The Wisconsin/Sharpie Predicto
One time, many years ago, J and Boilerdowd were sitting in palatial Boilerdowd estate and were discussing the upcoming season’s games. When it came to Wisconsin, B-dowd said, “Oh, man, I’m sure of that one… you can put it in Sharpie.” It came to be our term for games that were absolute no-doubters and, more specifically, no doubter losses. We never really use the Sharpie term to denote a certain win.
The odd thing is if you were to ask what Big Ten opponent would be the “Sharpie” opponent, the uneducated might say something like Ohio State. But Purdue fans know that the Boilers actually have never seemed to fear OSU. It’s Wisconsin who has held a stranglehold over Purdue since 14 years ago, when the rivers ran pure and B-dowd had hair.
Does this qualify as another Sharpie game? Let’s find out.
Does Purdue have a chance? Or is this a Sharpie loss?
Dave: Does Purdue have a chance? No, not really. Unlike Michigan - Purdue's last quality conference opponent - the Badgers don't have any glaring weaknesses, or really much of any at all. They kind of don't do as well when they need to hammer through for a few yards on the ground, they don't really stuff opponent runs that often, and maybe they take an extra sack or two on passing downs, but the rest of their Football Study Hall profile is a depressing list of top-25 numbers with some top-50s thrown in to keep you awake. It's OK. We wrote this one off as a loss as soon as the schedule came around. Two years from now, though, things might get a little interesting.
Aneesh: Yeah, no. Even less than Michigan, because we could at least sell ourselves on outgunning the Wolverine anemic offense. Wisconsin's defense is just as stout as Michigan's (though Don Brown's defense is nuts), and the Badgers have another absolute stud RB in freshman Jonathan Taylor (Thomas). I could trick myself into having hope vs Michigan, and I will almost certainly trick myself into a possible-win at Iowa...but this group, at Camp Randle, is as Sharpie of a loss as I could draw up.
Michael: Sharpie loss. And that's fine. Wisky is clearly better, clearly deeper than Purdue. I would like to see Purdue look like they belong out there, but there's only a very slight possibility that they win. Like, <1%.
J: Jeff Brohm has showed us already that Purdue now always has a chance and that’s fun. So yes, they have a chance. I also think Wisconsin’s 5-0 is a rather soft 5-0, honestly, as outlined on this week’s Handsome Hour. This is obviously not to say they’re not good, of course – they are. But the Sharpie days are thankfully behind us.
Boilerdowd: I don't think Purdue has a chance. The Sharpie game was coined for Wisconsin games...I have a hard time letting go of it at this point. The matchups are lousy, Camp Randall is arguably the most hostile venue in the conference...Glad this is in the middle of the season so the Good Guys can get the bad taste out of their mouths in the coming weeks.
Is there anything you admire about Wisconsin?
Dave: Is there anything I admire about Wisconsin? Well, they were once a program that, as late as 1958, had exactly as many conference titles in football as Purdue did (which, if you're wondering, was not a big number, and is still not a big number). After the 1992 season, Wisconsin had exactly one bowl win to its credit, in the Independence Bowl over Kansas State. This was back before that bowl even had a title sponsor. Since then, they've missed a bowl just twice. They are tied with Michigan for the most consecutive Rose Bowl appearances, 3 (ironically, both schools lost all three). So if nothing else, they offer hope that someday, Purdue can enjoy postseason play and look forward to December and maybe even think about a game in Indianapolis at the end of the regular season instead of the beginning of it.
Other than that, and maybe letting Bielema go stink up Arkansas, no. Nothing else.
Aneesh: Honestly? I absolutely love that they're lowkey the reason for the B10's "3 yards and a cloud of dust" reputation. They've had a football identity for the last several decades, stuck with it even though the entirety of football was evolving around them, and refused to stop winning.
Now, would I ever voluntarily make Wisconsin football appointment viewing? Absolutely not. But I respect the hell out of that program, and it's definitely not only because my wife once heckled former Wisky RB and current Thing from the Fantastic Four John Clay about his lovehandles from the 5th row of the student section, only to have him turn around, glare directly into her soul, and proceed to run for 360 yards at Ross Ade.
I'll never not be afraid of John Clay.
Michael: Hell yeah! I would kill for their consistency. They've gone through several coaching changes in recent years and just keep getting those wins. Mad respect, yo.
J: The football program, yeah, I’d like the wins. There’s nothing aesthetically pleasing about them, though. Sort of like people from Wisconsin. I’d take the cheese and leave the rest.
Boilerdowd: Absolutely. Their pipeline of running backs is kinda unbelievable. All these guys do is carry teams...THEN, they go and play pro football at a pretty successful clip. Atop of that, they have kept their pipeline of DEnds like our Boilers used to have. I also love what their AD had the football and basketball teams both playing at nearly the highest level possible...at the same time in the recent past.
I also like cheese...I like it enough to admire the place that is famous for making it well.
Purdue wins if…
Dave: Purdue wins if ... they dominate the big-play column. Wisconsin can still march down the field on you and stop you from doing the same; they add enough big plays to keep defenses from packing the box and trying to get them in long-yardage downs. The Boilers can't afford to give up big plays, and they'll have to get some of their own, because this offense isn't yet to the point where they can take it to a defense like Wisconsin's. Make the Badgers grind out 15-play drives for points, get a couple of return TDs and maybe a couple of long pass plays, and it could be interesting; make a couple of mistakes and this could be semi-over in a hurry. (For the most part, since Brohm's offense is the kind that says nothing's over until they decide it is.)
Aneesh: ...football changes its rules and automatically awards the victory to the team that runs more Flea Flickers.
J: The Brohm Squad comes out with a creative but not reckless gameplan and the players execute it a hell of a lot more flawlessly than they did against Minnesota. I’d also add that Coach Holt’s D will be critical but we all know that and we also know they’ll come to play.
Boilerdowd: Blough plays a flawless game and Bentley goes ape sh*t on the other side...oh yeah, the guys around them might need to be close to perfect too.
Final Score Predicto?
Dave: A pessimist expects the Boilers to lose on Saturday, an optimist thinks there might be a chance, and a realist can't wait for betting lines on Purdue-Rutgers to open. Wisconsin 34, Purdue 14
Aneesh: Wisky 42, Purdue 20
Michael: Wisky 37, Purdue 17. It probably won't be close, but it'd be great if Purdue could stick with it for a couple quarters and make it entertaining. That's all I'm really wanting.
J: Yeah, I’m feelin’ the Kool-Aid this week. The streak ends as the Kyle Orton fumble game curse is finally lifted. Purdue 23, Wisconsin 20.
Boilerdowd: Sconnie 40, Purdue 24