The 10 Dumbest States in America


The financial website “The Street” went on a quest to find the states where the most intelligent people reside. While I have nothing but respect for Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, et. al, my greatest interest in their findings were largely in the other direction. What states put out the greatest percentile of dummies … and what might it say about college sports?

10.  Tennessee:  No real surprise here. The most intelligent person to come out of Tennessee was Ernie Ford and he died 23 years ago. In a state where Dollywood is considered an attraction and a faded version of Oregon State’s colors adorn the state’s premier college, the Volunteer State gets to be the smartest of the nincompoop states. I guess that’s something.


9.  Oklahoma:  I feel a little bit bad about this one. I have four relatives in Oklahoma and the fact that they make up 10% of the total I.Q. in the state is something that i find sad. As Oregon fans, we have had our dealings with Sooners and Sooner or later the subject of college football will come up. They have no answer for this (or anything else where more than two syllables are required).

8.  Indiana:  A little bit of a surprise until you remember that this is the state that idolizes a sociopath.

7.  Alabama:  Are we surprised that the folks in Alabama are a little slow? The state’s premier college football coach wants to codify “slow” as part of the  NCAA rulebook.

6.  Nevada:  Surely a misprint. Wayne Newton took a run at Beverly De’Angelo in “Las Vegas Vacation.” I support that decision.

5.  Louisiana:  Louisiana and their state university are known for raucous and drunk home games, raucous and drunk fans at “neutral site” games within walking distance of their home field and the drunk-fest known as Mardi Gras. Eventually the folks in the Cajun State need something to dilute all that liquor. A state high on the intelligence list would choose something  starchy or salty. Not so, Louisiana.

4.  Kentucky:  Two things that you need to know about Kentucky. They call themselves the “Bluegrass State,” but the grass isn’t blue.

Apparently Greengrass wasn't special enough

Apparently Greengrass wasn’t special enough.

And, though the first enamel bathtub was invented in Louisville in 1856, no one in Kentucky thought to bring it inside until 1956.

Is that John Calipari coming to recruit Cletus?

Is that John Calipari coming to recruit Cletus?

3.  Mississippi: This is a sensitive one because a lot of Duck fans feel an affinity for Mississippi State. But the statistics don’t lie. Mississippians couldn’t communicate from town to town for years because the string tied to the can would get caught up in the cow.

I wish you people would quit calling me

I wish you people would quit calling me.

2.  Arkansas:  The first runner-up in the 2014 Pageant of the Dumb is Arkansas. Rumor has it that this state was named when a settler without access to a Garmin, wrote home and said, “I are in Kansas.”

Razorback football games start with a Spelling Bee.  Here you see the finals from 2013.

Razorback football games start with a Spelling Bee. Here you see the finals from 2013.

1.  West Virginia:  Look, I’m as big a fan of postgame football celebrations as anyone. There is a particular frat in Corvallis that once got extra eggs for breakfast courtesy of, well never mind that. But celebrating a big win over a rival with the torching of a perfectly good couch? That’s just dumb.

So what did we learn? Well, six of the ten states fall in SEC country, represented by nine different universities, and none of the ten states are home to a Pac-12 school. That’s easy enough to explain. Twelve is a pretty high number to count.

Let's see. the Northern Division is Stanford, Cal, Oregon and...where was I?

Let’s see. the North Division is Stanford, Cal, Oregon and … where was I?

Go Ducks, women and men!


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Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings is a 1984 graduate of Northwest Christian College. He cut his journalistic teeth as sports editor of a paper in his home town of Fortuna, CA, and, later as a columnist for the Longview Daily News in Longview, WA. He saw his first Oregon game in 1977 and never missed a home game from 1981 until a bout with pneumonia cut his streak short in 1997. He was one of the proud 3200 on a bitterly cold night in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1989 for the Independence Bowl, and continues to be big supporter of Oregon sports. He is an active participant on the various Oregon Ducks messageboards as "TacomaDuck."

  • Jamie

    Who are we Oregonians to be bragging Kim?
    We are the only state in the union to re-elect a governor who, upon expiration of his first two terms in office, called the state: “Ungovernable.”

    Shouldn’t that place us somewhere between TN and WV in your scale of the Dumbest? After all, who elects a governor that makes excuses for his failures before he even runs for the office?

    It’s a damn poor carpenter/tradesman that blames his tools.

  • Thanks for reading, Jamie. Politics are verboten here per the Cheese, so I’ll just say that this was a light-hearted entry by someone who is proud of the state of Oregon. Columnists in one of these states are free to take a run at us. There’s plenty of room to poke fun at Oregon. Take Corvallis…please.

  • Crab Street

    We in Arizona are disappointed … this was our one chance to be first in something. When filling out the form, our Governor — since we are a southern state — indicated that we are in South America …

    • Thanks for reading, C. Street. Yes, I had high hopes for Arizona as well. Interesting things come from that place. I blame the heat. It has to be hard living in the suburbs of Hell.

      • Crab Street

        Welcome to AZ, the Penthouse of Hell
        The Chamber of Commerce can work with this …

  • Rgyle

    Funny! Well done!