Purdue Football Needs a Ten Win Season
The time has come, my friends. It’s time for Purdue to be that team that rises up to win ten games and everyone says at the end of the season that they should have seen it coming.
For some reason, Boilerdowd and I have been weirdly obsessed with ten-win seasons around here. Maybe it’s because Purdue hasn’t had one (their only one, mind you) since 1979, when Bdowd and I were just preschoolers, Aneesh and Michael weren’t yet a glimmer and Dave was a young man of just 42.
Or maybe it’s because we look around and see Old Man Solich making it happen at Ohio and Pat Fitzgerald (Go Cats) having won ten games three times since 2012. Maybe it’s because to us, ten wins signifies an impressive accomplishment, something that was even more impressive in our younger years, when teams only played 11 regular season games, ties were a thing and not everyone made a bowl game. For example, Joe Tiller’s last season at Wyoming was one that featured a 10-2 record, 7-1 in conference and a #22 national ranking. No bowl game, though.
The point is, it’s time. Oh, and there’s this:
Jeff Brohm has two 10+ win seasons, 12-2 in 2015 and 10-3 in 2016, both at WKU.
I know, I know. Patience, right? Jeff Brohm practically just got here. Just making allusions to this prediction on twitter got immediate responses that we should definitely hope for improvement but a ten win campaign is just too much. But last summer, didn’t most everybody think that a bowl appearance was asking too much?
I look at it this way: time is short, who knows how much longer we’ll have Coach Brohm, Thanos and the rest of this crew? Jeff Brohm was almost stolen away after he completed a 6-6 season! We’ll never know how close it was to happening but it certainly was out there. This season, Purdue brings back guys like David Blough, Elijah Sindelar and Markell Jones. Guys who have experience, talent and have been through the ringer of Darrell Hazell while also having learned under the Brohm Brothers. They’ve got the kind of experience you don’t always see in college. Sure, the defense has potentially gotten weaker, but let’s let Coach Holt/Thanos deal with that.
Look at last season. Normally, the “it coulda been this!” theories is the domain of the knuckleheads down the road at H&R, but hear me out. Purdue went 4-2 at home (with losses to Michigan, who isn’t on the schedule this year and Nebraska, who barely scraped it out) and 2-3 on the road (which included the hiccup at Rutgers).
Couldn’t you argue (as I just parenthetically implied) that Purdue should have beaten both Rutgers and Nebraska? Wins are wins and losses are losses, and I’m not here arguing for some kind of better bowl game or preseason ranking or anything like that. But I think it’s reasonable to say that if Purdue and Rutgers (the 2017 versions of each) played ten times, Purdue would win…what? Eight or nine?
And Nebraska was absolutely on the ropes and continued circling the drain following the improbably last second win over Purdue.
If those two games go the way we all thought they were going to, now we’re potentially talking about a nine win 2017 Purdue team, which, I mean, I can’t even get my head around that.
As Aneesh said, though, maybe this was just perfect. Nine wins with the husk of a Darrell Hazell structural fire would probably have qualified Brohm to coach the New York Giants or something, so let’s just leave 2017 where it landed. And that was the most fun, promising, inspiring and yet simultaneously unexpected season in a couple of decades. Jeff Brohm has shown us that raising our expectations is okay. He has made it clear that Purdue is not always going to find the banana peel. So now what?
I say again, it’s time for ten wins. It’s time for Purdue to contend for the West division. Crazy? So what?
Here’s why. How long until Scott Frost has Nebraska being back to Nebraska? They finally made a smart hire and while their fanbase will never come back to reality, Frost is probably good enough to make the Huskers the contender they dream of being. And it won’t take long – this season will probably be good, but give him a couple of years? Goodnight.
Wisconsin will continue being Wisconsin. Fleck will need to get some traction soon. Illinois can’t stay terrible forever (can they?). Iowa is due for their usual resurgence when nobody expects it. And Northwestern usually follows up their ten win seasons with a bit of a letdown. So the window might just be there right now.
Purdue opens with four straight at home – versus Northwestern (who often stars slowly) on a Thursday night, vs EMU, vs Mizzou and vs BC. You need to win those for this plan to have hope.
They then visit Nebraska and Illinois. You assume a split is your best case there, realistically, although as I noted above, if there is a year to still kick Nebraska around, it’s 2018. That said, Brohm won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year. So let’s take the split there and assume 5-1.
Then Ohio State comes to town. If Purdue were 6-0 at this point, I would storm the ESPN gates and demand GameDay visits, even though I don’t really watch GameDay anymore and who cares. They’d probably have a “celebrity picker” who would infuriate me.
It’s hard to imagine Purdue taking down the Buckeyes just yet, but that is something that Purdue does. At least under Danny Hope. Hey, wait, I have an idea for a special, one-game contract for Coach Hope….and you know he’d take it. Fine, fine, I’ll log it as a loss. 5-2.
They alternate home and away the rest of the run. Will MSU show the ten-win form they bounced back with last year or the incredibly bad lost season form of 2016? I kind of like Purdue’s chances there for some reason. So including the Spartans, the rest of the season goes @MSU, vs Iowa, @Minn, vs Wisconsin, @IU. Sitting at 5-2, Purdue would need four of those games plus the bowl game to attain the magical ten. Hey, I didn’t say this would be easy.
Assuming Purdue continues building on last season, is it so hard to say that Purdue should be able to beat Iowa, Minnesota and IU? I don’t think so. And just one of those is a roadie. So now we’re at 8 wins, plus the potential bowl game which we’ll just say is a win because I feel like it. So now ask yourself… could Purdue win at Michigan State? Could they beat Wisconsin at home? Could one of those other losses I acknowledged earlier swing in Purdue’s favor? Or will there be another Rutgers loss this year? There can’t be if Purdue wants to take a leap.
Push the chips into the middle of the table. Purdue wins ten games in 2018.