Tusk to Tail 2014: Hogs. Horns. Houston. (Hupdated)
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Tusk to Tail will travel to Houston in late December to watch the Hogs take on the Longhorns in a bowl game that Head Hog Coach Bret Bielema said is not only a nod to history but will be great for recruiting.
It was announced late Sunday afternoon (Dec. 7) that the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas Longhorns would play in the AdvoCare Texas Bowl in Houston on Dec. 29. The game is set for an 8 p.m. (CST) kickoff and will be televised on ESPN.
Within 15 minutes of the announcement, Tusk to Tail had booked blocks of hotel rooms in the Galleria area of Houston and had taken a head count for tickets. The traveling party is already 22 strong, and may continue to climb.
“At this rate, we should have the bowl game come to us,” said David Rice, one of the tailgating group’s founders.
Bielema said during a press conference after the bowl announcement that a matchup of old Southwest Conference rivals is “cool” because the program has “come full circle and get the chance to play Texas … and honor that tradition in history is huge. I think it will really be big for Arkansas fans.” (See video below of the Bielema press conference.)
Tusk to Tail’s Craig May says he’s “looking forward to taking his son to this game and bringing him up to speed on the rivalry with Texas.
“Nothing brings our fan base together like the hatred for that god awful burnt orange,” said May, who is the Godfather of Tusk to Tail.
The game is played during what is normally the Monday Night Football slot for the National Football League. Bielema said the slot and the hype of old rivals playing will help the program recruit “Tex-Hogs” in Texas, which is considered a leading state for colleges around the U.S. to recruit high school football stars.
“For me, I don’t think it could be any better. It has a great time slot (and) exposure,” Bielema said, adding that the game and recruiting boost “will catapult us into 2015.”
Adds tailgater Todd Rudisill, “Nothing like playing Texas in a bowl game in Texas. Three games this year now in Texas only helps recruiting. Beat Texas in Texas and our Texas recruiting goes to another level. Bielema knows this and will have Hogs raring and ready to go.”
Bielema said there will be 10-15 bowl practices for the Hogs. He praised Texas Coach Charlie Strong, and said the matchup will see “two great teams that will practice their tails off for a great game.” He said it is likely the Hogs will practice the morning of Dec. 26 and then fly to Houston that afternoon to begin prep for the Dec. 29 game. Tusk to Tail will drive down on Sunday, Dec. 28.
“The fun part is a game in a new city and a new venue,” said Dale Cullins, known for his meticulous tailgate planning. “Houston is a pretty easy six-hour drive from Little Rock, and not a terrible drive from Fayetteville at eight hours.”
His tailgating cohort Greg Houser adds, “I've frozen in Memphis before, and I'd sure take an eight hour drive to H-town over Birmingham any day, and twice on Sunday.”
According to various school and program reports, Arkansas and Texas have met 77 times, with Texas holding a 56-21 advantage all-time. The two teams haven’t met since 2008. This year, the Texas Tech Red Raiders was the only team to play the Hogs and the Horns. Texas beat Texas Tech 34-13 in Lubbock, and the Hogs took a 49-28 win in Lubbock against Texas Tech.
Arkansas heads into the game with 6-6 record (2-6 SEC), becoming bowl eligible by defeating highly ranked Ole Miss and LSU.
Texas also has a 6-6 record, and a 5-4 record in the Big 12.
Cullins said the Longhorns are expected to have 70% of the fans, since the game is practically “in their back yard,” but Tusk to Tail remains undaunted.
“Let's beat down an old SWC opponent,” exclaimed Houser.
On a day that saw the Tusk to Tail crew share more than 200 text messages in a few short hours, Rudisill was even more succinct.
“Tuck Fexas,” he wrote.
As always, Tusk to Tail will have an exquisite party before the game.
“It could be a good day to tailgate,” said May. “It’s warm, the Liberty Bowl is live from Memphis that afternoon, we can drink all we want and not have to drive home till the next day. All positive signs for a good day of football.”