Tusk to Tail: Your tailgating plan may need a hay bale and night lights

The calendar has flipped to November and we are down to one of our last two home tailgates. I’ve heard that Frank Broyles used to tell his coaches and players that the fans remember what you do in November. I hope Sam Pittman is reminding the boys of that old adage.

The final stretch of four games, with two on the road may have some winnable games, but for me, this team is week to week. Mississippi State has a solid team, is well coached, and the Hogs’ secondary has not shown me they can stop a team geared to throw the ball like the Bulldogs can.

This game against State is a 3 p.m. kickoff on the SEC Network, allowing a little more time for people to spread out their arrival on campus. Keep in mind the traffic on campus will be curtailed at 11 a.m.

The traffic on the way up from central Arkansas should not be too bad with the later start time. The trees have just started turning this week, so there should be plenty of nice scenery. If you have time, you might even consider taking the Pig Trail to get some even more scenic views.

The weather is looking good. A cool morning warms up nicely to 60 degrees. Keep in mind that most of the west stands and the south endzone will be in the shade, so that 60 will be cool if shaded. Bring a jacket. Originally the weather was looking cloudy and much cooler, so we discussed ordering side walls for our tent and bringing out some heaters. We might still do the heaters for the morning, but I don’t think the walls will be necessary. For last month’s Auburn game, most of our attendees stood outside of the tent to take advantage of the sunshine out on the grass.

This week’s menu is pretty simple. We have 15 pounds of pulled pork and the usual chicken fingers and nuggets to round it out. If you do the tailgate planning like me, this is the time of year where you start trying to use up all of the products and supplies that have piled up over the previous two months of tailgates. Obviously, some items like cups, paper plates and napkins can carry over to next season but beer, seltzers and soft drinks will not. I’ll be sure to send everything we have this week and then based on what we need for Missouri, I can buy smaller amounts at that time.

With the cooler weather, you will not need as much water as earlier in the season. Even with a few more hours of tailgating this week, the requirement is drastically reduced. I budget around three small waters per person in this type of weather and game time.

One thing to consider for this week is that it will be dark by the time the game ends. It will also be cooling off pretty quickly as the sun sets around 6:10. That alone should keep a lot of folks from wanting to hang out afterward, but you will need to be able to see to clean and pack up, so consider a light source. I will hang some lights at our tent. If possible, run your lights off of the same generator that runs your television, that way they will stay on throughout the game.

Another tip for this week is to check out your tailgating spot on Friday. We’ve had a lot of rain in the past week, so if your spot is a little low, you might want to throw some straw down. One bale will cover a decent area but be sure to completely cover those areas around your coolers and food. Those are high traffic areas that will get messy if still damp.

Enjoy yourselves this weekend. The Hogs have a good chance to win this, but the defense is really going to have to step up. I trust Defensive Coordinator Barry Odom will have an interesting gameplan to slow the Air Raid Offense. I just hope we have the players to run it.

Go Hogs, Beat Dogs!

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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