I went to Michigan for undergrad but am from Wisconsin, so every drive home from school was a six-hour slog through four states and Chicago traffic. Indiana was always the most boring stretch. I’d drive through Gary and around nondescript suburbs before hitting the bridge into Chicago and feeling happy that I’d made it to the final stretch, that last few hundred miles before the oasis of home, free laundry, and cheap booze. (Sidebar: I love Wisconsin.)
The Indiana game this year feels much the same way. I held my breath through the game, a lot of it boring (and stupid), then sighed with relief once it was over and I could shift my focus on the short road ahead to the final destination. (Except in this case, the final destination is bloodshed and hatred instead of cheap booze and clean clothing, but I digress.)
So choosing a theme for an Indiana recap is difficult because Indiana is stupid and there is nothing interesting to pick from. The state’s motto is literally “The Crossroads of America,” suggesting that even the people doing marketing for Indiana understand that people only come to Indiana because it’s too difficult and time-consuming to navigate around it.
Thus, you get the shrug edition. Because Indiana. That happened. Shrug.
SCORE PREDICTION VS. ACTUAL SCORE
My prediction: Michigan 35, Indiana 12. “Indiana isn’t good, but they’re weird and spoiler-y, and you sleep on them at your peril. I’m choosing to believe that Michigan regroups and gets it together and is who we suspected – or hoped – they were before last week.”
Actual score: Michigan 20, Indiana 10.
In which I try to answer the age-old question of, “WTF is a Hoosier?”
Basically, it’s nothing. According to the internet, the University of Indiana doesn’t have a mascot, though “student-athletes are known as ‘hoosiers,’ a nickname for natives or residents of Indiana.”
This is the equivalent of calling Michigan students Michiganders, or referring to Wisconsin students as the fightin’ Wisconsinites. It’s lame. And stupid. Perhaps recognizing this, the school tried a bunch of times to install a physical mascot to represent the football team. Those attempts included:
- a goat (1923); this failed, though it’s unclear why
- a collie (1935); failed because “not enough money was raised in time to purchase the collie” (adopt don’t shop, jerks) (also, come on, Indiana)
- the Hoosier Schoolmaster (1951); no reason given for failure though I’m guessing it’s because this would have done zero to clarify the Hoosier nonsense
- Crimson Bull (1956)
- Ox the bulldog (1959); remained the mascot for the football team until 1965, then died, presumably not for reasons related to being Indiana’s mascot, though who really knows
- bison (1965), discontinued because the school could not afford to purchase and care for a live bison and so opted for this mangy-ass costume:
which “caused the person inside to stumble around the field or gymnasium.”
(I feel I have to stop here and tell you that I am not making any of this up. I’ve chosen to do that here because the next bit is really going to make you think I’m making this up.)
You’re probably like, “It can’t get worse.”
Yeah, but it can.
Oh, it can.
Shockingly – SHOCKINGLY! – Mr. Hoosier Pride was not popular among fans or students or breathing living humans with eyes, and was abandoned the same year they wrested him from the depths of hell. And ever since then, Indiana has been mascotless.
Worth noting: I found this during my research, could not find an explanation for it, and am just going to leave it here.
In summary, a hoosier is nothing, and in the light of all the things it could have been, thank god. In the language of shrugs:
SAD THING OF THE WEEK
It’s not that O’Korn was terrible – 7 of 16 is adequate, particularly against Indiana – it’s just that Speight was finally clicking and showing his Harbaughness and now we’re back to a new quarterback and we have to play Ohio State and then it started snowing and it was very apocalypse-y
HAPPY THING OF THE WEEK
The snow was pretty. The players didn’t hate it. We won the game.