Ann Arbor Is Of Questionable Moral Values – The Michigan Predicto
Purdue football plays a homecoming game NOT at noon this weekend. Purdue is being talked about around the college football world and not as a barometer for how far a football program can fall. Ross-Ade is expected to be packed this weekend and with the 4 PM start, the lights will get some use again. The game is being nationally-televised on Fox. BTN is broadcasting their tailgate show from the lawn of Cary Quad. It’s all really happening, folks, it’s not a dream.
But sure, whipping up on a MAC foe and then a lousy SEC team are one level. An important level, but just one level to where they want to go. The next level is now right in front of them, perhaps a lot sooner than anyone expected. Michigan and their weirdo coach who wants to literally physically embody Coach Bo will be coming to Ross-Ade.
Can you dare to dream? Are the BS guys? Find out here.
Does Purdue have a chance?
Boilerdowd: I actually think Purdue has a chance...Michigan has struggled to move the ball at times this season and is in the top third of the conference in none of the important offensive categories. Their defense is stout though...specifically their front. They get to opposing QBs more than anyone in the league. If Purdue's offense can avoid giving up big sacks while Blough and Sindelar can move outside of the pocket, Purdue will be in a position to win. If the Boilers win the turnover battle and specifically don't allow UM's defense to score, this will also help their chances.
Dave: Um ... maybe? The Boilers have hammered two bad teams and played a good one evenly, but they haven't faced an elite defense yet (actually, Louisville has given up 110 points in three games, so their defense may be worse than expected this year), and they'll get a chance in two of the next three games. Even so, Brohmball can essentially be a two-minute drill for as long as you need it, so for a change, a two-score deficit doesn't mean the game is over ... and if the computers are right, Purdue will face a two-score deficit at some point on Saturday. Keep in mind, though, that ratings systems have to take into account the previous season, and thus they usually struggle to properly evaluate a team that's gone through a significant change. They know about as much about Purdue right now as we do ... so maybe they're off this time, too.
Aneesh: To win? I'm not sure, that's a level of confidence that even I can't muster with certainty. But can a team that's lost 40 of its last 51 games make the #8-overall Wolverines nervous, for a few quarters? Without a doubt.
This feels so much different than last week, when I was worried about Purdue's psyche if they got blown out by a bad Mizzou team. This week, the Boilers have all the confidence in the world and have nothing to lose against a young, talented Michigan team that hasn't yet hit their stride. Is it Saturday yet?
Michael: As insane as this would have sounded not that long ago, yeah, I think they do have a chance. 30% is the ceiling that I would put on their chances. Michigan hasn't looked amazing, but they still are very good, particularly their defense. They have crazy talent across their two-deeps on both sides of the ball, but they are kind of young. But the thing about young, talented teams is that they tend to both be inconsistent, and improve from week to week. So Purdue could find themselves in a very winnable situation, or face a buzzsaw that will test this fresh Boiler optimism.
J Money: Astonishingly, yes. Some publications are calling this an upset special, most likely upset, etc. I don’t think Purdue is sneaking up on the Big Ten with as much notable coverage as they’ve gotten, but sure, they have a shot and college football is a place where momentum seems to often build.
If the Boilers were to pull the upset, does it immediately become reasonable to target not just a bowl game, but to win the west division? (I can't believe I'm saying that.)
Boilerdowd: We saw CBS project Purdue in the Outback Bowl last Saturday night...honestly, I don't think the outcome of this game will affect that projection either way, unless Purdue simply doesn't compete. BUT, many other outlets will start talking about Purdue as a Jan.1 Bowl team if they win this game...AND the B1G West will be forced to recognize Purdue as a legit contender.
Dave: If there's a Homecoming Surprise Saturday, why not shoot for the West? The difference between a home win over Michigan and a road win at Wisconsin is roughly a TD, depending on what ratings you're looking at. A Purdue team that can pull off the upset should be good enough to challenge Wisconsin in Madison ... and even if it turns out that Michigan's offense is the flaw that keeps them from being a contender, the fact that you're 4-1 heading north should mean that you're looking at the game as a possibility. Yes, Wisconsin could blow out Purdue, but as I reach into my bag of cliches, until that happens, it hasn't happened yet.
Aneesh: If Jeff Brohm's Boilermakers, four games into a new era, beat a top 10 team in front of a nationally-televised, sold-out 4pm Ross Ade crowd? Purdue is going bowling, Purdue becomes the national darling going into their bye week, and AD Mike Bobinski had better line up an immediate raise + extension for Brohm because Notre Dame and Tennessee will come a'calling with full force. A win over Michigan, along with Illinois being its mediocre self and Nebraska struggling, would vault Purdue above the Minnesota/Northwestern middle tier. Wisconsin, Iowa, and our Boilers would be fighting over the 2017 B10 West title. What a time to be alive.
Michael: A bowl game, yes. Win this game and I would say that failing to make a bowl would be disappointing. Using the word 'target' implies some sense of expectation, and I can't expect at any confidence that this team would win the division. It's a long season, and the West is kind of weak, but still. This Purdue squad needs another year or so of cooking before it could seriously be a contender. But I've been wrong all season on this team so don't listen to me #boilersbig10champs2017
J Money: Yes. I wrote this question because I think that beating MICHIGAN puts you in a position where now you’re a team to be reckoned with in the West. Still many mountains to climb but the confidence would be sky-high and there’s no OSU on the schedule.
Purdue wins if....
Boilerdowd: Blough plays like he did in the first half versus Mizzou...for an entire game. I'm not sure if UM will allow Blough to get comfortable back there. BUT, I think Blough's ability to create on the move is essential for Purdue's chances. Oh yeah- Purdue will need a 100 yard rusher as well. Tall order v. Harbaugh's Wolverines.
Blough is quietly leading the league in completion percentage at 76%.
Dave: Purdue wins if they win all three phases of the game. Michigan has 3 defensive TDs and a punt return TD through 3 games; that's a lot of help for an offense that has yet to find its footing, even if you discount their opener against what may be another elite defense in Florida. The Wolverines have also had a talent for blocking kicks in recent years, and the Boilers nearly had a punt blocked against Louisville. It won't be enough for the Good Guys simply to earn TDs against Michigan's defense - they must also force UM to score only with their offense, and then make sure that Bad Wilton Speight spends more time on the field than Good Wilton Speight. That's quite a challenge ... but then, so was containing Lamar Jackson, and the Boilers did that often enough to give themselves a chance to win. It could happen Saturday, too.
I don't think the upset will happen. While the Boilers happily spoiled my prediction for the Missouri game, I blame most of that on not understanding how bad the Tigers are, and on underestimating how badly the athletic department fumbled the situation there. (Based on what we saw Saturday, the on-field mess needs a lot of work; I expect the off-field mess will remain for a while.) But with Missouri being worse than expected, to me, this seems a bit like the Orton days, where the Boilers would roll until they met contending teams and then find themselves rudely dismissed. The difference here is that Brohm is playing with house money - even if Purdue gets whacked by Michigan and Wisconsin, that doesn't mean anything (yet), and if the Boilers finish 5-7, it'll be two games better than last year and will include both trophies at stake this year. (Massey is saying 4-8 with the Bucket staying in Bloomington; a good bit of that comes from last year's data.)
Aneesh: The marquee matchup of Jeff Brohm vs Michigan DC Don Brown is a stalemate, and Nick Holt's defense swarms Michigan's extremely young offense. Every college football nerd in the country is waiting eagerly for the playcalling matchup between two of the sport's best minds. Just freaking look at Don Brown and tell me you can imagine him in any role other than "expert DC":
Michigan is in a 'reloading' year, stocked to the brim with young 5-star talent but not functioning like a cohesive unit just yet (particularly on the offensive side of the ball). If Holt's defense can keep the score in the 20s...who knows?
Btw, this week's essential reading: Ian Boyd's beautiful tape breakdown of Brohm's brilliant offensive play designs.
Michael: They don't turn the ball over and can generate some TDs on this UM defense. UM isn't built to blow teams out, but its defense is quite tough. If Purdue can get to 30 points, it'll be hard for UM to keep up. So, score points and don't turn the ball over. I can't believe I get paid for stuff like that (I don't get paid).
J Money: Purdue plays a nearly flawless offensive game. The defense has proven they’ll show up and work hard and the UM offense isn’t scary at all. But the offense cannot make mistakes against that UM defense because they’ll make Purdue pay.
Final score predicto?
Boilerdowd: Purdue 27, UM 23
Dave: Michigan 30, Purdue 16
Aneesh: Michigan 26, Purdue 24, in a heartbreaking yet entertaining West Lafayette matchup. I can't freaking wait.
Michael: The heart wants to call a Purdue win, but UM will take this 26-20 in another close call.
J Money: Michigan 35, Purdue 24. Purdue shows up, plays hard and keeps it interesting. But like the Louisville game, in the end they just won’t quite have the horses…..yet.