As part of today’s retirement journey, we move on to Vanderbilt Beach and more old friends to see. It was usually the ski slopes where we’d meet years ago, but now it’s the surf. It will certainly be another afternoon of laughs recounting the memories. More fellow Hoosier Snow Birds taking advantage of the sand and sunshine. My last two lunches were at beach bars with friends from Fort Wayne that I hadn’t seen for seven years, while today’s reunion over drinks will be three years for him and sixteen for her. We’ll spend the night in Naples and drive to Miami tomorrow.
My wife can’t bear to leave this morning without one last trip by the house, hoping that the front door is being installed and the roofing tile is completed. We’ve been by every day to check on its progress, still targeting mid-March completion. This will be our last opportunity before we move in. We also leave behind the grandkids until that moment when we become permanent residents. After the first night on South Beach we’ll then drive up to Vero Beach to visit with another Hoosier friend for the day, and back to Miami for the rest of our Florida stay.
I was excited that the I.U. Hoosier basketball team was able to redeem themselves last night with a victory over #4 Iowa. I was at a low point with the team after the Purdue embarrassment last week, and glad that I wouldn’t be able to watch last night for fear of more shame. In fact, I fell asleep at halftime and was shocked by the 81-69 final score. Somehow, the Cream & Crimson were able to overcome a twelve point deficit and win by thirteen. Iowa did not score for eleven minutes, so great defense and some much needed good fortune prevailed. The victory also gives them some tourney credibility that was certainly in doubt last week. Rutgers is the next match-up that I will also miss by being a Florida Snow Bird.
I’ve now completed 4,400 consecutive days of running, another milestone in The Streak that started over twelve years ago. This daily routine has consumed 17% of my life, but it’s hard to remember those times when I wasn’t doing it every day. It’s a meaningful accomplishment, especially when it’s crossed off the daily checklist, and I can sit and write about it. My feet have felt heavy this past week, while my muscles remain stiff from the cold, damp weather. I can’t seem to warm up, so I’m looking forward to two weeks of hot Florida sunshine. I’ll see my son, grandkids, and a few Midwest friends in the process. We’ll also get to see firsthand the progress on our home.
Today is what I like to call the basketball bucket game, although there is no trophy like football, just bragging rights. It’s the first of two IU-PU annual matchups that always stack-up to be the most important games on the schedule every year. There have been 211 meetings in total with the Boilermakers leading the overall series 122-89. Purdue has also won the last seven, so Hoosier pride is on the line. Both teams are currently 3-3 in the BIG, hoping to escape from mediocrity in the conference. Even though tonight’s game is in Bloomington, there’s not much of a home field advantage with limited crowds due to Covid. The Hoosier teams have not been good from the free throw line or any other spot on the court in recent years, so they need to find a way to score. They can win by scoring 70 points or more, with their only loss at that level to Wisconsin in double overtime. A low scoring game with lots of fouls will spell disaster for the Cream & Crimson. Purdue, on the other hand, has just proven they can win in a low scoring battle, beating favored Michigan State 55-54 on the road. They will jam IU efforts to score inside and force us to take the 3, especially with our best outside shooter on the sidelines with an injury. It will probably be ugly!
Fortunately, I have a Flaviar whiskey shipment due to be delivered today. I will need it to calm my nerves, as I text with friends that will be rooting both for and against me. This is the beauty of the rivalry that can only be appreciated with a victory. IU is favored by 3.5 with an over/under of 130. This supports my “Magic of 70” theory. We have a much better chance of winning if we can score 70 points or more in regulation. The teams appear to be evenly matched but according to oddsmakers IU has a 65.2% chance of winning. Purdue won last year 57-49 and 74-62. The year before it was PU 48-46 and 70-55. These pathetic scoring efforts by the Hoosiers will have to end tonight to stop the bleeding. We need buckets of baskets!
I came in from my run this morning looking like a drowned rat. The rain was coming down and the wind was blowing in my face. I tried to dodge the puddles but the passing cars sprayed me with muddy water. It was day #4398 of The Streak and I’m glad to now be sitting in warmth. Next week I’ll be complaining about the Florida heat. Our schnauzer Tally was not happy about the rain either and stalled before getting out of bed. She ran away from me as soon as I tried to put on her coat and took the shortest route possible to do her business. The only thing tolerable about wet weather for her is to be thoroughly toweled-off afterwards.
I got two new tires yesterday as further preparation for our upcoming cross-country drive to our new house. There was a slow leak in the front right that was easily patched, but I decided to look out for our overall safety. The back two tires were previously replaced, so only and an oil change/tune-up remains to be done before March. That’s when we expect Florida construction to be completed. We’re all looking forward to getting out of this rain when we go down to check on it next week. It will be two much anticipated weeks of sun and surf.
We caught up on the latest episodes of Your Honor and Shameless yesterday. and I watched The Tide Roll over the Buckeyes for the National Title. My entire focus will now be on basketball starting with the Indiana vs. Purdue match-up Thursday night. Tomorrow evening we agreed to go to a friend’s house for dinner. It’s the first time we’ve dined out for months and the first time in ten months that we’ve broken bread with anyone other than family. Once we get to Florida, the restaurants will be open and we’ll not be cooking. It’s my turn to prepare tonight’s meal. Hopefully, I will have dried out by then with only faint memories of the splash I made this morning, running like a drowned rat!
This morning was about as exciting as it gets these days. The money was deposited in our savings account to cover all the closing costs on our new Florida home and the builder took us on a detailed tour of the exposed wiring, plumbing, and structure. Our new home is slowly coming together based on the model we selected and the modifications that we arranged. Ten-foot ceilings, eight-foot doorways, a larger garage, upgraded appliances, and a pool are gradually becoming reality. I will share the floor plan and some photos with my friends shortly in a Zoom “Leadership Meeting.”
This afternoon, I will then put together a plan for to tomorrow’s baseball card show. I want to fill in some lineups for the 1954-1972 White Sox teams. I also added some photos to my Sherm Lollar collection this past week with some E-Bay purchases. Switching back and forth between hobbies keeps things from getting too routine. Card collecting, genealogy, and writing have been the mainstays of retirement. It’s been frustrating not being able to travel, as well, but at least a trip to Florida is only a week away. We’ll check out the house in person, visit with friends & family, drive down through The Keys, and spend a week in Miami. Florida is the one place that has been consistently open this past year, so we’ve managed three visits, including the cross-country drive.
It was another frustrating finish for I.U. basketball last night. A chance to beat Wisconsin in Madison for the first time in 23 years fell short in double overtime. We were on the verge of winning in regulation and overtime, but the second extended period was all Badgers. The next game is Sunday at Nebraska, with must-win expectations. The new year has not been kind to the Hoosiers with key losses in both football and basketball. At least, I have a new home to look forward to in March since Madness may not happen again for this very average BIG team. Today’s home inspection, however, has lifted my spirits about the future.
It’s a New Year with hopes of an I.U. Outback Bowl victory. Last year, they fell short against Tennessee with a late game letdown. With last night’s Ohio State Sugar Bowl domination of Clemson, this Hoosier team is even stronger than I thought. We came so close against the Buckeyes, plus Northwestern throttled Auburn, so the BIG 10 has proven to be a very formidable league, especially against the highly touted SEC. Indiana can add to the 3-0 conference bowl record today with a victory over Old Miss in Tampa. This would set the stage for more respect when next year’s postseason slate is determined.
The Hoosiers should have played in the top tier Citrus Bowl instead of Northwestern but fell in the final rankings to #11 despite a convincing win over Wisconsin, the other BIG bowl representative. Clearly politics played a role, just as Notre Dame was awarded a playoff spot despite the Clemson blow-out loss. Coach Tom Allen has vaulted the I.U. program into the upper echelon of a powerful conference. They can prove their worth today! My other team, #25 Oregon, plays #10 Iowa State later today in the Fiesta Bowl.
Meanwhile, basketball continues to struggle, but did manage to pull-off an OT win over Penn State. Another W against Maryland next week and they can even their BIG record after an 0-2 start. Basketball used to be the big sport on campus in Bloomington, but surprisingly football has proven to be more successful in recent years. In the Bob Knight era it was “The Magic of 60.” If the Hoosiers got to 60 before their opponent victory was eminent. However, with the addition of the 3-point shot, 70 is now coach Archie Miller’s defining number. With his leadership, in conference play (including the B1G tourney) the Hoosiers are 18-7 when scoring 70 or more points and 10-30 when scoring below 70 points. 70 is the new 60 going forward.
Purdue basketball is off to a 7-4 start, but 2-2 in the conference. They play #15 Illinois this afternoon, after losing to #14 Rutgers. It would be nice to see a ranked Purdue or Indiana program. Unfortunately, both rivals will be in the lower half of the BIG since the league is loaded with 7 nationally ranked teams. Here on the West coast, the undefeated Zags are still the #1 team in the country while the Oregon Ducks (6-1) stand at #21.
On the baseball front, the Cubs continue to clean house with the trade of Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the Padres. Yu has been the pitching leader for the last two years, with Cy Young consideration. There’s also talk of dealing my favorite and IU alum, Kyle Schwarber. Rizzo and Bryant will soon become free agents, so the World Series Champions of 2016 are seeing their winning foundation deteriorate. Today, however, my concern is football the Indiana Hoosiers in the Outback Bowl.
2020 is now hindsight. I don’t normally like to call attention to dates in my writing so the information in my posts can stand for many years. However, this past year has been so unique that it’s difficult to hide its identity. Hopefully, in a few years, masks, stay-at-home directives, and social distancing will not be commonplace. I look forward to the time when we can hug and shake hands again. Although, who to hug and when has always been an awkward decision for me. The year has taught us that there’s so much to look forward to enjoying again, but to also be thankful for what we have.
The first step today was to recycle all the pages of my 2020 calendar and replace it with the new “word of the day” version. 2021 starts with the familiar definition of “divulge,” so not a particularly challenging beginning to the year. It’s football this afternoon and dinner with the family tonight. This morning’s run was dark and misty, a typical Portland winter greeting to the day. Rain is in the forecast for the next ten days, but so is Florida just 15 days away. It will be the end of a stay-at-home streak extending back four months. Other than dog walking, picking up carry-out, and running, the only outside activities have been a day of whale watching, doctor appointments, an afternoon of grape crushing, two sit-down lunches with friends, and a couple of ventures across town to see my wife’s daughter/husband. In that time, construction started on our new home, the Dodgers won the World Series, Dustin Johnson easily won the delayed Masters, Joe Biden was elected President, and IU football earned an Outback Bowl bid.
Now is the time to look ahead. What will 2021 bring in the way of fortune and challenges? When will we finally get to move out of this cramped apartment and make our way to the new Florida home? It could very well be one of the most exciting chapters in our lives, once we finally get through all the moving hassles. Will international travel become a reality again? Travel may become less of a retirement priority with our resort lifestyle and a pool in the backyard. How will life change with three grandkids nearby? 2021 is all about foresight rather than hindsight.
With the cancellation of the Bucket Game, I was able to focus on Oregon vs. USC for the Pac12 title. USC may very well be I.U.’s Fiesta Bowl opponent but will now appear in that game without an undefeated record. The Ducks saw to that with a 31-24 victory at the nearly empty LA Coliseum. it will give Oregon an opportunity to extend their season with a 4-2 record. It also ends their two-game losing streak. Coach Mario Cristobal’s had his contract extended prior to the game. USC still has the best record at 5-1 in the conference but the Ducks take the title.
As a Bucket consolation prize that does at least stay in Bloomington, Indiana basketball won a Crossroads Classic game over state rival Butler this morning. In all fairness, the Bulldogs were riddled by both injuries and Covid. I.U. tried to give them the game with turnovers and poor shooting, but prevailed in the end, as Butler literally ran out of gas. Next up for the Hoosiers is the daunting BIG 10 slate starting with Northwestern. I have my doubts if they are built to handle the bruising conference challenge, considering their lack of size. They were once again 35-30 outrebounded by Butler, as was the case in their first loss of the season against Texas. After the Wildcats, come the #13 ranked Illini with a huge front line, and then the Nittany Lions to round out 2020. The #15 Hoosier women start their BIG campaign against Nebraska, Minnesota, and Illinois.
The new year for I.U. athletics will start with a bowl game and then basketball against Maryland, #12 Wisconsin, Nebraska, Purdue, #4 Michigan State, #5 Iowa, #19 Rutgers, and #25 Michigan. I.U. will be lucky to end this stretch with a .500 record. Maybe they can at least get a victory over a Top-25 team? I’m much more confident about getting a Hoosier bowl victory. I.U. men’s basketball is in danger of another mediocre BIG10 season and I’m worried!
I experienced a little mild dizziness on this morning’s run, #4,369 of The Streak. Hopefully, it’s nothing to be concerned about, most likely dehydration. I’m always worried that I’ll have another episode like two years ago (See Post #808) where I ended up in the Emergency Room after nearly passing out. Nothing serious was found in the tests that they did, but I do have a small aneurysm that I need to continue to monitor. It’s shown little change in many years but makes me feel vulnerable. Like everyone else, I’m just grateful to have survived 2020, with only 17 days remaining.
Every little ache and pain gets magnified in these viral times, with thoughts of Covid symptoms. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I’ve had a scratchy throat, cough, or upset stomach this year that was surely the onset of the worst. What professed pessimist like myself isn’t also a hypochondriac? I can’t help but think of Fred Sanford’s famous line while grabbing his chest, “It’s the BIG one!!!” Around Portland where I now live it also refers to the inevitable earthquake. When I move to Florida in the spring, it will be the next hurricane. Fortunately, having grown up in the Midwest, I’ve survived many tornado threats. There’s always something to fret. “You hear that, Elizabeth? I’m coming to join ya, honey!”
“Big Ones” can also refer to football games. I was so disappointed when the Old Oaken Bucket game was canceled last weekend. It was a chance for the #8 Indiana Hoosiers to really shine against their biggest rival, the Purdue Boilermakers. Well. thanks to the divine intervention of the BIG10, the two were pitted against each other again this week. The game, The Big One for The Bucket, is traditionally held around Thanksgiving, but was delayed along with the season due to Covid. The virus reared its ugly head again in the cancellation, but we’ve been given a third chance for it to happen. Purdue fans probably thought they had dodged a bullet, but like a cartoon that sees it magically change direction, here it comes again! The Big One is back!
There was a Border War yesterday, but it only took place on the basketball court. Oregon beat Washington 74-71, claiming their fourth straight rivalry victory. Earlier in the day, both football teams were unfortunately stuck on the sidelines due to Covid, which now raises a controversial issue. If the game had been played, Oregon might have had a chance to play for the PAC12 Championship and potentially redeem a disappointing season. Instead, the Huskies failed to field a team yet claimed the North division with a better record, without even having played a road game. The Ducks are just another casualty of the virus.
Meanwhile in the BIG10, match-ups for Saturday’s games have yet to be announced, though it seems likely that IU.’s next football game will be against Iowa. Football continues to be the shining star in the I.U. athletics program, but sadly never got the chance to play Purdue. Oregon is now waiting to see if Washington can put together a team to play U.S.C. in the Championship. Otherwise, the Ducks could play again in their stead, since it’s unlikely they will be in a bowl game unless they get a shot at the undefeated and 15th ranked Trojans. Ohio State and Michigan also never got a chance to compete, so the BIG waived the minimum game rule to allow them to play Northwestern for the title. The two conferences have been a cluster of confusion.
I.U. basketball stands at a mediocre 3-2 after the disappointing overtime failure at Florida State. Both losses have been to Top 20 teams, keeping The Hoosiers from joining this evasive, elite group of college programs. If they continue to fall short, they may not make the tournament again this year. They’re also looking sloppy against North Alabama, while next week’s game with Butler is in Covid jeopardy. An impossibly tough conference schedule then looms ahead. All is not well with Archie Miller’s underperforming team – another cluster of confusion.
There is no Bucket or Border War to win today. Both rivalries have succumb to Covid. The teams were already three weeks behind schedule as both conference seasons were delayed and shortened by the dreaded virus. Dead. Games today will decide who plays who next, although it has already been determined that #4 Ohio State will play #14 Northwestern for the BIG10 title, #1 Alabama will face #6 Florida for the SEC crown, and #2 Notre Dame will meet #3 Clemson in a rematch for ACC bragging rights. I’m waiting to see what BIG10 team #8 Indiana plays next Saturday and whether the Oregon Ducks will get to compete for PAC12 honors or if the Huskies will automatically get the nod?
1942 was the first Old Oaken Bucket game where Indiana or Purdue entered the contest with a national rating. That year the #18 Hoosiers won 20-0. The following year #3 Purdue got revenge 7-0. In 1945, it was #4 I.U. prevailing 26-0. It wasn’t until 1960 that ratings once again became a bucket factor as #13 Purdue won in West Lafayette 35-6. 1967 went to #4 Indiana, while the 1968 #12 Boilers took home the bucket, and added another P-link in 1969 as the #17 team in the country. 1978 and 1979 also went to ranked Purdue, and it wasn’t until 1987 when the ratings tide changed as #20 Indiana won 35-14, followed by similar success by the #21 Hoosiers in 1993. After that it was all Purdue with nationally recognized teams in 1997 (#23), 1999 (#19), 2000 (#17), and 2003 (#16). Following this stretch, both programs had been in a serious ratings draught until the 2020 #8 Indiana Hoosiers took the field.
It was the Joe Tiller era from 1996-2008 when the dominant Black & Gold went 10-2 against the bucket deprived Cream & Crimson. Going back a little further, the rivalry’s biggest upset was in 1989 when Bill Mallory coached I.U. was a 15.5 favorite, but underdog Purdue led by Fred Akers pulled off a 15-14 victory. It was their only Big Ten win that year and proof that anything can happen in a rivalry game. With the death of the bucket this year, we’ll never know if lightening could have possibly struck twice?