Indiana, we got one question for you.
(Photo by Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)
WHAT ARE THOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE
There's no shortage of irony that Indiana's football program is one of the worst in power conference history, its basketball program is one of the best, and the hoopsters are easily the more sartorially challenged of the two programs. Those are candy cane stripey pants. They've been wearing them on purpose for decades. You can associate them with success all you want, but if I win the lottery while I'm wearing Crocs, the *first thing* I'm doing is making sure I never have to wear Crocs again in my life, you dig?
That's not to say the Indiana football team isn't an absolute mess in and of itself; its failures are small and varied, while IU clings ferociously to... whatever those pants are. Yes, Indiana football would never stoop to the garish stripey level OH WAIT
(Photo by Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports)
WHAT. ARE. THOSE.
IU. Huddle up real quick. Of the myriad concerns one can have about the Hoosiers' stripey warmup pants, "not shiny enough" is not one of them. If there's one thing worse than red and white stripes, it's the possibility that those stripes can blind you if the sun catches them the right way. That's adding injury to insult.
[I'll give you this, Indiana, because this column is about nothing if not generosity: the script Indiana helmets are FIRE. Don't overthink it.]
One other note, though. Indiana doesn't have a mascot for us to, uh, appreciate. That's understandable on some level, because "what the hell is a Hoosier" is a valid question and while it's something that would resonate with the locals, Hellman's won't license a giant tub of mayonnaise traipsing along the sidelines.
But did you know Indiana has tried mascots? And they've all been
terrible GREAT ideas? You truly owe it to yourself to read this Indiana Daily Student article, which starts out with—I promise I'm not making any of this up—a gymnast named the Hoosier Schoolmaster... and then goes steadily downhill.
Here are some other fun excerpts.
The student body voted on several mascot ideas, ultimately deciding to implement a Collie as the campus mascot. However, the students were unable to raise the $75 needed to purchase the dog and were unable to attain the mascot in time for the homecoming football game.
The first appearance of the bison mascot was at the bonfire pep rally of 1965 before a football game against Purdue. A student wore a mask and a furry jumpsuit, which was not seen as a strong symbol.
The bison was retired two years later because fans complained that the mascot was poorly designed, embarrassing and non-inspiring.
...hang on. A bison mascot. At Indiana. Which is farther east than literally over half of the SEC. We need to dig deeper oh good there's more:
Though the University attempted to purchase a live buffalo for the second time — the first attempt was in 1946 — the plan was foiled yet again by safety concerns for both the bull and the crowd.
Instead, Disney helped create a $1,400 costume. Despite the high costs, cut out eyeholes were forgotten in the bull's head, making mascot performances especially difficult.
There's also an "Ox The Bulldog" and a "Mr. Hoosier Pride" in the annals of history, the latter of which was a straight-up ripoff of Nebraska's Big Red.
We can't say this forcefully enough: bring back the bison costume. Don't cut the eyeholes. You are #CHAOSTEAM, you deserve—nay, owe it to college football to have a game swing on a blind buffalo mascot wandering onto the field and into the path of a ball carrier in full sprint. Wear the script Indianas. Ditch the candy-caners on the hardwood. This isn't difficult.