R U Hungry For a Win? The Rutgers Predicto!
Purdue heads out on the road for the second consecutive week to face yet another re-clad opponent who is coming off a whipping of their last opponent. I mean, really, who can tell RU apart from UW? Oh, right, we can.
Does Purdue have a chance? Obviously, Purdue has a chance! They're a ten point road favorite. As a .500 team. So here's the question...When did you last feel this good going into a road game?
Dave: Let's ask a better question: does Rutgers have a chance? This is a team that has yet to beat a I-A opponent this year (no, sorry, Lovie, your team doesn't count) and managed just 13 points against an Eastern Michigan squad that has just that and a win over technically-I-A winless Charlotte (formerly known as UNC-Charlotte, and given what was going on in Chapel Hill, can't say I blame them from dropping the first part). Sure, they put a scare into Nebraska, but who hasn't? (Sorry, Lovie, your team still doesn't count.) In a sense, yes, the Scarlet Knights do have a chance, but Brohm's Boys have been tested twice by the likes of teams like Rutgers, and both times, it's been a rout. Brohmball does not look kindly upon football pretenders.
Boilerdowd: Mizzou is the easy/obvious answer...so it doesn't count. I felt good about that game, and guess what- Purdue came through with shining hues of gold. Prior to that one, I think you have to go back to Hazell's first game as Purdue HC versus Cincy. Pretty sure this one won't end up that way for the good guys. I think this one is really important for a myriad of reasons though...beating a conference foe on the road is a foundational 'skill' that this program needs to re-learn. This will be another good test of these new-look Boilers.
Swamy: And the line opened at Purdue -9.5. Imagine that sentence a year ago, even against lowly Rutgers. What a world.
I felt good about Purdue's chances on the road exactly three times in the past three years: 2016 at Illinois (two horrendous teams facing off, one by default had to win, and it went to an overtime of sadness and regret), 2014 at Indiana (ditto, both teams bad, sadness etc, Purdue lost), and 2014 at Illinois (shoutout to the B10 neighbors for gifting us Hazell-era wins).
J Money: This is going to sound weird but the last time I was confident heading into a Purdue road game was in 2013 for Coach Hazell’s first game. Remember that optimism? They were heading out on the road to face Cincinnati and everybody felt energized about the new coach and his one year of success at Kent State. And then Purdue got punched in the mouth, rolled over and the football program went into a deep sleep for four years. (I feel really bad for people who were freshmen that year because your four years were the Hazell era of despair.)
Rutgers calls itself the birthplace of college football. They also have revolutionary soldiers manning a cannon after they score AND they blow a train whistle AND they have a Knight galloping around. Pick an era, Rutgers. Name a college football tradition that is great (you can't say Shout) and name one that makes you cringe (also can't say Shout).
Dave: Great tradition: Thanksgiving-week college football. Back in the day, we suffered through a Lions loss and a Cowboys win on Thanksgiving, but that was far from the only football to watch. Nebraska-Colorado, Texas-Texas A&M, Alabama-Auburn, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, and for those of you who like to hate, Notre Dame at USC. (Unfortunately, even back then, the Big Ten was blind to opportunity, so games like Michigan-Ohio State only fell on that Saturday by coincidence, which meant that instead of sharing the spotlight with the SWC, Big Eight, and SEC, we stayed at home and pretended it was what we wanted in the first place.) Four days of football - or nowadays, four solid days of football - is a great way to spend a holiday weekend, especially if you're fortunate enough to spend it with the cats - er, I mean, the people who are most important to you because they understand your need to watch four solid days of football.
Cringeworthy tradition: OK, I'll say it. "IU SUCKS" after everything. Purdue has been beating Indiana in football since 1891; no one needs to be reminded who our primary rival is, and we certainly don't need to hear it after every event in a game that doesn't involve them. (That's not limited to football, either. I believe I've heard it in basketball and even volleyball, which is especially surprising since the small crowds tend to be much better behaved.) The rivalry already speaks for itself, and furthermore, if we're going to discuss it, let's do so in a manner that represents the university and its teams and athletes well. There are certain schools around here (cough ND cough OSU cough) that have a reputation for having jerk fans, people who miss no opportunity to be obnoxious around you, at you, and possibly on you. Let those people yell that stuff. If you want to give Indiana the business, show up at a Purdue-IU game and goad them into false starts, missed free throws, and bad serves, but be sportsmanlike about it. (On the other hand, if you want to yell "THE NCAA SUCKS" or "SUNIL GULATI SUCKS", go right ahead.)
Boilerdowd: I know it's fresh and it's not old, but Iowa's wave to the kids at the hospital might have gone from not a thing to the greatest tradition in college football in a matter of weeks. At one time, it puts the game in its place and makes the game greater than it is by itself.
IU's Memorial stadium stealing "The Rock" moniker from Southern Miss...or their stealing of raising the flag after victory...or their stealing of the Gator chomp...or their stealing UND's march and making it a first down tradition...you can pick. That fanbase's inability to see that everything they do makes me cringe.
Swamy: Great tradition: I think Dowdy is right -- while Wisconsin's "Jump Around" and OSU's "Dotting the i" qualify as the best CFB traditions around, Iowa's Hospital Wave clearly stands out as something special, regardless of its new-ness.
Bad tradition: FSU or Illinois or any college that (with permission or otherwise) has a mascot of Native American origin and does the same cringe-worthy War Chant. It's 2017, let's get a little more creative and respectful than that. Seriously, a crowd of, let's say, non-minorities doing this is the definition of cringe-worthy.
J Money: I’ll give you a great CFB tradition – anything involving the Army-Navy game. From the cadets marching in to the fact that both branches really, really want to beat each other to the fact that we’re watching college football players who, upon the completion of their college careers (and for the seniors, the completion of this game in many cases), will enter into military service for their country. Watching the cadets and middies go berserk in the stands in their uniforms is such a fun juxtaposition of the seriousness of a military uniform against the passion of college football. It’s also a game that’s obviously heavy on the military and yet doesn’t feel “cheap,” like some military-themed tributes sometimes do.
Cringeworthy, at least to me, is the doofy run down the hill at Clemson. How have more guys not injured knees running down a rolling hill?
Purdue wins (their first noon game, natch) if...
Dave: Purdue wins if they don't hand Rutgers 21 points. Or maybe more. (The Lions gave New Orleans 21 and actually had a chance to drive for a tying TD on Sunday.) This is a gift W, courtesy of one of the dumbest conference commissioners in all of sports. Don't waste it.
Boilerdowd: Defensive intensity sets the tone for the game and the offense gets back into rhythm. Pretty simple. I think both will happen in front of a crowd that might be 40% Purdue faithful.
Swamy: Nick Holt's defense pulls no punches. Rutgers is both minimally-talented and injury-riddled, so if Lorenzo Neal and Co keep Rutgers' pocket under constant pressure, I'm pretty confident Purdue's offense (regardless of starting QB selection) can bring home the business-like road win.
J Money: They don’t turn the ball over excessively and don’t “lose focus” they way prior Purdue squads have at times. What I mean is, after a couple of high energy, high stakes games, some teams experience letdowns, particularly against teams they’re heavily favored/expected to beat. I am confident in this coaching staff but old habits die hard.
Final score predicto?
Dave: Purdue 51, Rutgers 9
Boilerdowd: Let’s have some fun. Purdue 44, Rutgers 20.
Swamy: Purdue 38 Rutgers 17
J Money: Purdue 42, Rutgers 14