Danny Hope is in his 4th year at the helm at Purdue University. Over his first 3 years, Hope was 16-21 overall and 10-14 in conference games his first 3 years. While Purdue is not the Big 10 power currently that they once were, that's tough to swallow for the Boiler faithful out there. His case isn't help by the fact that he lost the Bucket for the first time in West Lafayette since 1996 in 2010. Last year was the only time Purdue made it to a bowl, the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl (they did win thank goodness), under Hope. The 7-6 season with a bowl win was apparently enough to justify a contract extension for Hope. And after a bowl trip last season, hopes around campus were moderately optimistic coming into the season. Though there were also some with their doubts seeing the lack of success in the first 3 years of his tenure.
Early in the season, Purdue looked pretty good, Purdue surged out to a 3-1 non-conference record with the only loss coming to a very good Notre Dame team in South Bend, and it was close. With both Ohio State and Penn State being ineligible to play for a conference title, some analysts started talking about Purdue having a shot at competing in the conference championship. Purdue had Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin all at home and Iowa and Minnesota as the out of division games. 5 wins in conference could be enough for a shot to play in Indy with a trip to Pasadena on the line. But in the first 4 conference game this year Purdue has been outscored 155- 77. No that's not a typo. Michigan and Wisconsin came to West Lafayette and made Purdue look like an FCS team, not a title contender. Purdue let Ohio State stick around (even without Heisman canidate Braxton Miller) and win it in Overtime. And this week, Boiler fans (and anyone who happened to turn on BTN on saturday afternoon) got to watch the Boilers fall apart playing against a Minnesota team that had yet to win a game in Conference (though there were signs of life in the second half). At this point I feel a conversation overheard on campus during the 4th quarter of the Wisconsin game sums up the feeling right now:
Young Girl: Daddy, are the Boilers still playing?
Father: The Boilers are on the field, saying they are playing is up for debate.
Sorry Boilers Nation... you know its true. As of right now, the only team that Purdue is ahead of in the conference standings is Illinois (yes, IU and Minnesota both have more conference wins). Including the Marshall game, Purdue has not looked great. And that brings me to the title of my article "No hope for Hope?". Will Danny Hope have a job come January, barring a major change... this writer is doubtful. Purdue has 4 games left, and despite their poor play as of late, 3 wins in those 4 games makes them bowl eligible. Now those 4 games include both Penn State (who have been solid this year despite VERY heavy sanctions) and a trip to Iowa (never easy). The saving grace is if Purdue can scratch out a win in one of those 2 games, the last 2 games of the season are Illinois and IU, which should both be very winnable games. Barring a trip to a bowl game, I think the Boilers have a new man calling the shot next season.