It's all about perspective, right?
Following the loss yesterday, I got into a light-hearted argument via text with a pal of mine about the reason for the loss. He argued it was Appleby's inability to make the big play, I argued Shoop's offense should have never put them in the position that the game was close. Regardless of where you stand, there's a spin...a perspective that can stake a claim to putting Purdue 0-1 on the young season.
Purdue fans are a funny bunch. When we're critical, we catch crap from the good time gang that "it's just one game". When we're not critical enough, we're told that we're blind and we are the reason Purdue is stuck in neutral as an athletic department. It's all about perspective.
I'm not happy that Hudson and Hazell put their heads together to conjure up a wide open prevent defense in the fourth quarter with a slim cushion. That seems nonsensical. With a 10-14 point lead and 4 minutes left, that would have been a good course of action. But since the offense couldn't chop wood and drive down the field on the big, bad Herd, we're left fighting with one another as to why our favorite team is 0-1 and if it's a big deal or not.
Vegas predicted Purdue would lose...and most Purdue fans did the same. But very few of us thought they'd be in the driver's seat with 8 minutes left, a lead and the ball. It's all about perspective. But regardless of where you stand, you're probably right.
Another sidebar that's come up is which program is better. Historically, you can't argue that Marshall is better since Purdue has been in a power conference since they existed while Marshall has only been D1 for a short time. But, for the last 7-10 years, Purdue has been mediocre on their best seasons and atrocious in their worst seasons. All that said, if last year's Marshall team would have played a BT schedule, does anyone really believe they would have had more than 7 wins? Even still, our Boilers only had 3.
The fact is, Purdue isn't good at football anymore. We all are looking for the indicator of the change...
The running backs are really good. The offensive line is big, strong and experienced and the team looks tough. But they lost- No smoking gun here that points to a turnaround. In fact, there is a reason that Hazell put a ton of importance in this one: Because it was winnable and would have been a lynchpin to a bowl season. On the other side, Marshall sold out their 38,000 seats for the first time since '07...because they thought it was winnable. Both were right. One team left the field emboldened...the other left deflated.
Is this a program changer for Purdue? Nope. The state of affairs were lousy coming in, and still are. Purdue still doesn't come back to win on final drives, can't win road games and looks to be a well-sub .500 team, in my opinion.
Is it a program changer for Marshall? Nope. Beating a crappy power conference team isn't a trajectory altering victory. As much as FS1 and the Marshall faithful want to believe this was seismic, it matters to no one outside of these two fanbases. They didn't just beat aOSU, or UM. This isn't even parallel with even the loss by PSU to Temple.
Wins gloss over a multitude of faults...and the problem is, Purdue hasn't had many of those in which fans can simply revel in the good instead of stewing in the bad while barking at one another.
I appreciate any person who is here reading this post. Because, like me, you have an incurable illness. It sucks to be a Purdue football fan right now...and it has or a while. But you've embraced your disease instead of denying it- that takes courage and a stiff upper lip. Thanks for being a sick, sick sports sadist. You're among friends.
Sadly, if you go to God's country next week, you won't be around many of our type. Who can blame anyone for not wanting to go to games at this point? Ex-players are so pissed on Twitter that they're telling the world that this thing is broken. They're right. Is their perspective any more valuable than ours? I guess it depends on the fan. I talked to an ex-Purdue lineman at length last fall who was beginning not to believe in Hazell as our alma mater's HC. He's been on committees to help pick the next coach. He's given money and time to the athletic department. Conversely, I've given little money, haven't had season tickets for four seasons and have never received anything personally from the athletic department other than a cease and desist notice (thanks for caring, fellas).
Regardless if you're held in high esteem by the athletic department or not, and regardless of the reason of their opinion, the Purdue football fanbase is going the way of the dodo bird. That's one thing that only winning can change...and perspective cannot alter.