Normally I do a top 10 countdown of the best Purdue sports stories of the year, but this has been an awful year. Volleyball was screwed out of the NCAA Tournament. Football and basketball each finished dead last in the Big Ten. Baseball missed last place by half a game. Mitch Daniels doesn't care though because the sweet river of Rotel money is keeping the department in the black, so promotions for all!
Just how bad was it? Well, here were the top 10 stories on the site in terms of traffic since January 1:
Number 10: Previewing the Indiana HS Regionals - Regional Saturday is my favorite day of the year in Indiana, when the high school tournament goes from 64 to 16 teams in a single day. It also often features the state's best players in a rugged test where their teams have to win twice in a single day to advance. This coming year Ryan Cline and Grant Weatherford will hopefully survive tough sectionals to make it to regional Saturday.
Number 9: Matt Painter is on the hot seat - After missing the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season I said that coach Painter should be let go if we don't make the 2015 Tournament. Well, we're more than halfway out of that tournament now. Barring a 12-6 or better Big Ten finish we're not going dancing without winning the Big Ten Tournament, which could mean winning five games in five days. As this article references (and many people deny) Painter take responsibility for the struggles. I kind of feel for the guy in that regard. He has been criticized for not taking the blame and some criticized him for being too blunt here. Even when taking the blame he can't win.
Number 8: Ronnie Johnson will possibly transfer - This was the preliminary story before it became official, but I took a rumor that I heard at the Big Ten Tournament and ran with it. People went off in the comments about the need for a "likely" in the title and all that, but it was a solid lead and I went with it. I was right too.
Number 7: Trevor Thompson Considered Purdue - Yeah, the number 10 story was us possibly getting a basketball player from Virginia Tech, a program that struggles to make the NCAA Tournament far more than we do. Instead, we lost him to Ohio State. The good news is that he was not going to be initially eligible anyway. His appeal was denied, so he is currently riding the pine for the Buckeyes and won't be available until next year.
Number 6: Top 25 Things to do at Purdue before you graduate - This was a good post put together by Juan listing all the essentials of being a Purdue student. It also showed my age because I had no idea there was a rock climbing wall at the Co-Rec.
Number 5: Ronnie Johnson Will Transfer - Johnson was supposed to be Purdue's top returning scorer, but instead he decided to leave and ultimately use his cell minutes with Kelvin Sampson at Houston. Ronnie didn't even wait until the Big Ten Tournament was over before fleeing from Purdue, so you know it was on his mind during the season-ending swoon.
Number 4: Tom Crean Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot - Tom Crean is an unending source of comedy for all Purdue fans. I hope he stays at IU forever.
Number 3: CBI Bracketology - This is completely H&R winning the Google search lottery. I wrote one post about Purdue playing in the CBI again, and because I had owned the 2013 CBI in terms of search and coverage we won based on hitting keys terms. Thank you, degenerate gamblers for searching "CBI Bracketology".
Number 2: It is time to leave the Big Ten - It was a radical idea at the time, but even Boiled Sports agrees now. If the Board of Trustees and President Daniels don't care about being competitive athletically it is time to leave the conference. Otherwise, it will be season after season of losing while basically whoring ourselves for BTN money. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Number 1: Andrew Boldt - Not only was this the most-read post of the year, it is the most-read post in site history. It is a shame that it took a terrible tragedy for that to happen though. The Andrew Boldt situation is a horrible story all around, concluding with his killer committing suicide in prison. I pray that the Boldt family and his friends, as well as those that witnessed the awful event, have found a measure of peace.