Tusk to Tail 2014: The plan is to outshine all the debutantes in Houston

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are nice, but for the football freaks of Tusk to Tail, it means bowl season. And for the first time since thrashing Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl to wrap up the 2011 season (Bobby Petrino’s last game as the head Hog), Arkansas has earned enough victories for post-season play.

Next Sunday, 23 of us will load up the sleds and head to Houston for the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. The game matches the Hogs against the Texas Longhorns, their old Southwest Conference foe. Excitement couldn’t be higher. The historical matchup, the Razorbacks’ long post-season drought, and the relative proximity for both teams likely all contributed to the game selling out its entire allotment of tickets.

Unlike other possible bowl destinations for Arkansas, such as Memphis or Shreveport, Houston allows a full day of tailgating in a warm climate. Game day temperatures for the Texas Bowl are projected to be in the 60s. All the debutantes in Houston couldn’t hold a candle to the party Tusk to Tail is going to throw.

Assuming we can find a place that will have us, that is. NRG Stadium’s policy is to open their parking lots for tailgating five hours before kickoff. That’s fine for the resident Houston Texans, who play most NFL games at noon on Sunday. But the Texas Bowl kicks off at 8 p.m. Monday night. I anticipate our crew to be half in the bag when their lot opens at 3 p.m.

Surrounding lots typically open earlier. However, these spaces are owned by local businesses who need them during working hours Monday. I could see how throngs of fans eating, drinking, and carrying on in front of the workplace would be bad for employee morale.

So even though Tusk to Tail knows exactly what we are doing, we are not exactly sure where we will be doing it. The most likely scenario is to drive around the stadium beforehand to scout out some turf where we can set up around noon on game day.

Master planner Dale Cullins has made his list and checked it twice. The traveling roadshow includes two tents offering a couple hundred square feet of roof over our heads. Tables will be covered by locally catered tacos and our usual chips and dips.

Our satellite TV will be tuned to the Liberty Bowl that afternoon. Most of our bar will be stocked by one of the state’s gargantuan liquor warehouses such as Spec’s, which is like a theme park for drunks.

For this game, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky has been moved to the naughty list. Late kickoffs take a toll on even the heartiest of tailgaters, and we are hesitant to add fuel to the fire. Since the game begins a few hours after sunset, Cullins will also bring lights to plug into our generators.

Santa comes but once a year, and so does bowl season. Tusk to Tail plans to savor every moment of both.

We wish our readers the happiest of holidays, and a Texas beatdown to boot.

As a gift to you, we have projected the winners of each of the SEC bowl games and the college football playoffs below (See the second image in the box above).

Merry Christmas.