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Purdue: The Absolute Worst Sports Program in the B1G

Friendly People, Shitty Teams

October 16, 2004: The very last moment anybody thought Purdue was a contender in B1G football.

All of the regular Purdue commenters here seem genial and considerate, and out in the wild, I’ve had almost all positive experiences with Purdue fans, so I’m not really thrilled to be writing a hate piece about the Boilers. Then again, they’re pretty fucking terrible at everything that matters, so it has to be done.* And, now that I think about it, maybe Purdue fans are so polite because they know they freeload off the rest of the B1G and are lucky to have a seat on that gravy train.

[*But what about basketball? Matt Painter! Robbie Hummel’s ACL!! Blah blah blah, we’ll get to that.]


“Cradle of Quarterbacks” isn’t that great? Purdue and Alabama have each produced three different Super Bowl-winning QBs. Impressive huh?* And yet, Purdue has exactly 2 Rose Bowl appearances, and exactly one Rose Bowl victory. Let’s explore each.

[*Did you know that besides UCLA and Kentucky, since the field expanded to 64 in 1985, Iowa State is the only other team to make the Sweet 16 with 5 different coaches? Some stats are indictments.]

The Rose Bowl victory came on Jan. 1, 1967 when Purdue beat an unranked USC team 14-13. USC trailed 14-7 before a fourth-quarter TD cut the lead to one. John McKay elected to go for the win, but the 2-pt try failed. A win is a win, but this easily could have been a tie.

USC was only in the Rose Bowl because the Pac-8 fucked up their schedule and USC’s 4-1 was given the nod over UCLA’s 3-1, despite UCLA beating USC H2H and being ranked #5. So, Purdue’s sole Rose Bowl title was over Pac-8 leftovers.

Oh, I forgot the best part, PURDUE DIDN’T WIN THE BIG TEN IN 1966!. Michigan State was the Big Ten champs, but because of the “no repeat” rule, Purdue, who Sparty beat by 21 points, got the Big Ten bid.*

[*Sparty also won the Big Ten in 1965 and played in the 1966 Rose Bowl, shitting the bed against UCLA and kicking away a national title in the process. Keep that in mind when Sparty fan whines about the 10-10 tie against ND in 1966.]

Congrats, Purdue. You’re sole Rose Bowl victory was basically a Big Ten/Pac 8 third-place game.

The Rose Bowl loss came on Jan. 1, 2001 against a very good Washington Huskies squad, who finished 11-1 and #3 in the final rankings. No shame in losing that game. Or so it would appear.

Actually, Washington was a fraud, parlaying a September home victory over Miami (who turned into a very different team in October and November), and seven (SEVEN!!!) one-score victories into a gaudy, and very lucky, record.

Of course, one of the biggest pieces of luck the Huskies got was getting to play Purdue. Yes, the Boilers “earned” their way to the B1G title since, in that 3-way pile-up at the top, Purdue beat both Northwestern and Michigan, so the 2-0 H2H saw them through. Still, let’s list the reasons the ‘00 Boilers are shit:

  1. Remember that classic 54-51 NW win over Michigan? That’s right. If Anthony Thomas doesn’t fumble away a game already in the bag, the Wolverines go 7-1 and are B1G champs.
  2. Purdue had to go to OT in Madison to beat a Badger squad starting a backup QB and who finished .500 in conference play.
  3. At 5-1, with the inside track to Pasadena, Purdue dick-tripped against Michigan State (30-10!), who finished 5-6 (which basically matched Purdue’s other B1G loss, to 5-7 Penn State). However, NW upped the ante by dick-tripping to an Iowa team that finished 3-9.
  4. As point 3 indicates, the B1G was shit in 2000. In the 2000 draft, the B1G had 7 players go in the first round. 3 B1G players drafted after Round 1 went on to make at least one Pro Bowl. One of those players was Tom Brady. Yeah, pretty big talent drain from 1999. But somebody had to win the conference. So good work, 8-4 Purdue!
  5. By SRS, 2000 Purdue is the worst B1G champ in 50+ years. Their 9.26 SRS is the lowest since Indiana got the Rose Bowl nod in 1967 with an 8.97 SRS. That’s right, Purdue’s SRS was worse that 2012 Wisconsin (9.77 SRS) who went 8-6, and won their division only because the two teams ahead of them were both on probation.

Bottom line: Purdue football is fucking terrible. It’s pretty much always been fucking terrible. Even when it’s good, it’s fucking terrible.


Yep, Purdue fan always wants to talk hoops as a change of subject. Okay, let’s talk hoops (briefly).

Your most recent Final Four appearance (1980) is closer in time to the first ever NCAA tournament (1939) than the earliest possible date of your next Final Four appearance (2022, at best). You win a lot of B1G regular season titles, and those banners do hang forever. That said, every current member of the B1G who has made a Final Four as a member of the B1G, has made it at least as recently as Purdue. And even if I drop the “as a member of the B1G” qualifier, that gives you bragging rights over Rutgers and Penn State. You must be so proud!!

In a nutshell, Purdue has a long, storied tradition...of being good until March. Basically you’re the Arctic hare of CBB. While the big mammals are hibernating, you scurry around. Once there’s a glimmer of spring, you find your way back down the food chain.

Oh, and here’s the most important shot of Glenn Robinson’s career:


Check out this bullshit.

Men’s Golf: 1961

Women’s Basketball: 1999

Women’s Golf: 2010

Your TOTAL number of national titles EVER cannot match a significant number of single-sport streaks in the B1G (Iowa wrestling, PSU wrestling, PSU volleyball just for starters). You’re a charter member of the B1G, and you have 3 fucking national titles across the board.

Oh sure, go ahead and claim MBB in 1932. Now the three additional titles UW gets to claim means Badger hoops has four nattys all-time, or as many as Purdue’s updated all sports total.

Or, yeah, claim that 1931 CFB natty, thus allowing Minnesota to puff their chest about winning three national titles in a row from ‘34-’36.

Can we just trade you for Vanderbilt? They’re good at baseball, at least, and might make for a nice nerd rivalry for NW.


Purdue, you’re pathetic. And, honestly, I think you know it. You saw how Pittsburgh got treated when the B1G grabbed PSU. You saw Delaney go for Rutgers rather than Syracuse. You offer the B1G nothing in terms of media footprint and you sure as hell don’t offer much on the field. The only reason you’re in the Big Ten is because you’re in the Big Ten. Any conference where loyalty matters less (which is to say, all of them) would’ve jettisoned your ass long ago. Have fun getting excited next February when some decent team shits itself in Mackey and you start thinking there’s a chance.