As is our occasional treat for your true fans of the game, one of the things we try to do sometimes is actually break down the games, matchups, etc. When that gets more frustrating than high-school dry-humping, we resort to childish tactics, such as pictures of boobs and photo-essays on the state of Purdue football. Well, this week we agreed to do a little Q&A with the biggest
pussy Cat supporter in the blogosphere, LTP. Our answers to his questions are posted thusly.
So it's only fair that we got to ask some inane questions to him, which, as is his way, he answered seriously and with real analysis. God love him. Here we go....
BS: What do you make of the fact that more than one of us have referred to NW as "the worst 5-0 [now 5-1] team in the country"? Any truth to it, in your humble, impartial opinion?
LTP: Unless Duke and Iowa continue to win, yes, there is a grain of truth to it. However, I'm a little sensitive to the word "worst" (see pre-1995 football history) and would like to spin it to be more of a "least impressive 5-1." This weekend's outcome will go a long way towards modifying that statement. If we could beat Purdue and then Indiana to be 7-1 with MN, Ohio State, Michigan and Illinois left, I think the record would be vindicated. We have yet to win impressively against a Division I team, although I'll take ANY Big Ten win I can get. I think Northwestern fans have finally raised expectations to the point where we can actually be not overly joyed to be 5-1. Our struggles on offense are puzzling and downright unacceptable for such a senior-laden team. I also think our defense may be the underrated storyline of the Big Ten season, along with Minnesota's "resurgence".
BS: What do you see in Purdue that makes you optimistic for this week's game? Or what makes you concerned?
LTP: It is like holding up a freakin' mirror. I look at the horrid rushdefense statistics for Purdue and visions of Tyrell getting 200 yardsdancing in my head. Then, I actually look at what you've done against Penn State and Ohio State and get scared we're not going to break 20 points. This then makes me look at your similar inability to convert#2-ranked passing offense (yardage) into points and I feel good,because our pass rush has been phenomenal (tied with Penn State formost sacks). However, Painter is always a series away from regainingthe magic and based on recent NU-Purdue history sans Kyle Orton, I getscared that somehow history will come into play. Kory Sheets' gamewinning juke over CMU gives me trepidation as that is the exact kindof move that has us surrending big plays to good backs. Amazinglythough, most NU fans will tell you we feel much more confident in our defense's ability to win the game if the offense and special teams canrefrain from consistently giving you the ball at our 30 yard line.
BS: Are the Boilermakers that bad that we're your homecoming opposition? Why do you think this decision is/was made?
LTP: As Northwestern fans we are experts on homecoming analysis as we lead the free world in homecoming games planned. Once again this year, we lead the conference in homecoming games played on the road (3) with the lovely September homecoming at Iowa, which to me, is offensive. Homecoming games are meant to be played in October. We have two home games in October and the decision for these games are made two-to-three years in advance (see: on heels of last time we beat Purdue - 2004, 2005). It was either you or Michigan State. Likely coin flip. Don't look too much into it, because if we used history, we would've chosen Michigan State as we have a much better head-to-head record (5-5) since 1995 against them, then you (4-8).
BS: Will there be a Purple-out in Evanston this season? And on that subject, have you noticed that PSU bloggers and fans think they invented the whole "[insert-color-here]-out" concept?
LTP: Last week, the NU students had a Purple Haze which was the most impressive I've seen the section, in terms of size and color. EVERYONE was in purple which is rare for us. The estimates are that there were close to 6,000 fans in the student section, which, when you consider there are only 7,500 students is a remarkable turnout. The rest of the stadium was a joke as my grandstanding on (lack of) attendance has fallen on mostly deaf ears, except for the newspaper writers in Chicago who have picked up on it. Attendance will be terrible this weekend - expect 32,000-34,000 in a 47,000-seat venue. That INCLUDES the homecoming bump. Ohio State is sold out, but it will be 55/45 NU:Ohio State fans, but the school is planning a Purple "Out" for the Illini game, our last of the season, which is estimated to be close to sold out and will likely if we're both in position for a key bowl game. Bottom-line for Purdue fans, plenty of seats still available and this will be the most neutral crowd you'll face on the road all year long.
BS: If the LTP readership played the BS readership in a game of softball, who would win?
LTP: BS. As you mentioned, your fans are fat. Fat people hit the longball. However, LTP's readership would have much better statisticalanalysis and thorough, cogent rationales for how we lost the game.