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Boilermakings for 6-13

As mentioned at the end of yesterday’s question and answer session with Black Shoe Diaries, Lake the Posts recently compiled the pre-season Big Ten standings predictions. My fellow bloggers were not kind to the Boilers as Purdue was picked to finish 8th ahead of only Indiana, Northwestern, and Minnesota. I wasn’t quite as pessimistic because, well, I have to have some optimism coming into the season. Still, I am not exactly making reservations for Pasadena in late December. Here is how I voted:

1. Ohio State – They have the most complete team and the fewest questions. Since everyone else has major questions it will take them beating themselves at least twice for them to lose the Big Ten.

2. Wisconsin – They must settle on a quarterback, but if they can get the defense healthy I think they are the only team that can challenge Ohio State. There’s so much talent in the running game they may not need more than a caretaker at QB.

3. Illinois – Here is where I think you can throw the remaining nine teams in a bag, draw them at random, and you’d have a possible order of finish. Illinois surprised everyone last year, but that element is gone now. Will it be like 2002 after they wont he Big Ten in 2001?

4. Northwestern – Don’t laugh. The Wildcats look like they have one of those strange runs they get on every few years. Tyrell Sutton is supposedly healthy and everyone else is just disappointing enough for them to start hot. I certainly feel 2-3 games that Northwestern will win leaving their opponents with a "How did they do that" feeling.

5. Penn State – As Mike mentioned yesterday, they have a shaky secondary, no true answer at quarterback, and they tend to play conservative on the road. Playing at Wisconsin, Ohio State, Purdue, and Iowa won’t help them.

6. Purdue – This just feels about right. It’s not spectacular, but it’s not a total crapper of season some expect. I think Joe has one last run in him. The Big Ten is not that strong this year, so winning five 5 conference games and 3 out of conference is not asking too much. It is a bonus that we don’t play Illinois and Wisconsin who I have ranked #2 and #3. Just beat the bottom four and split with Penn State and Michigan.

7. Michigan – If there ever was a year for Michigan to fall it is this one. I am not confident in their offense at all, but the defense should be good enough to carry them for a few games. If Purdue is going to beat the Wolverines soon, this is the year. Bonus that it isn’t in Ann Arbor!

8. Michigan State – They were my surprise of the season last year, more so than Illinois. I had them not even winning a conference game and they tore us a new one. They did lose a bit, but they could be much higher.

9. Iowa – Two years ago I drank the Iowa kool-aid. Never again. I am tired of being burned by them, and last season they couldn’t score in a women’s prison with a fistful of pardons. No team without Michigan or Ohio State on schedule should have this low of expectations.

10. Indiana – It really all hinges on Kellen Lewis. If he returns I expect Indiana to threaten for another low to mid-tier bowl. They have one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the country, so with Lewis they should be 4-0 outside the conference. Without him Indiana will struggle to win 3 games.

11. Minnesota – They have nowhere to go but up. I think that with them we might have finally found a Big Ten defense worse than our own. They will be better, but not good enough to threaten for a bowl.

I would be curious to see how my brethren at Boiled Sports voted.

Austin Parkinson accepts assistant coaching job at IUPUI

Former Purdue point guard Austin Parkinson accepted an assistant coaching position at IUPUI Thursday. This is good news for a guy I remember seeing play as a freshman in high school. We grew up in the same area, as he graduated two years after me from Northwestern High School near Kokomo. He was a four year starter there, and I remember that as a freshman he gave my Kokomo Wildkats a pretty good game in the 1997 sectional final the last year before Indiana destroyed its high school basketball heritage. We went on to the state finals that year, while he nearly led Northwestern to the first class 2A state finals a year later. He finished as Northwestern’s all-time career leader in points and assists before following in his dad Bruce Parkinson’s footsteps at Purdue.

When Austin played at Purdue I felt he was a bit undersized for the Big Ten, but he was a solid role player for four years. He could have been more of a scorer, but coach Keady asked him to distribute. He was a Keady-type of player in that he worked hard and always did what was asked of him. He later served as a graduate assistant for us. This is good news for an all-around nice guy.

Future Boilers performing well in All-Star Series

The Indiana All-Star series got going this week as the Senior All-Stars prepared for their first game against the Kentucky All-Stars by playing the Junior All-Stars at Washington and Marion. Juniors Patrick Bade and D.J. Byrd, both Purdue recruits, played very well in the first game at Washington as the juniors nearly upset the seniors Monday night, falling 93-91 at Washington. In that game Bade played very well North Carolina-bound Mr. Basketball Tyler Zeller, scoring 24 points in the near upset. Bade is a former teammate of JuJuan Johnson at Franklin Central high, and looks to be a nice addition for 2009.

In that game, 2009 commit Kelsey Barlow also played with Bade and Byrd. The future Boilers did not fair as well Wednesday night at Marion, as the Seniors won going away 114-83. Bade had just 12 points while Byrd led the juniors with 18. Since Byrd and Bade are part of the "core group" of six players while Barlow and Robinson were only part of the "south group" the latter pair did not play. Potential recruit Stephen Van Treese has looked strong in this series as well.

On the ladies’ side of the ledger Miss Basketball Brittany Rayburn, who will be playing for the Lady Boilers this fall, has had a strong series. She is teaming up with Alex Guyton from Bloomington North, another future Boiler. The Seniors were upset by a very talented junior team at Washington, but rebounded to beat the juniors at Marion Wednesday. Coach Versyp needs to be looking at the junior squad, however, as uncommitted Skylar Diggins and Kelly Faris were recently named to the under-18 women’s national team. I have seen Diggins play in person once, and she is the real deal. In her first three years of high school she has led South Bend Washington, a program with almost no previous history, to three consecutive state finals appearances and one championship. Getting her in West Lafayette would be a steal.

Potential National Championship?

I am well aware that Purdue does not have a particularly dominant history on the national stage, but this weekend the Boilers could be well represented in the NCAA outdoor Track and Field champions. 12 Purdue athletes will be competing, but junior Kara Patterson is the #1 seed in the javelin throw. Patterson has already surprised the "A" standard and her throw at the Big Ten championships a few weeks ago is the best throw by an American this year. With a top three finish in the Olympic trials next month she could be bring more than national glory to West Lafayette. Such a finish would mean a free trip to Beijing and the Olympics.

What to watch this weekend:

The College World Series starts tomorrow, and if you want to see a game that has the potential for some good, old-fashioned hatred tune in Monday. Should both win (or if both lose) in Saturday’s opening games Miami and Florida State will face each other on Monday. These two do not like each other in baseball. In 1999 Miami denied long-time Florida State coach Mike Martin in his best chance at an elusive national championship. The Canes beat the Seminoles 6-5 in the championship game. Miami has since won a fourth national title in 2001, while Florida State has never won it all.

When the two met for a three game series in April the Canes won a pair of games. The third game was shortened due to Miami’s travel curfew, and the Canes won 11-10 on a strikeout to end the 7th inning with the tying run on. As Miami celebrated the hard fought win Florida State refused to come out for the post game handshake. As a result, Miamicelebrated a little more, Florida State thought it was too excessive, and a brawl nearly ensued when the Seminoles came rushing out of the dugout. Florida State wants a rematch, so I say bring it. They can’t win in Omaha anyway.

Any team with fans like this deserve to win. I’ve met Lois and she is one of the most wonderful human beings on the planet. Good luck to her and the Canes this weekend.

hype it up!