How Bad Is It?
One of the ways to deal with things when they get this bad is to study the details, the trends and the statistics. While no two seasons are alike (much like snowflakes or Boilerdowd's socks), sometimes you can find things to use as your stake in the ground. What I mean by that is an arbitrary stat to cast judgement on things. Fun, right?
I think it's fair to say that it's not that there haven't been things about the 2013 Boilermakers that have been exciting. The anticipation, the excellent send off in Indy for the Cinci game, the way Purdue played for all but three and a half minutes of the Notre Dame game...but regardless, it's all ended with a resounding thud. But how hard a thud? Is it as bad as we all feel it has been? Or are we overreacting and not giving the coaches and players the time we all (most of us anyway) said we would be happy to give them just so long as we didn't have to see another Danny Hope press conference or read another belligerent Gary Nord interview?
Well, I'm here to tell you... if you feel like it's been epically bad, you're right.
Coach Hazell and company have now lost three games by more than thirty points. So let's use that completely arbitrary point as our marker. And while it is indeed arbitrary, a thirty-point loss represents catostrophic failure. Generally, it means you didn't belong on the same field as the team you were playing. It means you lost by more than four touchdowns. That's bad. Like, just gave up 55 to a MAC team bad. Consider for example that USC just lost by just 21 to a conference foe on the road and it was only a blistering series of Az State scores in the third quarter that reportedly sealed Lane Kiffen's fate. What's my point? I don't know, I'm drunk again. Oh, I remember -- that Lane Kitten didn't even lose this badly and he lost to a conference opponent, not someone from a lesser conference. (No, I'm not calling for firings in any way, shape or form -- I'm simply pointing out how bad this has gotten.)
Want to talk more about how bad it is to have lost three games by 30+ points in your first five? Let's hit the wayback machine and talk about some darker days, as Boilerdowd alluded to earlier.
Danny Hope was not much of a coach. In fact, he looked hopelessly, hilariously outgunned (to quote Nick Fury) in most of his matchups against I-A opponents. And yet in his first season (which began 1-5), Danny Hope only lost one game by that many and it was in game 9 (the by-now-usual beatdown at the hands of Wisconsin, 37-0).
In year two, a lovely 4-8 number in 2010, Hope started the season 4-2 before collapsing with six straight losses. The first two of those six were back to back hammerings at the hands of OSU and Illinois, 49-0 and 44-10. Those were games 19 and 20.
Coach Hope went on to lose two more games by 30+ (one each in 2011 and 2012), plus we'll lay the 58-14 bowl game shellacking at his feet, too, bringing his total to six. Coach Hazell is, astonishingly, already halfway there.
Let's go back even further, to the dark days of our youth, when Jim Colletto sadly paced the sidelines hoping that just once his linemen could line up correctly. Now, for those who remember, the days of Colletto were dark days indeed. It was a time when not only was Purdue laughingly bad at football, but there was truly no hope in sight. Nobody went into a season thinking this could be it, if only the stars aligned and things broke right for Purdue. No, it was a forgone conclusion that Purdue would be sub-.500 and playing IU for nothing more than the Bucket.
Jim Colletto was the head coach for six years, from 1991-1996. He only lost four games by 30+ points and didn't lose his third until his final season when he was more than done with the job anyway. Think about this -- in Colletto's 1-10 1993 season, he never lost a single game by 30. In fact, his worst loss that year was by 21, but even that one was only 45-24 and was against the #3 team in the nation (OSU).
Joe Tiller, of course, remains impressive due to the rebuilding job he did and how immediate it was. In twelve seasons as Purdue's head football coach, Cowboy Joe lost by 30 points exactly ONE time -- a 47-17 loss in Iowa City to the Hawkeyes, a game in which the statistics suggest it was a completely even game...so it's fair to say that was a weird one. But I digress.
The 30-point blowout loss tote board since 1991 looks like this:
Danny Hope: 6 in 50 games
Jim Colletto: 4 in 66 games
Darrell Hazell: 3 in 5 games
Joe Tiller: 1 in 149 games
What's my point in all of this? As I said earlier, just to make you feel as though you're not crazy (or no more than you already were) -- the Boilermakers are really playing that poorly this year. It's as poor as they've shown in many of your lifetimes and it's possible that at the end of this season, we'll be talking about 2013 in hushed tones of 1993. Or worse.