The State of Things

My, what a week can make. What a half can make. And what a difference it can make when you simply don't fire holes in your own foot repeatedly.

Our Boilers managed to do some things well on Saturday and also managed not to frustrate us repeatedly by not capitalizing on opponent mistakes, stalling in the red zone, being disastrous on special teams, etc. Saturday's game shows you what this team's talent level is capable of. Nobody walked away from that game thinking Purdue did anything that could be called "dominant" nor would you say they "got lucky." Yet they beat a 6-1 ranked opponent and did it without a whole lot of drama, save for the final minute.

So what does this mean? We have had a hard time believing Burke would fire Hope unless his hand was absolutely forced, so for now, we're of the opinion that Hope's job security issues are mostly put to bed. Certainly, many of you will not be happy to read those words and we don't have any special insider knowledge on this, but it's just our feeling. Sure, five blowout losses to end the season would swing the door back open, but we -- cautiously -- think it's safe to say that won't happen.

Purdue has now played three Big Ten games and could very easily be 3-0, but is a respectable 2-1. It's interesting to read pieces out there that minimize Purdue's wins, but you can only play the schedule in front of you. And as we move through October -- often a tough month for Purdue -- the team is 2-2 in the month, with a road game at Michigan to wrap it up.

Looking at the schedule and seeing @PSU, vs Ill, @UM, @Wisc could throw one into a cold sweat and yet the Boilers are very close to being 2-0 halfway through that. Yes, I know, "close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but it's a start and it's progress. It's never okay to be happy with losses, but I think we can all agree our Boilers showed something at Penn State and then showed something again vs Illinois. Dare I say  this is not the same team that we saw struggle vs MTSU and Rice? Small victories, folks, small victories. And I think more than a few of us have said, hey, we're not expecting the Rose Bowl -- but we are expecting progress. We might be seeing it.There's even mumbling online about Purdue controlling their own destiny in their division, which isn't really the case, but is fun to talk about.

These past two weeks are the first signs I've seen from the program that make me think we might -- might -- have a chance to say at the end of the season that things moved in the right direction. No, we are not quite there yet and these final five games have a lot to do with how I/we will view the Danny Hope era after year three. But you've now got a situation where two more wins put our Boilers in a bowl game. And to be fair, I think we all agreed that a bowl this season would indicate a "successful" season.

What say you?

Handsomecasting Tonight

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