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Independent Boilermakings

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Independence Day today. I know it felt great to sleep in until almost 11am today because of the holiday. If you are among the unfortunate people that have to work today, I hope you get ample time off later to enjoy the weekend because sometimes the freedom to catch up on sleep the greatest freedom. Be sure to celebrate the independence of your country by blowing up a small part of it.

This scoop goes to Boiled Sports

My colleagues over at Boiled Sports beat me to the punch this week, taking advantage of my largesse and sudden employment to report on the further exploits of Purdue javelin thrower Kara Patterson. Patterson will indeed be heading to Beijing as the first Purdue women to represent the track and field team at the Olympics. She did it with authority too. In the Olympic Trials Tuesday night Patterson had an Olympic Trials-record throw of 58.44 meters to easily pass the automatic qualifying standard of 55 meters. Patterson has a decent chance to do well in Beijing, as she has topped 61 meters before.

Former NCAA champion from Purdue Lindsay Blaine wasn’t as lucky as Patterson, finishing eighth with a top throw of just over 51 meters.

Kickoff times announced for three more games

As I mentioned at the end of the Northwestern Preview, Purdue and the Big Ten has announced the kickoff times for the first three games of the season. We already knew that Northwestern and Minnesota carried noon kickoffs, while the Notre Dame game in South bend will start at 3:30. The first three games drew two noon kickoffs and another 3:30 as our much-anticipated game with the Ducks will be a late afternoon kickoff.

I have always liked the late afternoon kickoffs. First of all, I have never been a fan of breakfast club. I enjoy sleeping in on Saturday mornings too much and never saw the point in waking up early just to drink. The later kickoffs mean we don’t have to haul out of Indy early to make our tailgate and kickoff. Second, there’s a good chance the game will finish under the lights. That is always a special atmosphere in West Lafayette. Many people figured the Oregon game would carry a later kickoff to accommodate their west coast fans, which makes perfect sense.

The fact that Northern Colorado is going to be on the Big Ten Network is no surprise. This is the type of game that normally wouldn’t be televised at all, and many fans probably don’t want to see it anyway. At least it will be an opportunity for Curtis Painter to have another 6 touchdown game like he did last year against Eastern Illinois.

I am surprised, however, that the Central Michigan game wasn’t picked up by ESPN2 or something. The Chips will be a pretty good team, and the Motor City Bowl, for what it’s worth, was one of the more entertaining bowl games last year. It is a case where I expected the game to get televised more to give Central Michigan against one of their better opponents than because of Purdue. Dan LeFevour certainly deserves his day in the sun. Hopefully we can slow him down. If not, at least the embarrassment will be contained to the Big Ten Network.

As usual, the remaining games have not had announced start times yet. That is not surprising, as the only reason the Minnesota and Northwestern games have kickoff times already is because they are homecoming games. Of our remaining three home games against Penn State, Michigan, and Indiana, I am thinking one, maybe two of them will be moved to 3:30 depending on how good of a matchup it is at the time. I know last year’s bucket game was a later kickoff, but Indiana has permanent lights. Since we do not, you can almost bet that will be a noon game unless both teams have a shocking season.

Recruiting news

I don’t normally follow much recruiting news, nor do I pay much attention to stars and rankings. We all know what stars and class rankings got Notre Dame last year, after all. Still, I have been slightly concerned that Purdue only has one commitment so far for its 2009 class. It is obviously a fluid process where the haves get the best early while everyone else has to wait. So far, however, there have been some encouraging signs.

I don’t expect much in the way of groundbreaking news until the official visits start flying in the fall, but the caliber of recruits that GBI has at least reported as interested in Purdue has risen. It’s not so much based on the star ranking, but where we are recruiting and who else is recruiting these players. I like that Hope is aggressively going after talent rich areas like Florida and Texas. Also, since these guys are interested in some of the top programs while still maintaining an interest in Purdue seems to be a step int eh right direction. It is way too early to judge this class, but hopefully it will be better than our recent hauls. Normally teams do have a brief uptick in recruiting when a new coach comes on board. It is my hope that this bodes true for Purdue.

I share these views with my friends over at Boiled Sports, who have really been on their game this week.

Have a safe and pleasant long weekend

Because of the dearth of Purdue news this week, I am drawing things to a close. I’m off to St. Louis to see my 15th major league baseball stadium Sunday afternoon and watch my first place Cubs play the Cardinals.