It's time for staff picks again, and we're pretty much all in agreement:
Paul Cranham, Pilot, Boilermaker Special VII
Woof (http://youtu.be/_Ws5pimN4mw). Based on what we've seen so far from both Purdue and Notre Dame, it's gonna be ugly. Part of me still wants to believe that there's a chance (http://youtu.be/KX5jNnDMfxA), but I'm not even cautiously optimistic in this one like I was before the Cincinnati game. That being said, conventional wisdom is basically useless when it comes to Purdue football and big rivalry games. Last year's team that got completely blown out by Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Penn State was still able to eke out a pair of near-victory gut punches against the only two teams that went undefeated in the regular season. Worst of all, Purdue was in a position to win both of those games with mere seconds left on the clock, before snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in sensational Danny Hope style. Notre Dame was favored by only 14 points last year, compared to the 20.5 spread this year, and Purdue still miraculously found a way to compete in that game. For those who missed it, the Purdue Sports YouTube channel posted a #TBT (ThrowBack Thursday) highlight reel (http://youtu.be/fFZN2eGwORI)
As far as my prediction for this Saturday goes, I don't expect it to be close. I was on the field last week with the Boilermaker Special and when the team was lining up to come out from the locker room for the 2nd half, one of the defensive players (it may have been Sean Robinson) was trying to hype up the defense by repeating, "If they don't score, they can't win." No matter how John Madden-esque that sounds, it is true. With the state of our offense, the defense may be what we have to hang our hat on this year. That said, and even though our defense has had some promising moments (compared to the offense, at least), I think they are going to be on the field too much and fatigue will be their undoing by the time the late 3rd or early 4th quarter rolls around. If we want to have a prayer in this game, I think we have to win the time of possession battle. If our offense can at least stay on the field long enough to give our defense a fighting chance, then we can only hope and pray that the Tommy Rees that we all know and love shows up. That version of Tommy Rees showed up on Notre Dame's last drive under the lights against Michigan last week, so hopefully he's still around. If those things are able to happen, Purdue has a chance to be in it late in the game and steal a close win. I don't have it in me to predict that we'll actually do that, though. Our margin of error is too small right now. This rebuild is going to take some time, and I'm going to patiently support the team until it happens. Purdue 13, Notre Dame 35
Rachel Van Gessel
Notre Dame... it’s hard to think that Purdue will win this game. We’re outmatched physically, let alone the fact that we can’t really execute on offense. I think special teams will come up with at least one big play to supplement/assist our offense for the third week in a row. Losing Landon Feichter certainly hurts our secondary but I think Ricardo Allen and the rest of the boys should be able to turn Tommy Rees over. It’s Tommy Rees for goodness sakes. The guy is inconsistent. On offense it will be a struggle to get first downs, just like it was last week. Our O-line will have its work cut out for us. I don’t think Rob Henry will play much better than he has been and we will see Austin Appleby tomorrow night. Purdue 13, Notre Dame 34
I decided not to do a prediction because, well, it's just going to be awful.
The bright (non-permanent) lights at Ross-Ade can only do so much for the Boilermakers this Saturday night. Barring a miracle or total comedy of errors from the Irish, Notre Dame should win handily. The talent differential between the teams is just too wide and nothing the Boilermakers did against Indiana State lends hope to the possibility of them playing a perfect game and pulling off the upset. The team just isn't on the same page yet and after watching Illinois manhandle Cincinnati last week, I don't think you can chalk the opening week's loss up to simply playing a much more talented team either. Expect a big game from Tommy Rees as he avenges his older sister's public intoxication charge from 2011. If I was a betting man, and I am, I'd take the Irish covering the 21 point spread. Notre Dame 31 Purdue 7
Purdue hasn't been getting a lot of respect all week, and with good reason. Yes, this is our one chance to show the nation that something is under construction in West Lafayette, but through two games our offense has scored a grand total of two touchdowns and against teams that have surrendered 114 points against their other opponents. Our defense isn't bad, but we're not so much the Cradle of Quarterbacks right now as the Soiled Bed Linens of Offensive Putridity.
With this game the Notre Dame bandwagon should be full again, especially if Bowling Green beats Indiana earlier in the day and the IU "fans" that started paying attention after their epic 73 points against Indiana State return to their One True Football team. As Purdue fans, we have to deal with these people, the current state of our own team, and all the negative recruiting momentum going in basketball.
We need some good news, and a shocking upset of the Fighting Irish would make us forget a lot of those things. Unfortunately, that is exactly what it would be: shocking. Unless we see a completely different offense than the one seen the last week we're in for another long, disappointing night game at Ross-Ade.
No wonder Morgan doesn't want lights. I hope I am wrong with this pick. Notre Dame 38, Purdue 10