The Boat Is Taking On Water – The Minnesota Predicto
The Boilermakers are a road favorite for the third time in league play – the first time that has happened since before Boiled Sports existed. And this week they’re a double digit road favorite. What a time to be alive.
Snake-oil salesman, turdville expert and likely cutco knives salesman PJ Fleck is learning that being hyper-talkative and full of energy only works for so long and only as long as you’re winning. Was PJ Fleck’s manic approach to coaching/motivating what led Western Michigan to boat-row their way to an 13 win season? Or did the improbable 13 win season inaccurately legitimize PJ Fleck’s insane way of operating?
PJ is 3-12 in the Big Ten, with #12 on that list a bludgeoning at the hands of Santa Lovie and Illnois last week. The Fleckster reacted by firing his defensive coordinator, so we’ll see if this coaching staff can pivot in a week to a new system/approach in time to slow down a Purdue team that laid the wood to that same Illinois program just a few weeks ago.
The thing about Fleck is that he wasn’t nearly the one-hit wonder that Darrell Hazell was. Leaving aside his opening season at WMU, Peej was 29-11 with the Broncos and 20-4 in conference over three years. He doesn’t yet seem to know how to beat decent teams with the Gophers but it is also only his second season there. The problem, of course, is that he took over a program that just won 9 games and seemed fully recovered from the forest fire that was the Tim Brewster era and has flopped a bit. One has to assume he’ll get another year or two regardless of the way this season plays out, but a few more destructions could make the future pretty dark.
Can Purdue send them away from the light?
PJ Fleck has quickly become a coach I don’t want to see Purdue lose to because he’s all phony bluster – or at least it appears that way thus far at Gopher U. I am very confident in Jeff Brohm and his staff against almost any coaching staff – but I’m especially confident that he’s got more in the bag than PJ and company.
A coach parlays a single season of MAC success into a job at a second-tier Big Ten school; he ends up establishing a plodding offense and a sieve-like defense, never remotely approaches his goals, and is eventually replaced. Everyone in attendance Saturday will nod knowingly at this story: the difference is that Purdue fans already know how it ends, while Minnesota fans may have a long time before they find out.
Unlike Brohm, Fleck decided to rebuild from scratch (although given what happened at Minnesota, he may have had to), but also unlike Brohm, he hasn't been able to find the right pieces, whether they were already in place or recruited by him. His 2017 squad had five performances with a win expectancy below 10%, including a head-scratching loss to Maryland at home, while the 2018 version already has three and finishes against the top half of the West (sorry Iowa). The Gophers would be winless in conference play if they hadn't squeaked past hapless Indiana, another struggling team with a second-year coach. While analytics may favor them against Northwestern, a team that allowed 55 points to Illinois is not a team that has anything representing a chance against the Boilers.
Minnesota is terrible, especially their defense against a fairly easy slate of opponents. Meanwhile, everything seems to be clicking for Purdue. I'm looking forward to unleashing Purdue's offense against this generous defense as much as I'm looking forward to camera shots of dumb looks on PJ Fleck's face. How long will the Fleck experiment go? Probably another year. I'm so sorry, Gopher fans.
Anyway, I think Purdue is rounding into shape and meeting an opponent that will offer little resistance to that trend.
I've predicted three straight losses, and Purdue has gone 2-1. Maybe I should continue the reverse-jinx, we'll see this week.
Minnesota just had six weeks of disaster, going 1-5 against a fairly easy slate of opponents (with their only win versus IU). Though their offense has looked alive over the last three weeks, I remain unconvinced that it will last against Holt's newfound aggression.
Move to the Gopher defense, and Dave is spot-on. During that six-game hell stretch, Minnesota gave up 42/48/30/52/31/55 points. Meanwhile, Purdue's total offensive yardage totals during that stretch: 372/516/611/539/339/434. This, my calculators say, does not bode well for good ol' crazy Fleck.
I think Blough continues his dominance, puts up 400+ yards, and Purdue puts away any concerns of a letdown game with a dominant performance in frigid Minneapolis.
A cold day...a motivated Boiler squad...November.
Check that. Brohmvember.
Blough starts it off with Zico and Hopkins...DJ Knox and Markell Jones finish it off.
Minnesota is, statistically, a bad defense. Now, they're a bad defense with a new D Coordinator...AND a mother of an offense coming to town.
Trick plays dazzle...front four shine...Moore gets an easier day (in an effort to get healthier).
Big Bad Boilers 44
Mini Gophers 17
Let's go bowling.