Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recap: Purdue 70 - Montevallo 61

We're still in exhibition mode over here at as Purdue pulled out the meaningless 70-61 victory over Montevallo, a decent Division II squad.  As we mentioned in our preview, Montevallo did finish second in Division II, so it was nice to see the Boilers get experience against a team that's probably better than 80 to 100 Division I teams.

If you missed the game or were just too cheap to pay for it, you're in luck!  BTN will be rebroadcasting the game on Thursday at 3:00 pm.  Set your DVR's and watch it after work in place of an awful Chiefs-Chargers NFL Network Thursday Night Game.

Boiled Sports had a nice (but strangely formatted...) recap of the game, and it was reassuring to hear that Ronnie Johnson, A.J. Hammons, and Donnie Hale all played well and look like they should contribute immediately.  

Box Score Analysis -

In looking at the box score, two things stood out:

1) Terone Johnson was 7-9 from the free throw line.  For someone who drives as much as he does, a nearly 80% free throw percentage would be huge (especially compared to last year!).

2) Purdue, with a 10 point lead, did not score in the last 2:39.  Yes, it's an exhibition game.  And yes, I know the score is meaningless.  But how many times did that happen to the Boilers last year?  Xavier and Kansas instantly come to mind, although I know it happened several other games as well (I'm just too lazy to look it up).  This team is going to need to win every game it can to make the tourney, it can't afford to go into the "after the last tv timeout shell" that last year's team seemed to trademark.

Also, here are some of Kirk's thoughts from listening to the game on the radio and talking to his dad who was at the game:

  • Everyone was really excited about how Ronnie looked.  The team may not miss a beat from Lewis Jackson's graduation, and if that's what Ronnie can do as a freshman, think about the potential as he develops.
  • The Johnson brothers looked very, very good playing together on the court
  • Painter was substituting frequently, with many strange lineup combinations that we likely won't see in the regular season.  This is one of the main reasons the win wasn't by a larger margin.  It makes sense to use these meaningless games to better understand how your players may gel together, but don't fret about only winning by nine points.
  • If we really wanted to win big (pun intended), we would have fed the ball inside and taken advantage of our huge height advantage, which big AJ did a few times with a nice hook shot, a block, and put-backs.
  • Terone's free throw motion is vastly improved, which leads to the results Erik mentioned above.
  • Byrd was hitting everything in warm-ups but just had an off night, with some bad passes and poor shooting.  No cause for concern yet.
  • Little AJ looked decent running the point and made some pretty threes.
  • Hale made some nice shots and should be good, but he needs to work on his defense (as does the entire team).
  • Jay Simpson was either sick or still horribly out of shape after his injury.  Everyone noticed him lagging.
  • Carroll really didn't do anything, and Lawson looked the same as last season.  Don't expect much playing time for Travis unless it's out of necessity.

The next game is Saturday night, so we should get a better picture of what this team's going to look like later this week.  I also expect a much bigger crowd, as the game is right after the 3:30 football game against Penn State.

Stay tuned to for coverage of all the weekend's Purdue action!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Preview: Purdue vs. Montevallo - October 30th - 7:00 pm - BTDN

Basketball season is upon us and it's about time!  With many fans having given up on football season, it's time to turn our attention to Mackey Arena for tonight's first Men's Basketball game of the year.

We're still unsure of our basketball preview and recap structure on, but here's a brief preview of tonight's game.
Yes, I'm pretty sure that's a magic lamp.
Why Purdue Will Win -  It's an exhibition game, so clearly Purdue's expected to win big.  They haven't lost one of these since 2002, and that was against the Harlem Globetrotters.  I actually remember that game, and while the team wore the signature Globetrotter uniforms, they never once threw any buckets of confetti at Jon Barry, so clearly the nobody was taking the game seriously.  Anyway, we get to see our first live action of Raphael Davis, A.J. Hammons, Ronnie Johnson, and Jay Simpson tonight, which should be worth the price of admission.  Plus, Donnie Hale is finally going to play a full season this year (knock on wood), so it'll be exciting to watch how this old freshman has progressed as well.

Why Montevallo Will Win -  Montevallo is actually pretty good.  They finished SECOND in the Division II championship last year and are ranked 16th in the country this year.  The return 3 starters, so they should have some big game experience.  Remember, Syracuse lost to Division II Le Moyne in 2009, but still ended up as a Number 1 seed at the end of the year.  I don't expect Purdue to lose OR end up as a number 1 seed, but these things do happen.

One thing you absolutely need to know before the game -  The game is on Big Ten Digital Network, which means you have to pay to watch it.  Normally, I would advise against that sort of thing and suggest reading a recap afterwards.  However, along with this Saturday's exhibition game, Purdue's first two REGULAR SEASON games will also be on the Big Ten Digital Network.  The cost for a monthly subscription to watch only Purdue games is $9.99, and all 4 games are within a month.  Purdue doesn't have any more games on the network through the season, so you can pay your $9.99 and then cancel after Purdue's game against Hofstra.  Note that you WILL want to watch Purdue's home opener against Bucknell, as that is already being touted as a matchup between two NCAA bubble teams.  So, why not sign up now and get the exhibition games at no extra cost!

Alright, I sound like a salesman for BTDN and I apologize.  Paying for these games totally blows.  But it is what it is.  And if you're going to watch the Bucknell game (which is currently ONLY being shown on this Big Ten Digital Network), you might as well just buy it now  - the production will be horrible and you may not ever see the score or the clock, but your $9.99 will surely go towards some college kid announcer's Mad Mushroom cheese sticks budget. 

To sign up, go here (the Purdue-only page) and click "subscribe now" towards the bottom right hand side of the page.  Make sure to sign up for the "Boilermaker All-Access Monthly Subscription" for $9.99 and you'll have access to all 4 men's basketball games along with some women's basketball and volleyball games.  You'll also get some wrestling and Danny Hope press conferences - you can't beat it!  Then MAKE SURE to cancel it before November 30th unless you want to watch some minor women's basketball games and wrestling matches.  We'll post a reminder to cancel here after the Hofstra game.

Our Picks - We like to think we're better than Vegas.  So throughout the season, we'll be "betting" a whole dollar amount versus the spread between $1 and $32, but we can't repeat the same value twice.  At the end of the year, we'll see if we would have made enough money to make a move to Vegas worth it.  The spread for this game is Purdue -25 (I just made that up since it's an exhibition game, but it seemed reasonable).

Erik's Bet: $12
Erik's Pick: Purdue 68 - Montevallo 54

Kirk's Bet: $31
Kirk's Pick: Purdue 85 - Montevallo 45

Boiler Up!

Purdue - Minnesota Recap: Make the Hurting Stop!

The harder the loss, the longer I seem to wait to write the recap.  There's just nothing fun about the entire sport of football after watching the Boilers suck so badly, whether it's losing in a blowout or in a nail-biter.  I'm that type of fan that literally doesn't want to watch any other football games, SportsCenter recaps, or anything related to competitive athletics when my team loses in a bad way.

So forgive me for a short recap.  I'm simply fed up with this team's performance, and we all know the main problem: the coaching staff, a group of dead men walking.  As a fan, I see no way Burke can keep Hope after this season, even if the head coach throws Nord under the bus.  The offensive woes are the fault of both men, so I see them as a package deal, and the overall mentality of this team needs a drastic change.

With the announcement that Robert Marve would be the starter this weekend against Penn State, the fan base got a small win, something to at least celebrate amid this disaster of a season.  The fans were pulling for Marve since he stepped in when TerBush was suspended in Week 1, and we acknowledge his leadership and the desire to see him get a full chance at the starting job.

Now it's not just exciting to root for Purdue to try win their final four games to make a bowl game (that hopefully isn't in Detroit), but we get to root for Robert Marve to lead this team out of the ashes.  Let's be very clear, if Marve plays well, it's another nail in Hope's coffin.  Rational people understand this, but you know that if Marve turns the team around, Hope will continue to spin it as "trusting Nord and his decision to start TerBush" too long, but that should grant Hope NO solace.  If Marve is ineffective and the Boilers lose more than one more game, Hope needs to be gone.  If Marve is good/great and the Boilers make a bowl game and possibly even upset Penn State (ha, right!), Hope needs to be gone for ruining this season where Purdue had its greatest recent potential.  The man either failed at leading and making the correct decisions and preparing his team, or he failed by giving too much autonomy to his assistants and coordinators.  Either way, that shows that Hope simply can't cut it as a head coach (and this coming from a guy who's met Danny Hope, likes him as a person, and really wanted him to succeed).

OK, my rant is over, my venom spewed; on to the brief* recap.

Overview (and The Offense):

Purdue lost to Minnesota 44-28.  After holding Minnesota to a three-and-out on its first possession, the Boilers scored on their first drive of the game thanks mainly to a 40-yard run by Akeem Shavers. That was the fourth time in the last five games where Purdue scored a touchdown on its first possession. That is a truly great stat, which would be wonderful if after those scores the offense didn't take a nap the rest of the game. The Boilers got only three more first downs the rest of the half, and were trailing 34-7 thanks to a defense that made a freshman quarterback look like Peyton Manning.

After halftime, Purdue came out clearly fired up for the big comeback, since their first series led to points!  Awesome! Unfortunately, those were points for the Gophers, as TerBush threw a pick-six.  And this wasn't just any interception.  Let me break the series down:

  • Play 1: TerBush pass knocked down behind the line of scrimmage by a Gopher lineman
  • Play 2: TerBush passes short right to Bush, but it's broken up by Michael Carter and very nearly intercepted
  • Play 3: TerBush can't find an open man downfield, so he runs for it, gaining eleven yards on third down
  • Play 4: TerBush throws deep to Bush but it's horribly underthrown and broken up by Michael Carter, again very nearly intercepted
  • Play 5: TerBush throws to the right side again to Bush, about 14 yards, and, I hate to repeat myself, but it was swatted away by Michael Carter
  • Play 6: TerBush throws....I bet you can't guess where and to whom....c'mon, guess!....yep, to Bush on the right side, and the pass isn't just broken up by Carter but returned 44 yards for a touchdown.

The announcers called this "the greatest bit of defensive work you're ever gonna see," and I'll probably agree - that was mighty impressive by Carter.  Being a cornerback is a difficult job, and he made some perfect plays on that series.

However, it is inconceivable that TerBush let Carter have those opportunities.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.  Caleb TerBush is insane.

Combine that series with TerBush's stats on the day: 5/18, 49 yards, and -6 yards rushing (take into account he gained 11 yards mentioned above, so that's four bad sacks), and you get one of the worst performances I can remember for a Purdue quarterback.  Also, the one touchdown TerBush threw (on the first series of the game, mentioned above), was a one-yard pass to Cottom.  The pass was thrown on third down into some really tight man coverage, and it could have easily been broken up.  TerBush should have easily noticed that Antavian Edison was standing uncovered at the line of scrimmage, as Erik already pointed out, and while winning the "My Sister Could Have Executed That Play Better" award this week, it just showed how off he was the entire game.

And when your starting quarterback is that badly off, there are two things you can do:
1. Run the ball a heck of a lot
2. Put in a backup quarterback.  Man, I sure wish Purdue had a capable backup, since that could have made all the difference in the game.  Oh well, maybe Danny Hope can recruit more quarterbacks next time (at a different school).  Oh, what?  You mean we have not one, but two other quarterbacks with starting experience?  Good thing the coaches realized this halfway through the third quarter, with the Boilers already trailing by 37 points.

Robert Marve cam into the game an promptly led Purdue on two consecutive touchdown drives. A big part of that wasn't just Marve's arm, but stout rushing by Akeem Hunt (drive one) and Ralph Bolden (drive two). Really nice of the coaches to figure out how to solve their problems when the game was already lost.  When coaching for your job, how on earth do you keep throwing the same mud at the wall, hoping for it to stick.


The Defense:

Much like previous weeks, the defense looked worse than a MAC team.  Here's the stat line:
  • 458 total yards to a team on a three-game losing streak
  • 37 points to a team that hadn't scored more than 13 points in conference play (TerBush gave up the other seven)
  • No turnovers forced
Just horrible.  Also, here's a little breakdown of how the defense performed against true freshman quarterback Philip Nelson in the first half, while giving up 34 points:
  • Series 1: completion, incompletion [punt]
  • Series 2: completion, completion, completion, completion for a touchdown
  • Series 3: completion, completion, completion [rushing touchdown]
  • Series 4: completion, completion for a touchdown
  • Series 5: completion for a touchdown
  • Series 6: completion, completion, incompletion [field goal]
  • Series 7: completion, 25-yard QB rush, completion [field goal, only because time was expiring in the half]
The secondary was horrible, the pass rush was lame, and the run stopping was abysmal.

Feel free to vomit for the fourth consecutive week.

Last week's slogan: "Playing Purdue: good for what ails you!"
This week's slogan: "The Purdue defense: making every quarterback a Heisman candidate"

Special Teams:

I guess a week without a blocked extra point is a good week.

There were actually some good coaching decisions, and as usual, the offense was scripted well for the first drive of the game.  However, they poor decisions and poor preparation by the Purdue coaching staff was staggering, and we can't wait for Danny Hope's and his assitants' tenure to come to an end.

Picks of the Week Update:

Boohoo, I lost yet again for putting faith in Purdue.  Mark it, this is the last time I'm picking Purdue against the spread all season (yes, even against the horrible Illini - we may be even worse).  I now owe my bookie $19.50 or he'll slash my ACL.  Erik's up $37 on the season because he majored in sports gambling.

In Conclusion:

Despite our angst, we need to continue supporting these players in their bid for a bowl game.  Here's hoping Robert Marve and his torn ligaments find redemption in more ways than one, and that the defense can regain their early-season swagger.  We'll never quit rooting for our Boilers, but we will continue to call for a regime change as soon as the last snap of the season.

*Writing this made me so angry it's no longer brief, enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Broadcast Recap - Minnesota Edition

The broadcast recap segment of our site is typically a humorous look at the follies of watching a game on BTN.  If you're looking for a place to wallow in self-pity and read about how we now need to beat either Penn State or Iowa to even consider making a bowl game, I'm sure our upcoming recap will be the place for you.  Meanwhile, here are a couple of things you missed if you didn't watch the game on BTN...

Screenshots of the week:  Here's a BTN classic.  Check out the down and distance up top compared to the down and distance on the field.  Also, I've complained about the lack of first down lines in the past, but what's worse - no lines or incorrect lines?  Check out the yellow "first down line" below.  In case you were wondering, it actually was First and 10.

Oh, and in case you forgot about this one, here's Antavian Edison standing wide open in the end zone (top of screen) as he was never covered.  TerBush NEVER looked his way, either before or during the play.  Even though a much more difficult touchdown was scored on the play, it was clear that TerBush never really had his head in the game.  When watching Marve in the second half, he looked both ways on every single play just to see if anything weird was going on.  Like nobody covering a wide receiver...

Marve has been named the starter for next Saturday's game...just look at the above picture for one of many reasons why.

Thing I learned from BTN: BTN Connect is more important than the game itself.  How many times did Eric Collins say, "Oh, I bet Philip Nelson is trending right now!!!" instead of "Great pass by Philip Nelson"???  It was awful.

Further research tells me that BTN Connect pretty much creates its own twitter-verse out of existing tweets.  That may be a difficult explanation to understand, but here's something that's not - if I actually cared about BTN Connect, I'd go check it out myself.  I don't need Purdue's de facto announcers (Collins and Rackley have done half the Purdue games this year) to ruin my in-game experience by telling me about twitter trends.  The Boilers do a good enough job of ruining my in-game experience themselves, thank you very much.

Announcer complaint:  J Leman - someone featured here so often that we're thinking of naming this segment after him - gave us this gem prior to the game (talking about Minnesota):
"When they've won games, they've won the turnover battle. When they've lost, they've not won it."
Also, anyone notice BTN showing Kawann Short getting his ankle taped up, followed 30 seconds later by him wearing street clothes on the sidelines?  Collins and Rackley didn't miss a beat, even though they clearly were showing hour-old footage.

Comment of the Week - Wife Edition:  "Your phone's lighting up with derogatory text messages.  What's the score?"  "Oh, makes sense.  Why don't the coaches put in that other quarterback - he can't be any worse, right?"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Big Ten Football Power Rankings - Week 8

Another week, another Boilermaker let down while traditional conference powers Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State continue to look good and make us think it's the 1990's again.  There were four games featuring teams in the conference that were decided by a combined four points at the end of regulation.  That's some crazy close action, so at least the Big Ten has that going for it.  Exciting mediocrity!

Because I'm late with the power rankings this week, I've decided to nix the fan pictures.  It's also really hard to continue to find pictures of sad Purdue, IU, Minnesota, and Illinois fans, and at least next week two of those teams will get their first conference win of the season.  Instead, I'll just feature a picture of the best Ohio State fan I could find, since they still top the rankings.

On to the rankings, where I start dying a little inside.

1.   Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 conference) [Last week's rank: 1

Good thing I didn't start making these power rankings with under one minute to go in the game last week.  We all know the craptastic events that took place, so even though they barely won, Ohio State still remains undefeated and the top team in the conference.  Joy.

2.   Michigan (5-2, 3-0) [Last week's rank: 2]

Michigan barely beat Michigan State, which isn't special in a vacuum, but this is the same Spartan team that's had their number for the past four seasons.  The Wolverines have a big showdown in Nebraska this weekend for first place in the Legends division.

3.   Penn State (5-2, 3-0) [Last week's rank: 3]  

Penn State crushed Iowa.  Does Bill O'Brien have a shot at winning coach of the year?  I hate when people pose these questions halfway through the season.  Let's see if the Lions can beat anyone good first.  They still have Ohio State (this weekend), Nebraska, and Wisconsin on the schedule.  I win at home against Ohio State this weekend may vault them to the top of the rankings, but my money's on OSU.

4.   Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1) [Last week's rank: 6]  

The Badgers crushed Minnesota (who looks worse each week after starting 4-0...typical) and ran for 337 yards.  Looks like they are back to full speed after pounding Purdue with a firm grasp on the Leaders division title.  It would take an epic collapse for Wisconsin not to play in Indianapolis, and their next two games are very winnable against Michigan State and Indiana.

5.   Nebraska (5-2, 2-1) [Last week's rank: 7]     

The Huskers had to come from behind to beat Northwestern by one point, and as I watched the end of this game, it really seemed like the Wildcats just rolled over while Taylor Martinez looked unstoppable, finding open receivers at will.  Overall, Nebraska seems like it can flip a switch and look like an offensive juggernaut or simply plod along like the rest of the Big Ten, showing only occasional flashes of brilliance.  And the defense is either adequate at best (against Wisconsin and Northwestern) or a wreck (against UCLA and Ohio State).

6.   Northwestern (6-2, 2-2) [Last week's rank: 5] 

The Wildcats lost by one point to Nebraska in a heart breaker, after having a 12-point lead with six minutes remaining.  People are eagerly jumping off the NW bandwagon since it looks tougher for them to win their division, but they still have a fighting chance.  They only fall one spot in the power rankings because they've still proven a lot this year in the non-con schedule and deserve to be in the top half of the conference.  However, their only Big Ten wins are against Indiana and Minnesota, so they'll need to make a statement at home against Iowa this Saturday.

7.   Iowa (4-3, 2-1) [Last week's rank: 4

Iowa got destroyed by Penn State at home, scoring their only points after being down by 38 in the fourth quarter. Vandenberg was once again atrocious at throwing the football, and the ground game only had 20 net yards.  You read that right.  Twenty yards rushing on 23 carries.  They made Penn State look like Joe Pa was still in his prime instead of rotting in the ground (Too soon? Not at all).  Thumbs down to me for giving the Hawkeyes far too much love last week for beating MSU on the road.  They had me fooled, but we also realize how much worse than anticipated Michigan State is each week that passes.  Speaking of...

8.   Michigan State (4-4, 1-3) [Last week's rank: 9]  

The Spartans almost beat Michigan (for the fifth straight season) in a tough road battle, but they blew it at the end, as crappy teams tend to do.  Their defense played very well, holding the Wolverines to only 326 yards (fewest to only Notre Dame's defense), but the offense continues to be inept.

9.   Minnesota (4-3, 0-3) [Last week's rank: 8]  

Congratulations on holding the Badgers to fewer than 400 rushing yards.  The Boilers couldn't do that, but your end result was almost identical.  Welcome to Sucksville, population Gophers, Boilers, Hoosiers, and Illini.

10.  Purdue (3-4, 0-3) [Last week's rank: 11

Purdue played a much closer game against Ohio State than many expected, but it was a familiar result.  Once again the Boilers grab defeat from the jaws of victory.  Due to their valiant effort for 59 minutes against the Buckeyes, Purdue actually moves up one spot in the rankings but that's mostly because IU...

11.  Indiana (2-5, 0-3) [Last week's rank: 10] 

Lost to Navy?! Are you serious?  After playing close games against Ohio State, Michigan State, and Northwestern, I thought the Hoosiers would easily handle the Midshipmen.  I was wrong.  A Navy team that lost by 40 points to Notre Dame and 27 points to Penn State was able to come from behind and beat IU.  At least I have something to celebrate in the evenings after these horrible Purdue losses.

12.  Illinois (2-5, 0-3) [Last week's rank: 12]

I was tempted to move the Illini above Indiana this week, despite being on a bye, since losing to Navy is that pathetic, but deep down in our hearts, we all know that Illinois is just really, really horrible this season.

Preview: Purdue vs. Minnesota - October 27th - 3:30 - BTN

Due to a faulty DVR, there will be no broadcast recap from the Ohio State game.  However, the screenshot of the game would have absolutely been this fumble on Carlos Hyde's game-winning score that nobody mentioned (or saw), yet nearly cost Ohio State the game in overtime if the ball hadn't bounced right back up into his chest. 

Read more about the fumble and all the other things that went wrong in last week's game on our recap post.

Meanwhile, let's stop dwelling on the past and start looking towards the future, where a 5-3 Big Ten finish is still not completely out of the question.

Why Purdue wins
Purdue may be 0-2 on the road this year, but they've put up their best two performances away from Ross-Ade stadium.  This team does not seem to be affected by difficult crowds, so they should have no problem with a cold, dreary TCF Bank Stadium.  Minnesota's best win is against a middle-of-the-pack Syracuse team and they haven't scored more than 13 points in a Big Ten game this year.  Last week, Minnesota took the redshirt off Freshman quarterback Philip Nelson, who looks like he'll be a pain to deal with for the next three years.  He can best be compared to Rob Henry - a guy who should have as many rushing attempts as passing attempts.  However, with only one start under his belt, and with Purdue having faced two running quarterbacks over the last three weeks, expect Nelson to struggle.  I sound like a broken record, but if Purdue can keep from throwing a pick-six and avoid a blocked kick, the Boilers should pick up their first Big Ten win of the season.

Why Minnesota wins 
Minnesota has one of the top pass defenses in the country, which could really keep Purdue's offense form getting into a rhythm.  When Purdue played Michigan, the key was to establish the running game against a poor rush defense.  That didn't happen, and Purdue got blown out.  The same can be said here.  If Purdue's running backs can't get going against a team that's given up nearly 550 rushing yards over the last few weeks, expect a lot of Cody Webster punts.  There was an increased effort to protect against punt blocks against Ohio State which will most likely continue against the Gophers.  That spells disaster for Purdue, as Minnesota's kick returners, Troy Stoudermire and A.J. Barker are very dangerous.  Give Barker room to return a punt, and he may be Minnesota's best offensive weapon.  It isn't too difficult to imagine a special teams score, a defensive score, and a 60-yard TD run by Nelson against a Purdue team that's prone to mistakes and giving up big plays.  If that happens, Minnesota gets that much closer to bowl eligibility.

Player we're most concerned about since their stock photo may break our TV

This is a tough one this week, as over 60 Minnesota players are getting their heads shaved in order to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.  The team is rallying behind WR Connor Cosgrove, who's been battling Leukemia.  This is a great cause and we definitely agree with using your hair to support charity (Kirk has been growing ugly mustaches for years to raise funds for

However, just because the Gophers are doing a good thing doesn't mean a stock photo isn't cringe-worthy.  We're especially worried about Minnesota's starting punter, Christian Eldred.  Christian is from the land down under, played Aussie Rules Football, and most likely doesn't agree with the statement, "Foster's: Australian for Beer" (Foster's is not very successful in Australia).

He also strikes more than a passing resemblance to Stefan from Saturday Night Live.

Perhaps he could give you a good suggestion for Sydney's hottest clubs...

Picks of the week
Purdue is favored on the road by 3 points.  This week, Kirk and I will be using this guide to cable network subscriber fees from 2009 (I couldn't find anything more recent) to figure out what we SHOULD be paying for cable based on what channels our household has watched over the last 3 months.  I'm tacking on 3% inflation for 3 years so that we have an absolutely rock-solid bet here.

Kirk's Bet
Kirk's family watches only $8.48 worth of tv/month.  We'll round this to $8.50 to make it easier to track.  I'm sure the cable companies will see this and proactively offer him an extremely large discount on his cable bill.

Kirk went from completely depressed to believing in this team overnight.  Expect this week's power rankings to come out later today, but based on last week's rankings, he has the number 11 team beating the number 8 team on the road.  That makes me worry about our power rankings...  Purdue 24 - Minnesota 17

Erik's Bet
I watch $13.53 (rounded to $13.50) of tv/month, which is still absurd compared to what's being paid.  I believe the difference from Kirk's bet can be partially attributed to the Cleveland Cavs being on an extremely expensive Fox Sports Net.

Minnesota's defense reminds me a lot of Michigan's, so I worry about the Boilers scoring enough points.  However, Purdue gets revenge from last week, blocks a Minnesota extra point, and holds on to the 1-point victory.  I'm picking Minnesota with the spread... Purdue 21 - Minnesota 20

Three Final Things
1. Will Purdue complete a bomb on the first play of the third consecutive game?  Nobody can blame the way the offense has started the game the last two weeks.  My guess is that Minnesota will be ready for it, so expect a quick little bubble screen.

2. For those still holding onto a glimmer of hope for the Big Ten Championship game (yes, amazingly it's not completely out of the question), keep an eye on ABC during the Purdue game.  Wisconsin faces Michigan State in the first of three "must-lose" games in order for Purdue to have a chance at Indy.  For those that think I'm crazy, at least it's a good excuse to switch the channel whenever J Leman decides he has something insightful to say.

3. Boiler Up!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Purdue - Ohio State Recap: Missed Opportunities

For 59 minutes and 13 seconds, this game was a blast.  Sure, we wasted a ton of opportunities and should have already been celebrating a double-digit win, but a solid Purdue defense just needed to stop a backup quarterback with no timeouts and 47 seconds left.

25% of the stadium had left after Landon Feichter's interception with under 3 minutes to go.  This was Ohio State - their fans had given up at home against Purdue!  Watching the offensive huddle after the interception, several players weren't paying attention and instead were turned to the Purdue crowd and band trying to pump up the faithful who made the trip.  Sure enough, the focus was gone and a false start pretty much was the beginning of the end.

The worst part about OSU tying the game?  Watching the Purdue band, who had already filed down to the field in preparation for what was about to be an awesome post-game show, climb back up to their seats.  Indeed, the band members weren't the only ones heading back to their seats...nearly our entire section (first ten rows near the overtime goal line) filed back into the section.  We remarked that it was lucky they hadn't left the building.  Their response?  "Oh, we did - but there were so many people who wanted back in that they couldn't stop us all."

The game was dominated by missed opportunities...some you could tell by watching on tv.  Some, you couldn't.  We break down ALL the missed opportunities that pretty much could have sealed the game, and perhaps you may be a bit surprised at how close the overtime really was (check out #13!)....

Missed Opportunity #1: Blocked Extra Point

The fifth missed extra point of the year finally came back to haunt Purdue.  An eight point lead would have been nine.  Ohio State scores a touchdown late.  Purdue ends up with an easy 2-point road victory.  Unlike some of these other missed opportunities, this one didn't change the flow of the game at all.  In fact, I can't think of one play that would have changed if this extra point goes in.

Missed Opportunity #2: Frankie Williams Dropped Pick Six

Those of you who read the blog religiously may have seen my comment after Kirk's game preview.  I'll take a few liberties, but it basically said we can win this game if we score quickly and then take a two score lead off a turnover.  Frankie Williams had a WIDE OPEN pick six midway through the first quarter which would have given Purdue a 13-0 lead (I mean 12-0...we'll take nothing for granted here).  Instead, it was dropped, and my dream of becoming Miss Cleo would have to wait another day.

Missed Opportunity #3: The Empty Marathon Drive

The 6th possession of the game started less than 6 minutes into the game.  At that point, Purdue looked in control, yet the game was barely underway!  With a 13-7 lead late in the first quarter, the Boilers started an amazing drive from their own 9-yard line.  The 19-play drive included a fake punt (setup brilliantly by the prior two punts) and only had two clock stoppages: the end of the first quarter and a pass interference call on Ohio State.  The play-calling was balanced and outstanding in the drive that lasted 10:32 (!) until we got inside the 10-yard line.  Inexplicably, a drive that featured Ralph Bolden, Rob Henry, and Caleb Terbush ended with two consecutive runs to Antavian Edison (his first two rushes of the game!), followed by a 3rd-down interception in the end zone.  I'm not sure if anyone else was infuriated by the two runs to Edison, but prior to the third down, I mentioned that an interception was likely...the play-calling set TerBush up to force his throw and the interception was inevitable.  Even three points there would have given Purdue a huge two score advantage.

Missed Opportunity #4: The Blocked Field Goal (set up by a horrible play-call)

Everyone knows Purdue's kicking game leaves a lot to be desired.  Even Ohio State fans were begging Purdue to kick the ball.  So when the Boilers ran/dove the ball into the center of the field at the 17-yardline on 3rd and 9, Purdue fans had to feel something bad was about to happen.  This team should NEVER set up a play that results in putting a foot on the ball.  Sure enough, Paul Griggs had his kick blocked by the elbow of a stationary lineman that was still on the line of scrimmage.

Let's think about that for a second.  The holder lines up 7-yards behind the line of scrimmage.  A lineman's elbow with his feet on the ground is most likely 6 feet, 6 inches off the ground.  The ball needed to travel 34 yards, meaning that if nobody blocked it, the kick would have been at a maximum 31 feet, 7 inches above the ground (assuming zero effect of gravity).  To visualize this, if the crossbar is 10 feet above the ground, that means the ball would most likely not have gotten higher than 2 more crossbars on a 34-yard kick.

My point is that Griggs kicked that one like the guy who tries to kick a field goal to win $100 in Kroger gift cards at halftime.

This blew another chance to go up two scores. 

Missed Opportunity #5: Three Straight-Ahead Run Calls On OSU's 44-Yard-Line

Up 8 with 8 minutes to go, Purdue played not to lose and ran straight ahead for 3 plays, gaining a total of 2 yards.  One more first down puts the Boilers in field goal range to basically seal the game.  And before you yell at me for being hypocritical, just know that Sam McCartney (not Paul Griggs) was warming up into the net on the sidelines.

Missed Opportunity #6: Two Punts Snapped With 15 Seconds Left On The Play Clock (BONUS: The "My sister could have executed that play better" Award)

Conservative play-calling was the hallmark of Purdue's fourth quarter as the coaching staff made sure to keep the clock running.  Purdue had 3 punts in the final stanza, yet on the first two (which were both set up on runs to keep the clock going), the ball was snapped with 15 seconds left on the play clock!  The snap is actually signaled by one of the "shield" backs who really aren't needed on shorter punts.  Seeing as both of these punts were from inside the 50-yard line, my sister could have easily waited to lower her hand until there were 2 seconds left on the play clock and then ran away.  Think 30 less seconds would have been valuable at the end of the game?

Missed Opportunity #7: Ohio State Converts on 4th and 2 With 4 Minutes Left

The Buckeyes ran Carlos Hyde up the middle for a successful 4th down conversion from their own 28-yard line.  A Purdue stop there gives the Boilers a chance at a field goal to seal the game.

Missed Opportunity #8: Purdue Needed Just ONE FIRST DOWN!

This was already mentioned in the opening, but Brandon Cottom (who otherwise had a pretty nice game) had a boneheaded false start which pretty much had the Boilers thinking punt from the outset.  However, a first down on any of the next 3 plays seals the game.

Missed Opportunity #9: The Inexcusible 39-yard Defensive Breakdown

Kenny Guiton was 2 for 5 with 11 yards and an interception heading into the last drive.  With Ohio State having no timeouts and only :47 left on the clock, the prevent defense would have been fine.  If Purdue let the Buckeyes get 10 yards on every play (assuming approximately 10 seconds run off during each play - allowing for the first down stoppage and the spike), Ohio State does not score and Purdue wins.   So COVER THE LONG BALL!  Not only did the Boilers not cover Devin Smith, there was nobody within 15 yards of him.  That's a great way to give some confidence to a backup quarterback.

Missed Opportunity #10: OSU running the ball on 3rd and 2 with under 20 seconds left

Wow, that play took a lot of guts.  If the Buckeyes don't pick up the first down, the game is over.  Guiton couldn't spike the ball since it would have been 4th down, and Ohio State didn't appear to have another play called.  Even if they did, there would have been 5 seconds on the clock (at most) and Guiton would have had to heave a prayer to the end zone.

Missed Opportunity #11: Incomplete Pass Outside of the Endzone With 8 Seconds Left

This was Guiton's worst decision of the game and it nearly gave Purdue the victory.  If Evan Spencer catches Guiton's pass, the game is absolutely over.  There is no way the Buckeyes can line up and get the snap off in 8 seconds.

Missed Opportunity #12: Two Blown Goal Line Stands

Enough said.  Good play calls, but if Purdue stops either play, they win.

Missed Opportunity #13: The Fumble That NOBODY is Talking About - Hyde Fumbled On His Overtime Touchdown Run!

Overtime seemed like a foregone conclusion.  Ohio State had the momentum and Purdue had stalled on offense.  Most Boiler fans (me included) felt the only way to win was going to be an Ohio State turnover.  This actually nearly happened, even though ABC/ESPN2 never showed it or commented on it.  Carlos Hyde fumbled the ball as he was leaping into the endzone, the ball hit the ground, and bounced right back up into his chest.   Check out the video of the last two OSU plays of overtime and watch the umpire run in to determine who has the ball.  He doesn't signal touchdown right away since he saw the fumble. Still don't believe me?  Check out this screenshot I took from the highlights package shown by BTN (who ALSO didn't mention it)...

As you can see, this was not a muff, but a full out fumble that somehow bounced directly back to Ohio State.  Below are two pictures from the side view of the actual game footage. While it may be tough to see due to some major zoom, the football can be seen hitting the turf and bouncing directly back towards Hyde who is falling down.

Imagine if the Boilers recovered this in the endzone - it would have been another crazy event in an unbelievably crazy game.

Missed Opportunity #14: Gabe Holmes Dropped First Down in Overtime

Finally, while this was not evident from the tv broadcast, the jumbotron replay of the pass to Gabe Holmes showed that he dropped the ball even before he got hit.  Purdue would have had a first down at the 10-yard line, setting up a much different overtime series.  A touchdown there would have resulted in the most nerve-wracking extra point I may have ever witnessed.

That's 14 opportunities that Purdue had to pull off one of its biggest wins in decades.  And all 14 went against Purdue.  I know this wasn't quite the normal recap we normally do, but I could think of no better way to accurately describe recap this game.

Picks Recap - Purdue beats the spread
- I got this one right and am up to $23.50!
- Kirk faith was once again lacking and he now owes $11.

Regardless of the missed opportunities, Purdue finally showed some life and a 5-3 record is still possible.  Wisconsin does not have an easy schedule left (OSU, MSU, and @PSU), so it's still possible they finish 4-4.  Gotta keep the faith - basketball season's still a couple of weeks away!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Purdue-Ohio State recap is going into overtime

Due to getting back from Columbus late last night, the recap of the Purdue-OSU game has been delayed a day. Never fear, your favorite site's recap will be posted either tonight or tomorrow, and it'll be a doozy.  In the meantime, here are two thoughts from my seat in the 7th row in the corner of the end zone...

2. I've now been to Ohio State for 10 Purdue basketball or football games.  For the first time, most of the fans did NOT scream obscenities at me after the game (yes, there was still the occasional "F*** Purdue" from wasted underage girls, but even those bright young souls couldn't come up with anything when I told them to enjoy their bowl game).  For most, there was a genuine feeling of pity - they truly felt sorry for me having to experience that ending.   Most fans told me that the game really didn't mean anything to OSU - they're not playing for anything. And the atmosphere around Columbus reflected that. On the other hand, it appeared that the game meant everything to Purdue.  Not only would it have been huge for the bowl picture, but it also would've put Purdue right back in the race for the Big Ten Championship game.  There were many chances Purdue had to seal the game, yet they didn't capitalize on a single one of them.  Maybe they wanted it too much. We'll explore these chances and more in the recap, so stay tuned...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Big Ten Football Power Rankings - Week 7

Five conference games played last week with only one result a surprise (Iowa winning at MSU), but some surprising margins of victory with Ohio State narrowly beating Indiana and Purdue getting owned by Wisconsin.  How sad is it that I'm almost more interested in watching the other Big Ten games than Purdue vs. Ohio State this weekend?

On to the rankings, where tears stream down my face as I rank Indiana ahead of Purdue.

1.   Ohio State (7-0, 3-0 conference) [Last week's rank: 1

The Buckeyes had a hard fought win against Indiana last weekend, which should be a reason to drop them a few spots, since they almost let one get away from them.  However, they are BY FAR the best team in the conference right now, even though their defense needs some work.  Of course, that same defense is playing Purdue this weekend, so we know it'll get its act together since playing Purdue is good for what ails you.  Finally, how strange will it be if OSU goes undefeated only to not be eligible for the conference or national title game?  Could the AP voters still rank them #1 at the end of the season if there are no other undefeated teams?

2.   Michigan (4-2, 2-0) [Last week's rank: 2]

Michigan got to easy weekends in a row.  First beating up Purdue, and then easily shutting out Illinois in Ann Arbor.  The Wolverines host Michigan State this weekend, but given how far Sparty has fallen, I expect them to win big.

3.   Penn State (4-2, 2-0) [Last week's rank: 3]  

No other teams did enough to pass Penn State in the rankings during their bye week, but we'll find out this weekend if they've really turned the corner when they play at Iowa.

4.   Iowa (4-2, 2-0) [Last week's rank: 9]  

The Hawkeyes narrowly edged the Spartans in double overtime on the road.  This is another team that I'm not sure if they've turned the corner from a poor non-conference season, since they haven't beat anyone good in the Big Ten yet (MSU is NOT good).  We'll find out this weekend when they host Penn State in the battle to prove who's a fraud and who's really figured out how to win this season.

5.   Northwestern (6-1, 2-1) [Last week's rank: 4]

After losing their first game of the season to Penn State the previous weekend, Northwestern took care of business and beat Minnesota on the road.  It wasn't pretty (no points scored by the Wildcats in the second half), but a win's a win.  They host Nebraska this weekend, which could be a make or break game.  They still may have a special season (and at least they're bowl eligible), but they also have the chance to lose their next 4 games.
6.   Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1) [Last week's rank: 7

Sure, Wisconsin destroyed Purdue, but right now that seems to be the thing any halfway decent team can do.  Ball ran for 247 yards, but I'm not impressed enough to move them up until they beat someone else since they've only beaten the worst two teams in the conference right now.  If the Badgers crush Minnesota just as badly this weekend, maybe they'll see their name a couple spots higher in the power rankings.  They're also the only post season-eligible team in the Leaders division with a conference win, that's how bad things are in the Big Ten.

7.   Nebraska (4-2, 1-1) [Last week's rank: 6]    

The Huskers hover around the same spot after a bye week.  Other conference teams are improving, and Nebraska can prove they're doing the same with a tough slate of Northwestern and Michigan the next two weeks.

8.   Minnesota (4-2, 0-2) [Last week's rank: 10

Minnesota lost to Northwestern last weekend, which isn't a big surprise.  Despite their undefeated non-conference record, they haven't beaten anyone in the conference and they may struggle to make it to 6-6 and bowl eligibility.  They're best odds of a win are against Purdue and Illinois, and they should get throttled by Wisconsin this weekend (although look for them to put up more effort than the Boilers did).

I am disappoint
9.   Michigan State (4-3, 1-2) [Last week's rank: 5]  

The Spartans started the season strong as a favorite to win the Legends division, but of their last five games, they've lost three and only beat Indiana (barely) and Eastern Michigan (who is winless) by two scores.  MSU lost to Iowa at home in double overtime last week, and Andrew Maxwell had a completely ineffective game behind center (other than a couple plays, sound familiar Purdue fans?). His interception in overtime cost Sparty the game.

10.  Indiana (2-4, 0-3) [Last week's rank: 11] 

Wilson is easily confused
Let's give the sad Hoosier football team some credit.  They may not be able to win a big game, and they lost yet again to Ball State this season, but they are at least competitive and make their games fun to watch.  They challenged Ohio State and got some lucky bounces to trim an 18-point deficit to 3 in the final two minutes.  I'll be pretty happy if the Boilers can put up 481 yards of offense against the Buckeyes this weekend.  IU gets an easy win this weekend against a horrible Navy team and then plays Illinois for what should be their first Big Ten win in a couple years.

11.  Purdue (3-3, 0-2) [Last week's rank: 8]

Danny Hope sits at a table with the members of his fan club
The Boilers are in a freefall.  IU passes them purely because they've played their big games (all still losses, of course) far more competitively.

12.  Illinois (2-5, 0-3) [Last week's rank: 12]

The Illini still can't make their offense work, getting shut out by Michigan and only managing 134 total yards. Boilermaker fans are just happy there's a team bad enough to continually stay below Purdue in the power rankings. At least Illinois won't lose this weekend - they have a bye.

FYI: teams on bye weeks don't get photos, since their fans had nothing to react to

Preview: Purdue vs. Ohio State - October 20th - Noon - ABC/ESPN2

Who's prepared for another Saturday of disappointment?  I'm not usually a pessimist, and maybe I'm just cranky because I've been sick, but I'm bracing myself for a rough game on Saturday.  The Boilers travel to Ohio State to face the undefeated Buckeyes at a horrible time when Purdue can't seem to do anything right.  The Bucknuts continue to showcase a dominant offense under Braxton Miller, but their defense is in question after narrowly beating Indiana in Bloomington last week.

Why Purdue wins
Sick of two weeks of repeated embarrassment, the Purdue coaching staff actually puts together a game plan that includes four quarters of effort.  We know they have the talent to produce offensively, and if Indiana could put up 49 points on the Buckeyes, the Boilers can, too.  Maybe the defense can return to their strong early season form and cause the one-man wrecking crew that is Braxton Miller to have a game like Denard Robinson had in South Bend.  Don't hold your breath.

Why Ohio State wins 
The Buckeyes win because they are a really good football team and far superior coaching.  Personally I don't  find much to like about Urban Meyer, but he's skilled at his job, and you know Ohio State won't get caught looking past this game (they play at Penn State next weekend).  No one seems to be able to stop Braxton Miller, so no matter how many points the opposition can throw up on the board, the Buckeyes simply score more.

Player we're most concerned about since their stock photo may break our TV

First, I'm a little concerned about freshman wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos.  I've never heard of him, but anyone who's ballsy enough to show up for picture day stoned is definitely a wildcard to fear.

I'm also disturbed by starting left tackle Jack Mewhort and left guard Andrew Norwell, if only because they would crush me on the field and in a staring contest. I wonder if they get lost in each other's eyes playing side by side everyday.

Picks of the week
Ohio State is favored by 18.5 points.  Ouch.  This week, Erik and I will be betting the original cost of our favorite piece of Purdue apparel.

Kirk's Bet
Growing up a rabid Purdue fan, it's hard to narrow down to one item of clothing that I love the most, and most of the stuff I wear now is pretty generic with less sentimental value.  Probably the best stuff I've ever had has since dissolved due to constant wear, but I loved my old "three Pete" t-shirt that commemorated the men's basketball team's three consecutive Big Ten titles from 1994-1996.  I'm not sure how much that cost 16 years ago (wow I feel old), so instead let's say my hat I bought at the Rose Bowl in 2001 for about $20.

I continue to have little faith in this team, not because of the players, but because of the decisions made by an arrogant and out of touch coaching staff. I'd really love to be proven wrong.  Ohio State 45 - Purdue 21

Erik's Bet
Because he's a die-hard fan, Erik's favorite piece of Purdue apparel is his Paint Crew t-shirt from the first year of Painter's tenure at Purdue (although I'm partial to the last Gene Pool shirt featuring the famous Gene Keady comb-over on a basketball).  He's not risking much on his bold pick though, since the shirt only cost about $12 for Paint Crew members back then.

Since Erik will be at the game, he's picking this one to be considerably closer than most experts.  He can't handle witnessing two blowout losses in a row, and neither can his liver. Ohio State 27 - Purdue 16

Three Final Things
1. The Boilers always seem to save their best for Ohio State.  Last year Purdue won by three points at home in exciting fashion in overtime (I think I watched that Marve sneak 100 times in a row), and the good guys won by eight points in 2009. However...

2. Purdue hasn't won at Columbus since 1988, and we all remember the 49-0 shellacking in 2010.  That's a horrible drought.

3. Boiler Up! (even if you're pessimistic like me)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Anti-Broadcast Recap - Wisconsin Edition

Kirk released some venom in his recap of Saturday's game - make sure to check it out.  Meanwhile, I normally use this space to review the broadcast of the game, however I traveled the 6 hours from Cleveland to West Lafayette for this one, so here's what you missed if you weren't at the game...

Screenshot of the week:  After watching the replay, I feel BTN did a poor job emphasizing how hard it was actually raining out there.  It was raining so hard and was so miserable that my wife and I left the game with 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter.  I have attended over 350 college or professional games in which I had a rooting interest in my lifetime (yes, I spent the whole day counting), and this is only the second time I have ever left a game early. I've been through blizzards in Cleveland Browns Stadium, I've been to games with 3-hour rain delays at Jacobs' Field, I've been to blowouts both for and (usually) against Purdue and Cleveland, and yet the only other game I've left early is a Yankees-Indians game in 1994 that got suspended due to the old American League curfew rule.  We sat through 3 rain delays, but eventually left at 12:50 AM as my 5-year-old brother was getting tired and we knew we wouldn't get to see the end of the game due to the curfew rule.

That's how miserable it was on Saturday.

So, while it would be easy to lay the blame on the program for the screenshot below (taken with 4:00 left in the 4th quarter), I'd lay the blame mostly on the weather.

Although, I would've stayed if Purdue had any chance of coming back...

Thing I learned from Ross-Ade: I was pretty impressed with how well-stocked the Ross-Ade vendor stands were with ponchos.  We stood in line for a half-hour (before, during, and after halftime) with thousands of other fans who read my "76 degrees and partly sunny" forecast in this week's preview, and sure enough there were still ponchos available when we got to the front.  This led to a conversation as to how difficult it would be to prepare the poncho inventory - you either get zero people buying them or 10,000.  Perhaps that's why the ponchos they're selling are "yellow gold" instead of "old gold" - they probably ordered 500,000 back in the 90's and they're still trying to get rid of the old colors.  The 2nd half would have been nearly unwatchable without them, however I'm wondering now whether I would've rather had them run out and force us to leave at halftime.

West Lafayette complaint: I'm able to make it up to Purdue for one football game and one basketball game per year.  One of our favorite traditions has been to go to Boiler Market before the game to drink beer, get a seat by the window, and watch Breakfast Club in all its glory.  However, Boiler Market closed in April, and now only Harry's, Jake's, Brother's, and Where Else are serving beer on the hill before 11 AM.  Each of these places are always packed wall to wall for Breakfast Club and have long lines to get in - definitely not what we were looking for.  It's always nice to have an option outside of tailgating (especially when you only have an hour or so to drink), so here's to hoping Mad Mushroom and Insomnia Cookies keep the liquor license in their new digs and provide the awesome alternative that Boiler Market has for years.

Comment of the Week - Wife Edition:  "Look - I built an umbrella for our pretzel!"

This week I'm off to Columbus.  I really wish they served beer at college football games - I'm going to need it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Purdue - Wisconsin Recap: A Steaming Pile of Crap

I've been putting off this game wrap-up as long as I can.  Erik and I usually let the game marinate for a day before writing our reaction to Saturday's results, since we know we aren't the first site you check for play-by-play news,  Hopefully that gives us the chance to be more reflective, but this week it's just given me longer to stew.  But I deserve this.

You see, last week, after the Boilers were destroyed by Michigan, I texted Erik relieved that he was scheduled to write the wrap-up post and not me.  I gave him a bit of a hard time, and I set my sights on next week.  Who wants to write an essay about how much their beloved team failed?  Friends, that's my job today, and it sucks.  My only consolation is that at least I wasn't there to have to watch that dreck in person.


Purdue lost to Wisconsin 38-14 on Saturday.  In a game that we mistakenly thought was going to actually matter, potentially determining the winner of the Leaders division (oh, you better believe that happened!), Purdue showed up for the first 38 seconds and then decided that was enough.  Sure the players still took the field and chased after Montee Ball, half-heartedly trying to tackle him to no avail, but it was as if they had no confidence in their ability to win.  And this was only the second quarter, trailing by just a touchdown.

Wisconsin eventually put up 645 yards of total offense, including 467 on the ground (247 by Ball), and Purdue could only manage about 125 yards per air and ground while rotating three quarterbacks.  Fans got to sit and stare at a steaming pile of crap.

The Offense:

Sucked.  Hope played all three quarterbacks (surprised he didn't call Sean Robinson back into the fold, too), and none of them were effective after the early bomb by TerBush, going 11 for 31 for 124 yards.  Lots of passes thrown behind the receiver, vanilla play-calling for most of the game, and none of the signal callers seemed to be in rhythm.  Anyone else feel like the "players' coach" promised all these guys a certain amount of playing time, and because of that, won't make a decision to pick a guy and stay with him (or give Marve the reins over TerBush)?

The running game couldn't find any holes, and until a late fourth quarter 81-yard touchdown run by Akeem Hunt, the Boilers had only mustered 47 yards on the ground on 27 carries.  Some horrible sacks are also a cause for those atrocious numbers.  The offensive line looked like an FCS team as they couldn't create gaps or protect the quarterback.

The Defense:

Sucked.  I'll just share the stat line for Wisconsin:

  • 645 total yards
  • 467 yards rushing, 57 carries, 8.2 yards per attempt, countless missed tackles
  • 178 yards passing, 12 for 21

Feel free to vomit.

New slogan? "Playing Purdue: good for what ails you!"

Special Teams:

Was decent (hooray for not sucking!).  Cody Webster had some great punts, and he had lots of practice with eight total.  Four were downed inside the 20-yard line, and two of those pinned Wisconsin inside their own 3-yard line.  But of course, one punt was blocked (in the third quarter, well after the Boilers had given up), making that three on the year.  Ridiculous.

Akeem Hunt had a great kickoff return to midfield to start the game, and Raheem Mostert had a 57-yard return in the first quarter that would have led to points of TerBush hadn't thrown that interception.  The best returns of the game, on Purdue's first two opportunities.  At least special teams tried to start the game off on the right foot.  It's a shame Mostert will miss the next two to four weeks with a knee sprain.

Kawann Short also got a finger on another field goal, causing it to go off target in the second quarter.  This gives Short the school record with six blocked field goals.  Purdue didn't attempt a field goal.

Best coaching decision: What a great play call to start the game!  A 52-yard bomb to Antavian Edison downed right before the goal line.  I was so excited.  I should have stopped watching there and celebrated the impending victory in my own little happy place.  Best coaching decision, by far, all day.

Worst coaching decision: Hiring Danny Hope in 2008.  I'm not a mean guy, but I'm honest.  I guess that's more of a "Worst Morgan Burke decision," but if I start that section, I'll be writing this post for the next two days straight.

Worst Call by a Zebra:

In a game like this, there's no reason to even mention the officials.  Purdue was only called for three penalties on the field.  Off the field, the entire coaching staff should have been flagged repeatedly for "wasting my time," "blowing smoke up my rear," and "failure to prepare."

Most Important Play:

There were two; one I'll highlight here and the other in the following section.  First, the interception thrown by TerBush on the Boilers' second drive in the first quarter was critical.  With the game tied 7-7, and Purdue in scoring territory, TerBush threw a pass high to his receiver that sailed into Badger hands.  Up until that point, the offense was moving the ball well, and that was the last time they did until garbage time.  It's like the game plan was, "if TerBush throws a pick, let's all roll over and play dead the rest of the game," or "let's only call the most expected and mundane offensive plays imaginable, they'll never see THAT coming!"  I'm still torn on who to blame for the pick.  The throw was very high, but it seemed to go right through the Crosby Wright's outstretched hands.  Does it matter?

The "My sister could have executed that play better" Award:

With the Boilers trailing by only 10 points, Robert Marve was in the game leading his second drive.  After two nice completions, he had Purdue in field goal range with about 20 seconds to play.  Marve scrambled, couldn't find an open receiver, and took a 13-yard sack that made a field goal impossible.  You simply cannot let that happen.  Last week, Marve ran out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage instead of throwing the ball away.  This is a fundamental flaw, and for all the fans pining for Marve to be the starter, please note these poor decisions he has made.  He may have cost Purdue 3 points on that play, and any, and I mean ANY, points to give the team even a modecum of confidence going into the half would have been useful (and kept the deficit to one possession).  My sister would have easily thrown that ball away to avoid getting sacked by a 300-pound dude.  Sure, she would have barely thrown the ball past the original line of scrimmage, but at least she would have kept Purdue in field goal range.

The Biggest Missed Opportunity:

This entire game was a huge missed opportunity.  See above for the two plays that were most costly (in my eyes) other than the countless missed opportunities to tackle Montee Ball, including Sean Robinson nearly bringing him down in the end zone for a safety in first quarter.  Two times the Badgers had to start inside the three yard line, and both times the Boilers failed to stop them and force a dangerous punt, giving up big runs to Ball each time.

Picks of the Week Update:

I'm looking forward to Erik's mea culpa after criticizing the fans who "didn't believe" after last week's loss to Michigan.  He loses his $30 concert ticket for the audacity to pick a Purdue victory, and I gain $25 for picking with my head and not my heart.  I'm back in the black with $11.50 leading Erik's $9.00.  Wow, I'm sooo excited.  It's so fun betting against the team you love, right?

In Conclusion:

The vast majority of the fanbase is calling for Danny Hope to be fired.  And I rightfully expect that to happen once the season concludes.  However, I think there is no chance Burke fires him midseason, and until that point, let's support the team and "hope" for a turnaround.  There are six games left, and while the odds of winning in Columbus next weekend are virtually non-existent, the other five games are winnable (at least by what we had seen through the first 4 weeks of the season).  What if Purdue starts 0-3 and runs the table to end 5-3 and second in the division?  Look at me - ever the optimist even when I'm repeatedly let down - I call it battered Boiler syndrome.  In actuality, we probably won't even beat IU this year unless something changes, and fast.

Also, it's horrible to see pictures of an empty stadium during the fourth quarter posted all over the internet, and while I wasn't at the game, I can't blame a single person for leaving early.  The weather sucked, the product on the field sucked, and there was far more fun to be had at Homecoming tailgates.  It's disheartening and looks horrible for Purdue on the national stage, but it's deserved right now.