I have had the opportunity to read over the most recent Athlon's Pre-Season magazine and I think their analysis of Purdue is well-thought...that said, I think it has some flaws.
The first and most-glaring problem with it is they predict Purdue to finish 9th in the conference. They only have IU at 10th and Minnesota at 11th finishing below the Boilers. I'm not saying that it's not possible, but I just don't think it's likely. The magazine believes that Purdue's lack of returning starters is one of the reasons the Boilers will struggle. That said, Iowa has fewer returning starters, off of a pretty-bad '07 Hawkeye team, and Northwestern simply isn't that good of a team.
Purdue's lack of defensive backfield experience is going to hurt very badly, especially against teams with poised quarterbacks and good schemes...This could be one of the reason the magazine called Central Michigan a swing game...But my question for these writers is simple- Do you remember Central Michigan's defensive prowess? Curtis Painter does. The magazine also called IU a swing game in that they simply don't know who will win. Well, IU hasn't won in Ross Ade since before Tiller arrived. I'm pretty sure his going-away party will be a victory again.
Other points of interest in this issue of Athlon's includes the fact that they think UND will still finish lower in the nation than Purdue at 60th (Purdue is predicted at 54). My favorite part of the Notre Dame write-up is a quote that comes from Notre Dame's Senior fullback, Schwapp.
"Three-and-nine doesn't even sound right, especially in the same sentence as Notre Dame."
Bad news sir, it may not sound right, but it was...and your victories came against patsies. The good news is, you'll have plenty of those to fatten up on as San Diego State, Stanford, UNC, Navy and Syracuse are all on UND's schedule. The magazine calls the Purdue contest a swing game...I'd tend to agree since Purdue struggles so mightily in South Bend and neither team looks to be a world-beater coming into '08.
We'll officially weigh in on how we think the season will go as it draws closer...Stay tuned! Fall can't come soon enough, for some of us.