In the wake of the ass beating we took from Michigan, Coach Danny Hope continues to troll, confuse and infuriate Purdue fans abound. His decision to start Caleb TerBush over Robert Marve seems to be contrary to the public outcry. At least the way I'm seeing it, most want Marve to start, even though he is fighting through an ACL injury, because they feel he is the better QB. And I think so, too.
But, I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of that topic. Travis already wrote up a manifesto on it the other day. And, although most seem to believe that Marve will give the football team a better chance to beat Wisconsin and other conference opponents, the reality of the situation is that TerBush is starting at QB. After Saturday's game we can look back and ask ourselves if Hope made the right call by ignoring the fans and playing TerBush over Marve, but it is a fact that TerBush will be the guy under center this weekend. End of story.
Instead, I would like to discuss the Wisconsin game as a whole and what it means for our football team and program. One thing I think that has become clear is that after such a strong start to the season, many Purdue fans felt that the Michigan game was going to be the marquee matchup of the season for the Boilers and THE game that would determine the rest of their schedule. And after the colossal embarrassment at home against the Wolverines, I think the outpour of emotions from fans certainly assumed that some felt the Michigan game was a good determinant of the seasonal outlook and were ready to jump off the cliff.
But, as I looked back on the game, I thought differently about the whole scenario. I, for one, believe that the quintessential, season-defining matchup for Purdue is coming this weekend. Forget Michigan. Yes, it's a blemish on our schedule and record, but the upcoming game against Wisco has so much more potential to lead our football team in one direction or the other for the rest of the season.
I mean, think about it. With two members of the division ineligible this season and the other two very beatable, this game will no doubt decide who goes to the B1G Championship Game should Purdue and Wisconsin tie in their final conference records. And when you look at both teams schedules, I see so much evidence of that.
Should Purdue beat Wisconsin (fingers crossed), this is how the rest of the Boilers' schedule looks: at Ohio State, at Minnesota, home against Penn State, at Iowa, at Illinois and home against IU.
Assuming Purdue uses the epic pantsing by Michigan as a wake-up call and beats Wisconsin, I see two more losses on that schedule, one of them inevitably being at #8 OSU because, yeah, we are going to get our asses kicked in Columbus. Sorry, but we will.
But, then I think our matchups get much easier for the rest of the season. I see us winning at Minnesota, at home vs. PSU, at Illinois and again at home vs. IU. I think our third conference loss will come at Iowa. And that's it. Heck, even if our third loss comes against a different opponent, I don't think it is too far-fetched to forsee only one loss for Purdue after the Ohio State game. If that ends up being the case, Purdue will finish 8-4 overall, 6-3 in B1G play and own a tie-breaker over Wisconsin, should they lose two more conference games.
Now, let's look at the Badgers. So far, they are 1-1 in the B1G this season with a loss at Nebraska and a win last weekend at home against Illinois. Assuming they lose to us this weekend, they will fall to 1-2. But, just like us, I see their schedule getting a lot easier.
Their next three weeks after the Purdue game come in the form of home games against Minnesota and Michigan State and then a game at IU. I see win, win, win here.
But, then Wisco is home against Ohio State before ending the season at Penn State. I think the Penn State game is a very winnable game for the Badgers, but I am not so confident about the Ohio State matchup. Even with it being in Camp Randall and the potential of losing the division to Purdue being on the line, I think Ohio State and Braxton Miller have the ability to trash a very vulnerable Wisconsin team.
If this works out as well, Wisconsin will also finish the season 8-4 overall and 6-3 in the B1G. But, most importantly, in this scenario Purdue will have won the tie-breaker over the Badgers in order to punch their tickets for the conference title game, thanks none other to a defeat of Wisco at home this coming weekend.
Now, of course, this is assuming many things, namely that Purdue will win the game this weekend and only lose two more games, meanwhile Wisconsin will lose to Ohio State later this season. It also assumes that Purdue has learned a lot of lessons from the Michigan game and is already fixing many of its blatant, god-awful mistakes and flaws, not to mention that Illinois and IU are completely irrelevant in this prediction and are assumed incapable of mounting good seasons of their own.
But, the moral of the story is this: the Purdue-Wisconsin game this weekend is more than likely THE biggest, most definitive game of the season for not just Purdue, but for Wisconsin as well. If you were one of the Boilers who feared for the worst and was ready to jump off the cliff after the Michigan game, I say fear not. Come season's end, I don't think our matchup with the Wolverines will have anywhere close to as much weight as our matchup with the Badgers will.
After all, Michigan's flogging of our football team on our home turf only counts as a one loss towards the conference record. A win against Wisconsin could very well mean winning a tie-breaker for the division lead and repping the Leaders in Lucas Oil Stadium on December 1st. A loss could just as well mean the Badgers winning the tie-breaker to get to the B1G Championship Game while Purdue sits at home. Chew on that for a while and say the Michigan game ruined Purdue's hopes of a good season.
Anyways, I've had enough predicting and analyzing for today. Let's not get ahead of ourselves and dream up scenario after scenario. Instead, we should focus on what really matters over these next few days--preparations for this weekend's game. One easy way to prepare is to educate yourself with info, so you can answer questions like "What channel is the game on?" or "How much are tickets?". And lucky for you readers, I've given you a horde of vitally important info about Purdue-Wisconsin below. Enjoy.
Opponent: Wisconsin Badgers (4-2, 1-1 B1G)
2011 record: 11-3 (6-2 B1G), Won B1G Championship Game 42-39 vs. No. 9 Michigan State
Bowl result: Lost Rose Bowl 38-45 vs. No. 5 Oregon
Last week: Wisco won 31-14 at home vs. Illinois.
Date of game: Saturday, October 13th, 2012
Kickoff time: 12:00 PM ET
Game location: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
Series record: Wisconsin leads 42-29-8
Series record in Ross-Ade: Wisconsin leads 16-15-2
Last meeting: Wisconsin clobbered the Boilers 62-17 in Camp Randall last year.
Last meeting in Ross-Ade: Wisconsin won decisively 34-13 against Purdue in Ross-Ade in 2010.
Last Purdue win: In 2003, Purdue beat Wisconsin 26-23 in Camp Randall.
Last Purdue win in Ross-Ade: In 1997, Purdue easily beat the Badgers 45-20 at home.
Ticket information: Tickets for the game can be purchased at www.purduesports.com. Individual student tickets for the game start at $25 and student guest tickets, which grant non Purdue-students access to the student section, can be purchased for $35 each. For all other tickets, prices range from $25 to $50 on the website, based on section. South endzone seats cost $25 a piece, north endzone seats cost $35 and sideline seats cost $50. Also, non-student tickets to the game can be purchased through StubHub, where prices range from $8 to a whopping $400 based on section.
Game promotions: Saturday's game against Wisconsin is Purdue's Homecoming game. It has also been designated the Gold & Black Game, meaning that fans are encouraged to wear either gold or black colors to the game depending on where they are seated. Fans with tickets in sections 101 through 105 and sections 116 through 124 are being asked to wear gold. Fans with tickets in sections 106 through 115 and sections 125 through 134 are asked to wear black to the game. Also, special t-shirts commemorating the Gold & Black Game are being sold online, at Follett's and at the Purdue Pride store in Ross-Ade. The shirts come in both gold and black colors. For more information about the Gold & Black Game, follow this link: http://www.goldandblackgame.com/.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (All 27 PSN radio channels can be found here), Sirius Channel 138, XM Channel 198
Opponent blog(s): Wisconsin has a blog at SB Nation called Bucky's 5th Quarter. Another noteworthy Badgers sports blog is Madtown Badgers. And, as always, UW's athletic site always has a ton of specific info about the Badgers football program. That can be found at www.uwbadgers.com.
Weather at kickoff: Right now on weather.com, Saturday's forecast calls for a high of 72 degrees, cloudy skies, a 20% chance of rain and a breeze of 11 mph coming from the southeast. Obviously, this is subject to change. But, for now it looks like heavy coats or ponchos won't be necessary for the game on Saturday.
Other Week 7 B1G games:
- Iowa at Michigan State, Saturday at 12:00 PM ET on ESPN
- Northwestern at Minnesota, Saturday at 12:00 PM ET on ESPN2
- Illinois at No. 25 Michigan, Saturday at 3:30 PM ET on ABC
- No. 8 Ohio State at Indiana, Saturday at 8:00 PM ET on Big Ten Network
(For the curious) Other noteworthy Week 7 FBS games:
- No. 15 Texas at No. 13 Oklahoma, Saturday at 12:00 PM ET on ABC
- No. 17 Stanford at No. 7 Notre Dame, Saturday at 3:30 PM ET on NBC
- No. 3 South Carolina at No. 9 LSU, Saturday at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN