Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson dives for a touchdown against Ole Miss on Oct. 9. (photo by Mark Wagner for Talk Business & Politics)

Tusk to Tail: KJ, MVP, and LSU

Who gets your vote for Razorbacks’ MVP at this point of the season?

Willard: Treylon Burks has been as good as advertised, Cam Little has been money in the bank, and the Razorback’s trio of linebackers (Pool/Henry/Morgan) have been all over the field, accounting for 223 tackles so far. But the MVP is KJ Jefferson. Yes, he’s delivered statistically. But more importantly he’s been a leader, a competitor, and a grinder. The team feeds off his energy, and they’re at six wins and counting because of him.

Todd: You want to say Burks but you have to go with KJ. If he is not on the field, this offense is not going anywhere. He just makes plays, and he is a threat to run at any time. His numbers are comparable to Matt Corral, so he’s doing something right. Hog fans need to appreciate him more because he’s only going to get better.

Arkansas @ LSU
Craig: I think LSU’s last stand was against Alabama. Their defense played well, allowing just 6 yards rushing. They were inside the Alabama 10-yard line on the last series but couldn’t convert on a 4th and goal from the 8. LSU lost 20-14. The Hogs come to town with a strong offensive line. Arkansas leads the SEC in rushing, and the run game has crossed the 200-yard mark in each of the last four games. Time for LSU to focus on who’s going to be the next coach. Hogs 28, LSU 17

Willard: LSU held Alabama to 6 yards rushing last weekend, so that doesn’t seem ideal for the Hogs. But too many other intangibles point in Arkansas’s favor this weekend. The O in Coach O stands for Out the Door in a few weeks, and his willingness to split snaps at quarterback will lead to inconsistency on offense. Time for the Tigers to drop the rope. Hogs 27, Tigers 23

Todd: The Hogs are 2.5-point favorites going into this one. It is the first time they have been favorites since 2014, when Arkansas won 17-0. The last time they were favored in Baton Rouge was 2001. Matt Jones’ Hogs lost that one 41-38 as 9.5 favorites. The only thing the Tigers have to play for is its Coach O’s last home game ever at Tiger Stadium, and he got him a night one. Arkansas is playing for a better bowl on the conference ladder. The Hogs are fourth in the nation in rushing and first in the SEC. Arkansas has to control the line of scrimmage and the clock. On the other side of the ball, the secondary is going to get worked all night by Max Johnson and the Tigers passing game. They have to make key stops on 3rd down, and not give up multiple big plays. The Razorbacks will move to 7-3, and make Coach O go out with a L at home for his last hurrah.

#21 North Carolina State @ #13 Wake Forest
Craig: Wake Forest is coming off a tough 58-55 loss to North Carolina, a game that saw Wake Forest give up 24 points in the fourth quarter. Wake averages 500 yards and 44 points a game. NC State comes into the game 7-2 and can still reach 10 wins if they can get past this last road game. It’s going to be a letdown game for Wake Forrest. North Carolina State 45, Wake Forrest 42

#11 Texas A&M @ #12 Ole Miss
Willard: Killer matchup of an explosive offense and a physical, lockdown defense in Oxford. Vegas has the over/under at 55 1/2, and A&M still has an outside shot at winning the West, so I’m going with the Aggies to win 28-27.

Todd: This will be one of the best defenses the Rebels have seen all year. The Aggies have played great defense since early October. Isaiah Spiller will rush for well over 100 yards and A&M will control the clock and keep Corral and the quick striking Ole Miss offense off the field. That adds up to a huge road win. The Ags gig em’ 35-31.

#9 Michigan @ #23 Penn State
Craig: Look for Penn State to feed off the home energy and come up with a few big drives in the first half of this game. Michigan leads the Big Ten in rushing and their passing game will produce enough to get the win. Michigan 28, Penn State 24

#4 Oklahoma @ #18 Baylor
Willard: Baylor last week suffered a double indignity, not only losing to a bad TCU team, but to a Morris. Former Arkansas Coach Chad Morris’s son Chandler plays quarterback for the Horned Frogs. Oklahoma, meanwhile, is overdue for its annual choke job. I say it happens Saturday. Baylor 55, OU 48

#1 Georgia @ Tennessee
Craig: This game will not be close. The Georgia defense is just too good. They have not given up more than 13 points in a game this season. Tennessee will move the ball and I expect them to score more than 13 points, but Georgia rolls. Georgia 42, Tennessee 17

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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