Tusk to Tail: A renewed pride will be no match against a Red Tide

How would you rate Sam Pittman’s first year as head coach?

Craig May: Sam Pittman’s first year at Arkansas has been a huge success. Coming into the season on a 19-game SEC losing streak, this team was picked to go 0-10 against the toughest schedule in program history. The roster didn’t have many impact players and walk-ons were getting playing time at key positions. Somehow this staff managed to grab 3 wins, the SEC Officials and COVID-19 cost us two more and the Missouri game was a coin flip, all very winnable games. Pittman gave our tired fan base some hope for the future and got the players to buy into his blue-collar mindset, something the last two coaches failed to do. There are plenty of problems to address on offense, defense, and special teams but the program is in good hands with Sam Pittman and this coaching staff.

#1 Alabama @ Arkansas
Willard Grandview: We’ve seen a lot of great Alabama football teams in Fayetteville during the Saban era, but not many better than this one. Mac Jones has thrown for more than 3,000 yards, Najee Harris has rushed for more than 1,000, and Devonte Smith has 1,300 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns all by himself. How does anyone slow down this team? I expect the Hogs to play with pride, but pride alone can’t stop a freight train. Tide 41, Hogs 24.

Craig May: When the Hogs get boat raced on Saturday, just keep in mind that Alabama has done the same thing to every team they’ve played this season. Just look at the results. Now if we’re lucky, we might catch the Tide looking ahead to the SEC Championship game with Florida or maybe they make some player adjustments to ensure no one gets hurt. Alabama 52, Arkansas 14

#20 USC @ UCLA
Willard Grandview: It’s the 90th matchup in this storied rivalry that no one outside LA cares about. Did you know if USC wins, they’ll wrap up an undefeated season? Five wins and no losses! Only the Pac-12 could make the Big 10’s season seem like a grind. I have a soft spot for Chip Kelly, but I’m going with the Trojans to prevail 24-20.

#16 Wisconsin @ #19 Iowa
Willard Grandview: Wisconsin leads the nation in total defense, but they’re inept on the offensive side of the ball. Iowa is ok offensively, pretty good defensively. In other words, this is going to be a typical, grind it out, 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, corn-fed, Big 10 football game. Wisconsin wins 2-0 on a first quarter safety.

#17 North Carolina @ #10 Miami
Craig May: This is one of the better games of the weekend. The Hurricane’s come into the game at 8-1 with an outside shot at making the College Football playoff. North Carolina are 7-3, coming off a tough loss to Notre Dame. The North Carolina offense has been playing well, but the defense has had problems getting off the field. Look for Miami QB D’Eriq King to have a big day throwing the ball. Miami 38, North Carolina 34

#8 Georgia @ Missouri
Willard Grandview: Mizzou has scored 91 points in its last two games against Vandy and (ahem) Arkansas, but UGA Is playing well and they’ve never lost at Columbia. The weather Is expected to be cold, cold, cold, cold, cold at game time with a chance for rain and even snow. Don’t count out the Tigers, but I think the Dogs get the job done and win 30-16.

LSU @ #6 Florida
Craig May: What in the hell is going on in Baton Rouge? Ed Oregon finds himself in a tough spot one year after winning the national championship. It’s clear the Tigers are not plug and play with the next guy in line like they do at Alabama. Florida’s goal Saturday is to win the game without getting anyone hurt and head to Atlanta with a chance to beat Bama. Florida 44, LSU 14

Editor’s note: Now in its ninth year, Tusk to Tail is 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. The primary focus of Tusk to Tail will be to follow the Hogs through the fans’ perspective with their insightful, irreverent, smart-alecky and sometimes practical style. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter and Instagram, all @TuskToTail.

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