Tusk to Tail: Now we raise a toast to avoiding last place in the SEC West

There is not much more to say about last week’s game. The Hogs are not what we were told they would be and it’s hard right now to see where they might squeeze out more than one win the rest of the way.

When Auburn comes to Fayetteville in October that game could decide last place in the SEC West for 2015. Just three short weeks ago I would have never thought it possible but now it is a big ole smack of reality.

However, on the bright side there is another game this week in Dallas and you never know what is going to happen and thus, why they play the games and why we go to tailgate.

Last week’s tailgate went smooth, a little extra work for all of us as we were missing Greg Houser and the later kick off but we managed to get all of the food delivered without wrecking his trailer. I removed one of our tables to see how much more flow we could create and on the whole, I liked it. It did tighten up the table space for food but it also created more standing room under the tent. Even though the weather was beautiful the sun was warm and the shade was a welcome respite.

Food wise we did great, with almost everything devoured after about 65 guests came through the tent so my formula is still working.  s I’ve said before, my goal is to get to kick off, everything after that is gravy.

This week we head to Big D to play the Aggies. I’ll be heading down on Friday as a “One Man Wolfpack” carrying all of the tailgate gear. I’ll meet up with my brother Clay Cullins in McKinney for lunch and then the Little Rock guys for a steak dinner later in Fort Worth.

It’s a relatively small group this weekend, maybe just eight of us so we plan to keep it simple. With the heat in Dallas (high of 93 expected) we may do an early set up, take a break for lunch at a local eatery and then rejoin for the final 3-4 hours out in the parking lot at Jerry World. On the bright side, with the low humidity and the high temps it looks like another opportunity for us to use the Porta-cool unit. We bought two parking passes so that will allow us 2 tents, 1 TV, some chairs and a table for snacks and such.

I know most of us get to Dallas for various reasons at least once a year and with Yelp and Facebook people do tend to know of all of the hot places to eat I wanted to throw out a few spots just in case. So, in no particular order, here you go.
• Pecan Lodge BBQ – One of the best in the Metroplex
• Meddlesome Moth – neat bar with great food in the downtown area
• Bob’s Steak and Chop Shop – great steaks and fun ambiance
• Twisted Root Burger Co. – several locations now, excellent craft burgers

Lastly, don’t forget Dallas traffic. Everything will take longer than you expect and whatever you do, don’t plan on arriving in Dallas after 3:30 p.m. on a Friday. If you can’t leave in the a.m. you are better off arriving after 7 p.m. to avoid the worst of the traffic.

And now, to follow up from last week where I said Ole Miss has the best tailgate experience in the SEC, I’d like to finish up with my run down of best places to Tailgate in the SEC.

Mississippi State
Starkville is not a great place to spend a weekend. They made some improvements to the stadium and with the improved success of the team, the tailgating is on the upswing in numbers. The campus is nice and mostly flat so perhaps when we visit next year we can readdress their ranking.

It was rather cool when we started out last year in late November but sadly as visiting fans we were one of the first groups to set up in the parking lots close to the stadium. The tailgating did fill in but the groups kept it pretty simple and nothing like you would see on a campus further South. However, I have never seen so many SEC signs flying so I’ll give them props for being proud members of the SEC. I imagine as their fans travel they will see what is expected of them and step up their game.

Kentucky and Dallas
Close to the stadium you have some nice set ups but the farther away the less crowded and more simple the tailgates get and the later the fans arrive. I look forward to getting back to Lexington in a few years as you can’t beat the Bourbon Tour and Keenland Park Horse Racing in the Fall.

Not much to add about Dallas, most of the fans are visiting so it seems to be a lot of old school set ups. Just coolers and tents. However, there are some fans from both sides who go all out in lots 10 and 11.

South Carolina
The stadium is located at the Fair Grounds about 1.5 miles from campus and though that allows for a lot of wide open spaces, there is just no electricity to the tailgating. However, I will give the Gamecocks credit for inventing the Cockabooses. These are train cabooses that have been retrofitted into Tailgate Cars right next to the stadium.  Very plush and very pricey and pretty much just for the wealthy. But just knowing they exist makes them fun.

What can you say … they try. They have private Tailgate Tents right at the edge of the endzone but there just isn’t much of a vibe to the entire game day atmosphere to Vandy. I think it gets swallowed up by the size of Nashville and the distractions that are available to the citizens there.

Jacksonville and Atlanta
They are only last because we have not visited there and tried to tailgate. Of course everyone knows that the UGA/Florida game is the largest outdoor cocktail party. It looks great on TV so maybe one of these days. As for Atlanta, we have attended two title games there but have not attempted to tailgate.

See you all in Dallas, and Go Hogs Go, Beat Aggies!