The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

December 29, 2006

Champs Sports Bowl – Purdue vs. Maryland

Purdue (Big Ten #4, 8-5) @ Maryland (ACC #4, 8-4)
Vegas Says: Pick’Em

This is a tough one. Purdue has enough offensive firepower to roll right over Maryland, and Maryland doesn’t have enough offense to keep up. But then, when you look at Purdue’s season, we haven’t seen a defense stop Purdue all year long, despite the fact that Purdue has laid a few offensive eggs this year. Most games where the Boilers sputtered on offense came down to bad execution by Purdue, not overwhelming defense. Even Purdue’s two worst offensive performances, scoring 3 points against Wisconsin and being shut out by Penn State, those defenses were aided by 25-mph gusting winds that completely disrupted Purdue’s passing attack.

But when Purdue’s offense is rolling, anything on the tracks ahead of them is destined for obliteration. Purdue may only be averaging 27 points per game this year, but they’re 6th in the nation in passing ypg, and 12th in total offensive ypg (including Div I-AA schools). Due to offensive miscues, Purdue didn’t score in the first half at Hawaii. When they hit a rhythm in the second half, though, they racked up 35 points in a hurry. With a stable of incredible offensive receivers, and enough of a rushing attack to keep a defense on their toes, the only enemy of Purdue’s offense is Purdue’s offense; Maryland’s defense is a non-factor.

So it all comes down to the first half. If Purdue can hit an offensive rhythm and get out to an early lead, they can play loose and confident, and can blow the doors off this game. Purdue’s defense isn’t exactly “stout”; in fact it’s atrocious. But the same label can be applied to Maryland’s offense. The bad against the bad will result in some Maryland points, but if Purdue’s offense can keep the pressure on, they can force Maryland into mistakes.

Ahh, but there’s the question. If Purdue’s offense sputters, Maryland has a history of winning close games all year long (thankfully, so does Purdue). If Purdue doesn’t get out to an early lead, this could easily be an ugly 17-15 game like the Purdue/MSU game earlier this year. Maryland has experience and confidence in close games, and that may be too much for Purdue to overcome.

And then there’s the preparation. Maryland’s coach has prepared his teams the last two years for bowl game routs, while Joe Tiller has— in the past— treated bowl games like a vacation for his players. Tiller has stated publicly that he’s not going to do that this year, and the team traveled down to Orlando before Christmas to get ready for business. Preparation will determine a lot of how the first quarter goes, and thus may determine the whole tempo of the game. Maryland is going to want to keep this a low-scoring affair, while Purdue wants a shootout.

Personally, I think Purdue got a bit of an advantage with the Hawaii game. That is a bit of a bowl game, with distant travel and a different climate. They started slow, but they got rolling in the second half. If they can carry that offensive success into the early stages of the bowl game, this one isn’t close. If they don’t, though, all bets are off.

Prediction: NO OFFICIAL PREDICTION (but as a Boiler Fan, I’m personally picking them to win)
Predicted Final Score: Purdue 31, Maryland 17

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 12:32 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: College Football, Predictions

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