Let’s Scenario This Shizz
(Photo credit: John Terhune, J&C)
A mere seven weeks ago, Purdue was sitting at 0-3 after the BS Summit loss to Mizzou. Sure, that game was super fun but Purdue did have a touchdown stolen from them that sure would be nice to have back right about now. Since that date, though, Purdue has lost only one game, going 5-1 in that stretch and going from seeming dead in the water to feeling almost assured of a bowl game. And while I said after the MSU loss that it was time to pack up your hopes and dreams of a Big Ten West title, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility yet.
So let’s scenario it.
Purdue currently sits at 5-4 and 4-2 in the Big Ten. (This is, by the way, a better conference record than Penn State. I’m just saying.)
They are one game back of Northwestern in the Big Ten West, tied with Wisconsin. However, as we all know, Purdue opened the season with a four-point loss to Northwestern so Purdue needs to finish a full game clear of the Wildcats if they want the division. Is this possible? Sure.
Let’s say Purdue wins out. Is this likely? Probably not. But is it a hell of a lot more possible looking than at any point this season? Yes.
First, they need to dispatch a Gophers team this Saturday that might just be ready to hibernate for the winter after that shellacking from Santa Lovie. If that win doesn’t happen, they don’t deserve it anyhow. And the Bucket game sits out there Thanksgiving weekend, which – again – if you can’t win that then the hell with talking about division titles. Right in the middle there, though, is senior day against Wisconsin. Somehow, Wisconsin isn’t ranked anymore but they’re still Wisconsin. And Purdue hasn’t beaten Wisky in far too long. It’ll be David Blough’s senior day and if it’s going to happen, it seems like this year might be as good a chance as any.
So if Purdue beats them, it won’t matter what else Wisconsin does, but it’s worth noting their two other remaining games are at Penn State and vs Minnesota. Winning in Happy Valley is no gimme so if the Badgers lose there and to Purdue, the Boilermakers have no excuse for not finishing ahead of Wisconsin.
Northwestern, in this scenario of Purdue winning out, would need to lose two of three to finish the year. This seems less likely. The Wildcats go to Iowa on Saturday where they must lose for Purdue to have division hopes, because they then follow with @Minn and vs Illinois. It’s hard to imagine them losing either of those, honestly, but you never know. Maybe Santa Lovie and company are coming to life and the rivalry game is just what they need.
What if Purdue wins two of three?
This would leave the Boilermakers at 7-5, 6-3 in the conference. If we assume Wisconsin is the loss, they could be as good as 7-2 or, with a loss at PSU, 6-3. However, they would then have the tiebreaker. It’s again all moot, of course, if Northwestern wins even one of their three remaining games in this situation. If Wisconsin somehow botched their season-end, Northwestern would also be 6-3 in this scenario and would have the aforementioned tiebreaker against Purdue.
The short answer – which you all knew, because you’re all smart – is that Purdue needs to win out and needs some help. Yes, Purdue fans could find themselves cheering for the fighting Flecks of Minnesota or Santa Lovie’s elves around Thanksgiving. What could be more festive?