Time to Make Music – The Bowl Predicto
Well, here we are, Purdue back in a bowl but by way of a route nobody could quite have predicted. An 0-3 start, a weird blowout loss against Minnesota, an awesome blowout win over OSU, a strange collapse against Wisconsin, a resurgent win on the road to keep the Bucket… all over the map this year.
In a season full of ups, downs and emotion, it all comes to an end this Friday. And good news for Purdue fans – Tyler Trent will be there, once again serving as the team captain. The Colts saw to it that Tyler and his family get to be there – Tyler continues to inspire and we once again enthusiastically encourage you to donate to the endowment in Tyler’s honor. (As a reminder, the Walther Cancer Foundation will continue to match every dollar you donate.)
Away we go.
Did you ever wonder why SEC teams seem to win so many bowl games? Here are a couple of reasons: one is that most of them are semi-home games, and another is that somehow the SEC manages to stack its bids in a way that seems to pit their fourth-best team against another conference's seventh-best team, etc. For example: a 6-win Purdue team that squeaked into bowl eligibility is facing an S&P+ top-20 team, one that went 2-4 against fellow top-20 teams. Sure, Auburn has a bad loss (30-24 to Tennessee at home), but they do have a couple of impressive wins: their season opener against Washington and a home win against Texas A&M.
On the other hand, the Tigers won those games by a combined 9 points; they struggled against Southern Miss and Mississippi, and the only teams they beat convincingly were teams nowhere near Purdue's strength. The Boilers had just 3 games with a win expectancy under 60%; Auburn had 5. On a third hand, those five games were all against top-20 opposition; Purdue laid eggs against #24 Wisconsin, #35 Michigan State, and #58 Minnesota.
Bowl games are inherently unpredictable, more so now that NFL-bound players are getting smart and skipping glorified, unpaid exhibitions. Auburn's strength is their defense; Purdue's strength is their offense. This game could go any number of directions, but since it's a bowl game, we're likely to see a lot of points on the board. I don't think enough of them will be on the Good Guys' side of the ledger, but does it really matter? No, it does not.
Auburn 41, Purdue 36
Healthy Rondale, creates problems for Auburns DBackfield, big plays for Purdue. Purdue's new look aggressive front (Young Guns) goes blitz crazy, and it yields benefits. Knox/Jones salt it away. Motivated underdog Purdue beats a beleaguered SEC squad.
Purdue 33 Auburn 30
I'm inclined to lean with Dave on this one - Purdue is going into SEC territory, and even though Auburn is a little disenchanted (to say the least) with their 7-5 record and Gus Malzahn's remaining buyout, it's gonna be hard to imagine Boilermaker fans outnumbering Tigers fans in Nashville. That, QB Jarrett Stidham's decision to play in the bowl game before declaring for the NFL Draft, and Lorenzo Neal's injury make this a touch mountain to climb as a the Brohm Era at Purdue soldiers on.
But, but, but...Mississippi State routed Auburn in October, and giving Jeff Brohm a month to prepare his top 20 offense for Auburn's top 20 defense promises to make for a very fun matchup. Malzahn is also calling plays for the first time in three years, so watching these brilliant offensive minds square up is going to be worth the price of admission.
Auburn is favored by 3.5 points, with the over/under at 55.5...and I think that's just about right. Give me Auburn and the Over in a back-and-forth, entertaining matchup down in the Music City.
Auburn 39, Purdue 33
I am in no way even-handed in this review. I am excited about Purdue football and that is 100% the only thing driving this prediction.
PURDUE IS GOING TO WAIL UPON THE AUBURN KITTIES A BEATING SO BAD PETA IS GOING TO PROTEST AND THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE NEW LEGISLATION WILL BE PASSED TO CRIMINALIZE WHAT THE BOILERS WILL DO TO THAT B-ROLL SEC TEAM I AM ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT DAVID BLOUGH WILL GO UNTOUCHED BOTH BECAUSE OF HIS SUPERHUMAN ABILITY TO SENSE ANY SORT OF PRESSURE AND BECAUSE PURDUE'S OFFENSIVE LINE WILL GRIND THE AUBURN DEFENSIVE LINE INTO A FINE CARCINOGENIC POWDER BUT ALSO BECAUSE HE WILL LITERALLY FLOAT ABOUT THE FIELD, ASCENDING TO HIS FINAL FORM AS DAVID "DESTROY OF WORLDS, BRINGER OF SORROW" BLOUGH I AM UNABLE TO PREDICT A FINAL SCORE BECAUSE BY THE TIME THE CLOCK HITS ZERO IN THE 4TH QUARTER THE CONCEPT OF "POINTS" WILL LOSE ALL MEANING AS THE AUBURN SIDELINE WILL EXPERIENCE AN EGO DEATH SO EXTREME THEIR VERY CONSCIOUSNESSES WILL COLLAPSE UNDER THE WEIGHT OF THEIR OWN SENSE OF MEANINGLESSNESS.
Between the unpredictable nature of bowl games being played more than a month after the season ends and Purdue’s high/low season, I really have no idea how to handicap this one. However, I like Jeff Brohm with a lot of time to prepare, David Blough in his final college game, and Rondale Moore in any situation but especially against a swaggering SEC team. I will also say after seeing Purdue’s bowl game last year, I am not picking against them.
Purdue 45, Auburn 43
I also would like to hereby state that I will be donating $10 for every point Purdue scores in this bowl game to the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment. Make me pay, Purdue.