I have always hated the month of April. My grandfather, probably the most important person in my life during my formative years, died on April 13th, 1991. April means the end of basketball season. I had one of the worst vacations I have ever experienced in April 2008. April 2006 was easily the worst month in my life for undisclosed reasons. So far, at least in the history of Hammer & Rails, April 2010 is on par with several past Aprils in my life. This is all much to the dismay of Mrs. T-Mill, who recently joined me in the 30 club on April 20th (and no, it does not means I am a massive pot smoker because my wife's birthday is 4/20).
This past month, in terms of Purdue sports, has been a big month of speculation without real action. I am in desperate need of something to write about, but every day brings a big phat pile of nothing in terms of news. April is the month of "DO SOMETHING" news. Even the baseball team couldn't come up with that this weekend in losing two of three at home against Northwestern. One more win would have meant a tie for first place in the Big Ten, while a sweep would have meant sole possession.
So we need some news right now. As Purdue fans, we are sitting and waiting on the following topics:
JJ and E'Twaun - There is no bigger topic in the history of Purdue sports than waiting the next two weeks on E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. None. We all know the stakes by now. If they return, Purdue is one fo the favorites for the 2010 National Title. If they stay in the draft we resorts to the post-Robbie injury scenario of "gee, I hope we make the Sweet 16 and anything can happen," land. We all know no news definitively. The first draft projection that included either of them came out today with JJ at #36 overall (Hat tip to Grover at the GBI forum).
We've all had some time to digest this at this point. It is unlikely that either one of them is going to be a first rounder. There is nothing more that would piss me off than seeing the best potential basketball season in Purdue history derailed because two of the key elements threw away their chance at greatness. This has to be what smarmy IU fans are hoping for. They would absolutely love for JJ and E'twaun to stay in the draft, then go undrafted just so it ruins our great season.
Then again, I know that if we are truly Purdue, they would return and we would lose in round 2 of the NCAA's (as a #1 seed) to Northwest Bumfuck State. We need news here. I want to know how I am supposed to feel. I am either going to be devastated they both left, euphoric they are both staying, or talking myself into a Final berth because one is returning. My official stance is that E'Twaun is coming back, but JJ is 50/50.
Football - let me sum up the analysis between now and our season opener at Notre Dame: "Purdue should return to a bowl and threaten some good teams, but a depleted secondary will dampen any big plans." I know Caleb TerBush had a good spring game, but Robert Marve is going to be the starting quarterback. We have enough offensive talent returning that we should accidentally win six games against a schedule of three MAC teams (Ball State, Toledo, Indiana) and a 1-AA opponent. We're going to go to a bowl game. We will be judged entirely on if we piss on Brian Kelly's opening day parade in South bend. If we lose, they will begin printing Return to Glory shirts in South bend and Brian Kelly will be the greatest coach in the history of college football. Win, and he will instantly become a pariah. How can the country not be cheering for us in the opener? For Notre Dame haters there is now better scenario than the latest Savior losing his opener at home to a non-bowl team that is replacing an entire unit of our defense. Trust me, it is going to be worse than when Jimmy Montana began is glorious tenure in South Bend.
That is why I can't get into spring football. I love college football, but we have the interminably long period of November 21, 2009 to September 4, 2010 before seeing anything meaningful. It is sad too, especially when you consider that Notre Dame football is about as relevant on a national scene as Indiana football over the past few years. At least Indiana wouldn't lose to Navy at home twice in a row. I am building up 9/4/10 as a great day because of the way we can personally embarrass a program that has an inordinate amount of hubris about itself. Their delusional fans (not their real fans, who are actually quite respectful) cannot picture losing to a school like Purdue with the next savior on the sidelines. That is why our eminent victory will be that much sweeter.
As for the rest of the season, I will only say this: We're winning eight games. It is going to happen, deal with it.
Purdue baseball - It is rare that I call out teams, but I feel justified in doing this with the baseball team. We are currently halfway through the Big Ten season and the Boilers are a game out of first place. Sure, it I one of the weakest Big Ten baseball season in years, but we have one of the best starting pitching situations in the league. If we're ever going to break our 101 year conference title drought, this needs to be the year. This weekend the Boilers won the opener of the series against Northwestern 2-1, but they lost the final two games 7-5 and 6-3. The current Big Ten standings have nine teams within 2 games of the lead. We're never going to find a better chance to break our massive drought than this year. The story of the series was once again errors. Purdue committed four errors in Sunday's rubber game and two in Saturday's second game. We need to do something different when it comes to baseball if we are ever going to have more than a mediocre program. The guys that sacrifice so much for baseball deserve better. They are right on the edge of being a pretty good team, but they can't break through.
The Ross-Ade upper deck - Is it, or is it not happening? I know we're likely waiting until the Mackey Renovation is finished, but this is topic that has been on the front burner sense Phase one of the Ross-Ade renovation as finished in 2003. Can we just get an official timetable, please?
With that, I don't have any more DO SOMETHING ideas. at least the ladies' golf team continues to get the job done. I leave the rest to you wonderful readers.