Coach Sam Pittman

Tusk to Tail: Some in the crew say Hogs go to a bowl game … (this is your brain on drugs)

What will the Razorbacks record (including post season) be this year?

Todd Rudisill: It’s that time of year to drink the Hog Kool-Aid again. The Hogs build off the stepping stone of 3 SEC wins last season. I think we will see more of backup QB Malik Hornsby than people think this season. The Hogs win all their non-conference games including Texas and get SEC wins over Miss State, Auburn, and Mizzou. That would make us 6-6 with a bowl win over someone. Anyone. In any bowl. Well, except maybe the Birmingham Bowl.

Mac Garland: I can’t explain my rationale for this, but Arkansas football fans parted company with the rational around the time Petrino’s motorcycle went off the road. We’re only beginning to find our ways back together in the last year. Hogs finish 7-5 in the regular season with a bowl win to finish 8-5.

Sean Casey: This is an interesting season coming up. I question how our quarterback play will be. I think we will all miss Felipe Franks before the season is over. I do think the Hogs can pull off an upset over Texas at home, because I am a homer. I don’t see Arkansas beating both Mississippi State and Mizzou at home. We will drop one of those games. Arkansas goes 5-7, misses a bowl game, and the honeymoon with Coach Pittman is over.

• Rice @ Arkansas
Mac Garland: The Hogs roll with new QB KJ Jefferson and an even better defense. Don’t be surprised if the offense is a bit limited, so Texas doesn’t have as much to study. 38-17 Arkansas.

Todd Rudisill: The Owls and the Hogs haven’t played since 1991, when Arkansas won 20-0 in Little Rock. Not-so-fun fact: Arkansas has not defeated a former SWC rival in Fayetteville since joining the SEC, with losses on the hill to Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas A&M, and SMU. That ends Saturday. The Owls haven’t beaten a Power 5 team since 2013. With or without Treylon Burks expect the Hogs to come out slow in the heat, but ramp it up in the second half. Look for Rocket Sanders to have a big day in the back field and Malik Hornsby to get some work at QB besides Jefferson. Barry Odom’s defense shines behind Jalen Catalon. Hogs cover, 37-16.

• #23 Louisiana-Lafayette @ 21 Texas
Sean Casey: Obvious trap game for Texas and new head coach Steve Sarkisian. I doubt Sarkisian has been able to change the culture and make Texas a physical team, but Sark can get points on the board. The Ragin’ Cajuns can score too, and they will. I hope I’m wrong but Texas squeaks by the best team in the Sun Belt 31-24.

Todd Rudisill: The Ragin’ Cajuns upset Iowa State last year in the second game of the year. They have everyone back except their top running backs. Does Texas overlook Louisiana and have the Hogs on their mind? I doubt it. This isn’t a Tom Herman team anymore, it’s Steve Sarkisian’s. And he has them just enough together to avoid the upset. Horns win 31-23.

• #17 Indiana @ #18 Iowa
Mac Garland: I definitely drew the short straw with this one, though it’s an intriguing Top 20 matchup. Indiana looks to capitalize on their success last year with 19 starters returning. Iowa seems to need a game or two to warm up. Indiana 27, Iowa 23.

• #16 LSU @ UCLA
Sean Casey: I like LSU in this matchup, and it is purely SEC bias. LSU’s defense should be improved under new defensive coordinator Daronte Jones. Really, LSU’s defense couldn’t be worse than last year’s effort, so the impact should be immediate. LSU’s team has top level talent across the board. Playing at home, UCLA will be hyped up and come out strong but LSU’s talent and physicality wears the Bruins down. LSU comes out on top 41-21.

• #5 Georgia vs. #3 Clemson
Mac Garland: This neutral site game is the renewal of a rivalry many wish was played annually. Georgia has JT Daniels back under center. At 6’4”, 247 pounds, the Tigers have a younger Big Ben Roethlisberger type of QB in D.J. Uiagalelei, who threw for 439 yards in a 2OT loss to Notre Dame. The Bulldogs are missing a lot of key players due to injuries, and that tilts the outcome to Clemson’s favor. The over/under is 50.5 so it’s not expected to be an especially high scoring game. Clemson 27, Georgia 24.

Todd Rudisill: Defense. This game will be all about it. Both teams just reloaded and have salty defenses once again. The atmosphere in Charlotte should feel like a College Football Playoff game and it’s only the season opener. JT Daniels does just enough. I think this is the Bulldogs year. Dawgs take it 28-24.

• #14 Miami vs. #1 Alabama
Sean Casey: I love this matchup. Bama always wins its season opener, and against good opponents too. Bama replaced its offensive coordinator this year and a lot of its skill position players. Still, this is Bama with a Bama defense. Miami QB D’Eriq King is the best player on the field. He’s a great story and I hope he has a Heisman season, but it won’t be enough. Bama wins 49-17.

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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