Tusk to Tail: If you’re gonna drink the Kool Aid, bring plenty of ice

I’m not going to lie. It’s been a struggle this year to not swallow the gallons of Kool Aid pouring off of The Hill this summer. Or was that Pepsi? It seems that every station has prognosticators pushing this 2022 team to greater and loftier heights.

Last season’s 9 wins was truly more than expected, and it was not far away from being 11 wins. That naturally leads to higher hopes for this season with quarterback KJ Jefferson back, an experienced O-line, and a defense full of play makers. The schedule certainly is difficult, but with seven home games for the first time ever, it leaves room for those expectations to be met.

As our crew’s logistical coordinator, it will be fun matching the tailgates to the schedule. It was 20 years ago this season that our band of brothers made our first road trip to Tennessee to watch a six-overtime game that almost matched the seven-overtime game in Oxford the year before. Ever since, the tailgate and the road trips have grown in size and fun.

Of course, this year’s home games with Cincinnati, Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU stand out. There is also some interest with Missouri State, led by former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. Will we cheer or boo him? Later, Liberty and former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze come to town. We will probably boo him. And next week we face South Carolina. There’s not as much animosity there, but they are a solid team with Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler at quarterback. That already feels like a game the Hogs have to win.

The road game in Dallas could be for second place in the West, and the trip to Starkvegas could be for third place. BYU is one of those once in a lifetime football road trips which will take some interesting planning. After the bye week, we have of the best trips in the SEC, Auburn, a team with few expectations but it’s still Auburn.

There is a new tent/tailgate supplier in Victory Village this year. RevelXP, a group with a lot of experience hosting tailgate venues around the country, will be rookies to Arkansas this season. Let’s just hope they bring their A Team to pull this off.

To kick off the season, Chef Brad is bringing up to 25 pounds of brisket, and we will round that out with a lot of chicken. I know it’s boring, but it’s easy for those of us who don’t like cooking during the tailgate. It’s also usually the first thing we run out of, no matter how much chicken we buy.

I hope you will stick with us this season, as I’ll be dropping do’s and don’ts for your tailgate. I share lists and tips to help you plan, pack, and execute the perfect mobile party, including information for the upcoming road games.

This week’s tips for a hot game include the following.
• Grab extra ice and water. You will need more than you expect, and any leftover water can be used the next week.
• Stay away from dips and other foods that have to be kept cold.
• Bring desserts that will not melt such as brownies and cookies. Most chocolate gets too messy at these warmer games.
• Consider bringing electric fans if your generator(s) have the capacity. Keeping the air moving under the tents helps a lot.

As far as prepping for the tailgate, be sure to check all of your battery-operated devices, pack some extra batteries, and wipe everything down before you load up and head out. Lastly, don’t forget to activate your satellite dishes and check everything to make sure it’s in good operating order before you load it up.

With a 2:30 p.m. kickoff, the university will shut down the primary roads around the campus at 10:30 a.m. Keep that in mind when planning your arrival time. If you want to miss the worst of the traffic, I’d recommend arriving on campus around 11 a.m.

Here’s to a great year of Hog football and tailgating. Safe travels, Hog fans!

Go Hogs, Beat the Bearcats!

Editor’s note: Now in its 11th 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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