I. Case History/Opening Statement
After three straight losing seasons, there was little reason for hope in West Lafayette going into last season. And then Rob Henry, the presumptive starting QB, tore his ACL a couple of weeks before the season started. After barely beating MTSU, getting embarrassed by Notre Dame and losing to a side dish, the Boilers somehow salvaged a decent season. Purdue managed to win four conference games and finish with a bowl victory in beautiful Detroit.
Purdue was an incredibly inconsistent team in 2011; at no point did they look like a good team, but a .500 conference record and a bowl win over a MAC team is a step in the right direction.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm not here to waste your time with played-out memes and "jokes", like the one where the Purdue QB walks into a bar and a guy says, "Why the torn ACL?". No, fine sirs and madams, I am here to waste your time talking about actual on-the-field Purdue football.
If it pleases the court, may I ask your honor to pound the gavel a few times to wake up the jury?
Thank you your honor. As I was saying, Purdue football is at somewhat of a crossroads: Can Danny Hope build on last year's modest success and start a new bowl streak, or will Purdue football drift back into the abyss of the Fred Akers and Jim Colletto years?
There are a lot of reasons for Purdue fans to be optimistic about the upcoming season. There are many returning players on both sides of the ball. Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve and Rob Henry all have game experience at the QB position. Key receivers Antavian Edison, OJ Ross and Gary Bush return, as well as Raheem Mostert, who led the nation in kickoff return average last year. The RB crew seems solid, with the Akeems (Shavers and Hunt) leading the way.
There is also a lot of experience returning on defense. DT Kawann Short is the most intimidating; he looks to improve on his all-conference performance from last year. If Bruce Gaston and Ryan Russell have improved over the off-season, the defensive line should be solid. Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson will lead what should be a competent secondary. The linebacking corps looks to be the weak link at this point, but hopefully new Defensive Coordinator Tim Tibesar can accentuate the positives and eliminate (or at least hide) the negatives.
What We've Written About Purdue this Off-Season
What We Can Learn From Pop Culture
We can all agree that the whole "Chuck Norris is God" internet thing got out of hand. That does not in any way diminish the greatness of this scene from the 1983 movie Lone Wolf McQuade. If you are impatient, just advance it to 2:00 and thank me later. This really doesn't have anything to do with Purdue that I can think of, but I'll try and find some common ground.
Things are looking bad for Texas Ranger J.J. McQuade in this scene. Things aren't looking all that great for Purdue this season. While it's not quite as dire for Purdue as it is for the Ranger, the road ahead is tough. The best thing the Boilers can do is crack open a cold one, pour it on themselves for energy, fire up the Ram Charger and plow through the season.
III. Emotional Plea
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please bear with me. This might sound crazy, but Purdue has as an excellent chance to win the Leaders Division this year.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm an idiot. Well, guess what jury, you're the idiot!
You wanna write off Purdue before the season even starts? You wanna find the Boilers guilty of not having a chance, and sentence them to a season of mediocrity?
I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but you make me sick. After all that happened last season in the Big Ten, you wanna say that something is impossible? I'm sorry people, but nothing is impossible.
We live in a world where Indiana has a better chance at winning the Big Ten than Penn State or Ohio State. I don't know about you, but if that is true (and it is) than anything is possible.
We live in the year 2012, which, as the ancient prophet Roland Emmerich foretold in the 2009 film 2012, is going to be kind of a weird year. Later this year, when half of the country is underwater, and there are tornadoes mixed with earthquakes on top of volcanoes, will we be surprised by anything?
When the robots come to get us (and they will), will it really seem that weird that Purdue just won the Big Ten Championship?
The Staff Calls the Games
I put a piece of paper with the word Purdue into the OTE Prediction Combiner. The result: an overall record of 5.7-6.3 and a conference record of 2.7-5.3.