Tusk to Tail: Tailgating notes covering the Tide and the Tigers

What a fun trip to Baton Rouge. It’s always great to get a win down there. Those Tiger fans just don’t take it very well, though I will say they were as quiet on the walk in as I had ever heard them. I’m guessing they have decided to move on to the coaching search.

We had a great tailgate spot, thanks to Dr. Derik Stanton and his VRBO rental. It was just about a half-mile walk to the stadium. We did learn it is best to be on the east or south sides of Tiger Stadium when it comes to tailgating. The open spaces there lend themselves to better gatherings and tailgating. Where we setup was more of a park-and-walk kind of spot. We had a lot of people pop in and say hi, but they tended to move on to other locations.

As you all know, the Hogs are quickly down to their last two games. On the road to T-Town this week and then Mizzou at home next Friday. I’ll touch on both as there will be no article next week with the holiday.

First, Bama is a must-see location on any football fan’s list. For the most part, the people are friendly and there is lots of tailgating. It’s a nice flat campus to explore with impressive architecture and a museum dedicated to Arkansas native Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Tuscaloosa itself is always improving. I’ll provide some spots to check out, but for whatever reason, perhaps its proximity to Birmingham, the city hasn’t developed much of a college town atmosphere. The stadium is the best in the league, a blend of history and new updates. Bryant-Denny has an enormous capacity that won’t leave early, so it can get loud in there.

The weather looks great for those making the trip. Unfortunately, the quickest route is through Memphis. You just never know what you are going to get with Interstate 40 and accidents in that area, though the new bypass on the south side of town is great. It’s a 2:30 p.m. game on CBS. As far as I know, CBS and Dish Network are still feuding so be prepared to use your over the air antenna if you utilize their services.

If you are making the trip, one option to try and save a little money is to stay in Columbus, Miss. It’s only a little over an hour away from Tuscaloosa, with lots of hotel rooms that are cheaper than being in town. However, please note it can get booked up if Mississippi State is playing a home game. So, check your calendars and book early.

Some spots we have been to over the years and are still going strong include: The Avenue Pub, Rama Jama’s, Houndstooth Sports Bar, City Café, Baumhower’s, Chuck’s Fish, Dreamland BBQ (the original spot loved by Bear beats the franchises), and Archibalds BBQ.

I’m not sure the Hogs have the bodies in the trenches on either side of the ball to hang with Bama for the full game, but I’m hopeful. LSU hung with the Tide, so maybe the Hogs can too. However, in the end I see something like Bama 37, Hogs 17.

If you are coming up next Friday for the Missouri game, do remember that it is not at 1:30 p.m. like in the past, but at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. It’s still too far out to know the weather, but right now it shows cool and partly cloudy. As long as it’s dry, I’ll take it.

Traffic will be shut down around 10:30 a.m., so come early. I expect a well-attended game despite the fact it is Black Friday. The Hogs have something to play for, and I feel like fans want to show some appreciation to this staff and the young men.

I try to clean out the garage once this game arrives. I make sure we have enough of everything but there is a chance we might run out of something and guests have to move on to something else. Those members attending will be asked to bring some homemade chili. It’s hot, tastes great, and is filling. As always, we will have some chicken nuggets and tenders for those so inclined.

I expect we will have 50 to 60 guests for the game, but if it’s anything like the past two games, we will end up closer to 75. Depending on the weather, we might drop some sides on the tent and add some patio heaters to keep the chill out.

I figure the team will be playing with a lot of pride for this game. It’s the final home game and Senior Day for a huge class. It’s a time to honor some young men who have been playmakers for years now, and proud of the work they put in and the accomplishments that work has brought. I don’t think Missouri has much to play for, but for whatever reason we tend to struggle with the Tigers. I’ll call it Hogs 27, Mizzou 13.

It would be nice to break another streak, and bring home another trophy for the Broyles Center.
Go Hogs, Beat Bama! Or at least Mizzou!

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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