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Week 8 review (It’s time to go KILL BILL style)

One of the joys of not having a job with any responsibility whatsoever (re: a temp in Cubetown of an office building) is that you can sneak in movies to help pass the time, and use them as dick around time to keep you there longer. Today’s choice is the Kill Bill double feature, my favorite of the Tarantino films.

I refer to this today, because it is time for Purdue to go Kill Bill on the remaining five game of our schedule. Each one of our opponents can fall by the wayside much like the five that the Bride takes out over the course of the two films. Ironically, the four we face match up in the exact same way all five were killed in the films. It’s time to make a list and take them out, one by one.

Penn State – O. Ren Ishii – This is the traditional power that is tough to take down. Much like O. Ren, they command respect and have been known to lop the heads off of opponents who say they are an also-ran. They reached the height of their power by winning the Big Ten last year. Winning in Happy Valley two years ago in front of 100,000+ fans was like fighting through the Crazy 88 to get to them. With a well established leader in JoePa, whom I have always respected, there's little question of authority. He is also one of the best in the business, and has been for a long time, like O. Ren. They have the best defense of the teams we have yet to face.

Michigan State – Vernita Green – They are perfect for this character because they certainly live a double life. They are a former power that is now consigned quietly to the middle of the pack, but they can go psycho and kill you in an instant without warning. As proven this past Saturday against Northwestern, they are capable of fighting viciously with their backs against the wall, but they are just as likely to get stabbed in the heart while making cereal.

Illinois – Budd – Fat, lazy, and employed as a bouncer as a strip club, Budd is a former assassin who has gotten the farthest away from the game, much like Illinois is a former great program whose best days are long behind them. They are no longer a serious threat to anyone in the conference. They may get a shot in, like Budd did in capturing the Bride, but in the end they can’t finish the job. They’re now content for the occasional upset, but can get taken out by teams like Indiana, who ironically matches up with…

Indiana – Elle Driver – Elle took out Budd in the movie, much like Indiana took out Illinois this year when the Illini thought they had won. They are viciously jealous of Purdue’s football success and play second fiddle to us, much like Elle is to the Bride’s relationship with Bill. They desperately think they can get us this year once and for all, and they could match up will with us in a fight if their own exuberance doesn’t undo them. Like usual, we’ll pluck the bucket away from them like Elle’s eye gets plucked out.

Hawaii – Bill – Hawaii matches up with Bill for two reasons: 1. They are our most difficult opponent left with their offense, and 2. They are a mystery because we have never played them. People love to go to Hawaii much like the Bride loved bill, but we have to be business-like and take them out. There’s nothing personal about it, and we will enjoy their hospitality, but we simply must beat them, that’s all.

Right now we are projected to finish behind both of our next two opponents, as every bowl projection I have seen has us going no higher than the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. One on ESPN today even had Penn State going to the Outback in Orlando, something we can rectify with a win this Saturday. As I stated earlier this week, there is no reason we cannot win out. Doing so would likely put us in Tampa on New Year’s Day, assuming Iowa also loses to Wisconsin.

With the way the defense has improved, we only need the offense to get back on track, something that can happen very easily. Painter was clearly off last week, but he was dealing with the death of his grandfather. That’s not to make an excuse, but it had to be n his mind. A win this week will turn things right back around. Winning the next two weeks, which are both VERY winnable, will make us the favorite for fourth place. It is not as dire as it seems.

I know the Purdue message boards have been going nuts this week, as they are calling for a coaching change since we haven’t been as competitive as we should have been in two of the three losses, but I am reserving my judgment until after the Hawaii game. In my view, if we win out and finish 10-3, or even lose one and 9-4, that is still damn good when you consider everything. We need to focus on winning the conference games because they will tell us the most, and Hawaii will take care of itself. They may even be ranked by the time we play them, so that would be another chance against a ranked team.

Weekly Big Ten Rankings:
Champions Division:

1. Ohio State – I know my wife hates the Buckeyes for stealing the national title in 2002, butt hank you, Ohio State for slapping Indiana down hard. That is exactly what was needed to shut them up.
2. Michigan – As predicted, they were very businesslike in simply getting the job done against Iowa. Someone actually suggested that Indiana could be their biggest stumbling block left before Ohio State. Yeah, if the Michigan bus gets lost and shows up at the RCA Dome to face the Colts.

A Division of their own:
3. Wisconsin
– They are clearly the third best team in the conference. I only said they weren’t a top 20 team in my last entry because when we played them they were not ranked in the top 20. They have earned that right now. It’s too bad they don’t play Ohio State because they would have at least a shot, and thank God we don’t play them for the next two years.

Going to a Bowl Division:
4. Purdue – I’m putting us here almost by default. I think we’re better and will beat Michigan State and Penn State. I think we played our worst game of the past four years at Iowa, and that if we got another shot at them it would be much closer. I also think Iowa will lose to Wisconsin and give us the inside track to finishing here.
5. Iowa – If they didn’t have the Indiana loss they would be higher and probably up in the group with Wisconsin. Instead, I don’t know what to think of them, and they probably have the Wisconsin loss still to go and finish 4-4 in conference.
6. Penn State – This weekend’s game is critical for both for bowl positioning. Both teams are 5-3, and Penn State still has a game against Temple so they will qualify, but which bowl will it be. The winner in West Lafayette Saturday gets the better bowl. They still also must play Wisconsin

Winner this weekend goes to a bowl Division:
7. Indiana
– I am giving Indiana the edge for two reasons: First, they are playing at home, and second, I don’t think they would have needed a miracle to come back against Northwestern. Both teams Saturday in Bloomington need two wins. Both have Minnesota to play, whom they both should beat if they are as good as they say they are.
8. Michigan State – How bad are you that you need a miracle to come back against Northwestern? Is that a blip on the radar or is Michigan State back? This team could just as easily win the rest of its games as lose the rest. I am considering Minnesota a win, but this weekend is a toss-up, which is not good considering the opponent.

Home for the holidays Division:
9. Minnesota
– Well, it was a win, which was needed, but how ugly was that on Saturday in the Metrodome. They have already dug themselves too deep of a hole, and I don’t trust them with the next two games against an opponent that is trying to get to any bowl.
10. Illinois – They are only here because I can’t put them lower. They are already playing for next year. At least they kick field goals well. They are like us in that they can move the ball, but can’t score. Wisconsin and Ohio State are next.
11. Northwestern – You simply have to feel for the Wildcats. It can’t get much worse for them now after blowing the game against the most schizo team in the history of football. Oh wait, they play Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa over their next three games. At least Illinois is at home.

On a national scale, I know that my wife’s Hurricanes face a huge game this weekend, much like Purdue. The Hurricanes are headed to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech, where the winner will likely be headed to face Clemson in the ACC title game, and the loser will be banished to some forgettable bowl game. I am torn because I would love to see a Purdue-Miami bowl game, but that would likely mean both of them would need to lose this weekend for it to happen.

We are both still incredibly frustrated over the way the brawl was handled, and I honestly don’t think Miami has much of a shot if they were nearly upset by Duke. I know the third stringers were playing, but it is still Duke. No Miami team should ever let Duke come within five scores of an upset, let alone five yards. Unless it has Ohio after its name, and not Florida. We’ll know more about them Saturday night.

We still have seven undefeated teams, and I know the big argument is what to do about the Big East. If I am the Big East, specifically Louisville or West Virginia, I cheer like crazy for Rutgers to stay hot. That only makes the conference as a whole look better, and it raises schedule strength as well. Of course, what happens if Rutgers beats them both, finishes unbeaten itself, and no one else this side of Boise State does? Why not put them in the title game. I am a huge proponent of there not being a team in the championship with a loss unless absolutely necessary. If you have already lost to someone, and another team hasn’t, how can you talk about being the best? Obviously you’re not because someone else got you. If Rutgers does go unbeaten, and West Virginia and Louisville finish unbeaten against everyone else, the rankings will take care of themselves.

I would even go so far as having a rule that if you finish undefeated, no matter what conference you play in, you get to go to a BCS bowl. What does it hurt? They are glorified exhibitions anyway, and it is a more sane rule than Notre Dame playing two teams that are good all year, and getting in by losing both and winning everything else simply because they are Notre Dame.

Speaking of rankings, it is time for my weekly top 25, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis.

1. (1) Ohio State
2. (2) Michigan
3. (3) USC
4. (4) West Virginia
5. (5) Louisville
(Who cares about style points, they are winning. Period.)
6. (6) Texas
7. (8) Arkansas
(cascade of reasoning, again)
8. (9) Auburn
9. (10) Florida
10. (13) Clemson
11. (11) Tennessee
12. (12) California
13. (7) Notre Dame
(Bad tackling by UCLA from another loss)
14. (18) Rutgers (Still undefeated, they go up until they lose
15. (17) Boise State (see above)
16. (16) LSU
17. (20) Wisconsin
(The best team I have seen Purdue play)
18. (22) Texas A&M
19. (23) Missouri
20. (19) Oklahoma
21. (NR) Boston College
(Why can’t they play Notre dame this year?)
22. (24) Wake Forest (A fourth quarter collapse from being unbeaten)
23. (NR) Tulsa
24. (14) Georgia Tech
25. (15) Oregon

Dropped out: (21) Nebraska, (25) Pittsburgh
Also Considered: Hawaii, Georgia

So those are my rankings. Next up, we’ll have the post on my Q&A section that is available right now! Just leave your questions in the comments section. Until then, Boiler Up!