kelley. Expect to see both Saturday if Storey can’t go, and hope one can do enough to outscore Tulsa. I think this one is back and forth the whole game, and the Hogs do just enough to pull it out in, dare I say it, the 4th quarter. Arkansas wins 34-29.
David Rice: I will be missing the Razorbacks’ homecoming to attend the homecoming of my other alma mater, Rhodes College in Memphis. The Hogs will beat Tulsa for a 19th-straight time, but the mighty Lynx may have their hands full with the Centre Colonels.
• #12 Oregon @ #25 Washington State
David Rice: For the first time in the 15-year history of ESPN gameday, the Wazoo flag will fly at home in Pullman. The atmosphere is going to be electric. Give credit to Cougs’ coach Mike Leach for keeping this team playing well enough to be ranked and fighting for a berth in the conference championship. It seems that Oregon has more talent, but the gamblers have flipped this line to make Washington State the favorite. I still like the Ducks to win a close, fun game.
• #6 Michigan @ #24 Michigan State
Rick Ortiz: It is tempting to pick Michigan State in this game. They are playing at home, and weather could be a factor. Michigan State has also fared well in this series recently. However, Michigan’s defense this year is salty, and they seem to be playing well on offense. Michigan State also has some key injuries. Michigan wins.
• #22 Mississippi State @ #5 LSU
Dale Cullins: Miss State has been inconsistent so far this season, and that will continue this week. After last week’s unexpected trouncing of Georgia, LSU has the taste of blood, and they will not take their eyes off of the prize in Alabama. LSU’s Defense is too good to lose here. LSU 31, Miss State 17.
Todd Rudisill: LSU made 2nd ranked Georgia look ugly last Saturday in their blowout over the Bulldogs. The other Bulldogs come to Baton Rouge Saturday looking to pull off the upset and take the Tigers off their high. Mississippi State can run the football. Fitzgerald ran all over Auburn for 195 yards to beat them. Unfortunately, they can’t throw the football. LSU has a linebacker that can run sideline to sideline in Devin White. So, stuff the box and stop Fitzgerald, and LSU gets the win as they head to a showdown with Alabama in Death Valley after an open week. Tigers take this one, 28-17.
• #16 North Carolina State @ #3 Clemson
Marvin Del Marmar: As everyone in Arkansas knows by now, the Clemson Tigers have lost their dual threat quarterback and now go with a pass-first Freshman Trevor Lawrence. In the Clemson offense, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as their running backs average over 5 yards per carry. To do that you have to have a good offensive line, and Clemson has exactly that. These guys can run-block and give Lawrence time to throw. The last two games between these teams, NC State has lost a couple of heartbreakers. It seems like NC State matches up well and plays Clemson off their feet, but they just can’t pull out the win. I see another close game, but think Clemson will be too much for the Wolfpack, especially playing at home. Clemson 27, NC State 21.
• Tennessee @ #1 Alabama
Craig May: Congratulations to Tennessee for going to Auburn and getting the win. It was a big step for first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt. Now they get to come home and renew their hated rivalry with Alabama. The last time Tennessee won this game was 2006. Alabama has since won 11 in a row. It’s going to be 12 in a row after this weekend. Alabama 45, Tennessee 21.
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.