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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Know Your Foe - Indiana

The Wolverines take on their second straight opponent from the state of Indiana this week, and their third of the season. This is the last game before the big showdown with Ohio State and is a must win for the Wolverines to maintain their march to the national championship. Michigan’s won 49 of the 58 meetings between the schools, has won 14 straight, and 30 out of the last 31. Last year’s contest in Ann Arbor was a 41-14 Michigan victory. Now that we have the story of the series behind us, it's time for the most recent edition of the MZone's KNOW YOUR FOE.

History – Indiana University was formed in 1820 as the “State Seminary.” As you can guess from the name, it was an all-male school. Though founded in 1820, construction didn’t begin until 1822, the first professor wasn’t hired until 1823, and the first classes weren’t offered until 1824. The first graduates received their degrees in 1830. I guess they were on the six-year plan like so many current IU students.

In 1828 the school was renamed Indiana College, and then Indiana University in 1838. It became one of the first state universities to admit women in 1867 (Michigan admitted its first woman, Madelon Louisa Stockwell, in 1870, though Alice Boise Wood attended as an unregistered student in 1866). Interestingly, the first woman student at IU, Sarah Parke Morrison, became the university’s first female professor in 1873.

Location - Bloomington, Indiana. Located in south central Indiana, about 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis, Bloomington is a bit of a cultural oasis in the state. Well off the Interstates, Bloomington pretty much exists solely as the home of the university. The campus itself is considered one of the more beautiful in the country. Many of the buildings were built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, and are made out of limestone from the area.

Nickname - Hoosiers. But what exactly is a Hoosier? Well if you grew up in the St. Louis area, it’s not something you want to be called. There’s no greater insult to a girl from West County than to call her a hoosier. You’re likely to draw tears. The actual meaning of Hoosier is “someone from Indiana.” There is much discussion about the origin of the word, but no consensus of where it came from. Maybe this confusion led former IU hoops coach and complete loon Bobby Knight to get so upset at Northwestern students for yelling at him “Hoosier daddy” in 2000.

Mascot – None. Indiana is one of the few schools in the country, and the only one in the Big Ten with no mascot whatsoever. Even though Michigan doesn’t have a costumed mascot, the wolverine is still the mascot. But the Hoosiers have nothing. Maybe they should change their name to the Cutters. For those that saw the excellent 1979 movie Breaking Away, that would make more sense. In the movie, which focuses on the annual Little 500 bicycle race on the Indiana campus, the team of townies – named Cutters to honor the limestone cutters who helped build the university – beat the 32 other teams made up of fraternities and other campus organizations. Let’s hope that same Cutter spirit doesn’t embolden the Hoosiers this Saturday on the gridiron.

Colors – Cream and Crimson. I don’t know how many times we’re going to have to go over this in Know Your Foe. Well, hopefully one more time if Michigan plays USC or Arkansas or Rutgers in the National Championship Game. We covered the red and white combo in our Wisconsin Know Your Foe, as well as the Ball State edition. As we said then, red looks great when there are 80,000 people wearing it. That’s not going to happen this weekend. Maybe in Madison, but not in Bloomington. And the red and white combo is just so common. This is the second of three (maybe four) straight games where Michigan will be facing a predominantly red team. Let’s hope the next two (or three) games goes a little better than the first. Again, technically, Indiana is not red – it’s crimson. But considering the colors of their football and basketball uniforms aren’t even the same color, I don’t think we should worry too much about what Indiana calls their version of red. And we’re not even going to get into the whole cream thing.

Logo – Interlocking I and U. The university has used the same logo for at least 30 years, though it wasn’t until 2002 that they finally put it on their football helmet. No wonder they’ve only made it to eight bowl games. With a classic logo, why were they busy using the plain I? And what the hell were they thinking when they used this? Oh, wait, that was in 1983 when bat-shit crazy Sam Wyche was their coach.

Back when I was a student in Ann Arbor, I had an IU hat. I remember one day when walking past a couple of girls, one of them asked her friend, “What fraternity is that hat for – it only has one letter?” I guess it does resemble the Greek letter Psi, but come on. I’ve also heard the IU logo compared to a cactus, but not as prickly. Regardless, it’s a great logo to act out “YMCA” style, as the students do at the end of their fight song as they yell out “IU.”

Fight Song – Indiana, Our Indiana. A very catchy fight song, just below the top of the Big Ten songs. It’s short (only 45 words) but Indiana appears six times. Once you learn the tune, you’d swear it was the only word in the song. It’s a very supportive song for the school, as it mentions the colors as well as the shortened name (IU) twice. As mentioned above, it’s capped off by the crowd yelling “IU” and forming the letters with their arms. A very intimidating sight for an opposing team….in sports other than football.

Academics – In the latest U. S. News Ranking of America's Best Colleges, Indiana is tied for 70th, with Clemson, SMU, BYU, Fordham and Sparty among national universities. About 60% of the 30,000 undergrads are from the state of Indiana. Like Michigan, Indiana has two large Big Ten schools, but in their case the schools are ranked similarly academically. The main difference is that Purdue excels in math and science while IU is more known for the arts. IU’s Jacobs School of Music is the largest of its kind in the U. S. The school has produced a number of classical and opera heavyweights who I’ve never heard of. IU also leads the Big Ten universities in the number of endowed faculty positions. And it’s the home of the Kinsey Institute of sexual research.

Athletics – Mention Indiana athletics and the first thing to come to mind is men’s basketball. The Hoosiers have won five national championships (the last in 1987), which is third most in the NCAA. They’ve made eight Final Fours (7th all time) and have made the tournament 32 times (5th all time). And they have the last team to go undefeated, in 1976 (32-0), a season in which they defeated Michigan in the NCAA Finals. Bobby Knight still casts a shadow over the program as it has performed in fits and starts since his departure following the 200 season. But Indiana is strong in other sports as well. The soccer team has won seven national titles, including four in the last eight years. Plus the swimming and diving teams were a dynasty, winning 20 straight Big Ten championships from 1961 through 1980. They also captured six straight NCAA titles from 1968 through 1973, eclipsing Michigan’s five straight titles from ’37 through ‘41. Their 23 swimming and diving titles in the Big ten are second only to Michigan’s 31. But when it comes to football, Indiana is at the bottom of the Big Ten, historically speaking. The Hoosiers have won only one outright Big Ten title and one co-championship. They’ve finished in the rankings only six times, the last time in 1988. IU’s played in only one Rose Bowl, only eight bowls total, and none since 1993.

Famous alums – Indiana has a decent list of notable alumni, particularly in the arts. Sports announcer Joe Buck, former Today host Jane Pauley and actor Kevin Kline are all Hoosier alums. Former Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors attended the school but was kicked out following a fight in a fraternity. Journalist Tavis Smiley and puzzle master Will Shortz also graduated from Indiana. Billionaire crybaby Mark Cuban as well as major league baseball union players association lawyer Donald Fehr were Hoosiers as well. I don’t know if that’s something to be proud of or not. Subway pitchman and former blimp Jared Fogle lost all that weight while going to school and living across from a Subway in Bloomington. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention People’s Temple and cult leader Jim Jones on this list. Indiana has produced at least two presidential candidates (Wendell Willkie, Republican in 1940, and Michael Badnarik, Libertarian, 2004), but no presidents.

The Game – Before last week, there were many who were worried about this game for Michigan. But then last Saturday happened – Indiana getting blown out by Minnesota and Michigan squeaking by Ball State – and now no one knows what to expect. Will the Wolverines play their fifth string in order to keep the top four at every position from getting injured? Will there be any Hoosier fans at the game or will they all be over at Assembly Hall for basketball practice? By the time evening arrives in Bloomington, these and other questions will be answered. Michigan 44, Indiana 13.


beast in 'bama said...

From "Breaking Away"

Dad: What is this?
Mom: It's sauteed zucchini.
Dad: It's I-tey food. I don't want no I-tey food.
Mom: It's not. I got it at the A&P. It's like... squash.
Dad: I know I-tey food when I hear it! It's all them "eenie" foods... zucchini... and linguini... and fettuccine. I want some American food, dammit! I want French fries!

Anonymous said...

good post beast! wtf?

Can't spell Lloyd without 2 "L's" said...

Too many points. 31-14.

Anonymous said...

I agree. No way we get to 44.

Make it 28-7 Blue.

A2saint said...

Leads the big 10 in "endowed" faculty. Just how do they determine that?

Anonymous said...


Indiana Nuclear

Anonymous said...

I have to protest hardily your argument that crimson and cream has any connection to USC. Our colors are not white and red at all. Our school is represented by Cardinal and Gold.