Tusk to Tail: Getting hit by the Gus Bus, and getting on the Muss Bus

The Eric Musselman era tips off this weekend with an exhibition game against the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. How do you expect the Razorbacks to do this basketball season?

Willard Grandview: I haven’t been this excited about a short, nerdy, white guy with a bad haircut coaching the Razorbacks since Lou Holtz was cracking jokes with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Muss is everything I want in a basketball coach: He’s demanding, he’s a teacher, he values fundamentals, he understands the modern game, and he’s not John Pelphrey. But I’m torn on whether he’ll do big things in year one. A lack of depth being my biggest concern. The NCAA tournament is littered with teams that do the little things right and play with heart, but you have to get there. I think Muss wins in the neighborhood of 15 games this year and maybe slips into the NIT. But more importantly, he’s going to give us something to cheer for again, and soon he’ll bring real excitement back to Bud Walton Arena. (Trust me. I said the exact same things about Chad Morris.)

Mac Garland: Personally, I haven’t been this excited about basketball since Coach Richardson’s heyday. This year should be a 180-degree difference in execution and strategy among other aspects with Coach Musselman. Call me crazy (though you’d have to get in a long line), but the Hogs will go 22-9 this season and surprise the SEC.

Todd Rudisill: I like everything that Musselman has shown since he walked in the door. He seems to get recruiting, social media, fans, and tradition. If his coaching is close to what he has shown us in those categories I think it will be a fun competitive season for the Hogs. I think we do just enough to sneak into a NCAA berth. I do know that we will never come out of a timeout again and not run a play. Or call a timeout after a timeout. Bring us back, Muss!

• #11 Auburn @ Arkansas
Mark Wagner: Let’s see, Auburn’s best running back is hurt & Bo Nix isn’t the greatest passer the Hogs will face. Arkansas has three losses by a touchdown or less. So, are they about to turn the corner on this one? Not a chance. Auburn 54, Arkansas 10

Greg Houser: This prediction feels more like a guess of how many points the Gus Bus will put on our beloved Hogs. If Morris and Gus are truly good buddies then maybe Aubbie plays some second and third string guys in the 4th quarter to keep it within the 24-point spread. Auburn 41, Arkansas 17.

Brad Davis: It’s tough being a fan right now. It’s even tougher on an 18-20 year old player who, more than likely, is experiencing losing for the first time. Just stand up and Call Those Hogs! Our support is what is needed.

Todd Rudisill: The tailgate may be a little longer than how long this game will be competitive. The QB shuffle from last season continues now midway through another season. It didn’t work last year with Storey and Kelley, and it’s not working now. Put the “not ready” freshman KJ Jefferson in now. He’s mobile. He can run and open up the field for the passing game. Why is it that other coaches can get freshman quarterbacks ready, but never us? Throw him in the SEC fire and don’t look back. Otherwise we are playing the same shuffle game in the spring for the third year in a row with Starkel and Jefferson. All Gus again. 37-14.

• #18 Baylor @ Oklahoma State
Brad Davis: Baylor is off to one their best starts in school history in Coach Matt Rhule’s third year in the rebuilding effort, but they really haven’t played a strong schedule. This will be their first real test as they start their toughest stretch with Oklahoma, TCU and Texas left. OSU lost to Texas Tech last week, but have some injured players returning, so I expect them to be ready. This is a pretty even matchup. OSU 24, Baylor 21.

• #17 Arizona State @ #13 Utah
Willard Grandview: The news that the Razorbacks would be traveling to Salt Lake City in 2026 to take on Utah generated a lot of excitement on the Tusk To Tail text thread. The Utes are pretty salty this year. They are 5-1, Top 15 in both polls, and they’re -13.5 at home against Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils.”YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME,” Herm once famously said. This week ASU loses the game, 38-24.

• #12 Oregon @ #25 Washington
Greg Houser: I can never stay up late enough to catch many Pac 12 games. I’ll guess Oregon wins a close one on the road. Oregon 31, Washington 28

• #9 Florida @ South Carolina
Mac Garland: The Gators are coming off a 14-point loss in Baton Rouge and the Gamecocks pulled the 2OT upset in Athens with a 3rd string QB. Florida is a 5-point favorite on the road. Boom will do his best to play ball control and limit Mullen’s offensive opportunities. The crowd will be fired up, but go home disappointed. Florida wins 24-20.

Todd Rudisill: The Gamecocks are coming off a huge upset of #3 Georgia at home last week. The SEC schedule doesn’t let up with #9 Florida next, but they play their second straight top 10 matchup at home this time. The Gamecocks’ offense struggled against Georgia, but got the breaks when they needed them. The Gators gave LSU all they wanted last week in Death Valley, and hung in for 50-plus minutes. Burrow lit up their very talented secondary, but the Gators defense returns in this one. Florida 28-17

• #16 Michigan @ #7 Penn State
Mark Wagner: Michigan has effectively played themselves out of any hope for the Big Ten title or making the playoffs. However, they are still 5-1. This is a Jekyll & Hyde team, especially the offense, and there is no telling which one they’ll play like. Penn State is undefeated, but they really haven’t played anyone. I give the nod to Penn State since it’s at their house, but I think it’ll be a close game. Penn State 21, Michigan 17

Todd Rudisill: Man, this game is going to be ugly. Penn State has played the likes of Idaho, Buffalo, Purdue, and Maryland. Michigan has “Michiganed” a lot this season, including getting spanked by Wisconsin. This game will be all about defense. Penn State will take the turnovers the Wolverines love to give, and it will be the difference in the game. Nittany Lions win 24-17.

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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