When I began compiling this list a couple of weeks ago in preparation for this series, I did take into account many things. Quality of the opponent, location of the game, and any good story lines. In short, how interesting is that game going to be, at least as we look at them a dozen or more weeks out. Our first two games, Eastern Michigan, and Kent State, didn’t exactly tip the scales in any of those categories. The only thing putting #10, Purdue, above them is the Big 10 factor. In fact, I actually had written down “Big 10 Kent State” on my notes.
That comparison is not terribly inaccurate either, as the Boilers will be lead into Beaver Stadium by new head coach Darrell Hazell, who spent the last two years leading the Golden Flashes, after a successful stint coaching the receivers at Ohio State under Jim Tressel. He inherits a program that has just 1 winning season since 2008, albeit one that returns 15 starters (8 defense, 7 offense) from last year’s 6-7 team, that may still be smarting from a humiliating 58-14 loss to Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, that really was not that close.
So why did the Boilermakers end up at 10th on this fun countdown? A new coach is about the only somewhat interesting part of this game. Penn State sloppily dominated Purdue in West Lafayette last year, and most of that Purdue team is back. There is not a lot of high end talent that may get you excited either, especially with Kawann Short short gone to the NFL (44th overall to the Panthers). Although, it will be fun to see a Purdue team field a quarterback that isn’t Robert Marve for the first time since the Clinton Administration.
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