SI's Stewart Mandel has a post up today about sleeper teams that could surprise and reach a BCS game. Among his sleepers is our very own Boilermakers. It's definitely fun to think about. And it didn't even cost us much to pay off Stewart to get him to say this, either.
From the column:
With four Big Ten teams ranked in the preseason top 14 (No. 2 Ohio State, No. 10 Iowa, No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 14 Penn State), you're excused if you haven't given a passing thought to the Boilermakers. But perhaps you should reconsider. Remember, this is a team that handed Ohio State its only conference defeat last season, came within a last-minute two-point conversion at Pac-10 champ Oregon and lost three other contests by less than a touchdown.
Now in his second season, coach Danny Hope adds a lauded quarterback in Miami transfer Robert Marve to throw to the league's top returning receiver, Keith Smith. Sacks leader Ryan Kerrigan (13) returns as well. Admittedly, Purdue is a long-shot to reach the BCS -- it might not even win its opener at Notre Dame -- but with a friendly conference schedule that avoids both Iowa and Penn State, nine wins and a Jan. 1 bowl aren't out of the question.
(Thanks to reader Jonathan for the heads up)