Sunday, December 30, 2012

Heart of Dallas Bowl Preview: Purdue vs. Oklahoma State - January 1st - Noon - ESPNU

Wow.  Think about how much has changed since our most recent football preview a little over a month ago.  The football team has a new coach that has excited fans, recruits, and administrators and has injected some much needed life into the program.  Meanwhile, everyone was looking forward to a men's basketball season that's now turned into a big pile of mediocrity.  If I had told you at the beginning of November that the Purdue fanbase would be more excited for a bowl game than the start of the Big Ten basketball season, you would have called me crazy.  But judging from the general pulse of Boilermaker fans, that's exactly where we stand right now.

It's Pistol Pete versus Purdue Pete.  A Re-Pete of the 1997 Alamo Bowl.  Let's get pumped!

Why Purdue wins
Patrick Higgins has received rave reviews since he was named Interim Head Coach for the Boilermakers.  Whether he remains on Darrell Hazell's staff is yet to be seen, but it appears Higgins is making a name for himself in assistant coaching circles.  Every assistant coach at Purdue will initially be let go after the game, so I'm sure many people will be watching how they handle this one. 

While the Purdue coaching staff is anything but stable, Oklahoma State is going through a transition of their own.  The Cowboys have lost offensive coordinator Todd Monken to the Southern Mississippi head coaching job, so head coach Mike Gundy will be pulling double duty.  Third string quarterback Clint Chelf took hold of the starting position after injuries to their top two quarterbacks and has played well enough to earn the start for the Cowboys in the bowl game, although Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh could see some playing time as well.  All three quarterbacks are interception prone, so expect Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson to cheat and go after the pick six.  After all, how many stops do you really think this team will come up with?  Might as well go for the big play.

Speaking of big plays, expect the Boilers to go for some huge ones.  The Cowboy pass defense is horrible, and Patrick Higgins has already hinted at some excitement:
“Of course, we'll have a few surprises,” Higgins says with a smile. “You've got to. Heck, maybe a trick play every other play.”
Expect a fun one if the Boilers can stick around.

Oklahoma State has scored at least 30 points in every game except one this year (a 20-14 win over Kansas), but perhaps the coordinator change could slow down the Cowboys' potent offense. Plus if the Purdue players rally around their outgoing coaches and the defense can come up with a few turnovers, Purdue could pull off the shocker of the bowl season.

Why Oklahoma State wins 
While I pretty much had to write a book to explain why the Boilermakers will win, I don't have to do that with the Cowboys.  Did you see how I glossed over how Oklahoma State has scored at least 30 points in 11 out of 12 games?  Sure those games were against Big 12 defenses, but Purdue's defense hasn't proven to be much better.  Meanwhile, since the Big Ten season started, Purdue has scored 30 points ONE time - the 56-35 win over Indiana.  If you were looking reason this game is expected to be the biggest blowout of the bowl season, that's it.  

Player we're most concerned about since their stock photo may break our TV
Starting center Evan Epstein is growing his hair out for Locks of Love.  While we here at have never been ones to discourage charitable hair growth, there comes a time when you actually need to make the donation.  The time has come, Evan.  Make the donation.  Unfortunately, that still won't keep this ugly stock photo from showing up on your tv.  Is his hair photo-shopped in?

Picks of the week
As you may remember from the IU preview, we "bet" any value up to the cost of the most expensive sporting ticket we’ve ever purchased.  To keep things interesting in the overall standings, if Purdue made a bowl game, we'd have to double whatever we bet for that game.  Well, due to poor planning, Kirk pointed out that his pick no longer matters.  Pressure's on! I'm currently ahead $172 to $119.50, so a win or a push in this one gives me the championship.  The spread is Purdue -17.

Erik’s Bet 
I'm required to bet double my $220 2007 NBA Finals Game 3 ticket between the Cavs and the Spurs.  I'm glad we're not actually betting this amount - $440 is a ton of money to put on a Purdue team that gets blown out a lot!

Erik’s Pick 
Purdue pulls out all the stops - a fake punt, a double-reverse pass, and an onside kick.  It's not enough, but the Boilers make it exciting in the last game before the Darrell Hazell era.  Oklahoma St 48 – Purdue 44

Kirk’s Bet 
Kirk will now be betting the full value of his $200 Final Four ticket from 2010.

Kirk’s Pick 
Kirk really wants to pick Purdue 999 - Oklahoma State 0, but he just can't pull the trigger on it.  Instead, he apparently forgot his vow to always bet against Purdue after they burned him one too many times. Oklahoma St 45 – Purdue 35

Three Final Things
1) It's impossible to do a preview of Oklahoma State without a link to one of the all-time great rants in press conference history.  Do yourself a favor and watch head coach Mike Gundy's "I'm A Man" speech.

2) I didn't give the defense much credit, although Bruce Gaston, Kawann Short, and Ryan Russell struggled with injuries this year.  They're apparently healthier than they've been all season, so look for Purdue's defensive line to step up with a big game.

3) Boiler Up!

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