It’s OMHR Week: The Iowa Predicto
One of my favorite running gags over at Go Iowa Awesome (formerly Black Heart Gold Panties) is that they pretend Purdue is in the middle of nowhere, hard to find, there are no roads there, the town doesn’t really exist and on and on. So just take a look at that and then remember it’s Iowa guys making these jokes.
More critical to discuss, though, is the scheduling this year that gives us BOOKEND HATE WEEK. This Saturday the hate begins against OMHR in Iowa. Then you get to spend time with the people you love to hate the most (family) over Thanksgiving, and then you get to wrap it all up as Purdue plays their second or third most hated opponent in Indiana next Saturday. (We miss you bucket, I cannot imagine what horrible things four years in Bloomington has done to you.)
But as for this week…. The band-aids and zip ties seem to be no longer doing the job, as Purdue is as banged up as ever. Elijah Sindelar is reportedly hobbled and there are questions about whether he can give it a full go, so we may see the Navy offense under Sparks, who knows. Other reports as of this writing are that Richie Worship suffered an injury in practice as well. All this does not bode particularly well for going into Iowa City and winning. So let’s see what everyone thinks.
We'll go back to an early-season question....does Purdue have a real chance here? Or has the book closed on this season?
Michael: Sure, they have a chance. They showed against Wisconsin and Louisville that when the stars align, they can compete against some really good teams. Iowa isn't on that level, but they're still really solid. So with that, I think they could put themselves in a position to win. But having said that, I think Iowa is clearly the better team, and a Purdue win would be a pretty significant, highlights-on-ESPN-type upset. Plus no book on the season is closed until the Bucket game.
Dave: Yes they do. Connelly has Iowa as just a 51% favorite, which might not make sense to those of you who saw their pantsing of Ohio State ... but last week, their offense registered a null performance against Wisconsin. No, really, check the link. 8/24/1, 41 yards, 4 sacks is not the kind of line that will make a game winnable. However, the more relevant performance is that 11% outing against Northwestern, where their offensive percentile was 7%. For as much as Purdue has struggled recently, Iowa has put up some real clunkers themselves. That may not happen Saturday, but it's entirely likely that the Hawkeyes keep the game close even if the Good Guys fail to move the ball.
Swamy: Close the book on this week, shut it down, wave to the kids and give the yooooths tons of playing time on the road against a really good team. Iowa has been weird this season -- the only game they won against a good team was Ohio State (extremely Bill Simmons voice: "Are we sure OSU is good?"), and Kinnick is a really tough place to play. Now...on the season? Nah, don't close that book just yet. Five wins and the Bucket, with a terrific defensive scheme and an offense with glimmers of brilliance amid clear talent disparities, is a definite step forward.
J: They’ve shown they always have a chance under Jeff Brohm and that’s what keeps everybody coming back and what keeps the Predicto from devolving into the utter mayhem of last season. That said, this is probably the worst situation for Purdue. Yes, on the road at Wisconsin was more daunting, but they weren’t nearly as banged up as they are now. This game is necessary to achieve the six-win (unthinkable in preseason) bowl plateau, so you might see some extra jump out of the guys as they leave it all out there.
Boilerdowd: Sure, there's a chance...but for Purdue to win this one, it would take some sort of miracle unlike anything Purdue fans have seen since they referred to Purdue as the 'Spoilermakers' back when I was a lad. I hate that nickname, by the way- it reminds you that Purdue sucks and no one expects them to win.
Jeff Brohm's name actually came up in an article about potential Tennessee coaches. Has your confidence in Coach Brohm turning the Purdue program around wavered at all?
Michael: No, it hasn't wavered at all. I really like what I'm seeing from him. I think this team is severely limited by its talent, but I think the playcalling and creativity has been really good. The execution hasn't been really good, but there's enough there that I think Purdue has a really good coach on their hands and we should cherish it.
Dave: Absolutely not. Even in the #hottake era, it still takes time to turn around a program, and Brohm is still in his first year. The fact that he got the Boilers to play solid football on a number of occasions this season shouldn't change that; Purdue's laid some eggs, which is what we all expected coming into this season anyway: 2017 rebuilding, 2018 improvement, 2019 bowl game (or 2018, depending on how optimistic you were - btw if you google "boiled sports season predicto", the preview for that link shows my 2-10 prediction, thanks Google). Still 2017? Still a rebuilding year. Next question.
Swamy: Not in the slightest. We all would have said 4 wins against this schedule, with a 50/50 shot at the Bucket Game, would be a clear step forward after the worst four year stretch of Purdue football history. Brohm's Boilermakers might've picked up those four wins in slightly unexpected places, but considering the lack of depth on this roster and 2018/2019 recruiting success I still think the only conclusion is that this coaching staff is taking Purdue steadily in the right direction. (That being said...it's a pity Purdue's offensive woes have somewhat wasted this terrific defensive year.)
J: Nope, not at all. I am excited he’s here and look forward to what he can do when he has receivers with ten fingers and an offensive line that isn’t overmatched (not due to effort but to sheer size and talent).
Boilerdowd: As I look forward to next season, I can say I'm kinda concerned that this turnaround could take a while. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo many guys graduate from the defense, and the offense has more question marks than the Riddler's jacket. My confidence isn't wavering...but I will say my idea of the timeframe has been in flux for the last three months...not settling yet.
Purdue wins if...
Michael: They score TDs early in the game and the defense continues to play at a high level. Purdue hasn't generated a lot of offense early in the game, and they aren't explosive enough to make up big deficits. And the defense has been great, even when faced with such a huge talent differential, but they often haven't been able to hold on late in games (due mostly to depth, I imagine.) If Purdue's offense can take that burden off of them a little, it might be in a position to win.
Dave: Purdue wins if they make Iowa play from behind. As the Good Guys have shown the last few weeks, when you're struggling on offense, the last thing you want is to have to come up with 2 or more TD drives for a chance to win. Get a quick lead, make the Hawkeyes struggle, and let Iowa take themselves out of the game.
Swamy: Purdue channels a clear mindset this week – use Nick Holt's aggressive defense to limit an incredibly inconsistent Iowa offense, and don't allow o-line or outside receiver problems to limit playcalling decisions. Sindelar needs to target the tight ends early and often, the running backs should be aimed everywhere except the interior offensive line, and for the love of everything holy be a little more creative with slot receivers. Also, do not under any circumstances target anyone in the vicinity of Iowa outside CB Josh Jackson. He had *two* pick sixes against Wisconsin last week, and will make mincemeat out of Purdue's weak outside receivers if allowed.
J: If Nick Holt’s defense does what they do and Iowa’s offense goes back into Ferentz mode. If he wants to try to win the game 6-4 as the guys at GIA suggest is his favorite thing, then I like Purdue’s chances because of the defense. If Iowa starts tossing points up there, it’s goodnight, Irene.
Boilerdowd: The defense plays their best game of the season while Sindelar does the same.
Michael: Iowa - 17, Purdue - 13
Dave: I'm a little short on optimism right now - either I don't know enough Iowa fans, or I'm saving it all for Thanksgiving week. Iowa 20, Purdue 17.
Swamy: Iowa 27, Purdue 20
J: Iowa 24, Purdue 12
Boilerdowd: Iowa 35, Purdue 17