Tusk to Tail: The crew says Vanderbilt will Vanderwilt. Homers.
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Former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant visited Arkansas last weekend between trips to North Carolina, Missouri, and potentially other schools. Where do you think he will play next season?
Greg Houser: The one idea that feels unbiased is Kelly Bryant’s thoughts on Arkansas and the atmosphere during the Tulsa game. He genuinely seemed to like the people, the facilities, and he apparently loves our head coach. Consider the fact that we had one win at the time, and a good portion of the fan base seems disinterested. Either Kelly Bryant feels sorry for us and is being very political, or he really sees himself as a Hog. Chad Morris has been exceptional at recruiting. I think Bryant will be a Razorback!
Sean Casey: I think Kelly Bryant ends up at Arkansas. He had a good trip here last weekend and has close ties with Coach Morris and the staff. It will be a good fit for Bryant and also a good fit for Morris’ offense.
Todd Rudisill: From what I’m hearing, he’s a Hog.
• Vanderbilt @ Arkansas
Willard Grandview: The fact that the typical Vanderbilt football player boasts a higher ACT score than the Razorbacks’ average points per game this season is, by itself, an acceptable explanation for why the Commodores (3-5, 0-4 SEC) are slight road favorites over the Hogs (2-6, 0-4 SEC). But the fact is, this team is tough. They’ve played well against good competition, taking Notre Dame, Florida, and Kentucky down to the wire. They have a talented tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Key-shawn? Kuh-shawn?) who may miss Saturday morning’s game, but waiting in the wings is the versatile Jamauri Wakefield (Jah-muri? Jah-maury?) who could be ready to make a name for himself (get it?) in the SEC. I like how the Hogs have stayed motivated this season, I believe in the coaching staff, and I’m bullish on the future. But this week we lose to the smart kids. ‘Dores 27, Hogs 23
Mac Garland: Apparently, the oddsmakers are taking into consideration a less-than-full stadium Saturday at 11 a.m. by favoring Vandy by 1.5 points. The Commodores just played a close game against Kentucky, losing 7-14. If the Razorbacks were at full strength, this would be an easier game to predict. Perhaps the victory over Tulsa will propel them to another victory this week, especially after Chavis and the defense kept the Golden Hurricane from a garbage-time score. Assuming Ty Storey is back at QB (while Conner Noland did a nice job in the win), the Hogs will have the experience to deal with the defense Derek Mason and his staff will draw up. Chad Morris’ team can’t commit any turnovers, and have to play well on special teams to win, but it can be done. Hogs 20, ‘Dores 17.
Brad Davis: This should be a pretty good game if Storey is at 100% coming off a week of rest and recovery. Hopefully he learned how to lower his shoulder to get out of bounds. Vandy is coming in with three straight losses, but has a salty defense that held Kentucky to 14 points last week, and allows an average of 24 per game. The Hogs defense should be able to contain and conquer the very weak Vandy offense who is 113th out of 130. I am going with a low scoring affair and a 17-13 Razorback win.
Todd Rudisill: The Hogs and Vandy haven’t played on The Hill since 2010 when the Hogs won 49-14. How bad is the season when the Commodores are 1.5-point favorites on the road? Ty Storey is back after the injury, and is just what the Hogs need to get the offense going again. Vanderbilt’s offense is not great, but the Hog defense has given up 24, 34, 65, and 37 in conference games. They did shut out Tulsa, which is a positive. Vanderbilt is dead last in 3rd down defense. I think the Hogs control the time of possession with a lot of Rakeem Boyd sprinkled in with some O’Grady and some shots down field. It won’t be pretty, but the Hogs get their first SEC win since October 26 last year against Ole Miss. 31-24, Arkansas.
• #18 Iowa @ #17 Penn State
Willard Grandview: This game is shaping up to be a typical Big 10 shootout, meaning by the 4th quarter this could be a 3-0 or even 7-0 game. Actually, in all reality there is a 100% chance of rain for this game in State College, which matches up nicely with its 100% chance of being boring. I’m going to say the Nittany Lions win it 10-3.
• #16 Texas A&M @ Mississippi State
Greg Houser: The Bulldogs’ quarterback struggled quite a bit with LSU last week. Several people thought Fitzgerald would pick up some school, and possibly conference, records by the end of this year. I think they bounce back, and the cowbells will be a factor. I take State by 3.
#14 Washington State @ #24 Stanford
Mac Garland: Wazzu is rolling this year, and is the Pac-12’s last shot for a team to make the playoffs. The Cougars are a 3-point favorite to beat the Cardinal down on The Farm. QB Gardner Minshew looks a bit like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite. Yes, they sling it around the field, but this team also plays defense, as seen by halting Oregon’s comeback this past weekend. David Shaw is a good coach and Stanford has also beaten Oregon as well as Arizona State this season. However, Mike Leach’s squad will continue to march toward a conference title game with a victory Saturday. Wazzu 34, Stanford 24
• #7 Georgia vs. # 9 Florida
Sean Casey: Georgia got burned by LSU, and should be primed to redeem themselves against the Gators. The Florida defense is stout and has a top-level secondary that may give Jake Fromm fits early on. That said, I think being humbled by LSU and a week off hearing how poorly he played motivates Fromm. UGA wins the Cocktail Party 35-31.
Smokey J. Colter: This game is on my bucket list. I like the direction of both these programs, and this should be an exciting game. The teams look similar statistically. The winner of this game has a real shot at the SEC Championship. If you judged this game on the common opponent, you would go with Florida. But, Georgia’s coach has fared well against Mullen’s offenses. In addition, Georgia should have recovered from their bad loss to LSU. I’ll take Georgia.
Todd Rudisill: The bad news for the Gators is that Georgia got its wakeup call against LSU two weeks ago. They had a bye week, and have had time regroup. Georgia has a history of bouncing back quickly. If you remember last year, Auburn blew them out and they responded by winning three in a row, including the SEC title game. This is a rivalry game, so expect them to trade some blows early and go back and forth. The Gator secondary is one of the best in the country but Fromm will settle down, and Georgia will open it up in the 4th. Florida is not a comeback team. Bulldogs 31-20.
• #6 Texas @ Oklahoma State
Brad Davis: It’s the Big 12 with ten teams; what more is there to say? Look for Texas to control this game quite easily. OSU is 1-3 in their last 4 games, being outscored 119 to 148, while Texas appears to be headed for a Big 12 Championship. The Longhorns head into the weakest part of their schedule, surviving the preverbal letdown game with Baylor last week after a huge win over Oklahoma at the Red River Rivalry. Texas wins 36 -14.
Smokey J. Colter: It is odd watching Oklahoma State have a rough patch while Texas exceeds expectations with their current 6-game win streak. This is a college football night game, though, which could be a strong advantage for Oklahoma State. Let’s go with Oklahoma State, but I would prefer some points in this one.
Editor’s note: Welcome to the seventh 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. Tusk to Tail is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the River Valley Smile Center … because it’s another dang rebuilding year and you’re gonna need a good smile to get through the season. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter and Instagram, all @TuskToTail.