Yeah, I know it’s fractured Turkey Spanish. This particular Turkey learned his Spanish a long, long time ago, in high school, coincidentally in South Florida. Why am I writing this here particular thang in Spanglish? Well, I’m doing it in honor of Florida International University (FIU), our home opener opponent. The Nittany Lions face the mighty (gawd-awful) Golden Panthers of FIU on Saturday, September 1, in Beaver Stadium, at high noon. And, yes, they’re blue and gold, just like the real Panthers, from under the armPitt.
OK, so read this diatribe with Al Pacino’s accent from Scarface in mind as the imaginary narrator. Jou wanna dill weeth my leetle friend?
Before we get to the team’s distinctions, which I think will be all negative just for the fun of it and because I’m pissed off today, let us look at the university itself. Florida International University, one of twelve state funded institutions of higher learning, got its start in 1969 on land formerly the property of Tamiami Airport, a drug-running landing strip on the edge of the Everglades on U.S. Highway 41, also known as the Tamiami Trail. In Miami proper, U.S. 41 is known as “Calle Ocho,” meaning Eighth Street. (Well, you see, when I lived there, it was actually called Southwest Eighth Street—we spoke English down there then.) In the wake of Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba, refugees piled into Miami (now pronounced Mee-AH-mee) in the 1960s and 1970. Hell, in the late 1970s, our misguided POTUS, intelligent but diplomatically naÃ¯ve Jimmy Peanuts, allowed Castro to empty his prisons by opening our doors and welcoming the denizens of Mariel to the good old US of A. Back to FIU, it held its first commencement in 1973. (For those historians who relate everything to sitting U.S. presidents, that was during the regime of El Dicko Tricko—I’m an equal opportunity offender—but I digress). A second campus, the North Campus, was opened right off the Sunny Isles Causeway, on the former and long forgotten Interama site—in itself, a great, political boondoggle—in 1977. (The Turkey gets his political shots in one way or the other.)
Fast forward to today. Miami is referred to as America’s “international city” and it shows. Por supuesto, un ciudad internacional. In some places like Calle Ocho, it is difficult to get anything done if you don’t speak Spanish. FIU is quite heavily Hispanic, as a quick look at the cast of characters reveals. El Presidente de la Universidad is Modesto Modique. El JÃ©fe Coacho de FÃºtbol is Mario Cristobal. His boss, El Director AthlÃ©tico, is Pete GarcÃa. Mi amigo, who is a professor of computer science down there, is Iranian by birth, but strangers on campus assume that he’s Cuban—they just automatically speak Spanish to him. Moreover, in an interesting attempt at community fusion through marriage, much as when Catherine of Aragon married Henry VIII, the newly appointed vice president for university and community relations is Sandra B. GonzÃ¡lez-Levy, uniting the Hispanic community and the formerly dominant Jewish community (i.e., “mah peeps”).
As for athletics, well, let’s say that of the Florida colleges in Division I-A, FIU is sucking hind tit. The vast preponderance of its recruiting is done in the State of Florida—I counted six kids on the football roster from other states. The problem with doing one’s recruiting in Florida at the moment is that all the great prospects and most of the fair to good prospects are sucked up by Miami, Florida, Florida State, UCF, and USF—and perhaps even Florida Atlantic—leaving los pobrecitos for FIU. Â¡Lo siento mucho! This team sucks!
So why the hell did our esteemed athletic department schedule them? I suppose it would have been okay if this was just a season opener to get the boys a quasi-real-game tune-up before the tough ones started rolling their way. Alas, this season’s schedule is literally peppered with veritable poopoo like this and next year we’ll add Coastal Carolina, a Division I-AA program, to the mix. Even so, CC might well be a better team than any of our non-conference opposition this year, save Notre Dame. Before the season is over, the Nittany Lions will have wasted one-fourth of their games on bottom-of-the-barrel competition. The other two are Buffalo and Temple, and with FIU they constitute the bargain basement of Division I-A. No wonder season ticket holders are rebelling. They have to actually pay for this crap! This is getting to be as bad as the NFL and NBA, where season ticket holders are subjected to mandatory exhibition games at the same price as tickets for the real games, although they’ll see their stars competing at half-speed for mere microseconds, if they even play at all. These games will give me a good excuse to overindulge in alcohol. But I digress yet again.
We all recall the one event that brought the Pantheros de Oro national notoriety: the rumble at the 50 yard-line against “The U” last year. Call it El Guerro de la Cinquenta Jard Line. At the time, I was at the Michigan game at Beaver Stadium, and the televised clip of the Miami-FIU melee took my mind off the shellacking we were getting on our home field. The macho Panthers, displaying huevos grandes as well as cabezas locas, wound up losing that game 35–0, which I suppose is only because the Hurricanes substituted the cheerleading squad in the third quarter. It wasn’t that close. Now, if the desire to rumble should happen to arise in our game, we have no worries. Anthony Scirrotto will call in his homeys to make quick work of the crooked-tailed cats.
No one remembers anything about the actual, non-pugilistic performance of the team because such memories would be painful indeed. You can start with an 0–12 record in 2006, seven of the losses being really bad ones. Clearly, there was no bowl game, not even the vaunted Annual Toilet Bowl Festival in Kohler, Wisconsin. They were outscored 313–115. The only reason that these hombres ranked 118 out of 119 in Scout.com’s worst teams is that Temple is #119. (By the way, another of our non-conference opponents, Buffalo, ranks 117. Miracle of scheduling, indeed! Â¡Ay, caramba!)
So, let’s give the offensive line a workout here and see if they can actually move people around and protect Morelli. That’s the only thing of interest to this Turkey. It shouldn’t be hard because los Pantheros gave up over 150 yards rushing per game and had only 25 sacks (only? well, some were against real ball sacks). The FIU piÃ±ata will have been soundly thrashed and the fiesta will be over by halftime.
And now, el Momento de Verdad: the official Mierda del Turkey (aka Turkey Poop) prediction. We’ll go easy on los Pantheros de Oro, so I’m going to say 28–0. Well, that’s the first half. What the cheerleading squad does to them in the second half is anybody’s guess.
The Turkey will be back early next week with a game recap, such as it is, and a freshly shoveled load of crap about the forthcoming Notre Dame game.