The home opener is tomorrow and that means a chance to erase the bad feelings of last week and, at least for a week, enjoy a win (unless something disastrous happens). Tomorrow I will be taking my 4-month old son to dad and grandpa's alma mater for the first time. There are a lot of other firsts as well. Tomorrow is the first 211 Session in Mackey Arena, as the All-American Marching Band will have its first pre-game pep session. Be sure to get to the Arena by 9:45am as the team will arrive at 10am.
Another first is that we welcome a new writer here to Hammer & Rails. Last week I was looking for, of all things, a picture of Selwyn Limon. I came across the sports blog of one Rachel Van Gessell, a Purdue student that writes about a variety of sports topics. I have asked her to come over and give some student-centric opinions every now and then as well as handle some links posts. So guys, behave yourselves! There is a lady present here!
Let's welcome Rachel by having her bat leadoff with the staff picks this week:
Rachel Van Gessell
Another week, another game, but not another loss. I'm anticipating a W tomorrow afternoon. We're playing a FCS team who is without their best player. Combine that with the fact that we can't play any worse than last week (at least I think so) and you end up with a victory for us. I don't foresee us putting up 73 on them but I also don't see us letting them score 35 on us. We should be able to control the game win by a comfortable margin. Purdue 38 Indiana State 17
Paul Branham, Pilot, Boilermaker Special VII
The way I see it, this weekend has the potential to do one of two things: calm the fan base with an encouraging win that postpones further judgment until next weekend, or set off a chain reaction of transitive-property-induced panic. After all, Indiana hung 73 points on Indiana State last week to set a program record for points (by 1) before graciously kneeling to end the game inside the red zone the next time they got the ball. Travis said it already - if we lose this weekend, we may not win another game this season. Even worse, it would mean that Indiana's football
program team is in a much better place than our own, and that's not acceptable possible.
Purdue's 8-0 record against FCS opponents with an average margin of victory of 35 points in those games is certainly encouraging, but what I'm more interested in is how the coaching staff and players have responded through the media to last week's turd sandwich. Rob Henry justifiably took a lot of personal responsibility for the loss, several other players have owned their personal mistakes, and the coaching staff has identified specific good and bad things that happened in that game after picking apart the film. With any luck, the Cincinnati game will serve as a wake-up call for this team a la Purdue basketball vs Wofford in 2007.
I've got some Christmas shopping to do and some new golf clothes to buy, so I'm counting on Purdue to score at least 8 touchdowns and make it a good Touchdown Monday at University Bookstore with a 40% discount on Purdue apparel. This week, the offense remembers how to keep drives alive, converting better than 70% of 3rd down attempts, and Cody Webster gets the day off to keep his leg on ice after kicking that 73-yard rocket last week. The defense still plays like the middle of the field is lava on 3rd down, but Indiana State makes too many unforced errors and turns the ball over 3 times late in the game to seal the deal. Ricardo Allen may just pick up another defensive touchdown too, for good measure. Purdue 63, Indiana State 28
Indiana State is just what the doctor ordered for Purdue. While Purdue underwhelmed against Cincy last week, a BCS team should have no problem against an FCS opponent (tell that to Oregon State and Kansas State). With how the offense looked last week, plus the general superiority of IU's offense over Purdue's, I wouldn't expect 73 points, or anywhere near 73 points, to be put on the scoreboard by the Boilermakers. However this should be the game that allows for Henry and the offense to get on track. ISU's Shakir Bell figures to have a big game, but the general talent disparity between the two teams should lead to another loss on Indiana State's second leg of their Indiana tour. If Purdue loses, we would be in the midst of a worst case scenario start to the Hazell Era. Purdue 28, Indiana State 14
Last weekend was insanely rough. But I think a lot of people, myself included, had too high of hopes for Purdue starting the season out with a win against a pretty good Cincinnati team. Thankfully, Indiana State isn't as threatening as Cincy, and I think coach Hazell and the Boilers get their first win of the season in this game. Purdue 42, Indiana State 14
This should be a blowout in Purdue's favor, and if it is not it will be a very long season.
Yes, the Trees are a decent I-AA team and have greatly improved from the last time we played them, when they were probably the worst FCS team in America. They are still an FCS team and they will be without their best player by far. Their defense was absolutely torched by Indiana and without Shakir Bell, the offense did very little until long after the game was decided.
Yes, Purdue looked bad last week, but this is exactly what the Boilers need before playing Notre Dame. Simply put, if it does not work tomorrow, it is not going to work against anyone else. Purdue 45, Indiana State 10