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Hoegher's 2014 Previews: ?????? BOILERMAKERS

Hey y'all! So I wouldn't exactly call this a tradition or anything, but I have tried to offer some sorts of season previews in years past, based on these ratings and numbers that I so diligently track. I've decided to change that up somewhat for the 2014 iteration, mostly because I've come around to recognizing that I can't keep up on the recruiting, returning starters, new coaching staff, etc. necessary to have a somewhat-informed take on the year ahead. Also, I probably wasn't very good at it even when I tried.

So I've decided to focus more of these posts on exploring the history of each respective team. I hope this will be somewhat interesting and help us all expand our Big Ten knowledge base. If we're going to make petty remarks as regards our rivals, they should at least be informed petty remarks.

I'll still post my 2014 projections and offer a bit of my partisan take, so you can still have your ammunition for any criticism. Please let me know if you have questions or comments regarding anything!

NOTE: All of the numbers and figures that follow are based on my ratings system, which is derived from scoring data going back to 1930. For more explanation, see my primer here: [LINK]

Data gathered from the wonderful resources provided by Sports-Reference and James Howell.

PAST PERFORMANCES OF VARYING QUALITY

Purdue - Historical Overall Ratings

Purdue - Historical Offense & Defense

Purdue - Historical Win% & "Luck"

Of course Purdue would have its one perfect season in a year where they had no chance of winning the national title. Despite being one of only two teams in 1943 to be unbeaten and untied, they finished 5th in the AP Poll behind Notre Dame, Iowa Pre-Flight, Michigan, and Navy. Besides, Alabama wasn't playing that season, so 1943 ain't count PAAWWWLLLL.

And don't worry, we'll have more to say about Mr. Hazell's first year of tenure. Oy vey, y'all.

"BEST" and "WORST" (since 1930, 9953 total teams)

Rk Year Team Adj Rk Res Rk Conf Record Adj Off Yr Rk Adj Def Yr Rk Luck Yr Rk SOS Yr Rk N.C.
229 1932 Purdue 281 191 West 7-0-1 2.39 3 0.30 14 10% 22 0.71 15
416 1966 Purdue 362 648 B10 9-2-0 1.90 4 0.62 21 3% 39 0.20 29
727 1943 Purdue 1057 348 West 9-0-0 1.51 15 0.36 10 14% 4 0.05 37
917 1967 Purdue 1055 768 B10 8-2-0 1.82 1 0.84 51 -1% 69 0.14 33
924 1933 Purdue 826 1246 West 6-1-1 2.19 9 0.55 42 6% 46 0.49 38

image via sportsposterwarehouse.com

1932 Purdue (Coach - Noble Kizer)

Conf Record Luck (wins) rk Adj Off rk Adj Def rk Adj Eff rk Adj Marg rk
West 7-0-1 +0.8 22 2.39 3 0.30 14 0.89 8 2.08 5
Total Teams Rating rk Opp-O rk Opp-D rk SOS rk Variance rk
121 1.82 6 1.35 19 0.64 18 0.71 15 1.89 97
H/V Opponent Record Opp Rk Off Rk Def Rk PF PA OT W/L W-Lk
~ BYE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ BYE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
H KansasState 4-4-0 54 33 81 29 13 W 94%
V Minnesota 5-3-0 34 56 15 7 0 W 73%
H Wisconsin 6-1-1 13 13 28 7 6 W 70%
H Northwestern 3-4-1 25 20 40 7 7 T 78%
V NewYorkUniversity 5-3-0 36 41 32 34 9 W 74%
V Chicago 3-4-1 65 60 69 37 0 W 89%
V Iowa 1-7-0 96 80 110 18 0 W 98%
H Indiana 3-4-1 68 76 61 25 7 W 96%

I'm not going to pretend that I have any personal knowledge about the early 1930's Boilermakers. Obviously, it was a bit before I came onto this Earth and besides that - Purdue. But that's part of the reason I've enjoyed my attempts at cataloging the college football past, because I get to familiarize myself (if only slightly) with those seasons and teams that I would otherwise be blissfully unaware of.

My numbers are built off of seasonal averages. I think this is a perfectly fine structure to use, but it does mean that my ratings for a team can be skewed by one or two extreme performances. This is especially true for early seasons where talent and schedule disparities were rather large. So whether or not Purdue really had a Top-5 offense in 1932 is up for plenty of debate. Scoring 21 pts over the course of three weeks (vs Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Northwestern) certainly casts a bit of doubt on that assertion.

Here's where a bit of historical context comes in. Major college football teams scored (roughly) 28.5 pts/gm last year. They scored 12.0 pts/gm in 1932. So a 7 pt offensive showing isn't that bad in comparison (this also helps explain how a team that shut-out three opponents only ranks 14th on defense). And while most teams would be happy to score 35 pts in a game today, that's astronomical for a 1932 comparison. I've helpfully illustrated that by limiting the scale of my y-axis. I hope it's appreciated.

Unfortunately, Purdue didn't go to the Rose Bowl that season* because they couldn't figure out how to beat Northwestern at home, thus finishing second in conference to undefeated and untied Michigan. This is why people make fun of you Purdue.

ASTERISK: The Big Ten/Western Conference actually didn't have an agreement with the Rose Bowl at this point, so it wouldn't have mattered. But that's a boring answer.

Rk Year Team Adj Rk Res Rk Conf Record Adj Off Yr Rk Adj Def Yr Rk Luck Yr Rk SOS Yr Rk N.C.
7910 1986 Purdue 8083 7436 B10 3-8-0 0.75 84 1.14 79 11% 9 0.30 16
7992 1990 Purdue 7813 8197 B10 2-9-0 0.72 89 1.06 76 0% 53 0.31 8
8560 1942 Purdue 8589 8387 West 1-8-0 0.31 119 0.91 80 7% 27 0.78 5
8727 1988 Purdue 9126 7340 B10 4-7-0 0.48 104 1.10 76 19% 2 0.10 51
8996 2013 Purdue 9026 8768 B10 1-11 0.56 119 1.11 97 -2% 67 0.30 20

image via brosher.com

2013 Purdue (Coach - Darrell Hazell)

Conf Record Luck (wins) rk Adj Off rk Adj Def rk Adj Eff rk Adj Marg rk
B10 1-11 -0.2 67 0.56 119 1.11 97 0.34 114 -0.55 112
Total Teams Rating rk Opp-O rk Opp-D rk SOS rk Variance rk
126 -0.60 113 1.15 18 0.86 39 0.30 20 0.24 41
H/V Opponent Record Opp Rk Off Rk Def Rk PF PA OT W/L W-Lk
V Cincinnati 9-4 46 45 52 7 42 L 1%
H FCS 16-95 117 122 115 20 14 W 77%
H NotreDame 9-4 37 46 33 24 31 L 2%
V Wisconsin 9-4 9 25 5 10 41 L 1%
H NorthernIllinois 12-2 66 26 105 24 55 L 11%
~ BYE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
H Nebraska 9-4 52 43 63 7 44 L 5%
V MichiganState 13-1 17 50 4 0 14 L 1%
~ BYE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
H OhioState 12-2 6 4 30 0 56 L 1%
H Iowa 8-5 39 67 15 14 38 L 2%
V PennState 7-5 50 58 42 21 45 L 1%
H Illinois 4-8 78 42 103 16 20 L 16%
V Indiana 5-7 55 8 113 36 56 L 2%

Unlike the pre-WWII locomotive engineers up there, I do have some first hand knowledge about this Purdue team. As do most of you I'd reckon. There's no real need to re-hash the season with it so close in the rear-view mirror, so we'll just touch on a couple points:

In MGoBlog's half-assed effort at tracking the worst Big Ten teams ever, Purdue finished with a scoring ratio of 24.9%, good for the worst Big Ten team since 1981 Northwestern. Mind you, that was with a strong close to the season (strong being a relative term here).

For my own rankings, I've got them a fair bit above that, boosted heavily by a solid effort against Notre Dame, which remains inexplicable. They are still the worst Big Ten team in the current century.

I try to come up with win probabilities for given match-ups based on my ratings for each team. This is just a model, obviously and can't account for every variable that might. For the sake of simplicity (and hedging against myself) I have a cap of 99%/1% for any single game. Basically, the game is guaranteed, but I'm allowing for blue moons.

Anyway, 2013 Purdue had five such games with a win probability of 1% (Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State). The closest of those games was a 14 pt loss to Michigan State, a game in which they still got shut-out and failed to reach the red zone.

FUTURE PROJECTIONS OF SUSPECT VALIDITY

Purdue Proj Rk - 108 (out of 129)

Conf Prj Rec Conf Prj Off rk Prj Def rk SOS rk C-SOS rk
B10 3-9 1-7 0.72 112 1.05 89 0.08 58 0.29 51
Wk H/V Opponent Prj Rk Prj Off Prj Def W-Lk
1 H Michigan (Western) 114 111 116 77%
2 H Michigan (Central) 106 104 95 59%
3 N IRISH 27 41 18 3%
4 H FCS 125 123 120 91%
5 H Iowegia 41 68 12 9%
6 V LOLinois 71 54 85 16%
7 H Michigan (Sparty) 18 47 3 3%
8 V Land of 10,000 Lakes 67 95 49 15%
9 ~ BYE ~ ~ ~ ~
10 V CORN 40 36 41 3%
11 H DRUNKS (Wisc) 6 18 5 1%
12 ~ BYE ~ ~ ~ ~
13 H justNorthwestern 61 64 57 22%
14 V HOOSIERS 64 16 115 13%

Purdue 2014 Profile

Hoegher's Biased Perspective

I do not believe in Darrell Hazell. I was skeptical of his hire when he first came in, and maybe that's a bit unfair. He had just led Kent State to the cusp of a BCS Bowl, their best season in decades, and all of that at a school hardly known for football success. He was going to get hired somewhere, and Purdue just happened to be the school that did the honors.

But a couple things nagged at me. He was a head coach for just two years, and only 2012 had success worth mentioning. The college football world is littered with coaches who've had singular years of success, only to fall back into mediocrity (Gene Chizik is recent example). Could Hazell maintain his success with his recruits? Could he maintain success outside the realm of the MAC, a conference with plenty of cupcakes on which to feast? It's hard to look past a 33 pt loss to Kentucky.

And then 2013 happened, a season which went all kinds of wrong for Purdue. There was obvious rebuilding that was going to happen, as is the case with any coaching transition. I can understand that, but when you take a program that can best be described as "perfectly mediocre" and drop it to arguably the worst it's ever been... uff-da. You'd be hard pressed to find a historical example where that worked out well.

Purdue will improve. There's almost no way it can't, unless Darrell Hazell is the reincarnation of Jon Embree. In which case, it'll be a very exciting season for disaster voyeurs (I count myself in that group). Simply getting a Big Ten win would be a success, in my opinion. Hey, if Tim Beckman can do it...

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