Tusk to Tail: Out to beat another team from Texas, and notes on legalized ticket scalping
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Editor’s note: Welcome to the fifth season of Tusk to Tail – 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. Members of the Tusk to Tail Team are Sean Casey, Jack Clark, Dale Cullins, Greg Houser, Craig May, David Rice and Mark Wagner. Tusk to Tail is managed by Talk Business & Politics against the advice of attorneys and family. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail
We’re off into unchartered territory. The Hogs are 2-0. We may beat two teams from Texas in consecutive weeks. And Tuscaloosa may face a fiery end. And there is this thing with ticket buy backs.
The University of Arkansas has begun to buy football tickets back from fans to re-sell them, potentially above face value. How do you feel about them getting into the secondary football ticket market?
I can’t possibly put down my thoughts on the ticket issue in only a couple of paragraphs. This would be illegal for a private citizen in Arkansas, but the scalping law does not apply to an institution of higher education. How can you justify that? It’s like someone asking you the meaning of life, and giving you two paragraphs to explain it.
I appreciate that they didn’t simply partner with StubHub to offer this. Chris Freet, the assistant AD who worked on this, is really sharp. I read a quote from him that he didn’t expect any games this season to be above face value. The greatest home slate in Fayetteville ever, and he doesn’t expect one of those games to command above face value in this new system? When would they ever be above face value? Perhaps this is simply an opportunity to learn more about fans who aren’t members of the Razorback Foundation and pitch them on joining the club. And perhaps it is a way to safeguard fans from being fleeced by others on StubHub. Call me cynical, but there’s more to this than meets the eye.
The basic concept is laudable, although for football I am not sure the economics are exactly even handed. A free market economy will likely result in good tickets still going on the secondary market, so the owner can reap the profit. Will the University really be willing to pay face value for Section 508 tickets that so far this year have been available for less than $10 on StubHub?
For basketball, I think the buy-back program should be substantially altered to create a market encouraging season ticket holders to turn back tickets and put some butts in the TV-visible lower bowl seats. I envision a system that encourages unused tickets to be turned in for credit, while also putting people in the arena. Many non-conference games see a half full upper deck and less-than-half full lower bowl. I have been lobbying for an on-site ticket exchange that would allow even-trade upgrades.
The AD’s campaign to bleed Hog fans dry before eventually leaving continues. This one burns me almost as much as the charging for tailgate spots scheme the AD started a few years ago. How about a system where they buy back tickets and then donate them to a local charity? Or resell them at a price affordable enough for a dad or mom who works a minimum wage job to take their son or daughter to their first game? Nah. Got to get the money and build that resume. I’m going to buy a ticket on StubHub now.
• Texas State @ #24 Arkansas
The Hogs are off to a great start at 2-0. This week for the Razorbacks is about getting better on the offensive line. I expect Arkansas to run the ball in an effort to build more continuity on the offensive line ahead of their game with Texas A&M. Cole Kelley and Devwah Whaley should get plenty of work in the second half. Arkansas 41, TSU 10
I think Texas State has a nice program. Dennis Franchione was building it from the ground up and has people in Texas taking notice. However, I don’t think they are ready for prime time just yet. They will test the Hogs but the talent and the coaching the Razorbacks will throw at the Bobcats will be too much. Hogs begin to separate in the 3rd quarter, winning 40-20.
Surely this will be the blowout that I expected for the Hogs in Game 1. There is no way this team can be arrogant after having won the last two ballgames by fewer than 5 points total. Of course, we should not expect a bunch of 18-22 year old kids to be predictable, should we? Arkansas wins by a bunch.
• #17 Texas A&M @ Auburn
This is a tough game to call. Both teams have offenses that, if allowed to get cranked up, can really score some points. Auburn plays at home and I will anxiously await for them to disappoint their fans. I’ll take A&M for the win to set up a nice game against the Hogs next weekend.
Two words: Toss-up. Auburn played really well against Clemson on the defensive side of the ball but offense was horrendous. A&M looked good pretty good in holding off UCLA. I think with this game on the plains and at night, the Auburn defense does just enough. Tigers 28-24.
• #12 Michigan State @ #18 Notre Dame
Michigan State is breaking in a new QB and the road is a difficult place to learn on the job. It feels like Notre Dame has a point to make after the close loss to Texas and will do so, though the Spartan’s defense will make it hard. Notre Dame 31, Michigan State 21
This is just one of the many great games on the schedule for this weekend. These are two well-coached teams with a lot on the line. It looked like Notre Dame should have finished the deal against Texas on the road. Michigan State did not look impressive in their first game. I could see either team winning but if forced to pick, I will go with Notre Dame and a mild upset.
• #3 Ohio State @ #14 Oklahoma
Oklahoma staggered out of the gate against Houston, and Ohio State is apparently locked and loaded enough that they can sign a pride of Arkansas (KJ Hill) and simply forget to put him on the receiver depth chart. Nonetheless, the red shirt freshman found his way into the end zone against Bowling Green. I look to see the Buckeyes handle this one comfortably. Ohio State 42-Oklahoma 20.
The Sooners lost in week 1. Man, that still sounds good. Can they really lose two of their first three games of the year? Yes they can! The Ohio State defense will see to that. The Buckeyes break the last wheel off that Boomer wagon for the 2016 season, winning 35-26.
• #2 Florida State @ #10 Louisville
Bobby (we all know his middle and last names) and the Cardinals are busting out red chrome helmets for the early kick Saturday. That seems appropriate since this game feels like a battle between the Rock-n-Roll Express and the Rockers: two high flying offenses each led by young quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Deondre Francois.
FSU’s Francois passed his first test against Ole Miss with flying colors. Now he goes on the road to face Todd Grantham’s defense. He probably faces tougher competition in practice. The Seminoles were a preseason pick to be in the playoff. Still, something tells me the Hogs’ former coach geniuses his team to a win, 35-32.
Haters are going to hate, but Petrino can still coach and his recruiting has not had a chance to catch up to him yet. Maybe he missed beating Bama while at Arkansas, but his team is fully capable of winning this one at home. That being said, this game is a toss-up and I have no idea who will win. I will be a semi-homer and pick Louisville.
• #1 Alabama @ #19 Ole Miss
Can the Rebels beat the Tide for a third year in a row? Ole Miss looked like the best team in the country for the first half against Florida State. The second half was a different story, with Ole Miss turning the ball over three times and giving up a 26-6 lead. For Ole Miss to win this game, the Rebels need to find a running game and Chad Kelly will need to locate his downfield receivers quickly.
Last year Alabama turned the ball over five times and gave up two long touchdown passes in a losing effort. The Bama defense should get to Kelly as the game goes on. Quick three-and-outs will wear down the Ole Miss defense. Bama 31, Ole Miss 21.
Ain’t no way in hell Saban loses to Ole Miss three times in a row. If that happens, Bama fans will burn Tuscaloosa to the ground. Alabama’s defense will give up some early points, but wear out the Black Bears offense in the 2nd half. The Tide rolls 31-17.