Across The Web: Purdue

Written October 19th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Against our better sensibilities, we’ve turned once again to the gentlemen at Boiled Sports for a nice fireside chat about this week’s matchup. Not only are they experts on all things Black and Gold, but they also make a very very tasty s’more… win/win, as far as we’re concerned.

*Sigh...

What is it about playing the Buckeyes that makes Purdue play that much better? Any chance we can get that voodoo doll back anytime soon?

No one finds it stranger than us that Purdue has often seemed to compete well with the Buckeyes, even when Purdue’s not very good. From Holy Buckeye to 2009, when Purdue isn’t getting bludgeoned by an angry Bucks team in C-bus, they’re usually putting a serious scare into them (see aforementioned 2002) or outright upsetting them (see 2000, 2004, 2009). Purdue oddly plays better against good OSU teams than it does against mediocre Wisconsin teams and middling Michigan teams. It makes about as much sense as it sounds, so we don’t have an explanation. But it’s worth remembering that those years I called out all required nearly superhuman efforts… in 2000 it was an unbelievable Drew Brees comeback, in 2004 it was a hobbled Kyle Orton comeback and in 2009 it was Ryan Kerrigan just deciding that he was an NFLer and he was going to manhandle and frighten Terrelle Pryor all day. Will any of those kinds of efforts happen Saturday? It’s always possible, but… no.

Someone said earlier in the year that Purdue is the Portland Trailblazers of the B1G, with Hummel, Marve, Bolden and now Mostert all suffering knee injuries over the past two years.  It’s not quite Iowa’s luck with running backs, but what’s going on in West Lafayette?

We’ve asked that many times, usually while crying and unable to sleep at 3 AM. Some can just be chalked up to bad luck – but what a lot of us find more alarming is how many recurrences of blown ACLs are happening. It’s an engineering school, after all, so shouldn’t somebody be able to figure out how to repair these things correctly?

Notre Dame is totally overrated, right? Am I right?

We definitely like to say ND is overrated whenever we can, but it’s hard to argue with them deserving credit this year. They’ve won the games on their schedule which, for a change, isn’t full of powder puffs. Starting with Navy and Purdue doesn’t look real stout in hindsight, but they’ve answered the bell every time they’ve needed to so far and as long as they get officials to whistle guys down before they cross the goal line in overtime, they should continue to do well.

The best (and only good) part about them making the BCS title game would be to see Alabama beat them by 30.

Might explain the success against the Buckeyes.

A number of folks are calling for Coach Hope to be replaced ASAP, and you did a great job addressing this earlier in the week. What is it about him that inspires a “Wait and see” attitude from you? It’s gotta be more than the mustache and the undefeated* record against the Buckeyes, right? Is it the energy ball?

We just don’t like being the pitchfork-wielders. Yes, it’s probably time for a change and we’ve said that, while not explicitly writing “FIRE HOPE!” But Danny Hope is a good man who we genuinely like. He’s not dirty, he loves being Purdue’s coach and he loves the players and they love him. There’s literally nothing not to like about the guy… other than that he’s not a very good football coach.

Purdue’s defensive front was identified as a strength for the Boilers early in the season, and there were some who said they had the best front four in the B1G.  Last week, though, they just couldn’t disengage from Wisconsin’s blatant holding and Montee Ball had a huge day. What needs to happen to get them back on track (after Saturday, that is).

We wish we knew. But it seems to frequently happen where Purdue has something that gets built up as a strength and then fizzles. Curtis Painter comes to mind, as does Carson Wiggs. Very talented, yes, but never really did anything fantastic in any big moments….and that’s what defines us all, right? These days it’s the D-line or Ricardo Allen. We get told over and over how great these guys are and then maybe they hear it and start to believe it, too….which all comes back to the coaching, right? How do you get these guys not to believe they’re so great and to keep working harder than the next team? It’s not by being their best buddy and telling them how great they are despite blowout losses at home and .500 seasons.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Ohio State lives by the run, albeit differently than Wisconsin. How will the team adjust to a more “spread run” dynamic?

What is this “adjust” you speak of?

What Could Have Been

It’s been said that if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.  You guys decided on one yet?

WE at Boiled Sports decided long, long ago on Robert Marve. We even had t-shirts made up that said “Marve-lous” on the front and his number 9 on the back, which we sold to cover the costs of the shirts until we got a C&D from Purdue’s athletic department. Yay, solidarity!

Danny Hope and OC Gary Nord have other ideas, though, and they’re all bad ones. Caleb TerBush is said to be more “efficient,” even though the coaching staff refuses to point to any statistics that support that nebulous statement, mainly because nothing supports it. He’s a good soldier who does what he’s asked but just doesn’t run the offense that well. Oh, and he also was an option QB in HS and he doesn’t throw real well (not hard or accurately), so that makes it hard to keep secondaries honest.

Marve winds up being subbed in when Purdue is already behind. Sometimes he brings them back, sometimes he throws a pick. Sometimes he tears his ACL again, yet wants so badly to be Purdue’s QB that he decides to risk permanent damage by playing on it. Needless to say, lateral movement is limited. Wisconsin knew this and exploited it.

Rob Henry is a Tim Tebow type who only seems to be put into the games now when they’re out of hand. Because when you’re down by 30 and need to pass to catch up, putting in the worst passer is…efficient. Or something.

Given the “good job/great effort” that Ohio State showed against Indiana’s spread last week, the OSU fanbase is begging for some significant soul searching by our defense.  So, who will Buckeye fans be cursing in their beers during Saturday’s game?

If Marve is 80% or more of himself and started and played the whole game, I would say Purdue would have a fighting chance…at least in as much the same way that IU did. You knew IU wasn’t going to win, but they definitely did themselves and their fans proud by making it as close as they did and, frankly, fighting as hard as they did. We hate IU and we were even impressed by that. It also scares us because they’re going to be better next year and Purdue is probably going to be worse.

But anyway, Marve surely won’t start and the Boilers will get into a hole and won’t be able to dig themselves out. If Kawaan Short channels Ryan Kerrigan, I guess something magical could happen, but I just don’t see any way Purdue can outscore even a slowed down OSU offense.

Does facing Braxton Miller make you: a) jump up and down in glee because you get to end his so-called Heisman campaign, b) cower in fear, c) piss yourself while cowering in fear, d) realize this is how you “learn to love the bomb” a la Dr. Strangelove.  Explain.

As fans, we don’t necessarily fear him. He’s talented, sure, but so was Pryor. And Purdue actually has played QBs with his skills better than you might expect. I don’t think Purdue fans are giving Miller much thought right now. They’re either furious that Danny Hope is still employed or they’re worried about Purdue completely embarrassing themselves in the shoe this weekend.

Leader. Legend.

Neil Armstrong, Buckeye and Boiler.  What do you think it is about that fact that made him want to get as far away from our planet as he possibly could?

Spencer Hall of EDSBS and SB Nation said that the Armstrong Purdue helmet sticker was one of the most awesome humblebrags out there. “Yeah, that guy who walked on the moon first? He’s one of ours.” USC also claims him, which is cute, as though someone as intelligent as Armstrong learned anything in a classroom at Southern California. Not much else to say about Neil other than that we’re proud of him and think the world is worse off without him. Not many people are so great that they want to be claimed by everyone with even a fringe association to them.

Also? Being hurled into space by explosive rockets while having everything operated by computers with less computing power than my cell phone also makes you far braver and manly than any of us could ever comprehend.

Projections for the B1G Championship Game?

Pain.

Seriously, while we think PSU – and to a lesser extent, OSU – deserved their sanctions, it’s so dumb to let them play their normal schedule, be ranked like they’re a normal team, have games they play count… and then not let them play in bowls or conference title games. So we’re potentially on our way towards a championship game with a third place team in it. And if Wisconsin hadn’t righted the ship, we could have been heading towards a .500 team playing for the conference title. Remember how stupid it looked when 6-6 UCLA made it to the Pac 12 title game? Yeah, it would have been like that.

I’m not saying OSU and PSU shouldn’t have been punished, but this is an example of how it punishes everyone else, too. Who gives a crap who is in the title game if it’s not the top teams? Marginalizes it for everyone.

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