Tusk to Tail 2014: If optimism was a super power, Tusk to Tail would be the Justice League
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The Hogs are off this week. You’ll have to get your weekly dose of last-minute heart-breaking disappointment elsewhere this weekend. By the way, the crack research staff with the Tusk to Tail crew have determined that Wooo Pig Sooiee is not a Native American phrase for “Just wait until next year.”
And here is the weekly big question and the round of seven predictions.
We are three-fourths of the way through the second year of Coach Bret Bielema and quarterback Brandon Allen leading the Hogs. How do you feel about the state of Razorback football?
Razorback football is hard-pressed to find tangible improvements, but improvement is there. It's just not enough improvement, and not at the most critical positions. The Bielema era has yet to see its first SEC win. The three most glaring deficiencies I see are special teams, defensive secondary and quarterback play. Arkansas fans should not expect success as a high level unless we improve in all three areas.
Well, I can't say I'm happy but the Hogs still have three games to grab two wins. They will need to do what we have all spoken about for two months now: Stop making stupid penalties and play four quarters. They are most likely still a year away depth and experience-wise but you can see progress in the team.
With a mid-semester grade on Coach B and QB B.A, I'd have to give them a C. As any teacher would tell you, good effort still doesn't compute to a right answer/win. Having said that, there is no one else that could do a better job with what they have. Stick around, Coach. We are excited for the next three games and the next several years!
I like the way the program is headed. This season we’ve seen improvement on both sides of the ball, but that hasn’t translated into SEC wins at this point. The staff has done an outstanding job of recruiting the last 2 seasons and should sign another highly rated class this February. Coach Bielema and staff are going to get the Razorbacks back on track, but there is still work to do. Have patience fans, good things are on the way for our Hogs.
The improvement is there, but the depth is not. I have little doubt that Brandon Allen and the rest of the starters give us the best chance to win, but it is frustrating to get so close to victory before choking it away every week. Luckily, the coaches are in the process of signing what could be the greatest recruiting class in Razorbacks history, so there is hope for the future. Next year we have three capable backup quarterbacks, two of whom have used a redshirt year. If B.A. can’t get it done then, let’s see if someone else can.
There are several things I feel great about. The team has gotten better and improved more than I thought they would. We still haven't won an SEC game in the last 17 tries, but that does not belie the improvement the team has made. The coaching staff has done an excellent job. I am very happy that we have them here at Arkansas, and I hope they stay intact. I truly like Bielema and the way he is willing to take the responsibility for the lack of wins. He doesn't throw any player under the bus, and he stays the course with what they are doing to build the team.
The only concern I have is at quarterback. BA has improved, but I feel like we always lose at least one play in a series due to poor execution such as not going through progressions, locking in on only one receiver. To be fair, this could also be said for several positions and not just the QB. I personally hope that with Storey coming in, there will be better competition for the spot next year, and we will have better performance than what we have.
I can't be optimistic with our conference losing streak. Without an SEC win, the noise will be loud and unpleasant during the offseason. There are some encouraging signs, but conference win is critical for both Allen and the Hogs.
Great. To do what he is doing with lack of depth in the lines, no wide receivers, and needs at linebacker is amazing. I still want to see Allen with some playmakers at WR before I shut the book on him.
• #10 Baylor @ #16 Oklahoma
This one should be a great game. Oklahoma has opened as a 3 point favorite at home. The Sooners have won 21 of the last 23 meetings, but the two losses have been over the past three years. The Sooners offense clicked last week against the Cyclones. Having said all of that I feel that the Baylor O will be able to outscore the Sooners. Baylor 45, Oklahoma 35.
Heart doing the talking here as Stoops is on the permanent hate list. Sooners aren't winning the tough games this year, and this will be quality loss number three.
OU has been very shaky lately. But I think they take Baylor at home 37-34.
• #8 Notre Dame @ #11 Arizona State
I'll pick Arizona State over Notre Dame. I have no other reason than my faith in the teams up north is minimal.
Domers play three rough road games this year. This is one of them. Another close loss for the Irish.
Irish beat ASU last year on a neutral field. I think they find a way at ASU. 28-24
• #13 Ohio State @ #7 Michigan State
It’s a rematch of last year’s Big Ten Championship, where Michigan State upset the Buckeyes. Amazingly, Ohio State has not beaten a Top 10 team in the regular season since 2006, but this just feels like one of those games that Urban Meyer wins to piss off even more people. Besides, I have to pick the Buckeyes, or else my in-laws will never let me hear the end of it. OSU 31, MSU 27.
Michigan State needs this one to stay in the playoff hunt. They get it done at home.
Michigan State gives Urban a big L. Spartans 34-28.
• #9 Kansas State @ #6 TCU
K-State at TCU is a nice match-up. Early in the season, I figured this weekend's Baylor/OU game would clarify the Big 12 championship picture but K-State and TCU have stolen the show. This top 10 game should be high scoring, with the advantage to the home team. TCU wins 63-49.
Two gritty coaches with quality teams. TCU edges Kansas State at home.
This should be an enjoyable game to watch, and it’s another playoff elimination game. Two surprisingly good teams this year, and TCU is coming off a big road win at West Virginia. I think they keep it going. Frogs 41-37.
• #5 Oregon @ #20 Utah
Utah is pretty good and plays some D. Oregon will have to be patient and keep turnovers to a minimum to pull out the win. At the end, Oregon has the better talent and pulls out a close one, 31-27.
Utah strong at home, but Oregon will be the PAC 12 representative in the college playoff.
Tempted to pick Utah here, but I think too much quack and neon uniforms. Ducks 37-29.
#4 Alabama @ #14 LSU
LSU is a tough out in Death Valley at night, just ask Ole Miss. Expect the Tide defense to shut down the LSU run game and Blake Sims to have a break out game for Alabama. UA 34, LSU 17.
Bama marches through Death Valley on a Saturday night while moving towards a showdown with Auburn and a possible berth in SEC championship game.
Bama held the Hogs to 89 yards rushing. A rushing game is all LSU has to hang it’s hat on. Oh, and they have no QB. Bama 31-17.