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B1G 2016 // Purdue Potluck I: Rock Bottom?

We're splitting the Potluck into five entries for B1G this year. You're welcome.


Rather than have one gigantic Potluck piece with a bunch of questions and answers that become almost unreadable due to the length of the article, we are posting a separate article for each question for B1G 2016. If you have any problems with this, please see management for a refund.

APPETIZER - Chorizo & Cotija Pretzel Bites

So I'm going to start out the menu this week with a selection from Rock Bottom Brewery, a chain of brewpubs, with locations in Indianapolis (and other places I don't feel like looking up). I chose this because the name of the place is also a description of the Purdue football program.

The RB website describes Chorizo & Cotija Pretzel Bites as follows:

Baked pretzels stuffed with spicy sausage and cotija cheese. Served with jalapeño smoky mustard and garnished with green onions

Sounds good, I guess!

The Questions

Being a Purdue football fan has been very depressing the past few seasons. In the last three years, the Boilers have managed to win just six total games, with three of those wins coming against FCS teams. At the risk of making an understatement, there is room for improvement. Technically, there is room for Purdue to get worse as well. Not much worse, but they haven't lost every single game in a season yet.

What do you think are the realistic worst case and best case scenarios for next season? Is it reasonable to think that the Boilers could win zero games? What about winning six? Is that something that could happen in this dimension?

I just looked up Purdue's schedule. Uh, good luck. Looks like they will be favored in two games, all season, against Nevada and Eastern Kentucky. I think absolute best case scenario is 4 wins, which, woof. Having said that, I also don't see going 0fer. So, you've got that going for you, which is nice (not really).

Candystripes for Breakfast
I agree with Stew that 0-fer is not your worst case scenario barring serious, unforeseen circumstances. 2, maybe 3 wins is the floor, depending on how tough you think Illinois at Illinois is. I can see a (unlikely, but existent) path to as high as six wins, but it would require Purdue to reclaim the Bucket, so I'm calling your ceiling at 5.

Jesse Collins
I honestly think there are some positives for Purdue, mainly in that it's more or less true it can't get much worse. I don't love the schedule at all, but it seems reasonable to me that you can pick up two wins in the non-con and then steal at least one of the nine conference games. Then again, looking at home/away splits, the schedule really doesn't do you any favors. Penn State at home? I'm calling that your Purdue Harbor 2016. As for best case scenario, I could see you getting to five if your QB situation figures itself out. Six? That requires sweeping the non-con and I think even a below average Cincinatti still beats Purdue. So no.

Well, at least you play Purdue in the Spring Game. Does that count as a win? You really should be able to count it. Like everyone else responding here, I don't like what I see on that schedule. EKU is breaking in a new coach, so that'd be a big advantage if you weren't breaking in new coordinators. I have no clue what Nevada brings back, but they won a bowl game last year so they're where you want to be (outside of the whole "Not being B1G and therefore not being able to sign BTN checks over to the University's coffers" part). We're not going to talk about the Cincinnati game, because I don't want to be hurtful here. So let's look at the B1G slate. Hmmmm. Well, you get to play Maryland and Illinois. That's a start. And there's Iowa and wisconsin at home. Both could be Purdue Harbor games, and it would be pretty awesome and funny if you had two in one year. And you get to play against Indiana's defense. So really, there's a chance for as many as SIX AND A HALF WINS! But yeah, you're going to get, at most, 4 wins with one being a spectacular head-scratcher. You shouldn't go 0-fer, but weirder things have happened around Purdue Football in the past.

Creighton M
Oh man. Maybe I'm being optimistic, but worst case seems like 2 wins. I don't think they'll go 0-12. I think the best Purdue can realistically hope for is 4 wins, maybe 5 if we throw in a Purdue Harbor. Retaining Darrell Hazell may turn out to be a good call, if only for the fact that stability will be easier to build upon than bringing in a new staff every 2 years. He'll have to show significant improvement if he wants to stay in West Lafayette much longer though. I think 5 wins, including a Purdue Harbor, fewer blowouts and winning back the Old Oaken Bucket will be considered a (relatively) successful season.

There probably isn't much more to say in terms of negatives. The worst case is probably not too unfathomable for the Purdue faithful. Call it one win, call it two wins, call it whatever. The worst case isn't so much that Purdue doesn't win, but that they sink deeper into the morass. The Boilermakers have been a rudderless program for what seems like ages now, and the real heartbreaker for Purdue fans would be zero forward movement out of the organization. The best case? Winning the West. Because the West is trash.

Best case scenario? Purdue beats Eastern Kentucky, Nevada, and Penn State. Worse case scenario? Purdue is only victorious over Eastern Kentucky. There's no way Purdue can be worse than a FCS team, right? Right!?!? I'm calling Purdue over Penn State because Purdue was feisty in a loss to Northwestern last year, and Northwestern beat Penn State. Transitive property.

GoForThree nailed it. Purdue can't continue to drift through the Big Ten, taking loss after loss to and never challenging for everything. Organizationally, Purdue needs to give its fans some sign that they're working toward actually building a real program again, not just cashing checks. That will probably include firing Hazell at the end of another 3-9 (1-8) type of season, in which the Boilers steal one from someone like Illinois or Maryland. I can reasonably talk myself into Purdue winning 3 or 4 Big Ten games if I divorce myself from the general trend of the program, but this program is a trainwreck, and for that reason any progress in Purdue is more moral and institutional.

I honestly don't know all that much about Purdue, though, and besides trains and my weird personal experiences in West Lafayette, I don't have much to offer. So I'm going to offer facts from Wikipedia (without linking to them) for the rest of the potluck.

In 2017 Purdue's non-conference games are Mizzou, Louisville in Cincy, and Ohio. Purdue is starting 2017 at 0-3.

Aaron Yorke
Six wins is looking like the most realistic "best case scenario" that I can talk myself into. The Rutgers fans have penciled in the Penn State game as a win, so that means Purdue can as well. At Indiana and at Illinois would be considered winnable games at home, and neither of those teams has a huge home field advantage, so why can't Purdue take those on the road? The Boilers beat Nebraska last year, so obviously that's happening again. Now all they have to do is win two out of three non-conference games at home, and they're in a bowl game. No problem.

Or Purdue could just go ahead and lose all of those games. That home conference slate is pretty tough, and the Boilers probably won't be favored on the road, which means they might not be favored in any Big Ten game this year. Winning as the favorite is boring, anyway.

Best case 5 wins. Worst case 1 win. 0 wins is unreasonable, as is 6.


MONDAY | Cocktail Party Preview | Potluck I

TUESDAY | Personnel Files | Potluck II

WEDNESDAY | Traditions | Potluck III

THURSDAY | Wildcard | Potluck IV

FRIDAY | H8rade | Potluck V