FREE CANDY! The PSU Predicto!
FREE CANDY! The PSU Predicto
It’s Coach Gerad Parker’s first home game as interim head dude at Purdue and it comes against PSU. And it’s KIDS DAY at Ross-Ade! Just a coincidence, of course.
So what do we have for you in today’s predicto? It’s also Halloween on Mondayand while we did a detailed conversation on acceptable vs. awful candies last year, there’s never too much talk about candy so we’ll throw some of that in there, too.
Oh, and it’s World Series time, with two tortured fan bases going head to head, so we’ll talk about title droughts, too. It’s a smorgasbord edition of the Predicto.
On candy: Snickers are the undisputed king of the candy realm, but if we're including the constant eatability factor I'm gonna have to go with Kit Kat.
The first home game of the Gerad Parker era, and Purdue is a relevant job again. Not because of the man that occupies the job, but what the program can (or can't) become. It's funny...no part of the program has changed, not the players, not the staff, not the buildings; the only change is the person steering the ship. And yet, it all feels a little different.
The offense under Parker took more chances, and OC Terry Malone threw a handful of trick plays (that largely didn't work) and an unafraid gameplan at a top ten Nebraska last week, and for one half it worked. Ross Els' defense looked similar schematically, but for the first time in seemingly decades Purdue made strong tackles at the line of scrimmage. The smashmouth defense, wide-open offense Darrell Hazell longed for finally peeked through the clouds, if only for a moment. But boy was that half fun.
There's a small faction of Purdue fans that wants to see what Parker could do without the "Interim" tag. This week, against a ranked (but flawed) Penn State in Ross Ade might be his best non-IU audition shot. This should be a winnable game; Penn State's offensive line has been in shambles this year, and Linebacker U is on their 46th LB (due to injuries). PSU is coming off a simultaneously impressive and lucky victory against Ohio State, and Saquon Barkley is undoubtedly the best running back in the B10, but there's a real shot that this injured roster could be ripe for an upset.
Parker has shown that he can rally the troops for 30 minutes. I hope he can go 60 in his second shot, but it just seems like the adrenaline is going to wear off. Purdue's roster, with Hazell's lackluster recruiting, is left unbelievably thin, and I think Barkley might be in for a spectacular performance (particularly if Jake Replogle and Ja'Whaun Bentley are still out).
But, hell...first home game of the Gerad Parker era, and an Aneesh will be in the crowd. You never know what could happen. Hope to see you all there.
Spread: Penn State -14
Penn State 38
DROUGHTS: I'm a Cubs fan, so I'm thoroughly enjoying this team. Kris Bryant is the most beautiful man I've ever seen, and Kyle Schwarber is magical and his performance is absolutely not enhanced in any way, Jake Arrieta is a perfect soul, and it was super nice that David Ross' retirement home lets him travel to away games. I really love this team, and even if they don't win this year Theo Epstein and The Chosen One Joe Maddon have them set up for three years of contention. F#&k goats, breh.
But man...if I could see one non-Purdue team win it all, it's the Pacers. The last time my beloveds won was as ABA titans in 1973, and have made one NBA Finals and EIGHT Eastern Conference Finals in the last 23 years. *Two* ECF Game 7's during the non-MJ years, blowing 1998's Game 7 vs MJ, blowing the 1999 lockout year as the #1 seed, and Ron Artest beating the hell out of a fan in 2004 when the Pacers were title favorites *and would have sent Reggie out with a ring*. Yeah, all those count as close calls, so there's the answer to your stupid question I hope you're happy sports are dumb.
DROUGHTS: Everyone knows my answer to the first question - I mean, it's been my online identity ever since I signed up for AOL at a time when signing up for AOL was a) socially acceptable and b) actually necessary in many quarters to experience the World Wide Web. While being a Michigan native paid off handsomely in almost literally every other league I follow (or have followed), the NFL has always been different: before I was even watching football, the Lions became one of the first two teams to lose a wild-card game, falling to Dallas 5-0 in 1970. I remember the 4-0 start in 1980, reading about Another One Bites The Dust being their song ... and watching the team slump to 9-7, out of the playoffs.
The Billy Sims era ended after two playoff appearances: in the '82 strike season, a 4-5 team that got thumped by the Washington team, and in '83, finally a division title ... and a loss at San Francisco as Ray Wersching hit a short FG and Eddie Murray missed a long one. Then Sims' injury, and nothing, and then Barry. I remember watching the final weekend of the '91 season with my girlfriend's family in Naperville: the Lions held off the Bills' second team in OT to clinch a bye, while Bears fans all around me complained about Marv Levy not playing his starters in a meaningless game. At long last, a playoff victory - over Dallas, no less, in a 38-6 rout, the highlight of which was maybe a young Dallas fan (maybe 10 or 11) leaving Damon's, seeing me playing QB1, and tipping one of Dallas' playcalls for me. (He turned out to be right.) The NFC championship was a different story: the second blowout of the season delivered by Washington, complete with a bartender who had a button that played Hail to that team, and he used it every time they scored. Which was a lot.
The Lions haven't reached that point since. They've made the playoffs a lot more than people realize, thanks to the Millen era - 5 more times after that in the '90s, twice in the teens so far - but they're still a long way away. I guess that's OK. It could be worse.
CANDY: If we lived in a world where weight gain was not a thing, I would take Hershey's Cookies and Cream nuggets, because white chocolate is one of the few things I will practically eat non-stop. Otherwise, I'd have to go with plain M&Ms: a nice mix of candy and chocolate, so that you're not getting just one taste in every bite. (Not that there's anything wrong with that; some people are milk chocolate purists, and that's fine.)
PREDICTO: A wise man once said, "The waiting is the haaaaardeeeest paaart." And so we wait - unfortunately, it will likely be as unpleasant the rest of the way as it was prior to Hazell's firing, because after all, there's little that could (or should) be done during the season. Purdue is still significantly overmatched against every remaining opponent on their schedule, including this weekend's opponent. The continued improvement of the bottom of the West, like Northwestern shutting down Indiana, is good for the league, but will be tough for Hazell's replacement. Hopefully the effort Parker puts in will get him a good job in 2017 - the Boilers will likely hire someone better equipped to begin a turnaround. For now, let's appreciate the effort put in by the staff and the players.
This weekend's opponents turn out to be better than expected, in part because all non-MAC teams on their schedule turned out to be pretty good (including Temple?!). They now enter the soft part of their schedule, as most opponents seem to be saying when Purdue shows up. The opponents are projected to do quite well Saturday - Connelly has them a 23.1-point favorite. Parker may keep his charges in the game more than that, but it's unlikely to change the ultimate result.
Gerad Parker has injected some much-needed life into this program, with the loss last week being the closest thing to a "fun" Purdue game in a long time. This single-week diversion, coupled with Hazell's firing and the Christmas-like excitement of getting a new head coach has riled up a subset of Purdue's fanbase enough where they're declaring a desire to hire Parker full time. It seems highly improbable that Mike B would do so. Parker is Purdue's best recruiter, and it's easy to see why with his effortless charisma. And he called a fun game last Saturday, returning in some ways to the spirit of 'damn the torpedoes' that has been integral to Purdue's success in the past.
But he's not the right person for the job, because he's just not ready. The sad part is he's probably one more job away from being ready. I can totally see him being a HC at a MAC-level school, or an Offensive Coordinator at a P5 school, and in a couple years becoming a name associated with P5 Head Coach positions. Timing is everything, and it doesn't appear to be right yet.
But I am going to enjoy the last few years of the Parker era. There's a special thank you that guys like that deserve, and I hope he enjoys his time at Purdue, and I hope he feels the appreciation of Purdue's fan base.
But as much as we all love Parker, the team is still the team. And at this point I'm more willing to write off the Nebraska performance as an aberration, until proven otherwise. We'll see; Penn State is coming off the high of the Ohio State game, maybe they get complacent? It will still take a lot. Purdue loses.
CANDY: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I could eat a million of those, throw up, and start right back up again.
DROUGHTS: With the sports thing, honestly, I've drifted away from professional sports to a large degree. I hit the high points -- I was glued to the TV during the NBA playoffs last year -- but the day-to-day grind largely escapes me. I would like to see the Pacers win, but I don't see that happening any time soon, so it's kind of a moot point. I would love the Washington Capitals to finally show up in the playoffs and win the Cup like they should have numerous times within the last half dozen years. The Caps have spent the regular season getting my hopes up, and then crapping themselves, usually against the Rangers (f you, J). A win for that historically down-trodden program would be quite sweet.
I’ve never really lived nor died by professional sports…but back when I cared a bit more about the NBA in the 90s, the Pacers seemed like they were in the discussion, but were never really a true contender. Even when they made the NBA Finals, it seemed obvious that the Lakers or Jordan-led Bulls or even the Knicks were better than them. That said, being a top-4 or 5 NBA franchise for many years is pretty damned good and since I really just want entertainment when I watch the NBA, that was a fun era. I was never too let down when they lost.
Unlike when Purdue loses, my heart doesn’t get ripped out by the Pacers nor Colts…but watching the Colts lose to the Patriots over and over when Manning was under center was tough to swallow. I picked up a rooting interest for the Red Sox when I lived out there in the late 90s…but I was even more of a fair weather fan of those mediocre Sox teams than I am of the Pacers or Colts.
That time of year
Any form of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is my favorite Halloween candy…also like Twizzlers. In fact, I like a ton of different candies…but any of the following would always be on the trading block following Halloween Night’s haul when I was young:
Mounds and Almond Joy, generic Hallloween taffy, Good ‘N Plenty, Goobers, Raisinettes, anything else with raisins or fruit, Circus Peanuts, Hershey’s plain chocolate bars, Charleston Chew and Candy Corn.
Underrated: Candy cigarettes, KitKat and the original Peanut Butter Twix (RIP) [Candy cigarettes proves you’re like 100 years old. –J]
Penn State is rrrrrrrripe for a let down. Statistically, they’re not as good as they played last week…and I think David Blough is due for a ‘shock the world’ type of game If Purdue’s defense comes ready to play, we’ll know early if I’m right…here goes.
Delusional Fanbase U 33
I was hopeful that I’d be the only one predicting an upset but I see Bdowd is on the wagon, too. Purdue showed they still are capable of resiliency when they beat the Illini on the road three weeks ago. Last week, they showed they could hang with one of the higher-ranked teams in the nation in their house, and did more than hang with them for a half. I have a feeling they put it together this weekend at home and show how fluky Penn State’s win over Ohio State really was.
CANDY: When it comes to Halloween candy, I grew up loving 3 Musketeers. My son recently asked me what was in it and I sort of still don’t know. If I need to pick one to receive forever, it would be Reese’s PB cups. Which means it looks like a BS party could just be a massive pile of PB cups and a Purdue football game. If only we had some buffalo chicken dip to scoop the cups into.
DROUGHTS: As some of you may know, I grew up a New York Rangers fan. My father lived for them in the ‘60s and began bringing me to Madison Square Garden in the early 1980s when the upper level and stairwells reeked of weed and hookers openly patrolled the streets outside. I’ve been to MSG for by far more sporting events in my life – mostly Rangers hockey – than anywhere else. I still to this day have a partial season ticket package in the “renovated” Garden, which – while nice – just isn’t the same. (Yeah, I’m old, I guess.)
When I was growing up, the Rangers were mocked by other local teams’ fans with a chant of “1940,” because they hadn’t won the Cup since then. Then, my senior year of high school, it all came together and the Rangers won the 1994 Stanley Cup. I was there for that night and nearly all of the playoff games that year. I was almost 19 and about to head off to Purdue and my favorite team had won it all.
Well, now it’s been 23 years and another title in the near future doesn’t feel likely. And the murmuring has begun again – one Cup in 77 years if they don’t hit the jackpot next June. Sure, at least I’ve seen one, but then I look at brats in Chicago and their three Cups in SIX MFing YEARS and think, those people have no idea how good they’ve got it. I cannot even fathom it.
So yeah, I know I saw one, but it still feels like the old days.