My word, we’re almost to the end of Indiana Week.
You can look at the case for Hoosier optimism—and a slightly less realistic Indiana football and basketball podcast, if Thump and Green Akers talking to BuffKomodo are your thing—but know that, below, we’re gonna load you up on calories so bland and Hoosier football takes so spicy that you’ll say “Ope!” just scrolling down.
The Food: BEEF
Dearly beloved, we are gathered today to talk about a holy union, that of meat, bread, and gravy. Meet an Indianapolis culinary innovation, the Beef Manhattan:
You can read a good odyssey about it above, but the simplest description is that during World War II, workers at a naval ordnance plant in Indianapolis imported a sandwich style from New York City that included pot roast or roast beef between slices of white bread, then slathered in brown gravy.
Simple and comforting today, writers:
* Have you? What’s the take on the Beef Manhattan where you’re from?
* Since we may well be talking about a kind of World War II-style rationing of wins in Bloomington this year, grab your coupon books and tell us whether there was an innovation in food in your family (or your town, whatever) borne out of the war.
Thumpasaurus: Next time I smoke a brisket, I might just have to try and put a really smoky bit into a rye Manhattan. That’s the only Beef Manhattan in which I have interest.
Kind of…: Add some mashed potatoes and you have school lunch from a couple hundred Thursdays from my youth.
Green Akers: Sure I have, here you would just call that an open-faced sandwich. It works well with turkey, too. I can’t eat one if it’s warmer than about 50 degrees, but on a cold day? Give me that and some green beans and carrots and we’re good to go.
MNW: We covered this a couple years ago, I want to say, as a “Beef Commercial” – same idea, just a different name, and equally ubiquitous across small-town restaurants and now nursing homes in the Upper Midwest. It’s delicious and comforting, reminding us of a simpler time when family farms still existed.
I know that my mom (only 58) grew up eating “shit on a shingle,” chipped beef and cream gravy on crackers, because they didn’t have a ton of money and it’s what my grandparents remembered from the war. But down in south-central Minnesota, the only war-time innovation I ever heard about was who was brewing the moonshine in one of the valleys down by the Cottonwood River.
MaximumSam: Replace the bread with tortillas and the gravy with verde sauce and I’m on board. Not sure what my family did during the war - they were farmers and probably didn’t buy that much anyway. My uncle liked fried mush, which is just cornmeal mash that is fried and then drizzled with syrup or sorghum. Not exactly high brow food.
misdreavus79: I have, in fact, never tasted this, even though I lived in New York until six or so years ago. Now, growing up poor, rationing food was simply part of daily life back in the DR. The biggest strategy we picked up was rice with scrambled eggs. Spread the eggs over the rice and it looks like you have a lot of eggs!
WSR: Once upon a time I worked in a small-town cafe that made a variation of these. I can’t remember what they were called, but they were good. It feels like a good reminder to always trust cafes in towns with less than 200 people.
A beef Manhattan?
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Absolutely. I always trust cafes in towns with FEWER than 200 people.
Yes, but a beef commercial for me.
Uh...when I’m in the neighborhood, sure.
I’ll take the shit on a shingle, thanks.
Uh...whatever MaximumSam just concocted, sure.
Fried mush for me, thanks.
Rice and scrambled eggs, thanks.
The Football: Uh...BEEF?
Well, it’s a Big Ten East schedule, sooooo…
Drawing three of its four generally winnable games (Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue) at home is a boost for Indiana, who has a conceivable path to 6-6 if all shakes out predictably, perhaps 7-5 if things are reaaaaally kind to them.
Easy peasy today, writers:
* How does Indiana finish in 2022? Show your work.
Thumpasaurus: I’m going to say 6-6. As tempted as I am to say that the awful strugglefuck between brand-new OC’s will turn in Illinois’ favor, and as much of a problem as Indiana’s offense looks like it will be…the Illini offense will be pretty miserable as well. Idaho and WKU fall to complete the Paul Petrino Alumni Sweep. Cincinnati is a loss, Nebraska certainly looks like a loss until a backbreaking mistake turns the tide of the game in Indiana’s favor in the last five minutes, and then Maryland is the next victory before things start to turn south.
Rutger is a toss-up for me, so I lean home in that case. The only other win I have them getting here is in fact at Michigan State, which I say only because IU and MSU have low-key been playing really really stupid games for most of the last 5-6 years and they’ve mostly gone MSU’s way when they’ve gotten real stupid.
Kind of…: I’m saying 5-7/3-6, which will be disappointing given the 3-0 start. And, honestly, I think 4-8 is just as likely as 6-6 given that you can’t just assume they’ll go 2-0 vs. Maryland and Rutgers. Might come down to the season finale and whether Purdue gelled or not.
Green Akers: Probably going to have to say 5-7. 3-0 to start, wins over ‘Gurz and Murrland as well. Can’t call them to beat the likes of Cinci, Nebby, MSU or Purdue until they prove their offense is anything but utterly inept.
MaximumSam: I’ll be a bit more pessimistic and go with 4-8 (2-7). I do think Indiana will be better than last year, maybe a lot better. The problem is being a lot better makes them an average team, and there are very few gimmies on their schedule. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get above .500, but after the bottom fell out last year it’s tough to trust them.
MNW: Yeah, I’ll roll in at 4-8 (2-7) like MaximumSam. I think Maryland’s pulled up the basement just enough that that’s not a gimme, nor is Rutgers, though anywhere up to 6-6 wouldn’t stun me.
This could be a fun wild card team, though, if Walt Bell can get that offense chugging along. It’s the obvious caveat, of course, but it looks to be so true for the Hoosiers this year.
BoilerUp89: I’m going to guess 4-8 (2-7), although anything from 2-10 to 6-6 wouldn’t shock me. Home games against WKU and Idaho should almost certainly be wins. I’ll also project IU to split Illinois & Rutgers. Then I’ll take them to win 1 of the Nebraska, Maryland, Purdue trio of games. If I absolutely had to call which games they win, I’d go with Illinois (home) and Maryland (home and still not out of bowl contention).
misdreavus79: Let’s pencil the obvious losses down to start: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Cincinnati. Then, we take the ones they’re likely to lose, Penn State and Purdue, and that leaves you with exactly six games you must win to go bowling. So, It’s either “upset someone along the way to give yourself wiggle room, or go 4-8.” I’ll split the difference and say 5-7.
WSR: So that’s definitely a schedule. The non-conf has one game that’s a definite YIKES in Cincinnati, but I’m also kinda intrigued by that game. I have as much of an idea about what Illinois is as what Indiana is, so I don’t think we’ll learn much from that game. Wins against Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, and Sparty aren’t probably going to happen, so that leaves 4 games to get wins against Rutgers and 3 teams that accrue a lot of talent and then do fuck all with it. I’m guessing 5-7, but I wouldn’t be surprised by either a 7-5 year or 2-10.
Buffkomodo: What was the highest answer, Drew? 6? I’ll take 7-5. Hah. Losers.
In the Big Ten, Indiana goes...
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5-4 or better
Meaning that overall, Indiana goes...
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1-11 or worse
8-4 or better
Huge shoutout, here, to BuffKomodo, for absolutely knocking it out of the park with his first Indiana Week! Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting, as well, and for making OTE one of your homes for Indiana and Big Ten football content. See you tomorrow for Hate Friday!