Hey, at least y'all have Drew Brees to look upon fondly in your past!
Okay, that's a little unfair. Purdue isn't a bad team, but they certainly are not a good team. I regret not paying more attention to college football growing up, because those Purdue teams of the later ‘90s and early Aughts looked like they were fun to watch and ya know... good. Unfortunately, the Purdue team I've known in my college career (WHICH I JUST FINISHED, WOO... sorry) has been nothing except mediocre. Hopefully, that can change sometime soon and I can expand upon my Purdue paradigm.
Trending in the Wrong Direction (Purdue Performance 2005-2011)
Figure 1: Purdue Yearly FBS Rank (2005-2011)
Figure 2: Purdue Yearly Adj Off, Def Rank (2005-2011)
Figure 3: Purdue Yearly Win % and Luck (2005-2011)
Like I said: decidedly mediocre. To be fair, there has been a string of bad luck in recent years (2007-09) which makes them looks worse than they were. Unfortunately, the most recent years (2010-11) were not Purdue teams to write home about, and that was with outperforming expectations.
The above plots don't make it quite as clear, but I've got rankings going back to 1998 on my computer here, and it's been a fairly consistent and steady decline in quality for Purdue throughout that decade. 2010 was the worst Purdue team (by far), but 2011 wasn't all peaches and cream either.
So Average It Hurts (Purdue 2011 Season)
Won Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl vs Western Michigan (37-32)
2011 was: average. Incredibly average. If I had to choose a case study for average, Purdue would be it.
Offense: 26.5 pts/game
Defense: 26.6 pts/game
Adj Off: 0.980 (58th)
Adj Def: 1.003 (62nd)
OppRat: 0.020 (54th)
(6-6 before bowls)
That is incredible. Also: incredibly bland. Purdue, you are not making this exciting for me to write about. Heck, I know that losing to Rice wasn't great and that massacre against Wisconsin
WAS AWESOME AND FULFILLING wasn't pretty, but they weren't any truly awful performances (well, maybe Notre Dame), considering the competition. The one great performance came against an FCS school, which doesn't count. Man, I'm starting to understand where the ?????? references to Purdue came from on EDSBS.
[slaps face, splashes water]
Okay, a bit better. Obviously, this needs to come with the asterisk of so many injuries. I've no idea what Rob Henry can do, but QB was obviously an area where improvement would be enjoyed. Caleb Terbush wasn't bad (I'm starting to wonder about the hate for him, actually), but he wasn't great. And actually, from what I can remember watching the Purdue game last year, he certainly didn't stick out. (Also, your "Wild Siller" attack can be seen from a mile away). Robert Marve doesn't impress me from looking here [LINKY], so here's hoping Rob Henry is more John Henry, amirite?
Whatever. Y'all just haters.
Praying for ACL Health (Purdue 2012 Preview and Projections)
NOTE: The numbers below each opponent indicate the projected score differential. Numbers in parentheses are negative (as indicated), other numbers are positive (as indicated)
Avg Opp Rank: 55.8 (Avg Non-Con: 81.0, Avg Conf: 43.2)
Final Record: 5-7 (2-6), Avg MOV: -1.6 pts, Bowl Prediction: [no bowl]
Yay, more mediocrity! Actually, fuck that. I'm going to be bullish on Purdue this year. I'm buying the excuse that injuries kept them from fulfilling their potential, and I really think that improved QB play will be the big step forward Purdue needs.
Additionally, Purdue has a trio of three decent running backs coming back (Bolden, Shavers, and Hunt) that will help whatever QB decides to suit up and attempt to throw touchdowns. The whole team was young last year, in fact: the only major loss I see is Justin Siller from the wide receiving core, and I've said above that I thought the Wild Siller was pretty dumb. (I also see Carson Wiggs, their kicker but: kickers should not be a major loss, and I refuse to consider them so).
As far as the schedule goes... the Big Ten did you no favors Boilermakers, I apologize for that. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State to open the conference season is not a stretch that offers early hope. On the bright side: Michigan and Wisconsin are both at Ross-Ade, so the opportunity for an upset is better. Y'all ain't beating Ohio State, sorry. I'm just not giving you that one on the road.
The flip side of the coin is that Purdue ends on a very manageable five game slate of Minnesota, Penn State, Iowa, Illinois, and the TIRE FIRE that is Indiana (give or take B.O.B. optimism). Only two of those are at home, but Minnesota (much as I want them to do well) is not very good, and Illinois is a giant question mark. Iowa is a bit tougher, but they manage to lose to Northwestern all the time, so maybe as THEIR MOST HATED RIVAL (copyright: BHGP), y'all can take up that mantle from the Purple Wizards.
Best case for Purdue: Even best case, I'm not giving Purdue a win at Notre Dame. The Irish were better than their record last year, and it looks like Tommy "Turnover" Rees may not be there anyway, so their problem is solved. So that's a 3-1 non-con mark, 2 conf wins against Minnesota and the TIRE FIRE with toss-ups against Penn State, Iowa, and Illinois. Say a 2-1 record in those games (I was being generous with Penn State, but it is at home) for a 7-5 (4-4) record. That's not to say you can't pull an upset against Michigan or Wisconsin (I have my doubts on the Wolverines, despite what my numbers say), just that it's too much for me to wager on. Still: 7-5 is an improvement, though the real improvement will need to be seen in the actual play, not the record.
Worst case for Purdue: [INSERT ACL JOKE HERE]
Yeah. But for cereal: Eastern Michigan is not good at all, but Marshall is, so that'd be a 2-2 non-con mark. Minnesota and Indiana are the only other predicted wins, but Minnesota is at TCF Bank, and Jerry Kill is a heck of a coach. It would not surprise me if Purdue lost that one. Indiana remains a Tire Fire (seriously, why would anyone take that job), so the Old Oaken Bucket remains in West Lafayette for a 3-9 (1-7) record. Best of luck avoiding that Danny Hope.
Glossary and Explanation of Terms!
For a more in-depth explanation of everything see my primer here. Otherwise, the below should serve as a quick reference.
For the purposes of this section, I will refer to Average State University (ASU). ASU scores 25 pts/game on offense, gives up 25 pts/game on defense, and has an Adj Off, Def of 1.00 and 1.00, respectively.
Adj Off - a measure of a team's scoring offense, adjusted for schedule. A team with an Adj Off of 2.00 would be expected to score 50 pts on ASU. A team with an Adj Off of 0.50 would be expected to score 12-13 pts on ASU.
Adj Def - a measure of a team's scoring defense, adjusted for schedule. A team with an Adj Def of 2.00 would be expected to give up 50 pts to ASU. A team with and Adj Def of 0.50 would be expected to hold ASU to 12-13 pts.
Adj Eff - a measure of a team's overall strength, AdjEff = AdjOff/(AdjOff + AdjDef). A perfect rating would be 1.00, a perfectly bad rating would be 0.00, a perfectly average rating would be 0.50. This rating tends to reward teams with good defenses more than good offenses.
Adj Marg - a measure of a team's overall strength, AdjMarg = AdjOff - AdjDef. A good rating would be > 0.00, a bad rating would be < 0.00, a perfectly average rating would be 0.00. This rating tends to reward teams with good offenses more than good defenses.
(NOTE: While I list both Adj Eff and Adj Marg as measures of overall team strength, the "official" rankings are Adj Marg, as I find it tends (usually) to be a slightly better predictor of game results than Adj Eff.)
Opp Rat - the average rating of a team's opponents, as determined by Adj Marg. A relatively difficult schedule will have OppRat > 0.00, a relatively easy schedule will have OppRat < 0.00, a perfectly average schedule will have OppRat = 0.00.
Luck - the difference between a team's expected winning percentage (based on schedule and expected scores) and their actual winning percentage. Luck > 0.00 indicates that a team won more games than they were expected, Luck < 0.00 means that a team won less games than ther were expected.
Projected Scores - these are based on a team's Adj Off, Def and their opponent's Adj Off, Def. I won't bore you with the math or reasoning, but suffice to say that expected scores align uniformly with the Adj Marg rankings. The expected score differential is proportional to the Adj Marg differential.