Tusk to Tail: Of dark horses, underdogs, and potentially invincible bulldogs

Who will win the Heisman trophy this year?
Dale: It looks like it will be CJ Stroud of OSU or Bryce Young from Bama. I’m not particularly impressed by either young man. Tyler Badie, the running back from Missouri, looked to be legit from what I could see last week. I think I’d prefer the Bama kid win over an OSU kid, so I’ll say Bryce Young. Young is talented and throws a pretty ball.

David: This is the perfect year for a dark horse candidate to win the prestigious Heisman as the three leading quarterbacks all have incredibly similar stats around 3900 yards and 40 touchdowns. In addition to Stroud and Young, Pitt QB Kenny Pickett could earn a trip to New York with a statement game in the ACC Championship. The biggest difference-maker I have seen on the field all season is big old 99 at Georgia, Jordan Davis, but his overall stats might not be enough to move the needle. I’ll take the safe bet with Alabama’s Bryce Young, provided he can score against the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship.

#17 Pittsburgh vs. #18 Wake Forest
David: This battle for 17th place is actually a conference championship. It just doesn’t seem like it without some of the ACC’s historical heavyweights like Clemson, Miami, or Florida State playing. I like Pitt’s Kenny Pickett to have another big game here. Panthers win and cover, 35-30.

#10 Oregon @ #14 Utah
Dale: Just as Ohio State was bushwhacked at Michigan last week, I think much the same happened to Oregon in their first match up with the Utes. I feel like Oregon is the better team and will be prepared this go around. I doubt Utah will play with as much emotion as they did a couple of weeks ago at home. Oregon 30, Utah 20.

#5 Oklahoma State vs. #9 Baylor
Todd: The Pokes beat the Bears in the regular season 24-14. They say it’s hard to beat a team twice in a season, but OSU has a lot to play for beyond a Big 12 ring. Win and they are probably in the playoff with an Alabama loss to Georgia. Baylor is talented on both sides on the ball and very athletic, so they will give the Cowboys all they want. Their QB Gerry Bohanon (who chose the Bears over the Hogs) is not at 100%. Oklahoma State rode their defense’s coat tails all season, so expect more the same. OSU wins 30-20.

David: This should be another close one, but defense wins championships. Give me Oklahoma State to squeak into the playoffs 27-24.

#15 Houston @ #3 Cincinnati
Dale: Not going to lie, I’d love to see Houston win this game but I think Cincinnati is pretty good this year. They might not be Top Four good, but good enough to beat Houston, especially if at home. Cincy 42, Houston 31

#2 Michigan vs #16 Iowa
Todd: Man, if Michigan was playing Wisconsin, I would be so tempted to pick the upset. But they are playing Iowa. The Hawkeyes have a great defense but not a great offense. Michigan finally has the giant big brother Buckeye off its back, and is playing at an elite level. No letdown here. Wolverines 28-14

David: Michigan will win this game something like 6-3 and make it to the playoffs. Nobody will be very happy about it.

#1 Georgia vs. #4 Alabama
Dale: As scrappy as Bryce Young is, he can’t make up for a porous offensive line. UGA’s D-Line will be playing downhill on those guys and give Young very little time to make a play. This game will be closer than it should be thanks to the genius of Nick Saban. I’ll call it UGA 27, Bama 23.

Todd: I just can’t believe that Bama is going to show up to the SEC championship game and get rolled by Georgia. Georgia is damn good, but if there is one thing to look at, it is who has Georgia really played and beaten? They destroyed a decent Arkansas team and Kentucky. After that they didn’t have to play Ole Miss, Alabama, or Texas A&M in the regular season. This will be the deepest, most talented team they have faced all season, and we all know the track record Georgia has against The Crimson Tide. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but this game is going to be a dog fight. The big question will be whether the Tide can give Bryce Young time enough to do something against this stellar defense. Saban will have them ready. They are playing for a ring and a spot in the playoffs. In the end I think Georgia’s defense makes the stops it has all year in the 4th. The Dawgs get that elusive W over Bama, 31-24.

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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