Both Purdue and IU's football programs are struggling to not kick the bucket this week.
Hey-yo! Lamest lead sentence ever?
Truth is, it's bucket week and there's really nothing else for either program to be thinking about. No bowl games, no postseason practices... and in Bill Lynch's case, maybe no job after this. So in a good way, it allows the players, fans, alumni, mascots, training table workers, janitors, vendors, etc., to all focus on their rival. All energy goes into this game this year... all hate, including "International IU Sucks Week," featured on Facebook. (Which, sadly, IU fans are joining so they can tell Boilermakers that they suck. There's even a complete toolbag on there who keeps saying "Got 5?" And can you guess where he went to college? Not IU.)
Okay, so I'm stretching here, trying to give this game more boost. Thing is, though, while it really doesn't mean much.... it still kinda does. That absolute last thing we want to see the season end with is a loss to IU. IU football is terrible. Don't misunderstand, Purdue football is a mess right now. A true mess. Beyond the injuries, the coaching staff seems, at times, overwhelmed. The players don't seem well-prepared. It's giving us this sinking feeling that Purdue football is completely sliding back into the irrelevance of the pre-Tiller era.
But you still can't lose to IU. Simply cannot happen.
Some factoids about the bucket game to chew on:
- Purdue is 11-2 in the last 13 bucket games.
- The two losses ('07 and '01) were by a combined nine points.
- The 11 wins were by a combined 304 points (or 27.6 ppg)
- Purdue won 15-14 in 1989.
- Purdue won 1-0 in 1894 (interestingly, a year after winning 60-0)
- From 1892 to 1910, the two played 13 times, with only one of those being at Indiana.
- IU's last bucket win in West Lafayette was in 1996. We were at that game and Purdue wore all-black (which was a novelty back then) and IU wore all-white (not a good look).
- Bill Lynch is 1-2 against Purdue, with one of those losses being the 62-10 blasting in Joe Tiller's last game. One surmises that Lynch's win over Purdue the previous year is one of the reasons he has held onto his job. Much like at Purdue, if you can beat the rival, the old alums are happy. Lynch could win this game on Saturday and be 2-2 against Purdue. Not bad.
- The last post-Thanksgiving matchup was 1995, when Purdue went down to Bloomington and Mike Alstott curb-stomped the Hoosiers, 51-14.
I actually don't have a lot of great memories of the Purdue-IU rivalry from my days on campus because I started 0-2 against IU (losses in '94 and '96). I like seeing all the spirit (hate?) brewing on campus right now. Let's hope our Boilers take out their frustrations of an infuriating season on the Hoosiers.