November 24, 2008
Well, Purdue finished their season with a 62-10 drubbing of the hated Indiana
Loosiers Hoosiers. For once, the offense and defense showed up at the same time, and Purdue put together a nice send-off for retiring Coach Joe Tiller and the graduating seniors.
Sadly, that was the highlight of the weekend. We were down at Joanna’s family’s house at the beach. Joanna’s father wasn’t feeling too well on Friday, but we thought nothing of it. Then, at about 3:30 in the morning on Saturday morning, I hit the bathroom for some extraoral evacuation of my stomach contents. Not pretty.
I went back to sleep, and then earlier than usual, Wyatt woke up. He started spitting up everything he tried to eat. I was lethargic and couldn’t eat all day Saturday; he seemed to act normal (and ate normally) but couldn’t keep anything down.
By Sunday, I was almost 100%, and Wyatt was able to eat but had a case of Montezuma’s Revenge. That afternoon, though, Joanna started to catch the bug, and it’s been downhill from there.
Today, now, is one of the more trying days of my parenting experience. Joanna is still sick, Wyatt’s case of Montezuma’s Revenge has turned into the diaper rash from hell, and I’m sitting at home helping out just wishing I could be at work!
Here’s hoping we have a better day tomorrow, because my sister and her husband are coming in for Thanksgiving, and I don’t want them to come into this house full of sick.
September 27, 2008
I can’t take it any more. Purdue Football has done nothing since “The Fumble” in 2004 but make me angry and disappointed.
I’m done. I’m not watching another game this year. I just can’t bear it when Notre Dame’s pathetic offense nearly doubles their average yardage and scoring totals against what was supposed to be an “improved” Purdue defense. How did we let both QB Jesus Clausen and RB Armando Allen have career days against us? Oh, I know how… We didn’t blitz all day long.
Purdue will be lucky to win 3 more games this year, and I highly doubt they’ll make a bowl at all. If they somehow make it to the Rose Bowl, someone let me know. Otherwise, I just can’t bear to watch.
September 13, 2008
So, Purdue lost another heart-breaker today to the Oregon Ducks. But hey, when you have a kid like this, it’s tough to be too upset.
Wyatt won’t remember the loss, I’m sure. And by the time he’s speaking, he’s going to be singing “Hail Purdue”!
November 3, 2007
Well, Purdue didn’t win today, but unlike the OSU and Michigan games, we actually made a game of it. And I can always blame the officiating, which was horrific.
But when I think about the ugliness of the men in stripes, I can look at the below sight and feel a whole lot better
He must be a Selwyn Lymon fan
Of course, many thanks need to go to frequent commenter and former Purdue roommate Nick M, who sent Wyatt the jersey (along with a copy of “Radicals For Capitalism” for me).
(In other news, a much higher quality camera was ordered last night– early Christmas gift from Joanna and I to each other– so within a week we can avoid the weak poor-quality pictures like the above).
September 8, 2007
Normally, I’d say that since EIU is an FCS (formerly I-AA) team, this isn’t worth previewing… After all, a I-AA team can’t hope to compete with a team like Purdue, right? Well, after last Saturday, that’s no longer the case…
But, EIU isn’t App State. They shouldn’t keep this game close, except for two factors:
Distractions: On Thursday night, charges were filed against 3 Purdue players for an incident that occurred back in March. This includes one of our starting receivers and one of the team captains on defense. At the moment, the stories are full of holes, and coach Joe Tiller has decided to wait until the legal system passes judgement before he disciplines the players. I don’t think I agree with his decision, but right now I’m most concerned with what it might mean to the team. Purdue’s got the talent to blow EIU off the field, but as we saw with Michigan, if your team doesn’t have their head or heart in the game, anything can happen.
EIU’s Passing Game: The last two years have been ugly for Purdue’s defense, particularly their ability to defend the pass. EIU has a very talented, accurate QB, and one very talented receiver. Which sounds similar to what App State brought to the game last Saturday.
However, Purdue has a few major advantages. First, they saw the App State / UM score last Saturday, and they know that they can’t take EIU lightly. Second, EIU is starting 4 completely fresh players in their defensive backfield this year, and Purdue’s deep and talented WR corps should be able to get open at will. Third, Purdue should be able to line up and run the ball straight at EIU without EIU stopping them. And last, EIU’s rushing attack is not anywhere near the threat of their passing game, so Purdue should be able to force them into being one-dimensional.
If Purdue is ready to play today, this game will be ugly. If not, this game should still be a win, but the first half might be rather close, but Purdue has too many weapons on the field to let the game finish close.
Eastern Illinois 13, Purdue 51
And if all goes well, we’ll see Dustin Keller throwing out more stiff-arms like this… This is the kid whose own mother [lovingly] refers to him as a “freak of nature”…
September 1, 2007
Well, I’m still planning to do a Big Ten preview, but considering how Wyatt has affected my “plans”, we’ll see how well that works out. Either way, he’s sleeping and there’s still 4 1/2 hours to kickoff, so let’s break down Purdue @ Toledo.
First, one has to give Toledo their respect. They’re 38-4 at home since 1999, and have a history of knocking off Big Ten teams opening their season in the Glass Bowl (3 in the last decade, including Purdue in 1997). They had a rough season last year, but they’ve got a strong defense, an excellent running back, and the attitude of a players in the MAC, that they should be playing in the Big Ten.
That’s coupled with a Purdue team that’s coming off a tough (but winning) year, with a porous defense and an inconsistent offense. Against a tough team in a road opener, this game smells of a trap.
Purdue Offense vs. Toledo Defense:
As mentioned, Toledo’s got a pretty stout defense for a MAC team. Purdue, though, returns an offense that finished in the top ten in yardage last year, and looks to be even stronger this year. Senior receiver Dorien Bryant used to be the only game-breaker Purdue had, but now with Dustin Keller at tight end, and bookend 6′4″ 200+ lb burners Greg Orton and Selwyn Lymon on the outside, Purdue can stretch the field against anyone. Last year, there were consistency issues regarding receivers running incorrect routes, but another year of experience should halt that, and Curtis Painter has another year of work with these guys, so the only thing that can stop Purdue’s passing game is Purdue. On the ground, Purdue has two very capable backs in Kory Sheets and Jaycen Taylor, and 2nd year OC Bill Legg is implementing something Purdue hasn’t seen in many years: a fullback. I was a big fan of the spread option, but it really hasn’t panned out. The addition of a true power running game may bring the Boilers the ground threat and unpredictability of offense that they’ve been lacking.
All that said, Purdue definitely has the edge here. They have more talent and more experience all over their offense, and should be able to control the game. Purdue can only be beaten by their own mistakes.
Purdue Defense vs. Toledo Offense:
The Purdue defense is widely considered weak, if you pay attention to the pundits. I don’t agree, but we’ll get to that in a later post. The real question is whether Toledo has the horsepower to exploit them. Toledo is starting an untested QB against a veteran Purdue secondary, so I doubt they’ll be putting up a lot of yards in the air. Trying to force a ball into coverage is a mistake with cornerbacks like Terrell Vinson, who has an excellent nose for the football and will be quick to get a pick. Where Toledo may have an edge is in the running game. Purdue last year fielded a few defensive tackles who were simply not physically ready for the game. The word is that they’ve bulked up and gotten there physically, but it’s impossible to know. With the loss of 1st-round pick Anthony Spencer at defensive end, the line may suffer. The linebackers are another question mark, due mostly to the fact that nobody knows whether they’ll be any good as a unit. There’s talent there, but both 1st and 2nd string MLB’s have had injury issues, and the only proven player is Stanford Keglar (who is a strong run-stopper, but not great in pass coverage). Toledo will need to establish a ground game against the Boilers, and their starting RB is capable enough to do it.
Defensively, if Purdue can handle Toledo on the ground, this will be ugly for the Rockets. The secondary should be able to contain them in the air, so if the defensive tackles can stuff the middle, and the linebackers plug the holes, Toledo will be in trouble. To do that, Purdue’s tackles and linebackers needs to be mean, nasty, and swarm the ballcarrier. Again, the word from practice is that these guys are playing with an enormous chip on their shoulder after the last two years, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
When it comes to kickoff coverage, Purdue is solid. The same goes for punt coverage. Purdue’s returners (Bryant for kickoffs and punts, and Sheets for kickoffs) have the ability to break a long return at any time. However, Toledo also look solid on their coverage teams. I’ll give Purdue a slight edge there.
Where Purdue has an enormous question mark is their field goal kicker. Chris Summers, as a freshman last year, went 8 for 20, and that’s simply unacceptable. Purdue was forced into going for it on 4th and long in opponents’ territory, because we couldn’t trust the kicker to make anything. Summers was always great in practice and choked in games, so I’m not believing anything I’ve heard about his abilities in practice over the off-season. Toledo, to my knowledge, has no FG woes, so I’ve got to give Toledo a big edge in that department.
Purdue 31, Toledo 13
I think Purdue’s offense SHOULD put up more than 40 points, but I really think they might get off to a slow start, and have at least one drive end in no points due to a missed FG. But I’m going to go out on a limb and believe the press clippings about Purdue’s defense. I expect to see them come out with an attitude. I expect to see swarms of Boilers making tackles, and a blitzing-attacking style of defense that we’ve lacked the last two years (as our LB’s had to play pass coverage to make up for injuries to the DB’s).
I’m guessing Purdue will lead 10-3 at the half, with 1 missed field goal and a defense that bottles up Toledo. In the second half, Purdue scores a few offensive TD’s, and the defense contributes either it’s own score, or gets a big turnover in good field position to give the offense an easy score. As the game progresses, Toledo puts up a fight, but can’t hang with the Boilers for 60 minutes.
July 30, 2007
My company does sales kickoff meetings twice a year, in January and July. About 4 years back, I started a tradition where we have a poker tournament on the second night of the meetings. It’s not a company-sponsored event, but we’ve now gotten to the point where over half the company participates, and I expect the number to rise next January.
As I’ve pointed out, I’ve actually won the tournament twice, January 2006 and July 2006. We played again a few weeks ago, and I had big hopes for my entry fee. After all, I’ve got a baby on the way, karma should dictate that I win another one, right? Given the size of the tournament, with 32 players (buy-in of $40 each minus food/beer), we had our first prize pool in excess of $1000, and our 1st-place prize was nearly $500. It’s by far the biggest we’ve had (the last one was 26 players), and with the new office we moved into, we had four nice tables in one room.
The tournament started off well. I played ultra-conservative, and won a few mid-size pots as the blinds started raising. As is typical, I don’t remember a single hand I won. As I started building some chips, it was about time to press.
One hand came along, and I had A-T suited. I raised pre-flop, and pushed all but one other player out of the hand. Flop comes queen and two blanks. He had position, and bet into me. I pushed and raised him, hoping to catch him out on a bluff. It wasn’t many chips, but given my conservative play, I knew it would make him think. He called, and I was worried. Turn comes, another blank. He checks, and rather than throw more chips away, I check behind him. The river comes, another blank, and he bets big into me. Given that I was on nothing more than ace-high, I had to step away from the hand.
Not long after, I pulled pocket 5’s. Pre-flop, I raise, trying to push everyone off the hand. One guy stays with me, and he’s a serious player, so I know I’ve got to tread lightly. Flop comes A-2-3, giving me an inside straight draw, but with a big card out, scaring the hell out of me. He checks to me, perhaps thinking I’m holding an ace. I bet 200 chips into him, looking to push him off if he’s holding KQ or something similar. I know he can’t call without an ace. Well, he doesn’t call. He moves all-in. This puts me in a tough spot. I know he’s a strong enough player to make a bluff on that, but also know that he knows I’m a conservative player, and won’t get into a hand if I don’t have something. I felt a little like the below scene… I knew what I knew, knew what he knew, but knew that he knew that I knew what he knew. So all bets were off. I judged that there was no way he’d make a move like that on me without an ace, and even if he didn’t have an ace, it was too early in the tournament for me to throw it away on a hunch. So I folded again. I did find out the next day that he was holding an ace with a weak kicker, so we were both in a position of non-strength, but I was happy with my decision.
So at this point, my stack is starting to drop off. Blinds are raising, and I need to find a place to make a move. I have a little over 400 chips, and the blinds are 50-100. So I’m getting to an all-in or fold moment. Luckily, a dream hand comes. A-Q suited. In position. You can’t ask for much more than that. I figure I’m a shoo-in to steal the blinds, and if I do get into a hand, there’s only a few hands that I’m actually an underdog to. So I move in. Everyone folds but the big blind, who (I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize it) was pot-committed. He’s in for maybe 275 chips or so, and he’s dwindling so far that in the big blind, I think he’d have called on anything. Well, he had 6-7 offsuit, so there’s not much “anything” below that. Granted, I’m a fair favorite in this hand, but I know all it takes is a 6 or 7 to beat me. And a 6 comes on the flop, but so does my queen. So I’m no longer a fair favorite, I’m now a pretty strong favorite. We’ve each got a pair, but I’ve got the big pair and there’s only two cards to come. And then he hits his 7 on the river, to beat me with two pair, leaving me in an UGLY chip position.
Now I’m desperate. With the blinds at 50-100, and me with only 120 chips in front of me, I know I need to pick my best hand and move in with it, and pray for luck. And again, a hand comes along… Ace-King offsuit (king is clubs). That’s a heck of a lot better than I can expect when I’m only two seats out of the blind, so I move in (obviously). Given the tiny move it was, three players stick in the pot. Flop comes with three clubs in it. I’m thinking I’ve got a shot, but two other players move all-in on the hand (the third player folds), so I’m a bit worried. The guy who moved me off the pot earlier shows two low clubs, and the guy who is about to double him up shows something else (it was obviously inconsequential at this point). So all I need is a fourth club and I’m golden, I quadruple up and the other guy still makes a nice big pot. The turn is a red card. River is an ace, but not of clubs. And I’m done.
All told, in a field of 32, I finished roughly in the high teens. Not great, but I didn’t do anything stupid. Looking at all the hands I played, I can’t think of a way that I could have played a single one better, given the circumstances. I’ve had tournaments where I’ve won but made some questionable decisions, but this was one of those days that I made great decisions yet still lost. So I was happy with my performance, just not my results.
I was a bit pleased that the tournament was won by a fellow Boilermaker. There are only two Purdue guys in the entire company, and between us we’ve won the tournament 3 times. Given that the company is in California, and Purdue is in Indiana, I think that’s a nice bragging point. He was at a different table, so I didn’t get to see his tournament, but I’m told it hinged on one hand. For some reason he called two all-in bets preflop with 2-4. Nobody knows why he did it. But I think he ended up making a full-house with that hand, and that was the one everyone remembers. One guy in particular, Joe, who is a decent player, was complaining about that hand all night long, as he got knocked out. But the winner, counting a little side bet, walked away with over $500.
We’ve had a few side games occur during the tournaments. I decided, for the first time, to actually take part in this game this time. Usually if I’m not at the final table, I’m observing it, in order to get enough interesting information to write a poker summary that the entire company has grown to expect the next day. But this time, I decided to throw responsibility to the wind, and join the “loser’s” table.
We ended up with 8 players, in for $20 each. We started with a huge number of chips in comparison to the blinds, and we ended up being ahead of the blinds the whole tournament. Given my conservative nature, I love playing with enough chips to disregard the blinds. I’m sure I could have simply folded into 3rd place (the low-money spot), and possibly even into second. With players who were all amped-up and looking to make up for their poor performance in the big tourney, it was a lot of wild betting with little purpose. So I just sat back and played a tight-aggressive strategy, and watched as everyone picked each other off. Getting down to 4th place, I knew I was in decent shape. When we finally hit the money, I started opening things up a bit, as I was the short stack at the table (without being a small stack, I was still the shortest at the table). I also started getting some decent cards.
We knocked off another player, and were down to 2. I started pulling a few big hands, and took the chip lead by a decent margin. A hand came up, and I was holding 2-7 suited. Not very good, but I was in the big blind and my opponent, Joe*, simply called. So with a free flop, I checked. Flop came 7 and two other blanks. I move all-in, knowing I’ve probably got the best hand and that my opponent will see the move as a bluff. He calls. Turn comes 7, and river comes 2, for a full house.
I managed to win the loser’s table, but considering that I won $90, I was still $30 in the positive. And that’s not even counting the case and a half of free beer. It was cheap beer, but it was free cheap beer, so I’ll take it.
All in all, a nice evening. I certainly would have liked to win the whole thing, but any time you make money is a good night in a poker tournament.
* Joe is the same guy who lost to me with 2-7, and the winner of the big tournament with 2-4. Not exactly his night, and he’s still complaining about that!
April 16, 2007
By now everyone’s heard the horrific news of what happened at Virginia Tech. And horrifying, it truly is. We live in a world where things like this aren’t supposed to happen. People like this aren’t supposed to exist.
The students at Virginia Tech right now, are quite a bit shell-shocked. They’re asking two questions:
1- How could this happen here?
I know what they’re thinking because– unfortunately– I’ve been there. Readers Sober John and Sam will remember this too, we were all residents of Wiley Hall at Purdue University when a student shot his counselor, before turning his gun on himself. That student was Jarrod Eskew, and the counselor, Jay Severson was the RA on his floor at Wiley.
Given that I know the circumstances behind what Eskew did, I’m not going to say that it’s the same thing that happened at Virginia Tech. Eskew’s act was one of despair and escape, not one of a madman. Not that I’m excusing it, of course, but that it appears to have much different motivations than what anyone who would gun down 32 people was doing.
I knew Jarrod’s roommate (who, in retrospect, was a very bad influence on him), and actually played Euchre with Jarrod one night. He lived a floor above me, all the way at the end of the hall. He seemed like a pretty normal kid, and from all the stories I’ve heard about him after the fact, I think that was not an unfair characterization. He came from a small town not far from Purdue, where he was an athlete and general good student. But things took a turn for the worse when he went to college.
Like many college students, he took his newfound freedom too far, getting involved in drugs. I wouldn’t have guessed it the night I met him, but it wasn’t all that long afterwards that his RA (Severson) caught him one night with cocaine. Eskew took off before the cops could show up. The next day, he came back from Crawfordsville, where he’d gotten a shotgun, confronted and shot Severson, and barricaded himself in his room.
I came back from class to see that Wiley Hall was shut down, with police tape all the way out at the street (see the picture midway down the above linked story, I was in that crowd). Nobody really had an idea what was going on. But it’s not usually a very promising thing to look up at the Co-Rec (recreation center), which was across the street from Wiley, and see sharpshooters on the roof. At this point, it’s believed that Eskew had already turned the gun on himself, but the cops hadn’t gone into his room yet.
Later that afternoon, they finally allowed most of us back into the building, and eventually let the third floor residents (where Eskew and Severson had lived) back in (either late that night or the next morning).
After all this happened, the grieving and the healing began. For myself, and the other folks who had met Jarrod, this was an odd time. How could I reconcile people acting as if he was a monster, with my impression that he was someone who just got caught up in something that was way too big for him, and made the worst, most irrational choice in front of him? For almost everyone at Purdue, who had gone through life in towns where this sort of stuff doesn’t happen, it was a bit of a wake-up call, that there are life-and-death problems in the real world. Eventually for most of us, a sense of normalcy returned, but it’s a time in my life that will never be forgotten.
Why am I telling you all about this? Truthfully, I’m not sure I know. I think that there’s still something in my head that tells me that it’s not right, it shouldn’t have happened, and I want an explanation for it. It was 10 years ago, and I still don’t like accepting that it did happen, because it shouldn’t have. Nobody deserves responsibility for what happened except for Jarrod Eskew, but you have to ask whether things like the war on drugs were a factor. Because of the seriousness of being caught with cocaine, he must have felt like his entire life was over, and then he made it so. Jarrod should have sought help; he shouldn’t have given up and taken two lives. I look back on it to this day and just think it was wrong and didn’t have to happen. But it did, and I need to accept it.
I guess that’s the only message I can give to the people at Virginia Tech right now. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and you all know it wasn’t supposed to happen. Everyone wishes they could go back to yesterday, before it occurred. But you can’t. The only thing you can do is try to accept it and get some sense of normalcy back. That’s not an easy thing to do, and I’m sure it will be even harder, since the attack at Virginia Tech seems so much more senseless than the one at Purdue (which already is pretty senseless). You can never make it disappear, you can’t go back to the past and stop it from happening. You can’t get rid of the understanding that stupid, senseless, violent things happen in the world. I wish I could tell you that I had answers to the questions above. But there are no answers that have ever made sense to those questions. As far as I am concerned, the answers don’t exist. All you can do is accept it and move on…
March 25, 2007
Go Lady Boilers!
UPDATE: Oops… I could have sworn this win put us in the final four, not the elite eight. One more to go, against #1 seed North Carolina.
March 12, 2007
Well, March Madness is just about upon us. Purdue managed to squeak into the Tourney, but has a tough road as a 9 seed. Assuming they can beat 8-seeded Arizona, they’ll walk into #1 seed Florida in the second round. There’s no shame in losing to the #1 seed, though. Purdue has a relatively new coach and a young team, so that would provide something to build on next year. Considering how unlikely we all thought before the season that we’d even make it to the dance, that’s not bad.
I know everyone probably has constant offers of bracket competitions, I’d suggest heading over to Coyote Blog to join in his now annual tournament. I participated last year and it was a good time.
December 1, 2006
But if the NFL Network’s experience is any indication, the Big Ten’s new 24-hour channel might need to enlist its fans for some arm-twisting of cable companies to see games they’ve had easy access to in the past.
While the Big Ten’s best games will still be on CBS, ABC or ESPN, the rest will be televised only by the Big Ten Network. In 2007-08, that will include 35 football games and 105 men’s basketball games.
The Big Ten said it made that decision in part because, with costs rising for college sports, it will guarantee each school an extra $7.5 million annually.
But if a cable company doesn’t carry the Big Ten Network, the fan who wants to watch, say, an Indiana-Northwestern basketball game is either shut out or must switch to satellite television. That’s what is happening with the NFL Network, which is involved in a dispute with Time Warner, the nation’s second-biggest cable carrier.
When I highlighted the first news of the Big Ten Network, I was cautiously optimistic. It has the ability to be a very positive change, or it could end up making it harder for me to watch Purdue football, as the trees around my house make it impossible for me to get satellite TV.
If this network takes off, and Comcast picks it up as an affiliate, all will be well. Iâ€™ll get great Big Ten content that I donâ€™t get now. If it stays with only DirecTV, though, Iâ€™m going to be spending a lot of fall Saturdays sitting in sports bars watching Purdue. Again, being down here in SEC country, that will entail trying to convince some bartender to devote at least one little TV, maybe in the corner, to a little olâ€™ school like Purdue.
But after this year, I’m not quite as concerned about this. This year, many of Purdue’s games were televised on ESPN360 (internet), ESPN Gameplan (pay per view), ESPNU (uncommon ESPN variant) or ESPN Classic (not on basic cable). I couldn’t watch a single one of those games at home. I did watch the game televised on ESPN Gameplan at a neighbor’s house, but otherwise it was off to sports bars.
So for me, I see this as either a positive thing, if Comcast picks up the network, or neutral. In the linked story, they show that the Big Ten Network will get any game not on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2, so they won’t be competing with ESPNU for broadcast rights. Now all I need to do is start emailing Comcast every other day to make sure they’ll carry it, and all will be well in the Warbiany household!
November 26, 2006
Well, my Boilers, a 20-point underdog, played a game down to the wire with the best offense in the nation, and got themselves beat by 7 in a 42-35 shootout. No fun for me, but it’s a lot better than it could have been, especially with a 17-0 deficit to Hawaii at the half. I really never thought Purdue could win this game until I listened to it in the 2nd half, and all of a sudden Purdue started playing like they’re capable of. At that point I thought we could win it. But, Hawaii’s offense really can’t be stopped, and they managed to come back in and win it (after an interception). Ugly stuff, but we played them to the wire, and that’s about all we can ask when you play an offensive powerhouse like Hawaii.
In other news, I finished 6-3 against the spread this weekend (66%), which brings my season total to 51-30 (63%). Notre Dame got beat worse than I thought they would, but I’ll never complain about that. Otherwise, it’s been a good weekend. If Purdue had managed to win, it would have been even better.
November 22, 2006
Well, in my previous bowl wrap-up, I had been working off bad information. The Alamo and Champs Sports bowls are alternating between picking the #4 and #5 teams in the Big Ten this year, and I thought this year was the Alamo picking #4 (thus suggesting Purdue would be going there). I was wrong, the Champs Sports Bowl gets the first pick of the two this year, and they’ve selected Purdue:
The Big Ten announced on Tuesday that Purdue will be making the conference’s first appearance in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29. Its opponent has yet to be determined.
The Boilers (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) still have one game left on their schedule but regardless of the outcome of their game against Hawaii on Saturday, will finish in a tie for fourth in the conference.
Purdue failed to reach a bowl game last season after finishing 5-6, but with a win over Illinois on Nov. 11, the Boilers earned bowl eligibility this season.
Coach Joe Tiller has led the Boilers to nine bowl games in his 10 years at the helm of the Purdue program. Purdue is 7-6 all-time in its bowl game history.
“We appreciate the opportunity to go to the Champs Sports Bowl and play an outstanding team from the ACC,” Tiller said in a statement. “I am pleased for our players that they get this reward.”
Early thoughts are that we might face Maryland or Wake Forest, although with possible opponents of Boston College or Virginia Tech. A lot is up in the air at the moment, so it’s tough to tell. Either way, given the way Purdue has been playing, any bowl team will be a tough game. Maybe we’ll learn a bit more about this team on Saturday when they play at Hawaii, but this team could finish 10-4 or 8-6. I think Vegas will be expecting 8-6, so we might just have something to prove.
November 19, 2006
I’m sad. No more Big Ten football until the bowl games start. Yes, Purdue has a game against Hawaii next Saturday, but it doesn’t appear it will be televised, and it starts at 11 PM EST due to the time change. So it’s about time for a wrap-up.
1. Ohio State (12-0, 8-0)
T-2. Michigan (11-1, 7-1)
T-2. Wisconsin (11-1, 7-1)
T-4. Penn State (8-4, 5-3)
T-4. Purdue (8-4, 5-3)
T-6. Minnesota (6-6, 3-5)
T-6. Indiana (5-7, 3-5)
T-8. Iowa (6-6, 2-6)
T-8. Northwestern (4-8, 2-6)
T-10. Michigan State (4-8, 1-7)
T-10. Illinois (2-10, 1-7)
First things first… Before the season, I made a bet on where Purdue would finish. There were a lot of people predicting Purdue to finish somewhere near the basement of the Big Ten. So I bet a couple bottles of homebrew against $10-15 worth of beer I can’t get in Georgia. The terms of the bet were based on whether Purdue would finish 5th or better in the conference, and with a tie for fourth, I won. Thank you Boilermakers! Mmm… Beer
On to the show:
1: Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0)
Projected Bowl: Nat’l Championship Game, Jan 8, Glendale, AZ
What can you say about the Buckeyes this year? Really, it all comes down to two words: Troy Smith. The odds-on favorite for the Heisman, Smith has been the key to the OSU offense all year long. A few years ago, Smith was known for his propensity to pull down the ball and run. He’s got great scrambling ability, and he’s added a strong, accurate arm to go with it. He’s known as a scrambler, but instead of pulling the ball down and running, he scrambles with his eyes downfield to make a big play. How do you defend a guy like this?
Troy Smith is a baaaaaad mutha!
Add to that, a competent running game, some very talented receivers, and a defense known for their ability to force turnovers. Michigan is the only team that had a chance to put up a fight, but even then, it took three turnovers to get close. I didn’t really believe in Ohio State until the Michigan game, but now, I think it’s almost time to just award them the trophy. All I can do as a Purdue fan is be thankful that Troy Smith is graduating this year, because I don’t want to face him next year!
T-2. Michigan Wolverines (11-1, 7-1)
Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl, Jan 1, Pasadena, CA
Michigan never looked quite as dominating as Ohio State throughout the year, but I always believed that was by design. I think their show of offensive fireworks last night was vindication of that belief. Lloyd Carr is by nature a conservative coach, and Michigan did a great job of all year winning games utilizing great defense and a clock-eating running game. Yesterday showed what this offense is capable of, and I think we’ll see the same thing on Jan 1.
Michigan was tough this year, but they should terrorize opponents next year. They may lose some of their defensive prowess, but with Henne and Hart as seniors and another year of development for Arrington and Manningham, they’re going to light up some scoreboards. They should be favored over just about any opponent they’ll face in the Rose Bowl. It’s a damn shame that Lloyd Carr will probably get fired if he loses to Jim Tressel and Ohio State one more time…
T-2. Wisconsin Badgers (11-1, 7-1)
Projected Bowl: Capitol One Bowl, Jan 1, Orlando, FL vs SEC #2
Wisconsin was picked in the pre-season to finish outside the top 25. They returned 2 offensive starters, most of their defense, and their head coach became the athletic director of Wisconsin, turning the reins of the team to his defensive coordinator, Bret Bielema. With all the turmoil, it’s astounding that they finished so well. On the back of freshman freight-train running back PJ Hill, and the senior leadership of John Stocco, they put together a heck of a season for their new coach.
However, they haven’t gotten a lot of media love. Wisconsin is one of the most unproven 1-loss teams in the country, which probably explains their #9 ranking, behind 2-loss LSU. While they haven’t had the “big win” to prove themselves, they’ve taken care of business in every game against a team not named Michigan. All but one of their wins were double-digit margins, and they played better than expected. Either way, with their season complete, they have only up to go from here, solidifying a top-ten slot. They have one chance to prove their worth, and that happens on January 1 against a tough SEC team (likely either Arkansas or Florida, whoever loses the SEC championship game, although it’s possible both teams go to BCS bowls). If they manage to win their bowl game, we may have three Big Ten teams finishing with top 5 rankings.
T-4. Penn State (8-4, 5-3)
Projected Bowl: Outback Bowl, Jan 1, Tampa, FL vs. SEC
Penn State may be the best 4-loss team in the country. They’ve lost to #1 Ohio State, #3 Michigan, #6 Notre Dame, and #10 Wisconsin. Against competition like that, and the fact that they actually played well in 3 of those games, and they’re looking pretty decent.
Penn State has most of the defensive tools left over from last year. Their linebackers are the best in the Big Ten, their D-line is very strong, and their defensive backfield, while young, is very talented. The defense hasn’t been a problem. The offense replaced QB Michael Robinson with a talented Anthony Morelli, along with most of their offensive line, and the result was inconsistency. A young quarterback can do well if he’s given time to throw (i.e. USC this year), but if you put the pressure on, cracks appear. Penn State felt those cracks, but managed to make sure that only the teams they were supposed to lose to managed to do it. Penn State is a tough team, and may come up with a bowl win, depending who they face (hopefully, for their sake, not LSU).
T-4. Purdue (8-4, 5-3)
Projected Bowl: Alamo Bowl, Dec 30, San Antonio, TX vs. Big 12 #4
Purdue is a team coming off their first losing season in 9 years, and clearly was looking at a rebuilding year. I believe between offense and defense, we were starting about 3 seniors. On offense, we returned quite a few starters, but most of the skill players were sophomores (or JuCo transfers). On defense, two stars left early for the NFL, and we found ourselves starting three true freshmen in the secondary, a few fresh/soph on the line, with our only mildly-veteran unit being the linebackers. Luckily, though, the schedule worked out that we started against 4 weak teams, and didn’t have to face Michigan or Ohio State, who would have cleaned our clocks.
Purdue isn’t a great team this year. We’ve only beaten one bowl-eligible team (although our win over Indiana is what kept them from bowl-eligibility). But we’ve beaten everyone on our schedule we were supposed to and we’ve beaten three teams we were underdogs against (Minnesota, Michigan State, and Illinois). Even better, we’ve been involved in several close games, and won all of them. While I hated to watch us get beaten by double digits against the teams we lost to, two of them are top-ten teams, Iowa played their best game of the season against us, and Penn State has now worked it’s way into the #25 BCS ranking.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the year. Next year is the big one. Yes, we’ll have Michigan and Ohio State back on the schedule, but Ohio State should lose offensive firepower. Many of the toughest teams in the Big Ten are graduating their senior QB’s, along with Notre Dame, who will likely fall off a bit without Brady Quinn. Last, we have a favorable schedule, getting some of our toughest opponents at home. Next year Purdue has a shot at winning the Big Ten if things fall right, and I can say I’d enjoy that very much.
T-6. Minnesota (6-6, 3-5)
Projected Bowl: Champs Sports Bowl, Dec 29, Orlando, FL vs. ACC #4
Minnesota is a team that’s been alternating seasons in the middle of the Big Ten with the bottom of the conference, with occasional (unrealized) dreams of conference titles. This year was an odd one, because they lost their top two running backs, and two starting offensive linemen. They were expected to be sitting at the bottom of the conference, and yet managed to claw their way up to the middle, on the backs of Iowa, Michigan State, Indiana, and an uncharacteristic passing attack. It seems odd that the team who barely beat I-AA North Dakota State is going to a bowl game, but I’m sure they’ll take it.
Things may improve a few years down the road, when they move out of the Metrodome and into their own stadium on campus. But they’ve got a history of weak defense, and unless they figure out how to address that, they’ll be in trouble for a while.
T-6. Indiana (5-7, 3-5)
Projected Bowl: Not Eligible
Indiana seems to be teetering on the edge of reviving their program. New coach Terry Hoeppner really has these kids beginning to believe in themselves. They make young mistakes, but they’re showing flashes of what they can be. With Coach Hep’s medical troubles this year, I think all of us were pulling for them. I really didn’t want to see them fighting for bowl eligibility against Purdue, because I knew we’d be the ones that had to dash those dreams. Indiana has a lot of young talent, and when they get it together, they might climb out of the conference cellar.
T-8. Iowa (6-6, 2-6)
Projected Bowl: Insight Bowl, Dec 29, Phoenix, AZ vs. Big 12 #6
What happened to Iowa? Expected in the preseason to fight for the Big Ten title, they’ve melted down completely. How? Well, some defensive injuries played a big part. Beyond that, Iowa graduated their top wide receivers. While Drew Tate is a heck of a quarterback, I think he found himself in situations where he was trying to do too much, forcing the game because he wasn’t on the same page as his receivers. The result? Interceptions. 12 by Tate himself, and another 6 thrown in by his backups when he was injured. When you’re turning the ball over, giving your opponent good field position, you’re in trouble.
This team is looking a lot like Purdue 2005, a team with big expectations and bad results. There’s plenty of talent, but things just fell apart. Better luck next year, and with Kirk Ferentz coaching, I’m sure there will be better results…
T-8. Northwestern (4-8, 2-6)
Projected Bowl: Not Eligible
Northwestern, like Iowa, was one of those teams everyone hoped would do well. Their head coach, Randy Walker, unexpectedly passed away shortly before the season. This came on top of the graduation of their starting QB, Brett Basanez, and of their star linebacker, Tim McGarigle. Assistant coach Pat Fitzgerald took over on short notice, and the team was forced to deal with a lot in a very short time.
Over the year, they rotated through several quarterbacks, eventually settling on the most pass-oriented of the bunch, CJ Bacher. Once they got him settled, they started to perform, with late-season wins over Iowa and Illinois. Hopefully they’ll have some momentum heading into 2007, as the team finally seemed to come together at the end of the year, and most of those players will be coming back.
T-10: Michigan State (4-8, 1-7)
Projected Bowl: Not eligible
For many of the teams at the bottom of the Big Ten, you look at the good signs that they may be headed upwards. This team has been heading down for several years, and this year was the worst. It’s bad news when you announce mid-season that your coach is getting fired, it’s even worse when there are rumors circulating that the players were happy about it.
After this year, they lose QB Drew Stanton, who is talented, if inconsistent. Bringing in a new coaching staff may be just what they need, but then again, they’ve been through several new coaching staffs over the last few years, and we see where they are now. Michigan is a good recruiting state, so if they get things back on track, they can get back quickly. But another bad coach might put them too far behind, that it will take an overhaul of the entire program to recover from.
T-10. Illinois (2-10, 2-6)
Projected Bowl: Not eligible
Illinois brought in coach Ron Zook from Florida, and immediately, as is known for Zook, their recruiting rankings shot sky-high. I don’t know if he’s offering kids hookers and blow, but he manages to attract some pretty talented players. If he had a clue how to coach them on game day, he might actually be successful!
Seriously, with the talent Illinois is bringing in, I definitely expect them to start to recover. This year, they’re looking like the best 2-win team in the nation. Even with Zook as their coach, they’ll still pull themselves out of the conference basement. But with Zook as their head coach, they’ll never be great. Either way, there is some excitement brewing with QB Juice Williams, and they just might find a way to be well above this spot over the next two years.
The Unrepentant Individual linked with Purdue Selected for Champs Sports Bowl
Below The Beltway linked with What A Season
November 16, 2006
Purdue has been a bit inconsistent as a team this year. To some extent, that’s had to do with facing their two toughest opposing defenses on days where they were also battling 25-mph gusty winds, which doesn’t bode well for a pass-happy attack. But more than this, it’s just been a case of young players still finding their rhythm. Some days Curtis Painter was a bit off. Other days, he’s throwing the ball well and the receivers are dropping it. Occasionally, the playcalling just hasn’t been where it needs to be for Purdue to succeed. But there are flashes of brilliance, which will hopefully continue this week as Purdue takes on our hated rival, the Hoosiers.
Below is one of those flashes of brilliance. Purdue has run a lot of draw plays up the gut all year, and against Illinois found themselves with 3rd and inches. Illinois, thinking they knew what was coming, brought a blitz and crashed the middle of the defense. Curtis Painter made a good read on the option, and away he goes:
And then, there are the plays which make you go “D’OH!” Below is the final play of the Penn State game. Purdue, threatened with its first shutout in 10 years, decided to pull out all the stops. Bear in mind, there was no way to win the game, even scoring a touchdown would leave them down by 5 points. But instead, they decided to try to go all-out, putting numerous starting players at risk of injury, for a futile attempt at trickeration:
Next Page »