Homecoming Weekend tips off Basketball and gets revenge for The Fumble

Jamie Squire - Getty Images

Purdue's homecoming can erase a lot of ill will hanging around campus lately.

Okay, I have figured out why last weekend's debacle against Michigan happened. Clearly it was a practice run for this weekend. This weekend is the more important game because the winner is likely headed to Indianapolis by default while the loser is all but mathematically eliminated. That's why we still need people there. The fact that it is homecoming is an added bonus.

As usual, your secondary market tickets can be found here, and it looks like they can be had for as little as $11. You can get them through Purdue here as well. We may not agree with some of the decisions coming out of the coaching offices, but these players deserve our support.

This is merely the centerpiece of a fun weekend at Purdue. Friday night has a whole mess of celebrations for Orthodox Columbus Day My Birthday Homecoming weekend:

Boiler Bridge Walk:

Every Friday before home games the football team is dropped off at the Sonya L. Margerum Fountain on the West Lafayette side of the pedestrian bridge over the Wabash and walks across to Riehle Plaza. This starts at 5:40 p.m. and is a festival atmosphere for all fans.

Homecoming Parade:

This gets underway at the Morton Center and will run through campus on its way to Mackey Arena. The theme this year is a celebration of 100 years of Hail Purdue.

Tipoff Before Kickoff:

This season officially begins the post-Baby Boilers era for Purdue Men's Basketball and I have dubbed it the Next Step. The purpose behind that is that the group before elevated Purdue back to relevance. We made two Sweet 16's, won a Big Ten Tournament, and won a Big Ten regular season title. The Next Step has a simple goal: to reach a Final Four and win a National Championship. That is the goal that has eluded the program for decades and is the only step higher than we have recently reached. It's time has come.

At 8:45 p.m. at the end of the homecoming parade there will be a celebration in Mackey Arena with a football pep rally, the crowning of the homecoming king and queen, and the first basketball practice of the 2012-13 season.

There will be shooting and slam dunk competitions involved and both the Men's and Women's teams will be introduced. Coach Painter and Coach Versyp will both speak and there will be a performance by a surprise musical artist (please don't be these guys).

Most of all it is an early chance to see Rapheal Davis, Jay Simpson, Ronnie Johnson, and A.J. Hammons in a Purdue uniform as they form the first part of The Next Step with Bryson Scott, Basil Smotherman, and Kendall Stephens joining them next year. This is the group that needs to take us to our first National Championship, so let's get on board from the beginning.

Purdue vs. Wisconsin:

My birthday is on Friday, and there is nothing I would like more than revenge for The Fumble that knocked Purdue out of the upper half of the Big Ten. From 1997-2004 Purdue was a perennial contender in the Big Ten. We may have only won one title, but we had three other 6-2 finishes and were a tough out every week. Since The Fumble against Wisconsin Purdue went into a tailspin with very few major high points. We haven't truly competed for a conference title since.

Saturday can erase a lot of that because a victory over the Badgers would put us clearly in the driver's seat to go to Indianapolis and win the Big Ten. Yes, Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible and we may get there via technicality, but if they really wanted to win the Big Ten they shouldn't have violated NCAA rules or covered up a massive child rape scandal.

Asking for a one-game playoff to get a one-game playoff for Pasadena in the weakest Big Ten in decades is pretty low, but it is what we get. There is still something that can be salvaged from this season, so let's get behind Kawann Short, Caleb TerBush, Ricardo Allen, and these guys to give Wisconsin a dose of payback.

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