Tusk to Tail: The joy has returned in traveling with the Hogs

We are back, baby! This weekend, Tusk to Tail will be back on the road with the Hogs where we belong. Most of us would tell you that during Houston Nutt’s tenure as head coach, up through Bobby Petrino, it was a blast to travel with the Hogs.

Sure, we lost our share of road games and endured a few blowouts. But most years with those coaching staffs, you knew you had a chance to win each and every game.

Chad Morris’ first season took a lot out of us. We had a great trip to Colorado State, but things quickly collapsed from there. About eight of us stuck it out through the end of the 2018 season. The Little Rock guys drew straws, and four of them attended a beatdown in Starkville for the 11th game of the year. Then another four of us drew even shorter straws to witness a drubbing up in Columbia, Mo., to finally end that season. We had a fun trip, but that game was one of the more miserable events I’ve ever set through. Arkansas lost 38-0 on a cold, rainy day.

By 2019, with the season not looking promising, we chose to cut our losses, save money, and just stay home. A large group traveled to Kentucky in 2019, but after that loss, our numbers began to dwindle. I won’t lie. It kind of felt like we were letting the team down, but in reality, another coaching staff had let us down.

Now with Coach Pittman and this team, the hope is back. The Hogs might not be ready for prime time, but it sure feels like they are. I personally think this team will go as far as the arm of KJ Jefferson will take them. If he continues to improve, then there is a lot of upside for this team. We will be there this week and the next to see how well the Razorbacks can do.

If you have not traveled to Arlington to see the Hogs in Jerry World this might be the time to do it. It’s not as shiny and new as it once was, but still a fun environment to watch the Hogs. I think we only have four more games there, including this one, before the contract signed under former athletic director Jeff Long finally expires.

As of this writing, Texas A&M is a 5.5-point favorite, but Texas was favored similarly, and we smoked them. There are eight of us going down to meet up with Brad in Arlington. He plans to cook up some ribs, pulled pork and chicken quarters. We expect some last-minute texts from friends letting us know they would like to tailgate, so we should have plenty. The 2:30 p.m. game looks to be warm for tailgating, but at least it’s an inside game.

Dallas has odd liquor store hours. They close at 9 p.m. on Friday and will not reopen until 10 a.m. on Saturday, so be prepared. Bring your own or buy it when you arrive in town. There are some restaurants near the stadium where you can buy food or just allow everyone to go Dutch if you don’t have the ability to cook at your tailgate.

Most of you I’m sure know Dallas as well as we do. We make several trips a year and have our favorite spots to hit. The Rangers will be out of town this weekend, but the Cowboys will be playing a Monday night game against the Eagles if you can hang around that long.

Another fun place to hit is the Star. This is the practice home for the Cowboys, but it has turned into a dining and fun spot to experience. The Shops at Legacy in North Dallas just off the tollway is also always popular. They have outdoor shops, three floors of dining options, including a beer location and a wine bar.

Lastly, I would normally look at recommending a stay in Fort Worth. It’s easy access to Arlington and has been less pricy for hotels, but not this trip. I noticed that SMU is traveling over to play there Saturday but that is not enough to bump up the rooms so much. There is also a big concert in Fort Worth featuring Blake Shelton and others Saturday night so perhaps that drove up the room rates. There are still plenty of rooms all across the Metroplex.

Safe travels everyone and Go Hogs, Beat Aggies!

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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