Things I Learned Saturday

It certainly looks like they're done.

-Purdue's players now stand and watch the "I Am an American" pre-game tradition...I really like that they're instructed to do this. I don't believe Tiller-coached teams stopped their warm-up to watch/listen to this recurring-presentation.

-Homecoming didn't feel like homecoming. The crowd was pretty sluggish and small...and the energy in the tailgate lots wasn't even good. It reminded me of the bad ole days when J, Tim and I walked the halls of Cary Quad...and a disgruntled Jim Colletto prowled the sidelines of RA. Sure the fanbase has a hangover from pouring out a lot in the loss to UND. But, high ticket prices, a lot of mediocre seasons and now a rebuilding season, have taken it's toll on Purdue's fanbase.

-Aaron Valentin, Keith Smith & Keith Carlos all made some very impressive catches and runs after the catch today. Most-noteworthy was Valentin's 67-yard TD. He caught a high pass, shed a tackler with a stiff arm, avoided two more tacklers and out-ran the defense down the left sideline in the first quarter...sadly, as we all know too well, Mr. Valentin giveth, and Mr. Valentin taketh away.

-Purdue had 6 turnovers...and could have had 8 or 9. They simply don't take care of the ball.

-Purdue gift-wrapped this game and handed it to Coach Fitz. He accepted the gift, begrudgingly. Make no mistake- NW did not grab this game from Purdue, with a macho kung fu grip...but instead, politely and quietly said, "thanks" as Purdue's offense and special teams turned the ball over 3 times in a 2.5 minute period to end the first half. Then, to start the second half, had a mere 4 plays in the books before giving it up again. Valentin, Elliott and even Taylor coughed up the ball and Northwestern accepted the turnovers and turned them into 13 easy points.

-I'm sure J.B. Gibbony is a good guy. But, it doesn't look like he should be coaching a major college team's special teams unit...especially Purdue's. This week, the kickoff teams did a good job on coverage, but the fumbles returned in a disgusting way. Each week we've watched the special teams fail in some way...this week was no different.

-Hope spoke highly of his Special Teams Coordinator before the season...and he also spoke highly of Nord. Well, honestly, neither has been too impressive thus far, to me.

-Purdue's event planning staff planned today poorly. They didn't even have enough port-o-lets on the intramural fields. In fact, the port-o-lets I saw at the end of the day were full. That's flat-out nasty.

-Keith Smith was wasted today...specifically, in the second half, the coaches did nothing to assure he'd get the ball.

-Ralph Bolden is better than the stats are showing...many times today, he was handed the ball and met by the defense almost immediately. The play-call is starting to make me furious.

-Joey Elliott is not the guy. I'm not intending this as a dig on Elliott- I think he's doing everything he's capable of doing, and on paper, his numbers are pretty-darned good. I know Purdue's rebuilding and Elliott's not the sole reason Purdue loses, but it's time to, at minimum, see someone else taking some snaps. The old adage, "it's not how you start, but how you finish" is ringing in my head right now...and Elliott simply hasn't finished a game strong this season.

-Purdue's defense did enough to win...and deserved better. But, it's a team game- and this team is not a good one right now. The 1-4 record is the worst start in nearly 15 seasons.

-Skinny jeans are a bad thing. I'm not just saying for fat people either- they're not flattering, even on a fit, young college girl. I miss low-cut, boot cut jeans on the young ladies.

-Hope has some decisions to make for the future now- he can begin preparing his personnel for the coming seasons, or continue coaching without a good rotation of receivers, DBs and even running backs. It's time to look forward.

-Many prognosticators picked Purdue to finish last in the BT...and to only have one-win. I scoffed at the idea. But now, it looks like I might have been pre-mature in my optimism. I thought this was a re-building year, and the magazines were way off base. But, if things continue to go the way they're going, we might be witnessing an historic season- Purdue has only won 1 or fewer games 8 times since 1887.

-Coaches often tell teams that it's them against the world...and that no one believes in them but the guys in the locker room. Well, Coach Hope can now say that to his guys, and might not simply be giving the team just a motivational speech.

-Purdue knows how to lose. But something...a lot of things...need to change for this team to start winning again. The one, two, three-quarter-long lapses by the offense are now a trend, and the fact that multiple facets of the team seem to contribute to the loss tells me that there's a systematic issue- could be depth, could be preparation, could be conditioning, could be mentality...could be a combo of the four.

CBS Sports Blogpoll -- Monday Edition

Season Over?