Purdue football has come a long way from the gloomy days of Hazell. Boiler bots this year once again have hope. But is Jeff Brohm capable of manning the tiller of the ship Purdue to avoid the icebergs along the way and lead the Boilermakers to Indianapolis?
I. Case History/Opening Statement
A. Case History
Jeff Brohm enters year 6 at Purdue. He is 28-29 overall and 20-22 in Big Ten play. This is nothing short of miraculous considering what he took over. Last season was the best season of Purdue football since 2003 and your Purdue Boilermakers went 9-4 with losses to top 10 Ohio State, top 10 Notre Dame, wisconsin, and the boat rowing Gophers of Minneapolis. The schedule this season sets up nicely and has Purdue fans dreaming of their second ten-win season ever.
B. Opening Statement
Way back during Purdue week, I made the case that Purdue could plausibly contend for the B1G West division championship. A lot of the boxes are checked. Successful veteran QB. Deep WR room. Returning O-line starters. Experienced defense that carried the team at times last season. Ridiculously easy conference schedule compared to the other divisional contenders.
But those were simpler times. The conference still had 14 teams back then. Northwestern hadn’t reminded us all that this is an even year and resistance is futile. Scott Frost might have still been coaching at Nebraska for the game against Purdue. Illinois was expected to not look competent. The injury report for the Boilermakers was more promising.
While there is a chance that Purdue sneaks into the Big Ten championship game, the odds look worse than they did back in late June. 8-4 still sounds about right to me, but 7-5 seems more likely than 9-3.
A. Evidence Already Presented
B. New Evidence
2nd string TE Garrett Miller suffered a season ending knee injury. Although Payne Durham is a really good starting TE, he has a history of getting injured and missing some games. Backups Piferi and the freshman trio should be okay for a couple of series a game but if Durham misses any significant time, the TE depth has taken a serious hit as Miller was coming into his own and a weapon at the position.
DL Demarjhe Lewis suffered a season ending ankle injury. Lewis wasn’t going to be a starting DT, but his absence will force the guys behind him to step up or starters Deen and Johnson are going to be forced to endure more snaps and find themselves tired at the end of games. Speaking of Deen, he has been nursing a hamstring issue and is questionable for the opener against Penn State.
Backup RB Sampson James entered the transfer portal leaving Purdue once again dangerously thin at the running back position. The top two running backs on the roster are King Dourue and Kobe Lewis who have both missed time in recent seasons with injuries. I know Purdue doesn’t run the ball a lot, but if they want to be able to score touchdowns in the redzone, a capable running game is needed at a minimum.
The health of the projected starting secondary is still very much in question as Purdue heads into one of the two games this season against a team with a competent passing attack. Starting corners Cory Trice and Jamari Brown have been limited throughout fall practice. Jalen Graham (who plays all over the defense including some at nickel back) is also dealing with a hamstring issue.
Until we actually see an improvement from the O-line in the running game, I can’t believe that Purdue’s red zone issues are behind them either.
To me the Penn State game sets the tone for the entire season. Win it and Purdue is firmly in the running for the West division crown. Lose it and the Boilermakers need to be much closer to flawless the rest of the way. Going 7-1 or even 6-2 with good tiebreaker luck the rest of the way in conference play just seems unlikely.
III. Schedule of Events
IV. Emotional Plea
The Boilermaker hive mind has no need for emotions.
The only opinion that matters is at the top, but the consensus is pretty close to 7-5. I’m not really sure BuffKomodo looked at Purdue’s non-conference schedule (if there are two losses in there, Purdue isn’t going 6-6 overall), but I’m not here to judge.
Despite what the other Purdue bloggers might tell you, there is no guarantee that Purdue improves upon last season. 8-4 was a tremendous accomplishment but Purdue won every game (except Minnesota) that you would expect them to be competitive in last season. Almost all the coin flips went their way. Purdue could be a better team than last year and regress in the luck column. If it wasn’t for the lack of OSU/Michigan/MSU on the schedule, I’d lean towards Purdue going back to a 7-5 type season. As it is PSU, wisconsin, Minnesota, even year Northwestern, Bert’s Illini, and the flying turtle offense present plenty of challenges for Purdue on the schedule. If Purdue can pull off the upset Thursday, I’ll jump onboard the optimism train. Until then, I remain firmly on Earth waiting to see if the rocket to our Moon takes off.
♪♫ To your call once more we rally...
How does Purdue finish the regular season in 2022?
This poll is closed
5-7 or worse
9-3 or better
Purdue’s Big Ten record will be?
This poll is closed
3-6 or worse
7-2 or better (Indy here we come!)