The Big Ten Conference is full of tradition. There's the traditional drunk Wisconsin person, the traditional Ohio State bro, the traditional Northwestern Richie Rich, the traditional Rutgers whatever they do out there in Springsteen land, etc.
Off Tackle Empire, nee The Rivalry, Esq., also has its traditions. One of those is the B1G preview series; another is the Closing Arguments series. It's time for the traditional Closing Arguments; as befits another tradition that I am personally getting sick of, the worst team from the previous year goes first.
Without further ado, here are the Closing Arguments for Purdue, the worst college football team in the Big Ten last season.
I. Case History/Opening Statement
A. Case History
Ladies and gentlemen of the fake jury, the second season of the Darrell Hazell era at Purdue was an improvement over the first. It was still largely unsuccessful, as it ended with three wins and nine losses.
2014 brought a quarterback change from Danny Etling to Austin Appleby, which seemed to spark the offsense during the middle of the season. For a few games, the offense looked competent. The Boilers beat Illinois (not a huge accomplishment, but it's something), and played Michigan State and Minnesota pretty tough. Then WR Danny Anthrop tore his ACL, and the offense for the rest of the season went from mediocre back to terrible.
After the Nebraska game, the Boilers were pathetic, and they managed to lose to an injury-laden IU team in the final game.
Check Bill Connelly's preview here for better insight into what happened last season.
B. Opening Statement
Allow me to quote from last season's closing arguments:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, 2014 is going to be bad. Not as bad as 2013, but still bad. 2014 will be the Mad Cow Disease to 2013's Cancer.
To keep the disease theme going, I think 2015 could be West Nile Virus. Theoretically, Purdue should be better than in 2014. But, as Homer Simpson famously said, "In theory, communism works. In theory."
After a brutal non-conference schedule in 2013, Purdue had it a little easier last season. That meant a couple of games against MAC teams. Well, in 2015, the schedule is somewhere in between those two. Virginia Tech replaces Notre Dame, and Marshall replaces one of the MAC teams. Three wins in non-con seems like a stretch if Purdue hasn't improved drastically from last season.
On offense Purdue returns most of the quarterbacks and receivers. Danny Etling transferred to LSU over the summer, after being supplanted last season by Austin Appleby. Appleby didn't play well enough to cement his starting position for the upcoming season; Redshirt Freshman David Blough will compete for the starting job.
Danny Anthrop, by far the best WR from last year, is coming off a torn ACL, so it remains to be seen how effective he will be. DeAngelo Yancey regressed last season after a promising 2013; it would be nice to see him play well again. Converted QB Bilal Marshall looked good at the Spring Game, for whatever that's worth.
The OL has been steadily improving, and they look to help out the new RBs. Keyante Green and DJ Knox look to replace the speed of Akeem Hunt with some tougher running. Hopefully the passing game can keep the defense honest enough so that the opposing defense can't just load the box and shut down the run.
The Boilers should have improved linebacker play, with Ju'Whan Bentley and Jimmy Herman coming back with some more experience. Frankie Williams is still a great DB, but the rest of the backfield needs to prove that they can at least slow some passing attacks down. As far as the DL goes, a pass rusher really needs to step forward. Gelen Robinson won't be that man for at least a few games, as he will be suspended for a DUI. Ryan Watson and Ra'Zhan Howard are the best bets to clog up the middle to stop some runs.
Paul Griggs had a great season and solidified his spot as the starting kicker. Hopefully the offense can at least move the ball down the field before having to punt; that would give Thomas Meadows more of a chance to pin the opponents deep.
Hopefully the injuries stay under control this season; Purdue is not a deep team.
A. What We've Written About Purdue This Off Season
B. What We Can Learn From Pop Culture
As I said last year, Norm Macdonald on Conan is comedy gold. Here is a clip with one of my favorite appearances from almost twenty years ago. It includes the classic turtle joke. Think of Purdue football as the turtle in this joke. As Norm says, "Nobody likes a turtle." Purdue football certainly can't be the drunk guy in this joke, since he is good at a sport (or something close to a sport).
III. Emotional Plea
Really, we're almost past emotional pleas at this point. It's begging and groveling at this point. If this weren't a secular corner of the internet, I'd beg the Almighty for mercy on the team from West Lafayette. I'd pray for a just a few more wins than last year, and just a few more games that don't look like a high school team playing the Steelers.
I think it would be neat if Purdue was good at football. If you don't think that is true, then you are a mean jerk. Sorry, I'm getting emotional.
IV. The Verdict
The writers don't think Purdue will have a good season. It would be amazing if we were wrong.
|Aaron Yorke||3-9 (1-7)|
|Brian Gillis||4-8 (2-6)|
|Ray Ransom||3-9 (0-8)|
|DJ Carver||4-8 (2-6)|
|Candystripes for Breakfast||5-7 (2-6)|
|Jesse Collins||5-7 (2-6)|
|Mike Jones||4-8 (1-7)|
|Hilary Lee||3-9 (1-7)|
|Graham Filler||2-10 (0-8)|
|OTE Staff Average:||3.3-8.7 (1.1-6.9)|