Tusk to Tail: Arkansas defense coach channels his inner Oprah

LSU is the top ranked team in the country, and likely headed to the College Football Playoffs. Do you think they will win the Championship?

Craig May: LSU is the real deal. They went into Alabama and punched them in the mouth in the first half. More impressively, with the game on the line, LSU moved the ball and responded as Alabama made their second half comeback. They have a potential Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback in Joe Burrow, but to win a Championship they’ll need to get more consistent on defense. We’ll find out in the SEC Championship game if they have what it takes to win it all. I’m looking forward to watching it.

Todd Rudisill: If they don’t shore up their defense, the answer is no. Ole Miss gutted them for 37 last Saturday. If they run into Trevor Lawrence and Clemson with that defense, there will be a lot of Tiger tears in their beers on Bourbon Street come January.

Sean Casey: Joe Burrow is the best quarterback LSU has had since Arkansas joined the SEC. They have a stellar running back, and they have all the size and talent you expect with an LSU team. But corndogs are gonna corndog. Ole Miss showed the world how to score points on LSU. I say LSU loses to UGA in the SEC Championship Game, and are left out of the playoffs.

• Arkansas @ #1 LSU
Sam Atkinson: Vegas is thinking LSU by 43 points. Arkansas has an interim coach. It’s being played at Death Valley at night. Geez, what could possibly go wrong? I feel the Hogs will come out with a good effort, and the offense will keep the ball and try to shorten the game. But LSU is the real deal. LSU 61, Arkansas 17.

Jeb Joyce: Arkansas’ best hope to avoid the loss is for a freak late season hurricane to come through south Louisiana and cause the game to be cancelled. Short of that, I just hope we see some progress from our quarterback KJ Jefferson OR John Stephen Jones OR Nick Starkel.

Forrest Acuff: Not really sure what’s left to say on this one. I hope our boys can put up a good fight but this is much more lopsided than David vs Goliath. More like a mosquito vs an eighteen-wheeler. Godspeed to those young men and I hope they come home safe.

Todd Rudisill: Five SEC teams play FCS games this weekend. LSU gets what has looked like an FCS team this season in the Hogs. It’s the largest spread in an SEC game since 1978. The Hogs have given up 45 points in four straight games, and there is no reason to think it will be any different this week. Defensive Coordinator John Chavis has been doing his best Oprah impression: “You get 45, you get 45, you get 45!” I hope Coach Lunney has an impact on the players’ morale and gets them to play like fighting Razorbacks for at least a half. And I hope we get KJ Jefferson for 60 minutes and he gets some great experience in the toughest environment in the conference. LSU gets their 45 and more. Tigers 52-7.

• #21 SMU @ Navy
Forrest Acuff: The Ponies are rolling, but it’s hard to bet against the troops. Past vs present. Triple option vs the high flying, up tempo spread. Navy is favored by 3.5 at home after getting routed by Notre Dame. Against a much more powerful offense, give me the Mustangs all day.

• Texas @ #13 Baylor
Sam Atkinson: Baylor is a 6-point favorite at home. While Texas will put some points on the board, so will Baylor. Texas needs this win, but playing in Waco, Baylor wins 41-35.

• Indiana @ #12 Michigan
Jeb Joyce: It’s the Big Ten in November, so I’m not even sure if this a pick is for a basketball or football game. Therefore, I will keep it generic. I always like the home team in this series, and I think the Wolverines will win it by a 3-point score late.

• #24 Texas A&M @ #4 Georgia
Craig May: Georgia has the best defense in the SEC, period. They’ll shut down the Aggie’s run game and make Kellen Mond have to play the perfect game to have a chance to win. I don’t see that happening. UGA 31, A&M 17

Todd Rudisill: This is the first time these two have played since A&M joined the conference. Is that crazy, or just absurd scheduling by the SEC? They did meet in 2009 with UGA winning 44-20 in the Independence Bowl. Georgia has a lot to play for since they are still in the hunt for that coveted 4th spot in the playoffs. The $75 million dollar Aggie coach gets his 4th loss of the season. Dawgs win it, 31-20.

• #9 Penn State @ #2 Ohio State
Sean Casey: Another Big Ten game where adult male fans wear the jerseys of 20-year-old kids. I just don’t get it. I would prefer a Penn State upset in Columbus, but they don’t have the depth or the defense to win this one. I hope I’m wrong, but I think Ohio State wins 42 to 17.

Editor’s note: Now in its eighth 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. Tusk to Tail sponsors are the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program and Turn Key Construction Management. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter and Instagram, all @TuskToTail.

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