Tusk to Tail: Predictions from tailgaters toting tamales to Tuscaloosa
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The Tusk to Tail folks are heading to Tuscaloosa this week to root for the Hogs. The Hogs are up against this guy named Nick Saban. You may have heard of him. He runs out of a tunnel in a big stadium ahead of a bunch of boys with numbers on their helmets and touchdowns in their blood. The cup-half-full outlook is that the Hogs leave Tuscaloosa with an injury roster that is not in the double digits.
• Arkansas @ #8 Alabama
My biggest concern heading into Tuscaloosa is whether running back Alex Collins can physically hold up against Bama's brutal defense. Collins appeared a bit fragile at the end of the game at Tennessee and he'll face a much more physical opponent in Alabama. Bama looked like they peaked last week at UGA so I expect them to fall off a bit, but it won't be enough. Bama wins 38-18, and I just hope the Hogs escape without any further injuries.
I'll have to see it to believe it if the Hogs are going to beat Bama. So I'm going to predict two things: Bama wins by 3 touchdowns, and the combination of tamales, turkey legs and BBQ, plus eight hours of tailgating and booze will have TTT dragging their butts on Sunday morning.
I would like to think that the Hogs passing attack could take advantage of the back four of Bama's D, but I'm just not sure BA will have time to actually get the passes off before he is on his butt. I would also like to say that our D can slow down Henry and the Tide running game, but I'm just not prepared to say that either. There are still some wins out there for the Hogs, but not this week. Bama 32, Hogs 20.
I’m so glad the Piggies and Coach B got that SEC road win off their back. It's a good thing, because I don't know if we can take advantage of Bama's big game against UGA last week. Ordinarily, teams can have a down week after such big games, but I'll say Bama in a close one by 7. Hope I am wrong.
On offense, Arkansas is built for this type of game. Unfortunately the Alabama defense is built to shut down power running teams. Ole Miss managed just 92 yards rushing against the Tide, but they took advantage of 5 turnovers to get the win. I don’t see Alabama making that many mistakes on Saturday. Look for Brandon Allen and the offense to have some success through the air, but in the end Alabama will use its ground game to control the clock and the game. Alabama 38, Arkansas 21.
As I said the last time we went to Tuscaloosa in October 2013, if the Crimson Tide's mascot is an elephant, Arkansas has become the zookeeper. We're going to need a bigger shovel. Alabama wins 24-10.
Having seen every game we've played this year, I say we have a chance at Bama, but it's a small one. Saban was mad and embarrassed by the home loss to Ole Miss, and he's not going to overlook anyone on their schedule. The Hogs have way too many injuries this year, and while I think we make a bowl game (yes, there are 4 more wins left in the schedule) this may not be one of them. If I were a betting man, I'd bet on Bama to win this one. It's a good thing I'm not a betting man. My team, my beloved Hogs, pull an upset and beat Bama by a score of 24-21.
Eric “Ears” Whitworth
Arkansas played hard, but the Vols were just more inept than the Hogs last week. Bama is a lot better than Tennessee and hitting on all cylinders. Bama wins by a comfortable margin.
• #19 Georgia @ Tennessee
Tennessee and Georgia both have their backs against the wall, and a loss on Saturday would be devastating. I think Tennessee finds a way to win this game. They’re playing at home and trying to avoid a third loss in a row. Lose this week, and getting bowl eligible becomes a question with road game at Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri. Tennessee 24, Georgia 21.
This game was supposed to be for the Eastern division. It still could be for the Bulldogs, despite last week’s setback. Georgia 28, Tennessee 27.
• #18 Michigan @ #13 Northwestern
I doubt anyone in our area but the occasional carpetbagger even watches this game, but if you like traditional football with good defenses this may be worth checking out. Both teams tout good defenses and run-oriented offenses, so this should be a rock 'em sock 'em match up. I like the home team in a low scoring game, Michigan wins 21-10.
Eric “Ears” Whitworth
Who could imagine Northwestern having this kind of season? This should be a competitive game. Michigan has played a tougher schedule and has a nasty defense. Harbaugh proves again he is an exceptional coach and gets another win.
• Miami @ #12 Florida State
This one could be interesting. Florida State is undefeated, and Miami has only lost once. The Canes offense is looking good from a statistics standpoint, and probably should have beaten Cincinnati. It is a home game for the Seminoles, so I give them the nod in a close one. Noles 27, Canes 24
In the weak ACC, you have to go undefeated to get into the playoff. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook has a strained hammy, but the Noles defense pulls them through. FSU 23, Miami 14.
• #11 Florida @ Missouri
Mizzou is at home but the Gators look hungry. My gut says Florida's defense will be the winning factor. Gators by 10.
Eric “Ears” Whitworth
Strange year for the SEC. Just when you think a team is down, they pull one out. When a team looks to be catching fire, they are doused. Against better judgment, I will follow the trend. Florida has a letdown and continues to have problems with Missouri.
• South Carolina @ #7 LSU
LSU gets the bonus home game and wins easily.
Likely Heisman winner Leonard Fournette will put on another show. LSU wins by at least 2 touchdowns.
• #23 California @ #5 Utah
California is having a nice start but that haven't played Utah yet. I don't even think this will be close. Utah is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Utah 44, Cal 24.
Eric “Ears” Whitworth
Although California seems like a team on the rise, Utah is at home and looking like a playoff contender. Utah wins.
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