The start times/TV schedule for the early games have been announced. Purdue, as you know, begins the season with one of the weakest opponents played by any D1-A (BSD) team in Northern Colorado. That game will be on the BTN at noon on September 6.
Next up, Purdue will get to play a very respectable, if not flat-out good team and program in Oregon. Once again, they'll be in Ross-Ade, but the stage gets much bigger in a hurry as the Ducks and our Boilers will square off at 3:30 on ABC on Sept. 13.
The third game of the season is the third game versus the same opponent in the last calendar year. Painter and Co. will square off against Central Michigan, once again at home at noon on BTN on the 20th of September at noon. Remember that while Painter put up ridiculous numbers v. this CMU team last year, LeFevour also played well rushing for 114 yds., throwing for nearly 300 and ending the game with a 160+ QB rating.
Purdue finally leaves the friendly confines and heads two hours north on the 27th of September to play, once again, on national TV on the NDBC at 3:30. The Irish could be 3-0...but they could also be 1-2 after playing two teams (UM & MSU) who can both run the ball very effectively. As you know, the Irish struggled against the run last year, but former GT D-Coordinator Tenuta should have the Irish defense looking completely different in '08.
Then onto the Big Ten schedule beginning with a very good PSU team back in West Lafayette.
My opinion on the beginning of the season is this: Purdue gets to play two potentially-tough opponents, possibly two ranked opponents in the first four games...all televised at minimum, regionally. That hasn't happened in about 5 seasons. Plus, with two on national TV, the opportunity lends itself to putting Painter in the national spotlight, early, and having our Boilers ranked highly in September.
I'll be rooting UND to be 3-0 coming into the game versus Purdue because I want everyone in the world to be against Purdue heading into that week...I want all of it- The bandwagoners to be telling me how Saint Charlie has dedicated the season to a sick puppy in South Bend...That Jimmy Clausen is living up to his billing...and that the Lord himself loves Notre Dame football as much as Regis loves it. The national media will surely point to the fact that Tiller's teams have started seasons quickly (in recent years) only to fizzle as the schedule heats up. Probability is already against our Boilers as Purdue's record in South Bend is deplorable. I'm sure there are Purdue fans who want to see UND 1-2 coming into that game as well...but we can all have our own opinions about the set-up to the contest.
The perfect storm would be two 3-0 teams both with a lot to gain and a lot to lose...the actuality will probably be two 2-1 teams and a game that will be overshadowed greatly by Tennessee v. Auburn about 1 hour prior to this game. Regardless of the situation, I can't wait until September.