Just a recap on the teams we've been keeping track of. IU had their bowl hopes officially ended with their loss to Ohio State this weekend. IU couldn't capitolize on a very favorable schedule to reach bowl season... and it may cost Wilson his job. Notre Dame held off a decent BYU team 23-13 on Saturday on their last home game of the year, they head to Stanford next week in what most people have to figure is going to be a loss for the Irish. Ball State had an off week and face winless Miami (OH) University this Friday in what should be a cakewalk for the Cardinals. UIndy's season came to an end this past Saturday with a loss at home in the D-II playoffs. But enough about all those other teams, today we talk about the Boilers.
As a grad student up at Purdue, I have the distinct pleasure of having a fairly good idea on how Purdue athletics are going. I hear about them from students. I hear about them from my boss. I hear about them at church. Purdue sports are king around here. The majority of Purdue fans believe that Purdue belongs with the Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan crowd in the hunt for the Big Ten title every year. But over the last 5 or so years, Purdue has slowly been slipping in to Big Ten mediocrity. Last year, Danny Hope (then coach of the Boilers) would tell anyone who would listen that this was the year Purdue made its way back into the limelight. The result a very disappointing 6-6 season and Danny Hope was out of a job. Enter Darrell Hazel, the coach that was going to turn things around for the Boilers. What did he inherit? Not a lot of talent. I know the Purdue fans who are reading this might not like to hear that, but its true. The Boilers lost a lot of talent, and early in the season it was clear Rob Henry wasn't the answer at QB. The Boilers Defense has had its moments this year, showing signs of life in several games, but the lack of offense has plagued the Boilermakers all season. Hazel inserted freshmen Danny Etling into the QB job midseason and he has shown great strides as the season has progressed, but stepping into the starting job in the middle of the Big Ten season is the definition of trial by fire. Like I said, Purdue hasn't been downright awful in all of its games. Purdue hung around in the Iowa game, only trailing by 7 at the half, they gave Penn State a close game in Happy Valley, the played better than expected in East Lancing, and they only lost by 6 to Illinois. On top of that, the Boilers game Notre Dame everything they could handle and then some. The problem is Purdue went nearly a month between Red Zone visits... not Red Zone touchdowns, or even scores, but visits... during the big ten season.. You all know full and well that that doesn't get the job done in the Big Ten. Purdue does have one win to speak of, a week 2 win against Indiana State, but even then they trailed for a good period of the game.
This week the Boilers take on the Hoosiers in a meaningless bucket game. For the first time in recent memory, neither team will be eligible to go to a bowl regardless of the outcome of this game. The good news for the Boilers is that they are being as productive on Offense now as they have been all year. More good news, the IU defense has looked as holey as swiss cheese lately, and IU's "prolific" offense has scored all of 17 points in 2 weeks. Here's the problem for Purdue: They aren't Ohio State or Wisconsin. In games not against those teams, IU has scored AT LEAST 28 in each game. Purdue hasn't managed 28 points once this year. Also working against Purdue this week is the fact the Bucket game is down in Bloomington. While IU doesn't have a huge home field advantage like other Big Ten teams, in recent years the Boilers haven't done a ton of damage down there. Purdue needs to pray for bad weather because the Hoosiers have seemed to struggle in cold and wet conditions this year. All that said, here is my prediction for the Bucket game: IU wins... and it won't be that close, but Purdue will score at least 3 times and get well over 100 yards on the ground.
T.O. signing out
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