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The T-Bag: December 5

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The people had questions and T-Mill had answers.

Trevor Ruszkowsk-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of the most loaded mailbags in awhile, so enough with the preamble.

In Morgan Burke's most recent press conference he said that Purdue athletic facilities are not easy to find and RA didn't have a front entrance. Was he suggesting that as a reason for the poor attendance, because people can't find the stadium? – Steven Wallace

What is this supposed to mean? It is a giant f*&^ing stadium! I do understand the concept of a "front door" he is mentioning, but I seriously doubt attendance is low because people can’t find the stadium. Good teams finding the stadium against, however, it probably the bigger problem.

Ok. Morgan Burke said he really wants a front door for Ross-Ade Stadium. Can we start a kickstarter campaign so that Mr Burke can go buy a nice, new old gold-painted front door from Home Depot? Think he'll buy lights then? – Gregory McManus

Only if we can then go with my plan to have 62,000 MagLites to light the stadium.

I am thinking 11-2, mostly because I don’t think we quite have the consistency to keep rolling until Big Ten play. We should beat Arkansas State, IPFW, Gardner-Webb, and North Florida, but we always need to be wary of the game where we come out flat and the other team does not (Wofford, anyone?). That leaves Vanderbilt and Notre Dame. We’re probably splitting them. Before the season started most people felt that a 3-3 record with the three Maui games, NC State, Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame would be a good start.

Well, we’re already got the three there, so I am greedy. Vanderbilt looks like a winnable game, but never discount playing on the road. Notre Dame looks like a tough team and for some reason Purdue has never played well in the Crossroads Classic. We basically have had one good half of one of the three games, and that was the first half against Butler in the inaugural event. Maybe it is a Bankers Life Fieldhouse thing because we haven’t done too well there in the Big Ten Tournament either (2009 aside).

Of course, if Purdue gets both it enters the Big Ten schedule as a ranked team with five really good wins and we’re talking about 2007-08 all over again.

I still think so. There was improvement this past year, however small, and I absolutely love the work Marcus Freeman is doing with the linebackers. Give us any kind of a pass rush and the defense may finally have some salt.

The bigger concerns are on offense, where there needs to be more consistent quarterback play and we have to find a running back. The duo of Markell Jones and Keyante Green sounds promising, but we’ve been limited in what we have seen from Green. The winner between the Appleby-Etling-Blough derby is going to be interesting. I think Etling returns and tries to show some improvement.

At the very least, if Blough wins we have two experienced backups. The opening schedule is not that hard. Bowling Green is dangerous with a potent offense and they already have proven they can beat bad Big Ten teams when they beat Indiana this year. Virginia Tech probably had a worse offense than us this year. Marshall loses a lot and they couldn’t go undefeated against the weakest possible schedule this season. Indiana State is good, but still an FCS team. We absolutely should be able to go 3-1 against that slate, finally.

Both are probably going to get drafted because 7-footers who can play are rare. I honestly think Haas will be the better player in the long run. He is more assertive as a freshman than A.J. was and has been the better rebounder. If anything, the sheer size of Haas and the fact that he is very nimble for such a big dude will get him more looks. If A.J. goes pro this year and Haas has a full season in 2015-16 as the starter he could be gone in two years, easily.

Of course, we could just start him next season, put Caleb Swanigan at the 4, have Vince Edwards destroy people as a three, and just win the whole damn thing next year with a bunch of shooters round them.

The best spot? I am thinking something like 12-6 and around 5th place. We got really lucky in only getting Wisconsin and Michigan State once, but with the way the Spartans are struggling you never know what happens there. It is really hard to tell because I think Wisconsin is on a really high level above the rest of the conference, Rutgers is really low, and the middle 12 are going to just battle every night. With that in mind, I am really glad we get Rutgers twice and Wisconsin once.

As for worst finish, I am going to say 8-10 because I want to up the expectations. This team has already exceeded expectations and the body language alone tells me they are different. I keep saying that they are playing well as a team and they have all accepted a role, but it is true. This team had talent the last two years but underachieved because there has no chemistry. That chemistry is there, and I think that alone means an improvement of five wins over last year.

The Big Ten is still going to be ridiculously tough. Purdue needs to sweep Rutgers, beat Northwestern and Penn State, and yes, we need to sweep Indiana since they are ridiculously soft in the post and we have two seven foot monsters to go with Vince Edwards. Get those five and I know we can win three other games quite easily. Sweeping Indiana is likely the hardest part of that because it is never easy to win in Bloomington.

I haven’t given a lot of thought to who would replace Morgan, but I have heard Calvin Williams is a good candidate to replace him. Either he or Brian Cardinal sounds good as a possible replacement to me, and I know Williams has the blessing of some former football players.

Gottlieb, hands down. I like Dakich because he provides pretty good analysis and even as an IU guy he is good about pointing out Purdue’s strengths and weaknesses honestly. Gottleib is just an idiot.

He is only a one-and-done if he pulls a Kemba Walker, Carmelo Anthony, or Shabazz Napier and single-handedly drags us to winning the NCAA Tournament. If he does that I am totally fine with him leaving early.