I don't know about you guys, but I'm beginning to doubt Purdue's chances of making the title game in Indy this year. I know, I know, I'm crazy. They'll probably still make it there. But hear me out, dear readers. I'm going to lay out a case why Purdue might not be a mortal lock to play the Legends Division winner on December 1. Then I'm going to see if the case really makes any sense, or I'm just being paranoid.
Maybe the blowout wins against an FCS school and a winless MAC team that Jeff Sagarin currently has as the fourth worst FBS team in the country didn't really mean that much. On second thought, they probably were good wins, and I'm just trying to find a reason to discount them. Eastern Michigan played MSU pretty close for a while, right?
The main reason for all of the optimism regarding Purdue is the vaunted close loss against Notre Dame, whom we can all regrettably agree is pretty good. I try to stay optimistic, but I have a nagging feeling that maybe this was the best that Purdue will play all year and the worst that Notre Dame will. Well, Michigan and Michigan State both did worse against the Irish, so I'm not going to consider this game an abberation. Purdue is a good football team, and this moral victory proves it.
So Marshall may have a 1-1 record in C-USA, but their offense has probably been called "hi-octane" at some point this season. So the Thundering Herd's 439 passing yards weren't really that big of a deal. Just because the offense was flat in the second half against a very poor defense is no reason for concern. And it really doesn't mean that Purdue is maybe not that good just because they needed two interceptions returned for touchdowns to win, does it? I vote no on that convoluted, hard-to-follow question.
The main thing that has me worried about the previously inevitable Boilermaker appearance at the CCG is the last two games. An argument could be made that only games between members of the Big Ten Conference matter when determining who gets to play in the championship. I've heard both sides of this one, and I honestly can't decide which side I'm on. Let's just say this is still up for debate.
Anyway, everybody thought that Purdue would lose to Michigan and Wisconsin before the season started, so losing those two games isn't a big deal. So Purdue was outscored 82-27 and outgained by 589 yards over the last two games. Nobody's perfect. Every team has slight struggles throughout the course of a season. Still, I can't help thinking that giving up 771 yards rushing in just two games is a bad sign.
With everything being taken into account, I'm still confident that Purdue will be playing either Iowa or Northwestern in Indianapolis this year. I'd put the odds of Boilers making it at about 80%, which, while being down from the 99% that I had it at a month ago, is still pretty high.
I've heard some internet talk that people are jumping off of the Boiler bandwagon (or maybe it's a bandtrain (LOL)), but that's not me. I think those people know deep down that the Boilers will pull it out, but they would rather be pessimistic because that is the "cool" thing to do on the internet. Well folks, that's not me. I'm not a "cool" internet person and, despite some recent misgivings, I'm not afraid to say that Purdue will be playing in the CCG.
I'm interested to hear what you guys think. I mean, I'm crazy for even doubting this team at all, right?