Tusk to Tail: The Hog season has officially soured when the boys talk presidential politics
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Editor’s note: Welcome to the fourth 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. Legal representation is iffy at best and professional psychological help is typically ignored, if not mocked.
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Not happy to just opine on the intangible nature of college football and the curious psychology of enjoying the annual and certain frustrations of being a Razorback fan, the Tusk to Tail crew this week takes a stab at presidential politics.
The Presidential election is one year from now. Which two candidates will be on the ballot?
HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton) will be one. The Republican primary might not shake out until March. It is wide open right now. Marco Rubio seems to be taking the most hits from other candidates, but his poll numbers continue to rise. I will go with Rubio as the Republican nominee. However, I expect a wild roller coaster ride through late February – early March.
I can totally see three or more candidates remaining after the primaries. Donald Trump won’t win the GOP nomination, but I expect him to continue to campaign anyway. As long as Ben Carson can convince people that a rational, educated, accomplished man without political experience can be president, then he’ll get the GOP nomination. Hillary Clinton is a lock for the democrats, for better or for worse. Therefore, I see Hillary, Carson, and Trump as the three major players in next year’s election. This will be interesting.
I can’t see Bernie Sanders getting enough support to win the Democratic bid, so that leaves you with Hillary. The Republican side still seems pretty wide open with plenty of time for Carson and Trump to blow this and leave Rubio or Jeb Bush getting the bid. If I had to say today, Rubio has a slight edge over Bush and seems the more electable of the two. I just don’t see a way where Trump or Carson ends up with the bid.
Clinton vs Carson. Pray for our country.
• Arkansas @ #19 Ole Miss
Ole Miss will be playing its 10th game in 10 weeks when they take on the Hogs Saturday in Oxford. The Rebels defense has been playing well since its poor performance in a loss to Memphis several weeks back. For Arkansas to have a chance, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly is going to have to make some mistakes. Kelly leads the SEC in passing yards with 2,856 and 20 TDs, but he’s had a problem with turnovers, throwing seven interceptions over the last three games. Look for the Razorbacks to do an effective job of keeping the Ole Miss offense off the field with the running game led by Alex Collins. Ole Miss 28, Arkansas 21
I expect the Hogs to play a very physical game in Oxford, including a focused effort by the defense. That said, Ole Miss is having a good season and they have a very potent offense which is kryptonite to the Hogs. Arkansas does not have the depth and talent on defense to slow the Black Bears down. Hogs lose a close one, 35-28.
Road wins don’t come easy in the SEC, and I fear this one could get ugly. Ole Miss wins going away, 38-20.
While bowl eligibility is ordinarily six wins, I think there will be a couple of 5-7 teams that actually get a bid this year. I’ll say the Piggies get their six this season, but it won’t be on Saturday. Ole Piss 31- Hogs 17. I’ll gladly eat crow for a road win!
You can only hope the Ole Miss team that showed up for the Florida and Memphis games shows up for the Hogs Saturday. The Hogs just don’t have the defense to shut down this up-tempo offense, and they sure can’t defend the freaking middle of the field. Ole Miss will exploit that until it hurts, I think. Black Bears 34-21.
• Auburn @ #25 Texas A&M
I think the Aggies will win, but I’m hoping for a blowout. I take great pleasure seeing Gus Malzahn act like a lunatic when he’s losing.
Both teams are disappointing this season. Aggies appreciate a “break” in their schedule and win a home game.
• Duke @ #21 North Carolina
Duke got screwed last week against Miami on one of the craziest plays (8 laterals, a block in the back, and a knee down) of the year to end a game. I don’t think they recover from that rip-your-heart-out ending. The Tobacco Road showdown goes to the Tar Heels, 28-17.
North Carolina won seven in a row and the Blue Devils are still trying to figure out what happened last week against Miami. It’s OK to be paranoid if they are really out to get you, right? NC wins this one 31-14.
• #5 TCU @ #12 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State Coach Gundy wins the visor battle against Coach Patterson and the Horny Toads. Okie Light by 7 with an over of 68. The Big 12 will be shaken up quite well over the next few weeks.
TCU has scored less than 40 only once this season. State scored over 50 the last two games. Expect a classic big 12 “defensive struggle” with the over/under around 200. This will be my upset pick this week. Oklahoma State at home.
• #4 LSU @ #7 Alabama
The biggest game of the SEC season will be played in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. This game has it all, with the potential to impact the SEC race as well as shake up the college football playoff rankings. You can’t ask for much more than to have two of the top four ranked teams in the college football playoffs squaring off with national championship implications on the line. The key to this game is how does Jake Coker and the Alabama offense do against the best defense they’ve played all year? If Alabama can take care of the ball, they can win. If they give the Tigers and Leonard Fournette a short field it will be a long day for the Tide. I’m looking forward to watching this one. LSU 21, Alabama 17.
Fournette is an absolute beast, but nobody has been able to run on Bama. If Fournette rushes for more than 100 yards and earns the win, go ahead and hand him the Heisman Saturday night. It seems likely that LSU Coach Les Miles will try something wacky to gain an advantage. I don’t see it being enough. The Tide rolls, 20-13.
This is the seventh time since 2005 that this game is a Top 10 matchup. Will the real playoff contender for the SEC please stand up? The focus has been on LSU stud Leonard Fournette vs. Bama stud Derrick Henry, but this is always a defensive battle, right? I just don’t see it this year. LSU rolls out of Tuscaloosa with a W. Tigers 24-20.
• #17 Florida State @ #3 Clemson
The Criminoles travel to Clemson to take on a hot Tiger team. This should be a fun, high scoring game to watch. Clemson pulls out the win and moves into position to roll into the playoff, 48-35.
I look forward to this game, but I’m scared to pick it. This is THE game for Clemson’s QB. There is something different about the Tigers this year. I will go with Clemson.