Tusk to Tail: Hurts gets the Heisman, and ‘Sparkle Starkel’ will shine against San Jose

Who do you predict will win this year’s Heisman trophy?

Mark Wagner: It’s a crowded field with a bunch of people who got close the previous year like Darren McFadden did in 2006. Past performance doesn’t necessarily predict future results, but it seems like the committee really likes quarterbacks, especially if they play for Oklahoma, So with that in mind I think the following folks will be invited to New York:
• Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama – QB – He may be better this year than he was last year.
• Jalen Hurts – Oklahoma – QB – A great QB with something to prove, and it can’t hurt that he’s a QB that plays at Oklahoma.
• Trevor Lawrence – Clemson – QB – after not starting the first four games last year as a freshman he still finished the year with 30 TD’s, 3,000 + passing yards, and only 4 picks.
• Joe Burrow – LSU – QB – Has basically surged into the picture based upon his 749 yards & 9 touchdowns in only two games so far this year.

My vote to win goes to Jalen Hurts. While the Committee does put great emphasis on statistics, I think all of these QB’s will have great numbers. Hurts is the QB at Oklahoma, so he wins the tiebreaker.

Greg Houser: How do you not go with Jalen Hurts and OU? They play easily the softest defenses (or a close second with the PAC 12) and have a dominant offensive line with great receivers. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel for the Sooners. I’m a fan of Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and how he’s built a non-contender into a contender, but QB Trevor Lawrence has some growing to do. He should be the front runner next year.

• San Jose State @ Arkansas
Brad Davis: San Jose is coming off a 1-11 season and struggling with a QB identity crisis this season. Wow, that sounds familiar, but it’s true. I see the Hogs picking up where they left off Saturday and giving some freshmen defensive players much needed reps. If all goes well, maybe we see John Stephen Jones or KJ Jefferson running some plays at QB. Arkansas 61, SJSU 10.

Todd Rudisill: Just in the Nick of time. Literally. If Hicks played one more down, this football program and state might have imploded. Sparkle Starkel is the real deal. He gave the program and fans something it had been craving for a long time: a 4th quarter showing! San Jose State will be great scrimmage game for him to continue to work on his passing game and rapport with his receiving targets. This game is exactly what he will need before heading into next week and facing his former teammates at A&M. I think this one gets ugly in the 2nd half against a week Spartans secondary. The Razorbacks win 2 in a row for the first time since 2017, 45-14.

Mac Garland: Starkel Time is upon us as Razorback fans. San Jose State is running into a Razorback team that reeled off 21 unanswered points and looking to build off last week’s performance. The Spartans scored all of 51 points in its 2 games both at home, a 35-18 win over Northern Colorado, and a loss to neighboring Tulsa 34-16. Now they travel to Fayetteville and likely will be road kill as Coach Morris looks to move the team into the left lane and drop the hammer, at least for a week. Hogs win 49-20.

• #12 Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Brad Davis: I live in Texas and I have the Shorthorn Network. It comes with the DirecTV Sports Package, so I don’t have a choice but to know a little about them. Texas bellied up to the big boy table and took on LSU early in the season. They looked pretty good except for a couple of bad play calls and a dropped pass in the end zone. The Cowboys of OSU won’t be on the bull for the full ride, so we won’t be getting a 90-plus point game. Texas plays some defense and OSU is young at QB, starting a redshirt freshman. It will be a spirIted game for about a half, with more than half of the players hailing from Texas. Texas 45, OSU 17.

• #11 Michigan at #13 Wisconsin
Mark Wagner: Although they were victories, Michigan hasn’t looked sharp in their first two games. However, they’ve had an open date to get ready for this one, and to get some people back from injuries. While Wisconsin’s schedule has been nothing but cupcakes, they did win their first two games by a combined score of 110-0. A big key to this start is that the QB has thrown no interceptions and RB Jonathan Taylor hasn’t fumbled, which is a big difference over the Michigan offense which has already fumbled 9 times in just 2 games. I think this game will be very close, but I think the difference will come down to the Wisconsin Defense. I think late in the game with the pressure on, the Michigan offense will make another mistake and the Wisconsin defense will capitalize on it. Wisconsin 27, Michigan 24.

Todd Rudisill: Welcome to the week Michigan is exposed for the frauds they really are. Their defense has been better but the Wolverines barely beat a mediocre Army team. Wisconsin leads the nation in third down conversions, leads the nation in third down defense, leads the nation with the fewest penalties, leads the nation in time of possession, leads the nation in total defense, leads the nation in the fewest first downs allowed, and has only lost two turnovers in the first two games. Wisky’s defense wins it for them in the 4th. Badgers take it 28-24.

• #8 Auburn at #17 Texas A&M
Greg Houser: I’ll go with the Aggies at home. I’ve never been a fan of A&M coach Jimbo Fisher after he played the Devil’s hand with Jameis Winston and sold his soul at the Florida State Crossroads. But Fisher won’t let his new job and boosters down after a decisive loss to Clemson. The Aggies will beat Auburn by 3.

Todd Rudisill: A&M has never beaten Auburn in College Station. Will this be the year? Experienced quarterback Mond vs. Freshman Bo Nix for Auburn. I think we will see a defensive battle with both teams stopping the run and making these QB’s pass the ball. The field goal kickers will score some points, so it will be a grind and an ugly game. Aggies pull it off for the first time at home, 23-20.

• #3 Georgia vs. #7 Notre Dame
Mac Garland: Sanford Stadium holds 90,000 people, but this game is bonkers from a scalpers perspective. The average price of a ticket is over $600. CBS decided two months ago to make this a primetime game with a 7 p.m. kickoff. The atmosphere will be electric as this game has major implications for the College Football Playoff. This is especially true for the Fighting Irish, as the remainder of their schedule isn’t as stout as years past (e.g. Stanford is down this year). The Bulldogs also feel they were robbed of a spot in last year’s playoffs and have something to prove. UGA QB Jake Fromm has plenty of players to choose from when he drops back to throw the ball. Sam Pittman’s offensive line will give him plenty of time to make his selection. The Bulldog defense plans to make Irish QB Ian Book’s life rough; Georgia safety Dominick Sanders said the goal was to “punish them from the start.” Georgia rolls big 42-24.

Todd Rudisill: Let’s hope the Dawgs can knock the Irish out of the playoff talk early so we don’t have to see the Irish get throttled in the playoffs again. UGA has one of the best offensive lines in the country, so the running game should get ramped up as the game goes along. If Notre Dame can’t get to Fromm they will be eaten alive by the Georgia QB. This one will be a game for a half, but Georgia opens it up in the 2nd half and puts its SEC stamp on the Irish 31-20.

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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