Monday, July 09, 2012

An Early Look at the 2012 Purdue Football Season Through Pessimist Eyes

Obviously, it's very early for a look at the upcoming football season. And I'm sure I'll get at least one or two lectures from boneheads who will say that not being rah-rah enough means I'm not a real fan or some such nonsense like that. But I don't -- as of now in July -- have a good feeling about the 2012 football season. So let's just dive into it.

The schedule looks like this:

Sat, Sept 1 EKU

Sat, Sept 8 @ND

Sat, Sept 15 Eastern Mich

Sat, Sept 29 Marshall

Sat, Oct 6 Mich

Sat, Oct 13 Wisc

Sat, Oct 20 @OSU

Sat, Oct 27 @Minn

Sat, Nov 3 PSU

Sat, Nov 10 @Iowa

Sat, Nov 17 @Illinois

Sat, Nov 24 IU

A lot of you replied that you were optimistic for Purdue this year and seem to be expecting good things and an improvement on last year's step forward. What would another step forward be? 8+ wins? Show me where you find 8 wins on that schedule, because I simply don't see it.

I know there are games there that they should win, but one thing the Coach Hope years have taught us is that we will be subjected to maddening inconsistency. Yes, they'll "steal" a game when you'll have all but given up on them... but you'll have all but given up on them because they'll have lost a home game to a MAC team or a road game at a place like Rice. So let's play the ever-popular, win-win-loss-loss-win-loss-loss game.

Let's leave aside the "should win" games. Let's start with games I actually think you can chalk up as victories. Those would be EKU, Eastern Michigan, IU. That's it, that's the list. I don't think anything else on here is a gimme, and let's be honest -- has Purdue played a game that felt like a gimme at all recently? IU plays Purdue tough these days -- even against last year's hapless IU squad, Purdue didn't destroy them. And we all know how lethargic and sleepy the boys seem to look in early-season pushover games.

And let's also look at what I think are highly probable losses: @ND, Wisc, @OSU, @Iowa. Purdue doesn't win in South Bend -- once in the long lifetimes of your elder BS statesmen. They have not played Wisconsin well in recent years (the worst collective beatings that Hope has suffered -- the games mostly aren't even competitive), they always struggle out at Iowa (and couldn't beat them at home last year with a bowl on the line), and they aren't beating an Urban Meyer team on the road (or any OSU team on the road, frankly).

That leaves hypothetical "toss-ups" of Marshall, Michigan, @Minn, PSU, @Illinois. Of that group, I think they are highly likely to lose to Michigan (only on this list because it's at home) and Penn State (another team Purdue simply does not beat, even when you think the cards are in your favor).

I also have a serious fear that Marshall is this year's early-season hiccup. Regardless of whether you agree or not, it's going to happen. It does every year. For an improvement this season in terms of program development, fan sanity, job security for Coach Hope, etc., I think they really must start at least 3-1. Sure, they can of course overcome a 2-2 start in the non-con, but even if they do, people will remember that they continue to trip up early and put themselves in a position where even a strong finish dooms them to a middling bowl game.

So if Marshall, UM and PSU are losses, that leave @Minnesota and @Illinois on the docket. Even if the Boilers take both of those road games -- which is far from a sure thing right now because you have to assume Minny will be improved and we know Illinois has the talent from Zooker's recruiting prowess -- I'm still landing at only five wins for the 2012 Boilermakers.

You can accuse me of being a pessimist, but I can only judge/predict based on what I know. And what I know is that despite how much I like the man in charge of the football program, his teams are wildly inconsistent and unpredictable.

As of now, I'm calling 5-7 as their final record.

Boilerdowd's look at the upcoming season will be posted shortly...and it will please those wearing gold-colored glasses...a bit more.


Anonymous said...

Me sad now...

Plang said...

You are not a pessimist, you are a true Purdue fan. Which, by the very definition, makes you a realist with a sprinkle of pessimisim in there for good measure.
I personally think Purdue will be a solid 0.500 team this year. Believe it or not, I'm sort of hoping that Purdue somehow stays just good enough, but not really that good enough, to get to the Idaho Potato Bowl - strictly for selfish reasons.

zlionsfan said...

The sad thing is that this is the one year that Hope has any chance to lead the team to Indianapolis. A better team could take the division and maybe even sneak into a BCS bowl; I just don't think this is that team.

The inconsistency is the problem, I think. I mean, I don't even know that the gimmes are actually gimmes. They ought to beat a I-AA squad, but you never know. Eastern Michigan actually looked like it was improving last season, and the IU rivalry really is one where the records don't count for much. Even if they sweep the tossups (which I think is nearly impossible), I'd expect they'd lose one of the gimmes.

I'm just hoping for another bowl game, which means more practice and more exposure.

zlionsfan said...

following comments - Google keeps screwing this stuff up.

CaryNW87 said...

J -

My amazing wife surprised me with season tickets for my bday. I was pumped until I sat down and looked really looked at the schedule. We (yep, I'm a "we" type of fan) could easily be 2-5 headed into Minneapolis, and it is even money that we could be 2-9 when the Loosiers come to town.

Obviously, I am hoping for better, but I'm not holding my breath. This does, however, set up a cool scenario where we have a "miracle" 8-win season.

Either way, I'm looking forward to kick off in September.

Boilergal said...

6-6 (4-4)... Don't know exactly which games, but you can guess (educated) that they will be 2-2 in non-con, tripping in a game they shouldn't. Then, they will beat some team they shouldn't (PSU?) and go 4-4 in conf. Whether that gets them in a bowl, who knows? I just wish we had a coaching staff that could take advantage of some of the increased talent that is committing, esp the coming years with Elite 11 QBs on the roster. Ugh, one can wish.

The Starving Guitarist said...

I still think they'll get 7 wins. This should be the most talented roster we've seen in awhile. I know we lost some RB's but we should be more experienced on defense. And I can't imagine coverage not improving over last year. Sure, I'm going to be super nervous when we play Marshall and IU too, but I think the picture looks better than it has for the past two years. This should be the year they finally escape the non-conference schedule at 3-1.

Matt Gentry said...

This is the pessimist version? I think there's at least a 20% chance we only win 2 games this season. Personally, I feel like this season was already lost when we didn't sign Kevin Sumlin (or really anyone that would bring "basketball on grass" back) as our head coach.

As always, I hope that I am wrong and will pray for the best. I will also continue to dream that a lawyer discovers that Drew still has an unused year of eligibility.

Georiga Boiler said...

Again I will say I Hope (no pun intended) that I am wrong but I see 5-7 optimistic. I have the fire Hope bus gassed up and tickets are readily available (and have had for 2 years). I am and will continue until I am proven wrong believe he is over his head and is not a head coach. He continues to amaze me in some of his decisions, or lack there of. Yes he can recruit, so could Zook. Look how that turned out.

Andrew and Travis said...

I can't wait for Purdue football and the inevitable heartbreak and HOPElessness that always follows. Your prediction looks solid.
+/- 2 games. So 7 wins or 3 wins.

The Starving Guitarist said...

Man. I'm surprised at how pessimistic everybody on this site is. The Hammer and Rails guys are like the polar opposite. Not to say both sides don't have good reasons but everybody is so down on the team right now. Sadness... Why would you look forward to the team choking? A lot of Purdue fans are really quick to jump ship, I wish that would change, because I am sure it makes it harder for the players to get pumped up for games.

J Money said...

Guitar -- What makes you think we "look forward to the team choking"? We want success and as we often say around these parts....I'd love to be wrong.

The Starving Guitarist said...

J Money - Sorry that choking comment wasn't really directed at you, it was referring to this comment from someone else: "I can't wait for Purdue football and the inevitable heartbreak and HOPElessness that always follows." No offense intended to poster, lol it's kind of funny in a way, we are unfortunately now famous for the school that chokes or the entire team gets injured. So the universe eventually ought to owe us a huge favor, right?

I suppose I am just bummed about a lack of fan support the past 5 years. Don't get me wrong, Purdue has a number of really loyal fans, but I went to the season opener last year and was like... what happened to the student section? It's embarrassingly empty. I would argue that this is a better roster than we had in '07-08 when the stands were still full. In '07-09 one of my roommates was best friends with a couple of the offensive linemen and I heard a lot of internal grumblings coming from the players about the coaches. I don't have the kind of connections that I did back then, but it seems like the players are happier with the direction of the program now than they were then and that's really important. I know a lot of people get down on the team for the player arrests, but they are really minor offenses compared to the kind of arrests I saw when I was there in the end of the Tiller era. My whole point is I think this is a better team on and off of the field than 5 years ago. It might be hard for some people to see but I feel like things are better than they have been in awhile. Of course I want to see improvement, but sometimes I'm afraid some fans are stunting the team's growth. They gave up a long time ago and need to be convinced somehow that things have improved. In my opinion, it's not just the team that's at a turning point, it's the fanbase too. The fans need to be won over this year or we might not ever get over the hump, yet the team might need more support from the fans if they're going to get better too. I don't know what the answer to that is but being someone who suffered through watching every game during our 3-9 season, I feel pretty good about where we are right now!

PS - Hope I didn't offend you guys, I love the blog. I've checked it daily for the past couple years. Good stuff!

J Money said...

Oh, gotcha. Didn't realize you were talking to Andrew and Travis. But they're not actually, fans, I don't think. They're what are known as trolls. They're cute, though, and are registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

The Starving Guitarist said...


Andrew and Travis said...

O.G. J Money......not sure what you mean by not fans. We both graduated from Purdue. One of us works for Purdue. I have season tix to basketball and go to all the home football games. My parents met at Purdue and I have been going to Purdue games since I could walk. I would venture that I am a bigger fan than you are. I guarantee I go to more University events than a gangsta like you. Just because I have different opinions than Mr AL East doesn't mean I am not a fan.
I posted that I agreed with you J$. That said I will still be at all the home football games. Because I love Purdue and always will.
I play guitar too but I am not starving because I am a Purdue grad.

Andrew and Travis said...

Check us out at It isn't a sports blog/podcast but we do mention Purdue in it. You can also find it on iTunes for free. Just search "No Quarter". are more than welcome to call in to one. I think it would be fun to talk.

The Starving Guitarist said...

Hahaha. I must be starving because I transferred to IUPUI for my senior year then. Solid school but gah... I still regret that decision. If only Purdue would have had a bachelor's in music... communism!

zlionsfan said...

Yeah, but a degree in music from IU is pretty significant. You couldn't do much better on that side of the IUPUI tree.

Andrew and Travis said...

At least you are sticking with it Starving Guitar. Have to give you props for that. Lord knows I would rather be playing music for a living. Hope it works out for you.

J Money said...

A&T -- Judging from your combative, difficult nature, I assumed you were trolls. Glad you're Purdue fans but dial down the obnoxious level a tad maybe. It's not as cool as Jim Rome or Colin Cowherd pretend it is.

Andrew and Travis said...

Combative? Difficult? We disagreed with you once. We even backed up you up on this post. You are the one that called us Trolls. Gangsta

Tell Boilerdowd to keep up the good work.