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Hope Floats

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It's a shame that Site 73 has gone defunct, because Hope Floats would be a good movie to review for their "I watched this movie for sex" category. Ultimately, I hope that the Danny Hope situation doesn't turn out to be as bad of a situation as the movie Hope Floats turned out to be for me. When the Sandra Bullock-Harry Connick Jr. vehicle came out in the summer of 1998 I had just finished high school and I was preparing to head off to Purdue for my freshman year. Because I have a bit of a soft side and I wanted to impress my then girlfriend I was actually somewhat excited about his movie. Being a closet Garth Brooks fan I was excited that it actually had a new Garth song as part of the soundtrack, and there were a few other tunes that were actually quite catchy (read: I really, REALLY wanted to impress this girl. When you're 18 and have no idea about the world you do dumb things).

I can't remember when, exactly, I finally saw the movie with the girl, but man was it boring. For nearly two hours I only remember thinking, "You two are retarded for each other, just do it already!" It was a movie that to this day I am not really sure why I was so excited to see it. I still like some of the songs from the soundtrack, but the movie itself sucked and failed to deliver on much of its promise. For reasons unknown to me people are still all about this movie, but it was ultimately disappointing.

The reason for this rambling metaphor is the recent speculation that Danny Hope is going to be the next football coach of Purdue University. I was honestly more excited about getting Paul Chryst, but we are getting a Tiller guy in order to satisfy Joe's desire to go out on his own terms. He has earned this right with what he has done, and at least this is better than Brock Spack. It is a plus that Danny Hope is a former Purdue assistant and allegedly a great recruiter of talent, but something doesn't feel right about this. I feel like we have been down this road before and we are settling on the mediocre and unproven instead of going for the big hire. I had resigned myself to having no succession plan in place, then see Joe walk away after 2008 or 2009 so we could make a play for a Brian Kelly or Butch Jones. Both of those guys would be great coaches for us, and I felt Chryst could have been as well since he knows how to build a running game and we desperately need one.

There are some positives to look at from this. Hope has a pedigree as a recruiter and developer of talent. Ultimately we need someone like that at Purdue. We have gotten the most out of the 2-3 star guys we have gotten, but it seems like every 4 and 5 star recruit we get does not work out. I am not sure what the magic formula for this is, but imagine how quickly things could get even better if we started getting a handful of top notch guys and they actually lived up to their billings. Of course, I'll take a hundred Jake Standefords and Dustin Kellers before I would take another Selwyn Lymon or Garrett Bushong. During Hope's first go around at Purdue he sent five offensive linemen to the league. A certain guy, Matt Light, may be a few weeks away from getting his fourth Super Bowl ring and reserving a place in Canton for being one of the best left tackles in the NFL. Everything in football starts with the lines, and this guy knows what he is doing there.

I also like that we do actually have a plan in place, as it allows future recruits to know the guy who will be there for them by the time they graduate. The men's basketball program fell much further than the football program will during its succession, but it seems to be doing just fine in terms of talent, recruiting, and hope. Danny Hope also knows how things are done at Purdue and was a big part of building the Rose Bowl team in 2000. Since this was the pinnacle of the Tiller era (though I felt as a team the 2003 squad was more talented) it is good to have him back on board.

The remaining questions are still important and need to be addressed. How does this affect next year's team and which assistants will stay? If Hope comes back to improve the offensive line and get more production out of our running game while leaving the passing game alone I am all for it. The stage is set for a big year on the ground with the top two backs returning, a couple of other solid guys in the fold, and a quarterback that has proven he can run well when necessary. Perhaps I am just completely delusional and I can talk myself into getting excited every for Purdue football season. Perhaps I just play too much NCAA 2008 on Playstation where the 2009 Boilers are 7-0, having beaten Oregon 73-0 in Autzen Stadium and Iroc Duncan has run for 898 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games. I think we can pull this off because the last big name assistant we went after failed (Colletto) and the last big name head coach we went after failed (Akers). Tiller was a smaller name head coach and he worked out, so why can't an even smaller named head coach work? Eastern Kentucky and the Ohio Valley Conference aren't exactly the Big Ten, but he beat Eastern Illinois this year, meaning he can already do at least as good of a job as Tiller.

BABY BOILERS GIVE EVEN MORE OF A REASON TO HOPE

Curse you Big Ten network! Of course, maybe it's a good thing I couldn't watch on Tuesday night. As long as I wasn't paying attention the Boilers played heroically in East Lansing, putting the fear of God in the Spartan faithful that expected a home rout of the young team. I couldn't avoid the promising scores scrolling across the bottom of ESPN though, so as the Florida-Alabama game got over I clicked on the radio just in time to hear the final two minutes of the game. I'm not sure why we were trying NBA range 3-pointers with less than a minute to play and down one with plenty of time on the shot clock, but once we get over that we might be able to finish one of these near misses on the road.

Not to brag or anything, but for once one of my wacky predictions worked out. As mentioned in Tuesday's entry, to have a chance at the upset, Kramer needed to shoot the ball more and Calasan needed to be more of a force inside. 37 points from the duo later we are asking how things would have gone had Robbie Hummel not come down with the flu. This was a fantastic effort that has to have everyone else in the conference worried. If we can just get over the strange jitters we get from playing at home now we should be able to go on a big run. Perhaps we should start coming out of the locker room at home in black uniforms, repaint the floor to the opposing team's colors, and convince the crowd to cheer for the visitors. Someone get the marketing department on this pronto!

Next we get conference leader Ohio State, who is 12-3 overall and 3-0 in the conference, but has struggled in almost every game against good competition. Butler destroyed them by 19 earlier in the season, and we're a bigger, stronger team that plays a somewhat similar style to them. This is a golden opportunity to get one of the tier 3 wins we will need to make the NCAA tournament, so it is critical that we get over our fear of playing at home. Why not through big-bodied Chris Reid in there to disrupt things in the paint? All we need now is to get Terrance Crump healthy, who is one of our few players with which we can change the tempo of a game, and get Robbie Hummel fully healthy. This team is coming together quite nicely right now.