Tusk to Tail: The predictors aren’t seeing a two-game winning streak for the Hogs in the SEC

We’ve never been able to ask this one during football season. Who will win this year’s NBA Championship?

Mark Wagner: With a 3-1 advantage in a best-of-7 series, I don’t see how the Lakers don’t win the championship this year. LeBron and company are just too good for Butler and his supporting cast at Miami. I say the Lakers win Friday night and end the series 4 games to 1. To me the bigger news is that the viewership for the finals is at an all-time low. Obviously, the scheduling is a big, big issue. Normally the NBA Finals take place in June, when they have to compete with only the NHL playoffs and regular-season baseball. Now the Finals are competing with the NFL, postseason baseball, and college football among other sporting events. The viewership started out at 7.4 million viewers for Game 1 and has dropped to 5.9 million viewers for Game 3. So maybe the question is not going to be who wins, but does anybody care?

Arkansas @ #13 Auburn
Forrest Acuff: Ah, yes. The game that’s been circled on everyone’s schedule since our old pal Chad was hired to get Gus’ coffee down on the plains. Auburn has struggled on offense to start the season while Arkansas has shown to have a stifling defense under the leadership of Barry Odom. Everyone knows that defense wins championships and if you’ve seen a Chad Morris offense, you could win with a middle school defense at that. Gimme the Hogs to win a close one over the War Eagle Tiger Plainsmen.

Mark Wagner: My, my, this game going to be interesting. The Hogs had a huge victory last week, just as Miss State did the week before. Auburn is not as bad as it seems and Arkansas is not as good as it seems. While the Arkansas defense played phenomenally last week, and held their own the week before against Georgia, the Razorback offense has been sputtering along and not doing much. They put up 10 against Georgia, and 21 against Miss State with 7 of those coming from the defense. Auburn, behind the genius of Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris, was able to put up 29 points against Kentucky and a staggering two field goals against Georgia. My point is that I don’t think our offense can keep up with what the Auburn offense can do even with Morris calling the plays. The intangibles in this game will make it a must see. Gus and Chad have to win, otherwise they may be out of a job sooner rather than later. The Razorback players have to feel good after their win last week, and the fact they are going up against their former head coach. Will Arkansas have a letdown after such a big win last week? Will the remnants of Hurricane Delta affect the game? Will the injured players for Arkansas be ready for this game? Will I have my first John Daly by 9 a.m. on Saturday? My prediction is Auburn will win late in the game, but will not cover the spread. Auburn 24, Arkansas 17.

Todd Rudisill: Did it not feel like a different world when the sun came up on Sunday? It’s like the whole state came out of its two-year football coma after that win. With Chad Morris only having 25% of the offense installed at Auburn, you have to feel good about the Hogs’ chances. Unfortunately, you know Gus will step in this week because it’s Arkansas. Georgia’s defense made both of these offenses look inept, allowing the Tigers only 6 and the Hogs 10. Arkansas will need some turnovers and the offense to convert 3rd downs better than they did against State. I think it’s an ugly game, but the Auburn defense will be the difference as the Hogs offense still tries to find its identity. War Eagle 28-17.

#4 Florida @ #21 Texas A&M
Mark Wagner: Florida’s pass offense is way better than the A&M pass defense. In addition, Florida has improved its running game this year, so the Aggie defense can’t sell out to stop the Florida pass attack of Trask to Pitts. The people who bet for a living have Florida as a 6.5-point favorite. Who am I to argue with the experts? Florida 30 – Texas A&M 21

#14 Tennessee @ #3 Georgia
Todd Rudisill: The Vols have the longest winning streak in the SEC. Let that sink in. Tennessee is feeding off its run game but they are about to go up against the best defense in the country. The Dawgs are only allowing 2.3 yards per carry. Georgia is also holding on to the ball 35 minutes a game. It’s close for a while, but the Bulldogs break it open late. Dawgs 34-21

Forrest Acuff: This game hardly disappoints. Tennessee looks to be a solid contender in the SEC East thus far, but they aren’t on the same level as Georgia just yet. Georgia’s defense has proven to be stingy, holding the high-powered offenses of Arkansas and Auburn to a combined 16 points in the first two weeks of the season. I like Georgia to cover the -12.5 and win outright.

#2 Alabama @ Ole Miss
Todd Rudisill: Saban vs. Kiffin. This one should be entertaining. Bama is playing like Bama. Ole Miss offense has been impressive led by QB Matt Corral. He’s completed 77% of this passing and has thrown for 715 yards in just two games. On the other side, Ole Miss defense is dead last in total defense. What’s new?  That’s really all you need to know. Back and forth for a bit but talent and depth take over in the second half. Tide 45-20.

Forrest Acuff: This one should be over and over quick. Saban is 20-0 against his former assistants and I don’t see that streak being broken against Lane Kiffin. Ole Miss has given Bama some games in the past, but Hugh Freeze ain’t rolling through that door! The Tide will roll and should cover the -23.5 by halftime.

Mississippi State @ Kentucky
Mark Wagner: Kentucky has been in both games this season, even though they were losses. Their running game is clicking. However, Miss State has a great offense, and while not winning the Arkansas game, their offense still moved the ball all night long against the Razorbacks. I think Bulldog QB KJ Costello has a very good game against the Wildcats. Kentucky’s pass defense isn’t very good, so I expect this week the Bulldogs will air it out down the field. Miss State 34, Kentucky 28

#7 Miami @ #1 Clemson
Forrest Acuff: What a dandy this one should be! Miami’s offense has looked unstoppable with Rhett Lashlee at OC. Clemson is, well, Clemson the high-octane offense with Trevor Lawrence at the helm. In what will be each team’s true first test of the season, take Miami to cover the 14-point spread, but Clemson to squeak out a win at home.

Editor’s note: Now in its ninth 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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  1. J. Stacy Cox

    We will see a resurgent Morris offense: First Down, redundant. Second Down, deja vu. Third down, been there done that. Fourth Down, punt and pray. Having played football at Springdale, I luv Gus, but any bets on who gets canned first? My money’s on Chad! Go Hogs!

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