Tusk to Tail: Hopes for a basketball season, and mixed hopes against the cowbell team
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The Razorbacks’ basketball season tips off next week. How do you think the Hogs will do this year?
Todd: Not since the 90’s have Hog fans been this excited for a basketball season. The Razorbacks sold out every seat in the Bud Walton for the 2021-22 season. Some of the fanbase are already freaking out after two mediocre exhibition wins against a D-2 team and North Texas, but fans forget North Texas was a tournament team last year. Arkansas came out with a W, and it was a good measuring stick for a young team. Muss will find his right lineup by January. He just needs time to put the pieces of the puzzle together. We all know what Coach Musselman can do, and that’s develop. I think the Sweet 16 might be a stretch for this year, but the round of 32 is not. Either way, it’s going to be an exciting team to watch grow this season. Upcoming seasons have the potential to be some of the best yet with top 5 classes coming in.
Dale: Overall I’m excited about the talent Muss has assembled. The lineup is a little small for my liking when Jaylin Williams is not on the floor. It appears 6’6” is about the tallest legit scoring threat that we have. We saw last year how important it was to have some more size on the floor at times. Although the exhibition games were wins, it was obvious to see the growing pains. Muss will have to find the right lineup and rhythm for this squad. The talent is there for a Sweet 16 run, but Arkansas was not picked to win the conference for a reason. I figure they go about 21-10 in the regular season.
Mississippi State @ Arkansas
Todd: The Hogs return to The Hill in what many are calling the game that will determine if it’s been a good season. Seven wins seems to be that magic number that will keep people more excited going into the off season. To get there Arkansas will have to beat State and Mizzou. Beat LSU on the road next week, and the state will be lit again. But first things first. State is one of the hottest teams in the conference all of sudden, winning 3 out of 4 with their only loss being to Alabama. Will Rogers was on point last week in the upset of UK, going 36-39 for 344 yards. The Hogs counter that with an offense that continues to score at a really good pace with a balanced attack of 873 rushing yards and 767 passing – with over 200 yards both rushing and passing in each game in their last three games. The Dawgs have the fifth best rushing defense in the country, while the Hogs are second in the SEC in pass defense behind only #1 Georgia. This looks to be a back-and-forth game and entertaining as hell. Going with my gut here. Hogs win 30-26.
Greg: While I called for seven wins this year, I had no idea I would be on such a roller coaster! Do we have a defense that can shut drives down? Is the O-line progressing enough for this season? The whole state thought so after winning the Texas state title. Off weeks are supposed to be healing, and the kids are chomping at the bit to play. Bo Nix had his game of the year against us but Will Rogers is due for a letdown after scorching Kentucky. Let’s hope that’s the case. Hogs 34, Dogs 28
Dale: I’ve been pretty consistent with my predictions for the Hogs this year. I love the fight but we just don’t have enough play makers on defense to keep us in games. State is playing well and with confidence. They have a QB that is accurate and can find the open receiver. Sadly, I see this going like the Auburn game. Perhaps we don’t have the bad calls from the refs but I see something like State 34, Hogs 30.
Liberty @ #15 Ole Miss
David: Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze returns to Oxford to take on the team he helped build. Disgraced by allegations of soliciting prostitutes, illegal recruiting, and learning to coach from Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, Freeze has been rehabilitating his image at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, where his scandal is only like the third or fourth worst on campus. Anyone who can make Lane Kiffin look saintly is bad news. Even with their injury issues, Ole Miss will win and cover the 10-point spread.
Dale: Odd game this late in the year and it is likely to be a good game. However, Liberty just doesn’t have the talent Ole Miss does. Rebel Bears 42, Liberty 24
#12 Auburn @ #13 Texas A&M
Greg: This is an easy call for any Hog fan. We beat A&M but looked worn down against Auburn. A&M enjoys the home field advantage and wins by a TD. The only other justice we can hope for is that some bad calls by the refs screw Auburn on Saturday.
Todd: The biggest showdown as far as rankings go in the conference, for sure. Both teams come in rolling at 6-2. Auburn is coming off a huge home win, putting Ole Miss in its place last week. A&M has been off for two weeks, but just as hot as Auburn. Behind Nix passing for over 200 a game and that salty defense, the Tigers control their own destiny to win the West. Spiller is averaging 100 yards a game and should be able to run on this Auburn defense who has given up 200 plus yards rushing against UGA and the Hogs. The Aggies defense shuts Nix down when it matters in the 4th quarter. Give me the Ags, 28-24.
#6 Ohio State @ Nebraska
Greg: I sure hope Scott Frost can stay at Nebraska. It’s sad to see previously successful alumni not take their alma mater to renewed heights. The Buckeyes come in to Lincoln and roll by 17.
LSU @ #3 Alabama
Todd: Man, how quickly the mighty Tigers have fallen. Bama is favored by almost 30 in what used to be the game of the year in the conference and the nation. Hog fans want LSU to fall even more, and hope Bama roughs them up before the Hogs go to Death Valley next Saturday night. The Tide beats the spread and the Cajuns 52-20.
Dale: Different year, same game. LSU will play some defense early, but Bama is just better on both sides of the ball. Bama 37, LSU 17
Missouri @ #1 Georgia
Greg: Bwahahahahaha. UGA doesn’t stress about it being “the year” this Saturday. Dawgs by 14 .. by the 2nd quarter. Dawgs win by 3+ TDs.
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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