Tusk to Tail: Game predictions with snitches, lip kissing and no love for Notre Dame
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When the Pac 12 kicks off this weekend, all of the Power 5 football conferences will be playing. What’s your reaction to college football this year in light of the pandemic?
David Rice: Perhaps the biggest takeaway from college football during the COVID-19 era is how little control the NCAA actually has over its member conferences. As the governing body, the NCAA should ensure a proverbial level playing field for each of the colleges it oversees. There is typically some uniformity to every school’s schedule, including start dates and number of games. All of that was thrown out during the pandemic, so now you have Top 25 programs including Clemson and BYU playing their 8th game in the same week the entire Pac 12 plays their first. Add in the fact that one of the game’s biggest current stars, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, will miss another game after testing positive for the coronavirus, and it sure seems like things could be better.
Tennessee at Arkansas
Jeb Joyce: The best thing I can say about the Hogs right now is that they are playing with confidence. We actually believe we can win ball games, which is so refreshing to see. Besides, Tennessee? They lowdown, they dirty, they some snitches. Hogs win straight up.
Todd Rudisill: The Razorbacks have won the last two matchups. The last time these two met was 2015 with a Hogs 24-20 victory in Knoxville. A Tusk to Tail memory from that game was stopping at Bass Pro Shop to prepare for the 8-inch rain prediction, and it only sprinkling about 30 raindrops in the first quarter. The Vols are dead last in SEC on 3rd down conversions. The Hogs had looked good on 3rd down stops until A&M seemed to find the gap every time. The good news is the Vols offense looks lost and hasn’t passed for 200 yards in 3 of 4 games. Odom and the “D” should eat them for lunch. Rakeem Boyd has a pulse, as he ran for 100 yards and the Hogs had their best rushing game of the year. Arkansas moves to 3-3 (*4-2) on the season with a 31-24 win.
#14 Oklahoma State @ Kansas State
David Rice: So many weird things have happened this year, it is hard to keep track. But Kansas State lost to Arkansas State earlier this season. Meanwhile Oklahoma State was probably the last remaining Big XII team with a chance of making the playoffs before losing to Texas in overtime last week. That loss will haunt the Cowboys for much of this game before Oklahoma State finally pulls away 30-21.
Jeb Joyce: Both of my parents are proud graduates of Oklahoma State University. If I disparage the Pokes in a public forum, I am likely to get written out of the will. So, I am picking OSU to win big!
#23 Michigan @ #13 Indiana
David Rice: Jim Harbaugh may be one of the most overrated coaches in college football. His Michigan team is still better than Indiana. Wolverines beat up the Hoosiers 45-20.
Stanford @ #12 Oregon
Jeb Joyce: After this week, I know way more about Maricopa County, Arizona, voter habits than I do about these two teams making their 2020 debuts this week. That said, you can always count on Stanford to have a solid team on both sides of the ball, and Oregon will be starting a new QB. I think Oregon wins, but the Cardinal keep it close.
#8 Florida vs. #5 Georgia
Jeb Joyce: Ahh, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party that Nobody can Attend because of COVID (you’re welcome, City of Jacksonville Visitors Bureau)! Georgia’s defense is one of the best in the country, and I expect them to be strong this weekend. Also, Coach Mullen’s wife is known for kissing each player on the lips before each game. That is unsettling. Bulldogs get a late score to get the come-from-behind victory.
#1 Clemson @ #4 Notre Dame
Jeb Joyce: I hate Notre Dame. A big blow to the Tigers’ chances this weekend, since Fabio the Quarterback has COVID. I hate Notre Dame. Without Trevor under center, I just don’t see Clemson being able to manufacture enough points in South Bend to win this one. Despite my pick, did I mention I hate Notre Dame?
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.