-Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird
We, The Rivalry, Esq. place before this college football court, the 2009 season of the Purdue Boilermakers. It has been a summer of change for Purdue, as Danny Hope replaces Joe Tiller. The question has been debated: will the change lead to increased success? I say to you, ladies and gentlemen of the college football jury, ENOUGH! Let this court give them the fair assessment that they deserve.
I. Case History
You can look at 4-8 as disappointing, and you'd be right. But what gets lost in the won/loss record is the performance that the defense put up in October. In two consecutive games, Purdue held the Co-Big Ten Champs to 20 and 16 points. Aside from when Ohio State and Penn State faced off, no one held the teams to less. For a program that made its name in the late '90's for being "basketball on grass," it was a very impressive turn.
There were losses in games against Oregon and Iowa that slipped away, but I'm sure the team will try to build on the successes that they had against Michigan and Indiana. Those victories always feel sweet.
II. Factual Summation
A. The Rivalry, Esq. Says
Here's some of what we've written about Purdue over the off-season
B. Michael Jackson Says
Because all blogs are required to compare athletic teams to some random entertainment icon, we're equating Big Ten Teams and Michael Jackson songs. The quality of the reading improves if you listed to the barely justified song choice as you continue.
Purdue's has gone and made a change. Is it gonna feel real good. Is it gonna make a difference? Is it gonna make it right?
III. Emotional Plea
A. I Hate Purdue
Maybe its because he's lived too long in the South, where hatred is a tangible commodity, but Bama Hawkeye has felt his hatred for Big Ten rivals boiling. Here's why he hates Purdue.
I hate Purdue because people act as if Joe Tiller was the first Big Ten coach to ever have his team throw a forward pass...I hate that "Boiler Up!" chant that their crowd yells after every play...I hate that their colors are a bit too similar to Iowa's...I hate that you absolutely can't win in the Big House. When was the last time? 1966? Seriously?...I hate that I still don't know what the word Purdue means...I hate that in 2002 on a late 4th and 1, you let Ohio State throw long to Michael Jenkins for the game winning touchdown. That kept Ohio State undefeated and Iowa out of the Rose Bowl...I hate Purdue.
B. Why You Should Love Purdue
Because the mascot carries a sledgehammer. Because the nickname is a college drinking right of passage. Because they took players that nobody wanted and made it to a Rose Bowl. Because they have earned the moniker Quarterback U. Because that Big Drum is cool and still contains the original 1921 frame. Because they're in the Big Ten.
A.The Rivalry, Esq. Calls the Games
|Opponent||Graham Filler Picks||Law Buckeye Picks||Bama Hawkeye Picks|
|FINAL RECORD||1-11 (0-8)||2-10 (0-8)||4-8 (2-6)|
B. Bama Hawkeye Calls the Bowl Game
Another year without a bowl for the Boilermakers. They can still confort themselves in the one bowl that will have them.
V. On Appeal
I have mixed feelings about Notre Dame potentially going off the schedule. Though they are no longer a viable national title contender, on name recognition alone it does draw plenty of attention to Purdue when we play them. I do love it when we beat them because all the irrational Notre Dame fans pretty much freak out when it happens. The sole reason we get a night game this season is because it is Notre Dame. ESPN/ABC has a rare chance to broadcast one of their games instead of NBC, so they jumped at the chance to put it in prime time. As much as I hate it, people watch the Irish. We benefit from that once a year, so losing that game will cost us some exposure.
On the other hand, it does free us up to do some more creative scheduling. Unless the program makes a drastic turn northward and starts contending for Big Ten title every season (possible, but unlikely), we are going to schedule our non-conference games to give us 2 or 3 wins before jumping into conference play. 2009 is one of our most ambitious non-conference schedules in recent memory. Much like 2008, getting three non-conference wins will be tough. It is unlikely we're going add a big name opponent as long as the Irish are on our schedule. In recent years we have played BCS conference teams at or below our level like Arizona, Wake Forest, and Oregon, but they aren't the elite of the elite. Oregon is probably the best of those teams, being one of the better Pac-10 teams.