Knocking on the Door
Purdue's composite computer ranking (KenPom, Sagarin, RPI) now stands at 9 and they're currently 10th and 11th in this week's media and coaches polls. A couple of things are promising about what we've been witnessing:
-The offense has found an identity that includes a faster pace off of defensive stops and a lot of guys getting involved.
-The defense is getting better each game.
-And, maybe most-noteworthy, this team can get much better...as Hart returns (possibly this week), Smith continues to grown into his new role, TJohn continues to become a man (figuratively, of course) before our very eyes and Byrd becomes nastier on defense, the team will improve. I'm still hopeful for the bigs- But as the offensive pace increases, Marcius and Carroll's minutes might actually decrease.
Atop that, the two guys who were supposed to be great have been exactly that. This week, Moore was honored as BT player of the week. Both he and JJ are hovering around the 20/gm mark and seemingly pick eachother, and the team up during cold spells. My favorite thing about these guys is that they both scare the opposition defensively. They might be the two best recruiting tools Matty has after they graduate- Two guys who play in his defense-first system, yet both were among the nations elite offensively as well.
And speaking of recruiting...
Coach Hope got a good verbal this week from Atlanta RB, Marcus Caffey. Caffey had offers from a ton of good programs including Ole Miss, South Carolina, Arkansas and West Virginia. He's got solid size, solid speed and great vision. He could contend for playing time next season and allow ATM to be moved to the slot permanently.
Hope had the second defection from his coaching staff this off-season last week (Brian Rock), so he'll be busy interviewing replacements. He's already moved Landholm out of the co-DC position and made Emanuel the sole DC. He seems like a mean dude...I like that in a DC.
We're still awaiting word on Gibbony.
The Big Ten has no one to blame but itself. We've heard it in the past, and we will again in the future about how the BT is an inferior football conference. But until the conference consistently rises up and plays winning football in the post season, no one will give the oldest conference in America any respect...and rightfully so.
But lets be real honest for a second- the state of Michigan is really the problem this season. Northwestern was never as good this season as they were supposed to be. And with Persa out, no one expected them to beat TT...at least around the hallowed halls of the BS world headquarters. And really a similar excuse can be given for Penn State...especially in Meyer's last game. At least they had a little fight in them. But MSU's rolling over v. their old coach and Mississippi State's undressing of UM were noteworthy, laughable and sad all at the same time.
Rodriguez assured he won't be back in the fall with Michigan's performance...but that might have been a done deal going into last week. UM wisely crafted Rod's contract to read that if he was fired in '11 or after, his buyout would be $2.5 million...a few weeks ago, it was $4 million.
Hats off to Ferentz and company and our hated rivals for getting the bowl victory. That's a pretty phenomenal coaching job in the wake of all the Hawkeyes had to deal with since the season's end. And the Zooker reminded us never to bet against his Illini...or just never to bet on them. They're one of the most-confusing teams in the nation. They've got a ton of momentum and talent coming into next fall...they'll surely poop the bed.
Was I the only one happy to see Wisconsin lose to TCU? Bielema has a firm grasp on the prestigious award for coach in the conference that I like the least right now. Glad to see the meathead lose.
Everyone's a Winner!!
A month ago, I asked people to send in their ideas for a new BT logo and/or division names and I'd decide who was the winner. But, we didn't get enough entries to consider it much of a contest. So I'm declaring everyone a winner...and loser at the same time.
The biggest losers though are those who paid tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars to help re-define the new BT's marks and verbiage.
Back at Full Strength
Beginning early in December, we've been running the site with one hand behind our backs. First, I was out of the country, then J was on holiday in an exotic locale. But just as our Boilers are hitting their stride, so is the BS staff...expect more delicious content in the coming weeks/months.