Boiled Sports Season Wrap-up Round Table: J Speaks

Today it's my turn to give my witty witticisms on the Purdue football season, or as we like to call it, Train Wreck '07.

1. What was your biggest surprise of the season (positive)?

That when making love to my wife, I was able to -- oh, wait, what's that? Ohhhhh, related to Purdue football. Gotcha.

Um, well, my biggest positive surprise was the 5-0 start. Normally, we find a way to shoot ourselves in the foot early with a loss to a MAC team or simply not showing up against ND or something like that. This year's team found new ways to piss us off after they started out 5-0. I also was pleased with Painter's productivity early on -- yes, it wasn't the best competition, but he was more than just solid; he was deadly accurate against those opponents and the INTs were way down. Nice improvement. I guess. If I have to say something nice.

2. What was your biggest disappointment of the season?

Clearly, our collapse, as Tim said, is up there. 5-0 to start, 2-5 the rest of the way. I guess the biggest disappointment, though, would be the fact that we didn't even show up against OSU or Michigan. I'm not saying we need to be better than those programs or consistently beat them... but we need a year when, if we're 5-0, ranked and hosting OSU, that we come to play and put some points on the board. You know, make them earn it. OSU didn't play particularly terrific that night and we blew a great opportunity to earn some respect and show Ross-Ade as a semi-tough venue under the right circumstances. Instead, we just laid down. And the debacle in Ann Arbor was simply carry-over. The team seemed to know they were cooked before things got started. And Joe Tiller telling the team they aren't as talented is never good for confidence.

3. What are you excited about for the '08 season?

I'm optimistic that the offense will continue to improve and that Curtis Painter has one more shot at leading this team to something great. I know the chips are stacked against that happening, but hope springs eternal.

4. What are you least looking forward to in the '08 season?

Feeling disappointed again. This year was a legit shot at a 9-10 win season, and that was not a stretch goal. Next year, 8 wins would be a stretch based on the schedule, so I'm not looking forward to seeing the program struggle, especially in Painter's final season.

5. What effect, if any, will a bowl have on Purdue's football program?

As boilerdowd noted, it's already having divisive effects. Being that it's a no-win scenario for the Boilers (beat a MAC team, big deal; lose to a MAC team, we catch more abuse), I don't see this as a positive. Is it better than getting shut out of going bowling? Well, I suppose so but not by much. As for effect on the program, I'd say it's kind of negative for all the reasons above, plus the fact that meaningless, crappy bowls keep some contingent of alumni and the athletic department happy/content and that's not good. We're not good enough to feel any level of satisfaction.

6. How and When will Joe Tiller's career end at Purdue?

By being bum-rushed by angry students after another disappointing season next year, held over the engineering mall fountain on campus and fired into low-Earth orbit by the water pressure.

7. Who frustrated you the most this season?

Where to begin? Dorien Bryant didn't live up to the hype, although compared to loser Selwyn Lymon, he was stout. I'd say Lymon was the biggest disappointment, both on and off the field. The coaching staff hasn't impressed me in years and Brock Spack needs to be removed from his position. Nice guy, below-average coach.

8. What team and/or player opponent of Purdue this season was least impressive to you?

I have to agree with Tim: Iowa's Jake Christensen. He's a terrible quarterback and Iowa was an awful team. I don't understand how they beat Illinois this year. Thing is, I also don't get how Firentz is a coach there still. He's the most overpaid, overrated coach out there. Iowa is often expected to do great things and very rarely does anything, let alone great things.

9. Despite all the grousing we do, is Purdue football on the right track (If not, what would get the program back on track)?

Nope, the program is not on the right track. Sure, I like winning more than losing and 7-8 wins a year is not anything to be out-and-out ashamed of, but things like your players beating guys up in bars, drinking and driving and publicly saying they don't want to play in the bowl game are signs that the program is off the rails and the powers-that-be aren't able to keep control. This points to Coach Tiller and the athletic department. The program isn't good enough to overlook misdeeds (nor should it be) and a 10-win season every now and then is something that is fair to expect from a mid-pack Big Ten team like Purdue.

10. Looking at next year's schedule, what's your early thought on critical games?

Well, we get to play Central Michigan for the third time in twelve months, so maybe they'll be looking for blood. Who knows? But critical games aren't hard to point out: @ OSU and Michigan at home will be big. If we can hang with or -- gasp! -- actually beat one of them, that would be gigantic for the program, for recruiting, etc. In addition, I think Notre Dame will still be less than stellar next year and thus we should actually beat them in their house. Again, as we've said before, it doesn't matter how poor Notre Dame is looking -- a win over them always feels critical.

11. Does it ever get old making fun of Fat Charlie the Manatee?

No, never. He's an arrogant butthead who deserves to eat some humble pie. I saw him being interviewed a few weeks ago and he was asked if it's hard to face fans and students when the program is doing so poorly. His smug answer was typical Fat Charlie: "Well, I don't see many fans or students..." The implication was he works too much to see them. He underscored this and made sure we understood his point by following with, "I mean, sometimes there's a couple outside my building at 4:30 in the morning and I'll stop and say hi then, but otherwise..."

Right, fat-ass. You get to work at 4:30 in the morning. You know, I hate to be the one to point this out, but if you're really working 18-20 hour days as you'd like us (and ND's chancellor) to believe, you're doing a rot-ass job. I'm pretty sure a 3-9 record could have been attained with a lot less work. But hey, at least you were the first ND squad since '92 to end the season with two straight victories, as you had the balls to point out in your post-game interview after beating mighty Stanford. Jerk.

12. Will Purdue win a football national championship in our lifetime?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say yes. I don't think it will happen while I'm still young enough to enjoy it necessarily, but I do think it's possible that with a new coach and renewed vigor that this program could be shepherded in the right direction. Our lifetimes, god-willing, are going to be a long time. Will we win a title in the next 50 years? I'll say yes.

13. What is more likely for the Boilers and why: a football championship or a basketball championship?

I agree with Tim -- basketball is much more likely. Villanova won it as an 8-seed, several other 8s have made the Final Four... hell, even a Brian Cardinal-led team came within a win over a crappy Wisconsin team of making the Final Four in 2000. As Timmy said, anything can happen in March madness. The football team being perfect for twelve weeks, while possible, is somewhat, uh, unlikely.

14. After Tiller retires (or is fired) [or is launched into orbit - J], would you rather get a coach that is a better recruiter or is a better game day coach?

Recruiter. While I don't think Purdue is the wasteland of some locales, it's not exactly a hotbed where high-level prospects would choose to go over other nice areas. But if you're a good recruiter and know how to find the gems like Drew Brees, etc., then that usually means you're a good talked and are able to convince players that the culture can change and they can be part of the team that turned Purdue into a national contender. Look at Gary Barnett's Northwestern days or what Ron Zook is currently doing at Illinois. Solid recruiting and making the guys believe. If they're not a terrific game-coach, so be it. Make sure you have better coordinators than guys like Spack and you'll be fine.

15. If you had to choose another coach from the Big Ten to coach Purdue, who would you pick?

I kind of like Tim's pick of the Zooker at Illinois, but I'm a little wary of him. He's obviously and inarguably an incredible recruiter and his players would absolutely lay in front of a bus for him. However, he's a little crazy, I think. (Note: Water-skiing doesn't make you crazy, of course, but, well, you know what I mean.)

I think if I had to pick a Big Ten coach right now, I'd choose Sweatervest. He may not run the cleanest program, but he appears to be a good guy (open to interpretation) and the 'vest makes him look like an innocent little librarian or something. Meanwhile, he's recruiting well and competing for the national title every year despite the bashing of the Big Ten and the suggestions that the Big Ten teams are slow, midwestern dolts competing against speedy, talented players from the SEC, ACC, etc. That may be so, but I'll take 11-win seasons and national spotlight anytime. I doubt it would get old for a while.

Boiled Sports Season Wrap-up Round Table: Boilerdowd Speaks

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