Tusk to Tail: The tailgating crew gathers in Little Rock for a football ‘funeral’

Editor’s note: Welcome to the fifth 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 against the advice of attorneys and family. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail
Alcorn State has 3,730 students enrolled in the fall semester. Coincidentally, one member of Tusk to Tail believes that may also be the number of folks at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium on Saturday to see the Hogs “play” the Alcorn State Braves.

Coach Les Miles was fired by LSU this week.  Who do you think LSU will hire to replace him? Where will Miles end up?

Craig May
The hot name seems to be Tom Herman from Houston. Hiring a new head coach is never easy but after firing the most successful coach in school history, Tiger fans will expect a home run hire at the end of the season.

It seems that Les has three options. He could retire, find another coaching job, or take a TV job with ESPN College Game Day or SEC Nation. It’s probably not out of the question that he retires. Miles has been coaching football since 1980, and at this point he may be ready to do something else with his life. LSU will continue to pay his buyout of $12.9 million as long as he’s not a head coach.

How bad does he really want to coach, any way? Does he have the drive to build another program? I don’t think so. Any job he takes will be a step down from LSU. He won’t have access to the talent that produced 114 wins for the Tigers. That’s why television seems like the most likely next step for Miles. His big personality and knowledge of the game would be a great addition to either show.

Dale Cullins
Les, at 61 and stubborn, will most likely end up on Sirius XM radio or on CBS with Houston Nutt. He couldn’t change his offense or recruit a QB at LSU, so I’m not sure an AD at a Power 5 school is going to take a chance on that.

As for who replaces him, I’m guessing it will be an offensive minded head coach but I’m not sure they go for Briles, nor can they afford Fisher or Herman after paying off Les. Kiffin is risky, but I’m guessing it might be an OC from a Power 5 school.

t2tlogo2016-17Steve McNamara
Who knows? There’s nothing worse than a coaching search. The early favorite would have to be Houston’s coach. Coaches at that level want to compete with the best. LSU and its recruiting base make it a great option for a talented coach that looks SEC Ready. For Miles, Penn State? Probably not. Somewhere in the Midwest? Probably so.

• Alcorn State @ #20 Arkansas
Jeff Laman
The Hogs bounce back after the loss to A&M. There will be no goal line plays, unless the team simply wants to practice those against the Braves. Bielema secures the elusive win in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium, moving his record there to .500.  Hogs 63-10

John Scott
With all due respect to the visitor, Alcorn State is coming off consecutive losses to UAPB and Grambling. There are around 400 tickets on StubHub. I am not even sure if this hushpuppy game is sold out. For those without morning commitments, the highlight of the game might be the visiting team’s marching band, assuming the Hogs let them take the field. Otherwise, this should be a laugher and a chance for recovery from the pounding Austin Allen took against the Aggies. I predict the Hogs 79-0 – thus setting the record for the largest margin of victory in War Memorial history. Also the same margin that Missouri beat Delaware State last weekend.

Jack Clark
Jeff Long has been driving an 18-wheeler filled with luxury suites, and Little Rock fans just stepped in front of the speeding truck. This weekend’s game will be our open-casket funeral. Jeff Long will proudly point to this weekend’s disappointing ticket sales when he makes his final push to eliminate all future games here by 2018.

No one will care that this opponent is perhaps the closest thing to a high school team that the Hogs have ever played. This group even LOST to UAPB a few weeks back. No one will care that this game got a shitty 11 a.m. kickoff and the tailgating part of a Hog Fan’s game day is ruined. No one will care that Long purposely scheduled shitty opponents the last few years.

Geez, no one even cares anymore that Long now scalps tickets. What’s next Jeff, re-use thrown away plastic cups? Gather up all un-popped popcorn to reuse at the next game?

Nope, no one will know or care. Most will see a completely overmatched opponent get routed in a partly empty stadium in between Belk Department Store and Regions Bank commercials on TV.

Despite Saturday’s rout, the end is near in Little Rock. Saturday’s game will be open-casket funeral indeed.

Todd Rudisill
Well if the great Sean Casey was picking this week, I would just say see his pick. Sean accurately predicted the A&M blowout last week. This week it’s our turn for the blowout. This time we are on the good side of it. Ty Story gets a half all to himself. Hogs 51-6.

• Oklahoma @ #21 TCU
Jeff Laman
On the road, the Sooners are favored by 3.5. That’s a bit surprising, but it did take the Horned Frogs until the 2nd half to put away SMU last Friday. Sooners have won 5 of the last 6 in Ft Worth. OU wins again, 45-40.

Steve McNamara
This game was circled before the season started as one that might decide the big 12. It still could, but Oklahoma right now is more concerned with avoiding an embarrassing 1-3 start. Oklahoma needs their defense to play better. Until they do, look for more of the same. TCU wins.

• #11 Tennessee @ #25 Georgia
John Scott
For some reason I always believe in Georgia. And for some reason, in recent years, I just don’t believe in Tennessee. The Vols have not won convincingly so far, and the game is between the hedges. A little known fact is that this incarnation of the Bulldog mascot – UGA X – has the highest winning percentage among his lineage at .769.  Conversely, Tennessee’s canine mascot – Smokey X – has the third worst record at UT. I am going with the upset, with the Bluetick Coonhound getting pooped on by the English Bulldog. Georgia 27, Tenner 21.

Todd Rudisill
The Vols had a 2nd half comeback for the ages last week, ending their 11-game losing streak against the Gators. I hope the Hogs can do the same next week against Bama. Tennessee has not put together a full sixty minutes this season and Georgia is home and humiliated after getting blown out in Oxford. I say the Bulldogs step up and pull the upset in Athens 31-28.

• #7 Stanford @ #10 Washington
Steve McNamara
My friend Jack enjoys watching McCaffrey as much as he likes watching #51. Stanford is tough, but Chris Petersen (previously wanted as a coach by several Hog fans) has Washington playing very well right now. With Browning playing lights out, Washington wins this unusual Friday night home game.

Jack Clark
Peterson’s teams always play well in big games. I’ve always liked Stanford but I’ll take Washington this weekend.

• #8 Wisconsin @ #4 Michigan
Dale Cullins
Wisconsin vs Michigan is looking like the 2nd best game of the day Saturday. Michigan has a really good defense, so I give them the edge in a close one, 24-20 for the coach in the khaki pants.

Todd Rudisill
Wisconsin has had two big wins already this year. They kicked off the season with a big W over LSU that started the Miles derailment. Then last week, they had a very impressive win on the road against a top 10 Michigan State team. They throttled them. The Badger defense is very salty, but it just won’t be enough on the road in the Big House. Wolverines 33-20.

• #3 Louisville @ #5 Clemson
Craig May
Clemson will host Louisville on Saturday night in Memorial Stadium in a game that matches two potential Heisman candidate quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Deshaun Watson of Clemson. The Louisville offense has been almost unstoppable at times this season and their defense is holding teams to less than 3 yards per carry. Clemson has the front seven to slow down the Cardinals but their offense tends to start slow. They can’t afford to start slow in this game. Louisville 38, Clemson 31.

Steve McNamara
Petrino is working his QB magic again, trying to turn this one into a potential Heisman contender. Louisville looked dominant in its win against FSU. Playing against Clemson’s defense at their version of Death Valley will be a big challenge that I don’t think Louisville is quite ready to overcome. Clemson continues their March to the college playoffs.