Tusk to Tail: Are Razorback wins courtesy of lemon-lime Pedialyte?

Four games into the 2021 season, who is the Razorbacks’ MVP?

Todd Rudisill: Hands down, KJ Jefferson. Hog fans got a glimpse of why he is the starter over Hornsby last week. We know Malik can run, but there was little threat of a pass. Hornsby is very talented, but still a work in progress. With KJ being a threat to run at any time, it keeps the defense honest and opens up the entire field.  It is not always pretty with KJ passing but it’s efficient enough, and will only get better. A close second, of course, is the linebackers. Who would think we would say that about the Hogs defense?

Do you have a “good luck charm” or any other game day superstitions?

Forrest Acuff: Not sure about a lucky item, but I have a lucky pattern. I wake up, have a lemon lime Pedialyte, and put on the same outfit I’ve worn to both Texas and Texas A&M games. I try to keep with the same drinks as well, like vodka-Red Bulls and ranch waters. It’s probably not the healthiest route, but should be noted I’d sacrifice some organs for a Razorback win. It’s worked twice, and we will see if we can go 3-0 in Athens with the same routine this week.

#8 Arkansas @ #2 Georgia
Greg Houser: Pre-season I thought our Piggies would get 6-7 wins this year. Did anyone in our great state think we’d be where we are now? My hope is that our whole athletic department stays humble and fosters this phenomenon that literally every sport is enjoying. I’m not sure I’ve heard of any other university having the overall success that we’ve had. I think our defense keeps it close, but our offense will be stymied just enough by the Georgia defense. Georgia 21, Arkansas 17.

Forrest Acuff: The “experts” are calling the Dawgs 18.5-point favorites, but I feel like it will be much closer. What’s the hardest game UGA has played all year? Clemson has been less impressive as the season goes on and Vanderbilt isn’t exactly a powerhouse. Keys to the game is keeping KJ on his feet in the pocket and having him make smart throws as Georgia’s dominant front seven will limit the run game. Gimme the Hogs to cover, but the Dawgs to win outright.

Todd Rudisill: The Hogs are playing in a top 10 matchup, and it’s still hard to believe. Arkansas has not won a top 10 matchup on the road since 1964 against Texas. Georgia is on another level from a defensive standpoint, as well as depth. They might just be the number 1 team in the country. But the Hogs are better than they were last year and will not make this game easy for the Dawgs. The early kickoff definitely plays in the Razorbacks’ favor, as the crowd will not enough time to reach their “lit” level. Georgia’s elite defense will be able to keep the Hogs running game in check, but KJ will still hit a big one. The Hogs are so due for one of those early kickoff ”shock the world” surprises, but this won’t be that game. What Pittman and this team have done in less than two years is remarkable. The future is bright no matter how these next two weeks go. UGA takes it 34-17.

#22 Auburn @ LSU
Forrest Acuff: Saturday night in Death Valley is absolutely terrifying for visiting teams. LSU has been a bit more tame this year and Auburn still looks like it’s trying to shake the Chud out of the offense. With a quarterback battle brewing on the plains and a liquored up group of Cajuns in the stands, I’m taking the Bayou Bengals in a close one.

Todd Rudisill: These two programs are in obvious rebuild years. Aubbie barely escaped Georgia State by the skin of their teeth. Now they come into Death Valley with former LSU QB TJ Finley. War Eagle defense has not been the typical defense it usually is giving up 300 passing yards to Penn State and 267 to Georgia State. LSU’s defensive pass rush has been really good. Ultimately that will be the difference and they make one more stop. LSU Tigers win 28-24.

#21 Baylor @ #19 Oklahoma State
Greg Houser: Okie Light looks heavy on the defensive line! Those boys must’ve switched to IPAs. Statistically, Oklahoma State’s stout defense keeps the Pokies on top of the Big 12.

#10 Florida @ Kentucky
Greg Houser: Growing up in Florida, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Gators. They looked fantastic against Bama, but Kentucky’s offensive line may be one of the best in the country. I think that the Wildcats could grind out a close W at home. Let’s say UK by 3.

#7 Cincinnati @ #9 Notre Dame
Forrest Acuff: What a fun game this should be. Notre Dame made a notable pickup this off-season in Cincinnati’s fast rising defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. Cincinnati brings in a fun offense that sputters at times throughout the season, but when they are clicking it’s a show. if anyone knows how to keep them offline, it should be Freeman. Notre Dame struggled for three quarters against Wisconsin last week, and I see a repeat of that game happening again this weekend. Cincinnati keeps it interesting through three but the Golden Domers run away late.

#12 Ole Miss @ #1 Alabama
Todd Rudisill: Is Alabama vulnerable after their Florida showing? Alabama’s Nick Saban, I think the best college football coach of all-time, warned us that they aren’t unbeatable. Now Saban’s cocky protege Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss comes to town with their Heisman candidate Matt Corral. That’s the same Matt Corral who threw six INTs against the Hogs last season. The Black Bears have wins over powerhouses Louisville, Go Peay, and Tulane and now get to play the defending champs at their place. Do the Rebs have a good offense? Yes. Do they have a good defense? No. I think this is a shootout for a half and then Bama makes halftime adjustments to blow it open. Slow your roll, Rebs. Tide wins this one 38-24.

Greg Houser: Let’s consider the Ole Piss vs Death Star game from an Arkansas perspective. Let’s say Joey Freshwater wins, but it costs him dearly. No Ole Miss player is hurt (just extremely sore), but the biggest hangover occurs. No matter what happens with Georgia, I say we beat Ole Piss 2 years in a row and have a shot at the 1 or 2 spot in the SEC West! I like Ole Miss by a touchdown and the over.

Editor’s note: Now in its 10th 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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