Same old Boilers. Sure, the uniforms might change over the years and players and coaches come and go, but for the most part, this is the same Purdue we've been watching for many years. And I'm tired of it.
Barely 200 yards of total offense. Under 60 yards rushing. 1-for-11 on third down. Four more turnovers. A 44-13 home ass-whipping.
That was an embarrassing display in Ross-Ade Stadium this afternoon. Truly shameful. There's simply no way Michigan is that much better than Purdue. And to lose like that at home? In the first conference game of the season? When there are high hopes and getting off to a good start could quite possibly catapult you into the Big Ten title game? Much more easily than in most years? To come out like that and just stink up the joint so disgracefully?
I don't know who to be more irritated at, because now word is some of the players were bitching about the fans on mediums like twitter, as well as in texts and comments to others close to the program.
On that subject, they need to worry about their own responsibilities. Lecturing the fans should be pretty f-cking far down the list. And really, you're going to lecture and/or complain about the people who actually come out to witness that kind of horseshit performance? Those people are the real mother-fricking fans! They are the ones you should be apologizing to after that kind of display of what I guess we're obligated to call football.
Fans are allowed to be irritated and should be encouraged to be truthful. This isn't a one-way street where the people who pay to watch and drive many hours round trip to see games or who set aside time in their lives to devote it to Purdue football only are allowed to kiss asses and tell the team how great they are. If the team does something that earns them accolades, they know damn well they will get it. Hell, wins over irrelevant programs get the fans excited and talking title game. Title game. After some barely-impressive wins over terrible teams and a close loss to a decent team. Wow, print up the banner. And yet the fans got excited and started dreaming big. So I don't want to hear a damn word from the players -- past or present -- on whether or not lifelong, loyal fans (and students/alums, mind you) have the right to be angry after seeing their school piss themselves for three hours. Being a longtime, loyal fan means you do have the right to call a spade a spade and be pissed off when the school you love looks like a doormat.
All that said, I don't entirely blame the players here. When a team comes out for big games (and many non-big games, too) as completely flat and/or confused looking as Purdue does, you have to question the coaches and their ability to prepare. As we've said over and over, we like these guys a lot. But we've also been told that this is Danny Hope's best team ever, right? The best assemblage of talent that he's had at Purdue. And this is what Danny Hope's best damn team can do? THIS? I'll say it right here and right now: if this represents the absolute apex of talent and ability for Danny Hope, then I hope everybody is happy with mediocrity as the goal. Not of being mediocre -- of mediocrity being the goal. Because here's what's going to happen.
Next week, Purdue is going to be embarrassed once again at home by Wisconsin. There will be 10,000 fewer fans in the stands than there were this weekend, although Wisconsin travels well so maybe they'll fill the extra seats and it'll be an even worse home atmosphere than it's been. Then the Boilers will go on the road at 0-2 in the conference and play at Ohio State. Urban Meyer's team will de-pants the Boilers how ugly it gets will depend on Urban's level of mercy. They'll then sit at 3-4 (0-3) and Danny Hope will still be talking about the positives he saw out there and how they're moving in the right direction and doing a lot of things well. And you and I will be screaming and pulling our hair out -- not even primarily because of Purdue's record, but because you and I will be more upset about things than the head coach, who is really just thrilled to be coaching a major conference program. Winning games would just be icing on the sweet cake of being the coach of Purdue.
Then the Boilers will win one of their question mark road games or maybe the Penn State game at home. Suddenly people will start saying, hey, if we win a couple of these, this team could go to a bowl! And that would be good after the 0-3 conference start! And we'll all talk ourselves into that being acceptable. Maybe Purdue will somehow maybe scratch it out and wind up 6-6 (although I still think my 5-7 prediction from the summer is where they'll wind up) and end up in another shitty bowl game against a directional MAC school. They'll win the game in a shootout and then embarrassingly celebrate like they just did something that matters or should be respected.
I'm tired of mediocrity, but I can deal with it if it's all part of a grand path to somewhere. But when being mediocre and winning a few games here and there and going 4-4 in the conference is considered a successful season, I have a problem with it. And that's where we are. We're looking at what everybody says is Danny Hope's best team, and that can't even stay within thirty points of an unranked, 2-2 Michigan squad with a QB who would be lucky to return kicks in the NFL.
When was the last time Purdue won a big game? When was the last time the showed up? And don't give me Ohio State in 2009 when Purdue was 1-5 and the stadium was half-empty. Everybody had already (and rightfully) quit on that season, so whoop-dee-do. There was no pressure. The Boilers were the speedbump for Ohio State and, yes, OSU overlooked them and Ryan Kerrigan nearly won that game by himself.
Don't give me Ohio State in 2011, either. I'm talking about a game that mattered when hopes were high. A game like the games Drew Brees won in '98-'00 or the games Kyle Orton won in 2003 and 2004. Has it been that long? Probably. I don't remember the last time they went into one of those defining games when they could actually state to the conference and the college football audiences that they'd arrived, that they were back, and did anything but crap the bed. That's another part of what is so infuriating -- they don't just miss the mark in those games, they get curb-stomped.
This coaching staff should be ashamed of this. But they won't be. Danny Hope will stay upbeat and will slap the guys on the back and tell them to get ready for Wisconsin and that they're all champs in his eyes, or some such nonsense. No, I'm not in the locker room, but the players all love him and that's because he's a player's coach. He's not a guy who lays into them and inspires them to be better by being hard on them.
I'm not going anywhere as far as being a Purdue fan. And neither is anyone else reading this, I'm sure. But I'm disgusted with the state of things because they are no different in 2012 than they were in 2009. Hell, they're no different than they were even further back than that. Mediocrity and underwhelming performances in big games have become an absolute guarantee. They're automatic. Sure, if you rack your brain you can think of the 2009 games against Oregon and Notre Dame, when Purdue gave you some serious hope that they could compete with those programs and on that big stage. But that's the last time I remember that happening and lest we forget, Purdue lost those games.
I don't have any solutions. I don't know if calling for changes is even the right thing. How high does the problem go? How pervasive is this culture of mediocrity? Have we entirely accepted it? What will it take to change it? I mean, really change it. I don't know for sure. But I know I'm sick of this crap.