Let’s be politically correct, shall we? There is no way we can keep on using the I-word in a state name. No, man. Not in this day and age. It is horrible hate speech, shamefully directed at the dusky skinned, colorfully named billionaires who own all those casinos. Pure wealth envy. This Turkey will not stand for it. Henceforth, we shall refer to the state located between Ohio and Illinois as Native-Americanana. I know you’ll be happy about that.
You see, the #8 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) will host the Native-Americanana Hoosiers (3-7, 1-5 Big Ten) on Saturday at high noon. Many Lions fans wonder why this game should be played. They’re pissed off over the Iowa loss and they’re bored with the prospect of playing a vastly inferior opponent. Of course, these are the same people who looked past the Hawkeyes all the way to Miami on January 8.
Beware the ‘Eye games. That’s Buckeye, Hawkeye, and Eye-word. OK, that’s a stretch, but I’m in a silly-ass mood again. You see what that brought us when I wrote the Iowa preview in semi-Ebonic mode. So I guess I’ll shitcan the frivolity. Or not.
I really don’t want to write about Ind—oops, I mean Native-Americanana. Let my ennui provide something constructive, in any case. Do you know what a Hoosier is? I didn’t think so. Well, here’s something I shamelessly stole about the origin of the word.
The origins of Hoosier are rather obscure, but the most likely possibility is that the term is an alteration of hoozer, an English dialect word recorded in Cumberland, a former county of northwest England, in the late 19th century and used to refer to anything unusually large. The transition between hoozer and Hoosier is not clear. The first recorded instance of Hoosier meaning “[Native-Americanana] resident” is dated 1826; however, it seems possible that senses of the word recorded later in the Dictionary of Americanisms, including “a big, burly, uncouth specimen or individual; a frontiersman, countryman, rustic,” reflect the kind of use this word had before it settled down in [there’s that I-word again]. As a nickname, Hoosier was but one of a variety of disparaging terms arising in the early 19th century for the inhabitants of particular states. For example, Texans were called Beetheads, Alabamans were Lizards, Nebraskans were Bug-eaters, South Carolinians were Weasels, and Pennsylvanians were Leatherheads. People in Missouri might have had it worst of all—they were called Pukes. Originally, these names were probably taken up by people living in neighboring states, but belittled residents adopted them in a spirit of defiant pride, much as American colonists turned the derisive term Yankee into a moniker for their spirit of rebellion. Today, most of these frontier nicknames have disappeared from the landscape. A few like Okie still exist with much of their original animus. Others survive as nicknames for the sports teams of state universities—the North Carolina Tarheels, the Ohio [State] Buckeyes, and so on—fighting words only on the playing field or court.
How’s that for filler material? The PSU Leatherheads will be playing the big, burly, uncouth Hoosiers during this purported bye week. Good thing we won’t be seeing the Pukes.
I used that as a spacer so it wouldn’t look like I was too lazy to write about the game. Frankly, I’m bored with this game and don’t really want to write about it. How many times must I say that before you believe me? I’d rather be planning our hiking excursion tomorrow. The team and its coaches better not be feeling similar apathy and detachment.
The foregoing bit of snottiness leads us to the half-hearted Official Turkey Poop Prediction for the week. I really screwed up last week, predicting a big, 31-7 win over Iowa. This week is accordingly problematical. The Nitty Kitties could come out completely flat, passionless, and apathetic, or they could come out frustrated, angry, and ready to kick ass. It’s anyone’s guess. The gambling line is a bit ridiculous, with Penn State favored by 37 and an over/under of 57. This suggests a 47-10 outcome. You know what’s coming. Let’s not overthink this—I have to charge up my GPS batteries and get the bug spray out. Leatherheads 47, Hoosiers 10.