Purdue to play Arizona in Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, CA
That’s how far West Lafayette is from Santa Clara, CA, if you take I-80 the entire way.
Purdue’s reward for winning more FBS games than the past four years combined, reaching their first bowl game since 2012’s Heart of Dallas bowl, is a bowl game just about as far away from most Purdue fans as possible.
Purdue plays Arizona on Wednesday, December 27th at 8:30PM EST. Here’s the complicated story, zapped to my brain via wizard Jerry Palm on Twitter and GBI:
Ohio State missing the College Football Playoff, plus Wisconsin ranking 5th (one slot ahead of Auburn ), screws up the entire B10 plan. Three Big Ten teams make the New Year’s Six bowls – OSU in the Cotton Bowl, Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl, and Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. That puts Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl, knocking the rest of the Big Ten down one spot each.
So, because OSU didn’t make the Playoff and Wisconsin was seeded ahead of Auburn, Purdue got Santa Clara instead of Nashville’s Motor City Bowl or New York City’s Pinstripe Bowl.
Turns out, Iowa really does come back to screw everything up. OMHR, indeed.
For most Purdue fans, this is a real bummer. Boilermaker faithful survived the worst four-year stretch in Purdue football’s 130-year history, with Purdue alums everywhere proud of this team and protective of Jeff Brohm’s coaching staff.
But, more to the point, Purdue fans were ready to spend their money and take over Nashville. Instead, most will be priced-out of a trip to ditch family and celebrate a successful first year of a new Boilermaker football era.
(FYI, Motor City Bowl organizers, Northwestern couldn’t sell out their allotment of Pinstripe Bowl tickets last year. Students got the extras, for free. Purdue fans would have swarmed Nashville.)
But, let's be real for a second. Purdue playing football over Christmas/New Year break is the best.
Purdue plays Rich Rod’s 7-5 Arizona Wildcats (830 miles from Santa Clara, FYI). Arizona lost three out of its last four games of the season, and their high-powered offense is looking to find form that resembles their 58-37 win against #15 Washington State at the end of October.
Football Outsiders has Arizona 9th in Offensive S&P, 114th in Defensive S&P, 49th in Overall S&P, and 45th in F+/-. Comparatively, Purdue is 73rd in Offensive S&P, 28th in Defensive S&P, 41st in Overall S&P, and 33rd in F+/-.
At the very least, Purdue fans will be treated to a bad defense against Jeff Brohm’s offense, and Nick Holt’s defense will meet their toughest challenge of the season.
Feature image from Michael Conroy, Associated Press.